No race has had an impact on world horseracing quite like the Derby.
Run at Epsom Downs and in usual circumstances on the first Saturday in June, it is not only the richest race staged in Britain, but is considered the greatest Flat race anywhere on the planet – the Supreme Test of the Racehorse.
First run in 1780 it was decided that it should be named after either the 12th Earl of Derby or Sir Charles Bunbury. Legend has it that a toss of a coin decided that the race would be named after the former.
So, while races all over the world now take on the name ‘Derby’ in honour of the UK event, it could all have been so different - although somehow the Kentucky Bunbury doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
Run over 1 mile 4 furlongs, the Derby is for three-year-old colts, while the Investec Oaks is run over the same distance by three-year-old fillies. The two races help make up British racing’s five ‘Classics’, which include the QIPCO 2000 and 1000 Guineas – traditionally run at the beginning of May - and the St Leger, which takes place towards the end of the season.
The Derby has been staged at Epsom Downs every year since, apart from between 1915-1918 and 1940-1945 when World Wars I and II meant the race had to be switched to Newmarket for safety reasons.
This year’s Coronavirus pandemic had threatened to result in a similar venue change. However, following a huge amount of work by The Jockey Club and a proposal to run the race on the Downs behind closed doors, it was agreed by local authorities that the world famous race could remain at its spiritual home in 2020.
With racing having been suspended during the height of Covid-19, a rearranged racing programme will see the 2020 Investec Derby and Investec Oaks both take place on July 4th.
Here, we’ve picked out some of the very best races from the Derby archives, putting them in one place for you to watch from start to finish.