The Epsom Downs Racecourse is a magnificent racecourse near the town of Epsom in Surrey in an area of beautiful rolling ‘downs’ which has given the name to the racecourse. The course is in the top category of racecourses in the UK and hosts around 12 racedays each year and many more non-race events which make use of the superb conference and exhibition facilities built at great expense in 2009. The Duchess’ Stand was also inaugurated in 2009 offering a magnificent covered space for 11,000 visitors and it includes outstanding restaurants, bars and other hospitality facilities making Epsom Downs Racecourse an ideal venue for all types of important occasions. The most notable races are the Epsom Derby, The Oaks, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Diomed Stakes and the Coronation Cup amongst many others.
The racecourse is known to have been informally used for horse racing since 1661 when visitors came from London to drink water from the spring of a nearby farm said to have healing properties and to enjoy the clean air. The 12th Earl of Derby organized a race for his own horses and those of his friends in 1771 calling it the Oaks Race after the name of his estate. The race was a great success and became a permanent annual feature with more valuable races added drawing a broader selection of horses to race for the prizes.
The most famous annual event is the Epsom Derby which is attended by the Queen Elizabeth II and members of the royal family as well as a large number of socialites who come to see and be seen. The setting for the Epsom Derby is in a public place and many people come to watch for free, however with the building up of the racecourse it is difficult to see much without paying to enter the racecourse. Today the Epsom Derby Racecourse is home to the third largest Thoroughbred horse racing facility in the UK with at least 11 trainers working in the area under the management of the Epsom Trainers Society. The racecourse has a very challenging track which is difficult for inexperienced horses requiring enormous stamina and outstanding physique. Some of the most famous Thoroughbred race horses in the UK have proven their capacity at Epsom Downs Racecourse making fabulous careers.