First run in 1779, the Oaks at Epsom Downs is the second oldest of the five Classic races and for three-year-old fillies only.
The 12th Earl of Derby and some friends came up with the idea of running the race for fillies during a party at his estate, which was called The Oaks, on the outskirts of Epsom. The race was first run as The Oakes Stakes the following year, 12 months before the introduction of The Derby.
The Oaks subsequently became one of the most important races for three-year-old fillies anywhere in the world and has prompted other countries to devise their own equivalents, including the Irish Oaks, the Prix de Diane and the Oaks d’Italia.
Run over 1 mile 4 furlongs - like the Derby - the Oaks has been staged at Epsom Downs every year since its inaugural race, 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 Investec Derby and the Investec Oaks on the Downs behind closed doors, it was agreed by local authorities that the world famous races 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 Oaks archives, putting them in one place for you to watch from start to finish.