Epsom Derby 2023: When is the race, what TV channel is it on and what are the latest odds

The Derby - Epsom Derby 2023: When is the race, what TV channel is it on and what are the latest odds - PA/John Walton
The Derby - Epsom Derby 2023: When is the race, what TV channel is it on and what are the latest odds - PA/John Walton

Britain’s richest Flat horse race has been staged since 1780 and this year is the culmination of a two-day festival at Epsom Downs Racecourse and will attract a crowd of about 130,000. The Derby has been run annually for 243 years but was moved to Newmarket from 1915-18 and 1940-45.

The Derby, also known as the Epsom Derby or the Derby Stakes is worth £1.5 million, £850,650 of which goes to the winner which last year was the 5-2 favourite Desert Crown, trained by Sir Michael Stoute and owned by Saeed Suhail.

What is it?

The pinnacle of the Flat season, the Derby is one of English racing’s five Classics in addition to the Oak which takes place at Epsom the day before, the 1,000 Guineas, the St Leger, and the 2,000 Guineas. The Derby is a race for three-year-old colts and fillies, run over one mile, four furlongs and 10 yards on Epsom Downs, a particularly undulating course with a pronounced slope towards the rails on the home straight.

When is the Epsom Derby?

The Derby takes place on Saturday, June 3, on the second day of the Festival. Two further Group 1 races, the Oaks and the Coronation Cup, will be staged on Friday, June 2, Ladies Day.

Latest news

By Marcus Armytage

Trainer Aidan O.Brien has described the strongly fancied Auguste Rodin as a “collector’s item” ahead of Saturday’s £1.5m Betfred Derby.

The colt was the winter favourite for the Derby, displaced three weeks ago by Military Order but, on the back of Ballydoyle confidence, he is once against trading as favourite, despite having bombed out in the 2,000 Guineas being beaten 22 lengths in 12th.

O’Brien will run three in the race, including Adelaide River, who he hinted would make the running, and San Antonio, whose dam was runner up in an Oaks, but he believes the Derby is all about Auguste Rodin.

“Everything was going to have to fall his way at Newmarket and the trip was always going to be plenty short enough - he was never going to run over a mile again,” O’Brien explained. “He’s beautiful moving so the ground was always going to be a worry and he needed a clear run but when Little Big Bear wiped him out, Ryan [Moore] found himself in a pocket in a race with no pace.”

Describing the horse as an athletic, close-coupled colt who “wouldn’t break glass the way he moves,” O’Brien added: “He was always very special from day one. Nothing’s changed about him in our mind and we’re looking forward to seeing him run like everyone else. He’s a collector’s item. He’s out of Rhododendron, one of the best Galileo fillies ever, by Deep Impact, one of the best Japanese stallions ever. Bred like that, the pedigree, the movement, the looks, the ability, it’s very rare.”

On Friday, O’Brien will bid to win the Oaks for the fourth year on the bounce and 10th since Imagine set the ball rolling in 2001 with Savethelastdance, the 22 length winner of the Cheshire Oaks.

“The time of the last two furlongs suggests it was very impressive,” he said. “It’ll be very interesting to see what happens on better ground. Her pedigree does not say she wants it soft.”

Reflecting on the anticipated protests, he said: “They are just one of those things and are out of our control. Things happen every day to us all and you try to make the best of every situation whatever way it falls. It will be the same for everybody.

“Any protest is not ideal for anyone – both the people, the horses and everyone involved. Hopefully they will see sense – the welfare of the animals and people is what comes first.”

Are there any concerns over protesters?

Following the disturbances at the Grand National, when 118 protesters were arrested having tried to glue themselves to some of the fences, the Jockey Club has promised to employ “robust” security measures for this year’s race after animal rights protesters said they would target the event.

Animal Rising is planning to disrupt the world’s greatest Flat race on June 3 with the group claiming it will assemble up to 1,000 protesters who will lock and glue themselves onto perimeter fencing.

It is believed the Jockey Club and the British Horseracing Authority have had some assurance from the protest group they will not try and get on the course once the race has started; an act which would not only endanger their own lives but jockeys and the horses they purport to be protecting.

The Jockey Club’s chief executive Nevin Truesdale said: “We have been working with Surrey Police to ensure we have robust security measures in place. While we respect everyone’s right to peaceful and lawful protest, we would condemn illegal and reckless plans to breach security in an effort to disrupt action on the track and endanger safety of the participants in the strongest terms.”

Meanwhile, organisers have unveiled an LGBTQIA+ area to encourage a more diverse horse racing audience to attend.

The “celebratory” venue, which will feature drag performances and free queer literature, will open on the first day of races.

While the Jockey Club hopes it will make the event more “inclusive”, others believe it is simply a PR stunt that will do little to open up the sport.

What time does the race start?

The starter should send them off at 1.30pm, earlier than normal because of the scheduling of the FA Cup final for the same day.

Racegoers during derby day of the 2018 Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs Racecourse - David Davies/PA Wire
Racegoers during derby day of the 2018 Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs Racecourse - David Davies/PA Wire

What TV channel is it on?

The race will be broadcast live on ITV1 as part of their comprehensive coverage of Ladies Day and Derby Day from Epsom, presented by Ed Chamberlin. It will also be streamed on ITV+.

How big is the field?

No more than 20 thoroughbreds will run in the race on June 3 from an original entry of up to 400, registered and paid for in the December of their yearling year. In March 2023 those that wished to remain in the field paid a second fee and as of the end of April, just over a hundred had done so. The field was further reduced in the middle of May when a third entry fee falls due. On Monday, May 29 those wishing to continue in the race paid a final fee but there is also an opportunity for a late entry for those paying the Supplementary Entry fee, usually the equivalent of the prize money for finishing fourth. At that stage if there are more than 20 horses, the ones with the lowest ratings drop out and on Thursday, June 1 the final field is declared.

Will the King and Queen have any horses in the race?

There had been three horses under royal colours among the entries – Slipofthepen, Desert Hero and Circle of Fire – but they have since dropped out. The last horse to win for a reigning monarch was Edward VII’s Minoru in 1909.

Who is the most successful current trainer?

Not just the most successful trainer still plying his trade, Aidan O’Brien is the most successful trainer in the 242 years of Derbys, winning eight times with Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Camelot (2012), Ruler of the World (2013), Australia (2014), Wings of Eagles (2017), Anthony Van Dyck (2019) and Serpentine (2020).

What are the latest odds?

  • Military Order 10/2

  • Auguste Rodin 7/2

  • Passenger 5/1

  • Arrest 11/2

  • The Foxes 10/1

  • Sprewell 11/1

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