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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

All roads lead to Epsom and the Derby and Oaks

The crowd were captivated by last year's Derby finish, won by Wings Of Eagles (near side), and we're in for another mouthwatering contest this week
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It's a week that is all about Epsom on Saturday and the race that every breeder, owner, trainer, stable staff and jockey dreams of winning - not forgetting the occasional punter! Here's the racing schedule for all the build-up to the Investec Derby

Monday

The bank holiday features racing from Redcar, with its historic highlight that is the Zetland Gold Cup, Leicester and Windsor, along with the popular jumping fixtures at Cartmel and Huntingdon.

The Epsom news will be all about the supporting races on Derby day as their five-day entries are revealed alongside the Derby and updated Investec Dash acceptors.

Tuesday

It might be time to check out some of the Derby fables and legends with no better place to start than the Grumpy Mole pub in Epsom, better known as the Amato in Chalk Lane, where there is a wishing well that has a Derby runner's name scrawled on the woodwork each year. Legend has it this is performed by one of the gypsy fortune-tellers. A decade ago the 'tipster' was a foreseen fountain of success, predicting eight out of the previous 12 winners, but sadly they have dried up this decade.

Any novice racegoer wanting to get a taste of what is to come at Epsom might consider a night out at Brighton where the undulations and hill is just as pronounced. Lingfield, Leicester and Redcar provide the afternoon action. 

The wishing well at the Amato pub in Epsom which has the legend of gypsies secretly scrawling the Derby winner's name earlier in the week. Kingston Hill was second in 2014.

Wednesday

Time to get real as we find out just how many of Aidan O'Brien's eight entries he will be running in the Investec Oaks as the final field is confirmed. The other Group 1 on the card, the Investec Coronation Cup, and the rest of Friday's runners are also revealed with the 48-hour declarations at 10am.

The day's action is taken up with six meetings, with Cartmel, Beverley and Nottingham before teatime and Warwick, Gowran Park and Ripon before nightfall.


Need any final clues to finding Saturday's winner, check out this video


Thursday

The Investec Derby field is finally confirmed at 10am and bizarrely with a draw for stalls made at the racecourse in a special BHA-orchestrated event.

It has been a long way since 448 yearlings were entered two years ago, when the Coolmore team put in 58 hopefuls. Seven remain at the start of the week among the 16 entries left in at the weekend.

No connections are expected to attend as it is not like the Stewards' Cup and Ayr Gold Cup draws when they can pick their preferred stalls. This is a 'random ballot' overseen by a BHA official.

If in town for this ceremony why not take a walk round the racing centre that is Epsom. Paul Eacott took just such a historic tour around his old stomping ground over five years ago. Yes some of the names have changed, but the five-mile trek uncovers the wealth of racing history the town holds.

There is no let-up in the action with Hamilton, Lingfield and Wolverhampton in the afternoon are followed by Fairyhouse, Ffos Las and Chelmsford in the evening


Get in the mood for the weekend at Epsom with Alastair Down's latest video


Friday

The talking stops and the Epsom action starts at 2.00 with the Investec Woodcote EBF Stakes for two-year-olds, the warm-up act for the Coronation Cup at 3.10 and the Oaks at 4.30.


Check out Clive Cox on his Oaks contender Perfect Clarity.


Catterick and Market Rasen also race in the afternoon and, if Epsom proves fruitless for you, there are then three evening meetings at Goodwood, Bath and Doncaster.  

Saturday

The waiting is over and the Racing Post's blog will set the scene from 8am ahead of the Investec Derby and the 2,000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior's date with destiny.


Relive Saxon Warrior's win in the 2,000 Guineas


Check the latest odds on not only the Derby but also the supporting races, including the big-field sprint on the card, the Investec Dash, run over the fastest sprint track in the world.

The blinkered Caspian Prince (Tom Eaves) wins the Investec Dash from Duke Of Firenze and Dark Shot last year

Plenty of the top handicap sprinters will be back to try again so it might be worth rewatching last year's race

And there is plenty of other racing taking place on Derby day, including Doncaster and Musselburgh on the Flat and Hexham and Worcester over jumps.

Chepstow and Lingfield take place in the evening and it may pay to check where champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa has rides booked.

Sunday

There's another Derby, this time across the Channel at Chantilly, where the Qipco Prix du Jockey Club will inevitably contain some British and Irish interest.

It's a Flat-free day in Britain, with Fakenham and Perth keeping the show on the road, while in Ireland there is jumping at Kilbeggan and Flat action at Listowel. 


Read exclusive previews from 6pm daily on racingpost.com


 

It might be time to check out some of the Derby fables and legends with no better place to start than the Grumpy Mole pub in Epsom
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