The 2021 Derby Festival was the 242nd annual running of the Derby and took place at Epsom Downs Racecourse last weekend.
With racegoers allowed back for the first time since 2019, it was a celebratory couple of days in the picturesque setting of the Surrey Downs and featured some edge of your seat action to boot.
Friday is known as Oaks Day and is traditionally ‘Ladies Day’ at the Derby Festival, with the Style Awards rewarding the best dressed male and female racegoers. Despite some inclement weather, the frocks, fascinators, and floral prints were out in force, making for a fantastic race day atmosphere. Racing got underway with the Cazoo Woodcote EBF stakes, with Oscula taking the prize. Hollie Doyle then triumphed in the Coral Free Bet Handicap aboard Corazon Espinado and in one of the most thrilling races of the day Pyledriver edged out Al Aasy in the Coronation Cup. The Cazoo Handicap was then taken by favourite Oisin Murphy riding Blue Cup.
Attention then turned to the big race of the day, The Oaks. Could Hollie Doyle claim her second of the day or could the legendary Frankie Dettori claim a magnificent 6th Oaks victory? Of course, he could! Absolutely burning up the grass aboard Snowfall, Dettori won by a whopping 16 lengths and in the process claimed a 9th Oaks title for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
The sun was back out again on Saturday for Derby Day and the excitement around the raceground was tangible. None other than Simon Cowell was in the house for Derby Day, so which horses could bring that x-factor to proceedings? Well, first race up was the Princess Elizabeth stakes which saw another victory for champion jockey Oisin Murphy and in the second, a thrilling race needed a photo finish to separate winner Oh This Is Us from Century Dream in the Cazoo Diomed Stakes. The third race of the day is affectionately known as the ‘dash’ – held over just 5 furlongs, the World Pool Handicap is a fast and furious affair won by 25/1 outsider Mokaatil.
The final race of the day was of course the one everyone had been waiting for. Could Frankie Dettori claim a third Derby victory on board John Leeper or would it be the heavily backed Bolshoi Ballet? Neither is the answer, as Adam Kirby (who had originally been scheduled to ride John Leeper) rode the 16/1 shot Adayar to glory for his first Derby victory. Many commentators noted a win could not be achieved from stall one but Kirby had other ideas and with a horse that was sired by the legendary Frankel, he had a ride more than capable of winning the greatest flat race in the world.
Register your interest here for VIP hospitality at the Epsom Derby Festival 2022 and with the recent announcement of a four-day bank holiday weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, what better way to enjoy the occasion than with a luxury day out at the Derby Festival? Demand is expected to be high so contact us on