Founded in 1780, the Epsom Derby was originally contested over a distance of one-mile before behind transferred to 1m4f in 1784. It was run on a Thursday in late May or early June, depending on the time of Easter, up until being moved to a Wednesday in 1838. From 1900 to 1995 the Derby was raced on the first Wednesday of June but has since moved to the month’s first Saturday since 1995. During both World War I and World War II the Derby was run at Newmarket and renamed the ‘New Derby’.
For the three-year-old thoroughbred horse, winning the Epsom Derby is the greatest achievement in racing. It is one of the oldest prizes in the sport and brings with it immense rewards both on and off of the track. In recent years, the Derby has produced some of the most thrilling sporting triumphs.
In 1981, the Derby hosted one of the best performances in its history when Shergar annihilated the field to win by 10-lengths. It was a hugely memorable display and made Shergar a British household name. The horse would then become a fan-favourite before being involved in his notorious kidnapping in 1983.
The 2010 renewal saw the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Workforce storm to victory under jockey Ryan Moore to win by seven-lengths. It was a performance that smashed the course record and cemented the horse’s claims as one of the greatest winners of the race. Workforce went on to later win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and become European Champion Three-year-old Colt.