2020 The Derby: Race History

One of the world’s most famous races is The Derby run at Epsom on Saturday.

SEA THE STARS Picture: (Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

The colts run for the honour of joining the likes of Sea The Stars who was a champion. Is the 2020 Derby (2420m) at Epsom on Saturday in that league?


The Derby is a Group 1 race run under Set Weights conditions for three year old colts and fillies at Epsom conducted by the Jockey Club.

The Derby is run over one mile, four furlongs and 6 yards. It was first run in 1780 and was won by Diomed.

It is the fourth of the Classic races run each season. However it is the most famous race run in England.

2019 Investec Derby

Run over the same course the day after the Oaks, the Derby is actually a year younger than the Oaks.

At a gathering held by the Earl of Derby after the Oaks was first run in 1779, it is said that it was decided that a race for the colts be organised for the next year. Rumour has it a toss of the coin to determine the name was held between Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury of the Jockey Club.

However the decision was finalised, it became known as the Derby. Ironically Bunbury owned the first winner Diomed. Early renewals were over the mile but it became the mile and a half in 1784.

During the war years, the Derby was run at Newmarket. They called these races the New Derby.

In 1838, Amato won despite never having raced before.

One infamous winner was Shergar who scored by the record ten lengths. The history around his stealing from his stud home has used up many mountains of ink.

A famous recent winner was Sea The Stars who won after the 2000 Guineas victory. He'd then win the Eclipse, Juddmonte International, Irish Champion and Prix de L'Arc De Triomphe before retirement.

The dam Urban Sea has produced two Derby winners in Galileo and Sea The Stars. She is one of 12 mares to do so down the years.

Most wins as trainer is seven held by Robert Robson, John Porter, Fred Darling and now Aidan O'Brien.

Aidan O'Brien became the first person to train three consecutive winners of the race.

The incredible Lester Piggott is the leading jockey with nine victories. He first won on Never Say Die in 1954 and was still winning on Teenoso in 1983.

Charlie Appleby gave Godolphin their first Derby winner in 2018 when Masar scored. It was a year of firsts for them both as they'd also win the Melbourne Cup for the first time in November.

Fillies don't win often. Only six fillies have taken the Derby - Eleanor (1801), Blink Bonny (1857), Shotover (1882), Signorinetta (1908), Tagalie (1912) and Fifinella (1916).

The Derby (and the Oaks) were run a month later than normal in 2020 due to the coronavirus.

The Derby was reduced to £500,000 in 2020 because of that.

Notable winners of the Derby include Golden Horn (2015), Australia (2014), Workforce (2010), Sea The Stars (2009), Authorized (2007), High Chaparral (2002), Galileo (2001), Sinndar (2000), Lammtarra (1995), Generous (1991), Nashwan (1989), Shergar (1981), Troy (1979), Shirley Heights (1978), Roberto (1972), Mill Reef (1971), Nijinsky (1970), Sir Ivor (1968),  Sea Bird (1965),  Dante (1945), Hyperion (1933), West Australian (1853) and Voltigeur (1850).

The 2019 Derby was won by Anthony Van Dyck from Madhmoon and Japan.

Racing and Sports