The Derby is not just a historic race, it’s also a thrilling event that has given us more than its fair share of drama over the years. We’ve seen some tight finishes on this Epsom Downs course and, on several occasions, a horse might seem to be coasting home only to be caught in the final few yards. As we will see from this video, there is a very good reason for that.
A flat race takes away the jumps but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the course is flat. Often there are undulations, steep climbs and descents and the Epsom Downs course, home of the 2017 Investec Derby is a perfect example of that. From the start, the horses face a steep rise followed quickly by a sharp descent and right and left turns as they make their way past Tattenham Corner and towards the mile mark. Here is the point where the leaders start to break clear but, just as they are heading for home, a final test comes along.
The Derby is often referred to as a test of stamina; At a mile and six furlongs, it’s not necessarily long when you compare it to the St Leger which ends the Triple Crown series, but it’s the rise and fall of the surface that can be sapping. And, when they come into that final straight, there is a pronounced camber from left to right with another uphill climb right at the finish. That’s why we’ve seen so many victories snatched in the last few yards from horses who held a clear lead coming home. So, if your punt for the 2017 Derby is lagging behind in the final furlong, don’t despair as this tricky Epsom Downs course has one final test in store.