The 2020 Epsom Derby In Review – How Has The Pandemic Affected The Derby And More
The 2020 Epsom Derby or Investec Derby as it’s also known was the 241st consecutive time the event was run. Horses, jockeys, trainers and owners alike flocked from every corner of the country to compete for what has been dubbed for many a year as one of the most prestigious flat races in the world. The horses were meant come out of the blocks on the 6th of June 2020 however due to the ever-present difficulties of the COVID19 pandemic it was postponed and eventually a little under a month after on the 4th of July 2020. We’ll be going over some of the Investec Derby’s facts and figures not to mention this year’s winner. If you want to find our more about the history racecourse and it’s importance to horse racing the British Racecourse’s guide to Epsom is a fantastic resource.
The race’s build-up consisted of 356 entries when they were announced in December 2018, which was in increase of 18 when placed next to the 2019 race that happened only 6 months after. Notable entries consisted of Godolphin organisation which had paid for and entered 12 horses. A grand 75 entries were made by the Coolmore Stud organisation, one of the most prolific breeding programmes based in Tipperary, Ireland. Wealthy and royal Saudi Magnate Khalid ibn Abdullah arrived with a cool 16 entries to the 2020 derby and one of the most lucrative winning owners Aga Khan IV made his indentation on the entries with 19 entries in the hopes of achieving a 6th win at the Investec Derby. Finally, the Queen Elizabeth II also participated in the entries and entered 5 horses. Wild-Card entries are gained by two horses, one entry for the winner of the prior Epsom Derby and one for the winner of the 2020 Blue Riband Trial Stakes. Grand Rock won the September 2019 race to claim the first wild card entry, trained by William Haggas. And there was no winner of the Blue Riband Trial Stakes due to, once again, the Coronavirus pandemic and it’s severity within the United Kingdom where it was hosted.
The Event was close to maintaining its cancelled status however except for a significant amount of reshuffling and limitations it was given the all-clear. This involved placing the Dante Stakes after the Derby when in fact the typical timeline places the event before the Investec. Furthermore, the Kind Edward VII Stakes typically run after the Surrey-based Derby however this was utilised as a trial event to if any damaging circumstances were faced concerning the health of the greater public. The race eventually took place on the 4th of July however the atmosphere would have almost certainly been of a different nature as the general public were not allowed to join and spectate the event, the race’s entirety was ‘behind closed doors.’
The initial entries in excess of 200 became null and void after the initial cancellation of the derby and were all refunded. Once the event was given the go-ahead on the 28th of June 2020, the organisers could only collect 17 entries. Of these 17 entries only one could not be declared fit for the race, one horse named Armoury, trained by Aidan O-Brien. The race ended with Serpentine taking the win with 5½ lengths between the next competitors and in a time of 2 minutes 34.43 seconds at 25/1 odds. This horse was being ridden by Emmet McNamara and it was one under the pupillage of Aidan O’Brien who in fact had 6 horses within the race, one of which in fact came third. Amhran Na Bhfiann was being ridden by William Buick finished ½ a length behind second place Khalifa Sat, ridden by Tom Marquand providing Aidan O’Brien with both he Gold and the Bronze medal of the race as a trainer.
The 2021 Epsom Derby is surrounded by speculation as to whether it will go ahead due to the same unprecedented circumstances of the Coronavirus Pandemic. However a date has in fact been set in hopes that the pandemic will have been reduced to allow not only horses and jockeys to race but also for trainers and owners to watch on eagerly hoping for the win, not to mention the deafening noise and unmissable atmosphere the general public possess and provide to one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious racing events.