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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 May, 2003, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
Top tracks: Epsom
Epsom Downs racecourse

Epsom is the home of the Derby, the world's most famous Flat race.

The Derby is held on the first Saturday in June and follows a day after another Classic, the Oaks, which is actually the older race.

Also part of the two-day meeting is the Coronation Cup but Derby Day is the main attraction, despite controversially being moved from its traditional Wednesday slot in 1995.

The unique nature of the Derby stems from the unique nature of the course at Epsom, which stands on the famous Downs.

It is a left-handed U-shaped course, 1 miles round, which involves a series of undulations.

The run-in is 3 furlongs long and after an initial downhill stretch it rises in the final furlong. In addition, the camber of the run-in is very pronounced.

Given its undulating terrain, a mix of balance, adaptability and stamina are key requirements for any Derby hopeful.

The shorter races also make for real spectacles, especially on the five-furlong track, which has a downhill slope and sees some of the fastest sprints in the world.




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