EPSOM MANAGING DIRECTOR
THE Investec Derby Festival is about celebrating sporting prowess at the unique and attractive venue of Epsom Downs Racecourse. Winners of the two Classic races, the Investec Derby and the Investec Oaks, are acclaimed and admired around the world as racing has become more and more international.
The Investec Derby, run since 1780, remains the world’s greatest flat race. In its 235th year, The Investec Derby is the UK’s most valuable race worth £1,325,000 in prize money.
This race is the one every trainer, jockey and owner would like to win as the unique contours of the track are unparalleled and prove the ultimate test of skill and stamina for both horse and jockey.
This year, the clear favourite, Australia, trained by champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien who won the race last year with Ruler of the World, brings some important Epsom history with him. His dam, Ouija Board is owned by Lord Derby, whose family the race is named after and she won the Investec Oaks in 2004 and was subsequently second in the Coronation Cup. This year The Investec Coronation Cup will be run in commemoration of St Nicholas Abbey, winner of the race over the last three years at Epsom Downs.
Sadly, St Nicholas Abbey did not win a six month fight against an injury sustained when being trained for his next intended target following the unique feat of becoming the first three-time winner of the Investec Coronation Cup.
The late Sir Henry Cecil, who enjoyed so much success at Epsom Downs Racecourse, sending out four winners of the Investec Derby and enjoying eight victories in the Investec Oaks will also be remembered this year.
One of the greatest trainers ever, Sir Henry passed away last year aged 70 after a long battle against cancer. He was very popular and is much missed. It is very fitting for the Investec Oaks to be run as the Investec Oaks (In memory of Sir Henry Cecil) this year with a beautiful new perpetual Oaks trophy, commissioned by Investec and created by equine painter and sculptor Charlie Langton, in association with the world famous silversmiths Asprey. So, during the 2014 Investec Derby Festival, we will recall Sir Henry and St Nicholas Abbey as new heroes and stars make their names.