Epsom Derby 2024: When is today’s race, how to watch it on TV and the odds

by Admin
Epsom Derby 2024: When is today’s race, how to watch it on TV and the odds

City Of Troy – favourite for this afternoon’s Derby at Epsom – PA Wire/David Davies

The Derby is the biggest race of the Flat season and the most important of the British Classics.

Officially for three-year-old colts and fillies – though the latter rarely compete – the race is run over one mile, four furlongs and 10 yards at Epsom Downs, a particularly undulating course with a pronounced slope towards the rails on the home straight.

The Derby is the third of the British racing’s five Classics. The others are the Oaks, which is for fillies only and takes place at Epsom the day before, the 2,000 Guineas, the 1,000 Guineas (both at Newmarket) and St Leger at Doncaster.

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.

This year’s race is worth £1.5 million, with the winner taking home £850,650 in prize money. Check out the latest odds here and read Marcus Armytage on Roger Teal, the trainer seeking to upset some of the richest yards in the sport.

We have a separate guide to the confirmed list of runners and riders.

What date is the Epsom Derby?

This year’s race takes place today, Saturday, June 1 on the second day of the Betfred Derby Festival. The Oaks and the Coronation Cup are staged today.

The Epsom Derby is the richest race in the British racing calendar, capable of imprinting names in racing history and bringing significant financial reward through prize-money and future stud value.

What time does the race start?

This year’s race will revert to its usual start time of 4.30pm. Last year, the race was moved to earlier in the day to avoid a direct clash with the FA Cup final.

What TV channel is it on?

The race will be broadcast live on ITV1, with coverage also available on the subscription service Racing TV. By law, the Derby is one of only two races that must be shown on free-to-air television in the UK. The other is the Grand National.

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

The King and Queen will have no runner in the Derby this year but could potentially have a horse in both the Coronation Cup and the Oaks, both run today.

There has never been a royal winner of the Derby. The closest was in 1953, when Aureole finished second just days after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Who is the most successful current trainer?

Aidan O’Brien is the most successful trainer in the 243 years of the Derby, winning nine times, with Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Camelot (2012), Ruler of the World (2013), Australia (2014), Wings of Eagles (2017), Anthony Van Dyck (2019), Serpentine (2020) and Auguste Rodin (2023).

O’Brien has numerous chances for this year’s race, with five of the top 10 in the market trained at his Tipperary yard.

Consult our runners and riders guide for full details on this year’s entries.

Which horse won last year?

Last year’s race was won by 9/2 shot Auguste Rodin, trained by Aiden O’Brien and owned by Mrs John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.

There can never be repeat winners of the Derby as the race is run only for three-year-olds.

What are the latest odds?

Updated May 30 – odds courtesy of Bet365 

Having a bet on the race? Find the best Epsom Derby betting offers

The minnow taking on racing’s giants at Epsom

In the modern era, when the big trainers have 250-plus horses, small yards with fewer than 50 horses winning the Derby are a rarity; in the past half century maybe only Peter Chapple-Hyam, twice, has achieved it.

But on Saturday Roger Teal, who trains 45 horses in Lambourn, is set to play David against training’s behemoth Goliaths when he saddles Dancing Gemini in the Epsom Classic. Aidan O’Brien probably set out for this Derby with that many entries.

This is not, however, some no hoper tilting at windmills. The colt, who was giving Teal butterflies before he made his debut a year ago, arguably has the best three-year-old form of any horse in the race having finished staying-on second in the Group One French 2,000 Guineas on his last start.

Teal, who turned 57 this week and shares a birthday with Dancing Gemini’s owner-breeder David Fish, has always punched above his weight; Tip Two Win was second in a 2,000 Guineas and his sprinter Oxted, who is still in the yard, has won the Group One July Cup and King’s Stand Stakes.

“I don’t know if I feel out of place when I look at the names (of the other trainers) on the list but you could start doubting yourself and asking yourself whether you should be there,” he says. “But I said to my wife, Sue, ‘can we win the Derby?’ And she replied ‘Why not?’ Everyone wants to train a horse like this, it’s just they don’t come along very often in a stable our size.”

Having finished second in a Classic over a mile there are those questioning whether Dancing Gemini is showing too much speed to truly get a mile and a half but as Teal points out, his sire Camelot won a Guineas and a Derby and was only just beaten in a St Leger and there is no shortage of stamina on the dam’s side.

“A Derby winner has to have a turn of foot, it doesn’t get won by plodders,” he says. “He acts on soft ground but if it continues to rain it might test his stamina a bit more. If he stays relaxed, like he normally is, I think he’ll get it.”

When he worked as an amateur rider for Philip Mitchell, who was based at Epsom’s Downs House a quarter of a mile from the Derby start, he saw plenty of horses going past which had become revved up by the occasion.

“We’d lean over the rails two furlongs after the start, watch them go past and then run inside to watch the rest of the race on television in the house,” he recalls.

Having ridden in the amateur Derby there, ironically he has more experience of riding the course than Dancing Gemini’s jockey Dylan Browne Monagle, one of the rising stars of Irish racing, though Teal does not see it as a problem. “He’s very talented and he has a lot of confidence which I like,” he says.

Having started training in 2007, the last four which have been at Windsor House, one of Lambourn’s luckiest yards if you believe in that sort of stuff, the man who learned to ride playing the Lone Ranger on his Shetland pony, is happy he has done all he can in preparing Dancing Gemini. That included taking him for a spin round the course last week.

His biggest worry would be that his colt gets knocked over by one of the inexperienced horses that, despite the openness of the race, probably should not be there. But winning? He dare not even think about winning.

“I’ll start worrying about that if it happens,” he says. But, it is a fair assumption that if he does, besides the horse there will be at least two other dancing geminis.

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