Epsom Derby Betting

The month of June in the British horse racing calendar is special for one reason, a unique day, a single race, the Epsom Derby. Epsom racecourse plays host to the most prestigious and renowned classic of the year, and is Britain's richest horse race, both in prize money and immortality for the horses, trainers, owners and jockeys that cross the line in first place, after their journey lasting one mile and four furlongs. The Epsom Derby is 'the' original Derby, many countries across the world have adopted the name for their own blue-ribboned events, such as the Australian Derby, Irish Derby, The Kentucky Derby and the Derby Italiano. However, it's the Epsom Derby that's the time-honoured, and prime Derby race, and stands it's place as the second leg of one of the biggest achievements a flat thoroughbred racehorse can achieve, the Triple Crown. Sandwiched in-between the 2000 Guineas Stakes and the St Leger, the Triple Crown is a rare feat, and has been accomplished by cherished horses such as Nijinsky.

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The inaugural running of the first Derby was held on Thursday 4 May 1780, and was contested over one mile, this would revert four years later (1784) to the current distance of the Derby, of one mile and four furlongs, although it wasn't until 1991 that the exact distance travelled by the competing horses was discovered, one mile, four furlongs and 10 yards. The first ever race was won by Diomed, a horse owned by Sir Charles Bunbury. Legend has it, the race was planned during a celebration following the running of the first ever Oaks Stakes in 1779, and it was at the party that the race's name was decided. Many believe the decision was made with a toss of a coin, and was contested between the host of the party, the 12th Earl of Derby and his guest, the aforementioned Sir Charles Bunbury.

The Derby's current scheduled date of the first Saturday of June has only been place since 1995. Prior to this decision, the race had moved dates on a number of occasions, based on when Easter occurred and railway time tables. The original Derby date was on a Thursday in late May or June, but was first moved in 1838 to a Wednesday, to fit in with the aforementioned railway time tables. From 1900 until 1995, the race was run on the first Wednesday of June, except during the First World War, 1915-1918 (held on a Tuesday) and during the Second World War, 1942-1945, the race was held on a Saturday as it was in the post war years. The Derby's home has always been Epsom, and has been run at the Surrey course every year since it's inauguration, apart from the years during the World War's, where the race was rescheduled and held at Newmarket. 

Epsom Derby Betting

The Epsom Derby is a race that catches the imagination of not just racing enthusiasts, but the general public. Thoughts, ideas and opinions on the next Derby winner stretch back to month's or even a year before the big race, with all-important and often key clues emerging from Derby trial races, traditionally held in April and May, the most telling, the 2000 Guineas and Dante Stakes. Whilst it's not an exact science, and horses don't necessary have to win any of trial races to feature prominently in the Derby, as Lammtarra (1995 Derby winner) and Shammit (1996 Derby winner) have proven, neither arrived at Epsom with a previous run as a three-year-old. The 2000 Guineas has provided Derby winners such as the majestic Sea the Stars (2009) and Camelot (2012), while the Dante Stakes held at York has nurtured Derby winners in the form of Erhaab (1994), Benny The Dip (1997), North Light (2004), Motivator (2005), Authorized (2007) and Workforce (2010).

The Epsom Derby is a notoriously difficult race to win, for those involved and for those betting on the race, largely due to the top-quality horses from around the world that descend upon Epsom each year to contest the 'greatest race'. This is proven by the Starting price's of previous winners for the Derby. Since Nijinsky's win for Vincent O'Brien and Lester Piggott in 1970, the Derby has featured winners with odds of 50/1 (Snow Knight in 1974), 25/1 (Morston in 1973) and Luca Cumani's High-Rise was sent off at 20/1 for his win in 1998. Other note-worthy SP's include the great Sea The Stars trained by John Oxx, the Mick Kinane ridden superstar was returned at 11/4 for his win in 2009, while Authorized for the combination of Peter Chapple-Hyam and Frankie Dettori were winners of the 2008 Epsom Derby, with an SP of 5/4. A short price, but still bigger than Camelot's price in the 2012 race. The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt was sent off as the odds-on 8/13 favourite, but the shortest priced winner of the Derby was in 1894, as Ladas won the race with odds of just 2/9.

The first ever winner of the Epsom Derby in 1780, Diomed was the 6/4 favourite. The oddest starting price ever to appear in a Derby was in 1867 when a horse named Hermit won the race, and an SP of 1000/15 was declared (translating to just over 66/1), but that's not the biggest priced winner of the Derby, that honour is shared between Aboyeur (1913), Signorinetta (1908) and Jeddah (1898), all sent off with an SP of 100/1.

Epsom Oaks

The Epsom Derby's equivalent race for thoroughbred fillies is the Epsom Oaks, run over the same distance of one mile and four furlongs, the Oaks is also staged in early June, just like the Derby. The history of the fillies race dates back to 1779, and was named after an estate (Oaks Park) which was leased to the 12th Earl of Derby. History dictates Lord Derby devised the idea of the fillies race during a party in 1778, and a year later, the inaugural race was run, and the first-ever winner Bridget, was owned by Lord Derby himself. Similarly to the adoption of the Derby in many other countries, the concept of the 'Oaks' is all used across the world for blue-ribboned races restricted to three-year-old fillies, including the Irish Oaks (Ireland), Prix de Diane (France), Oaks d'Italia (Italy) and the Yushun Himba (Japan). In a mirror of the Derby, the entire field of horses carry the same weight, although this has fluctuated over the years. From an original weight of eight stone, four pounds, each runner since 1892 has carried nine stone on it's back.

The Oaks has also seen it's fair share of big priced winners, the biggest was shared between Vespa (1833) and Jet Ski Lady (1991), both sent off at 50/1. The shortest priced winner of the Oaks was in 1904, when Pretty Polly was sent off as the 8/100 favourite, translating to 1.08 in decimal odds.

Free Bets on the Epsom Derby / Oaks

Betting on the Epsom Derby and Oaks is widely available both prior to race-day in the ante-post markets, as well as on Derby or Oaks day itself. Here at Monsterbet, we have put together our collection of Top Recommended Bookmakers for free bets on the Epsom Derby and Oaks. Our free bets can be used in the ante-post betting markets, however, whilst every bet has a certain element of risk, if you place your free bet on either race ante-post and your selection doesn't start the race, your bet will be deemed a losing bet. You can also use a free bet on the day of the Derby or Oaks. It's also advisable to check back with the team at Monsterbet, as we'll have the latest news and offers on both races, including special non-runner money-back concessions for ante-post punters, along with the latest previews, tips and biggest free bet offers on the market.