Preparation and innovation

Investec Derby Festival


Winners are forged from meticulous preparation. Innovative technologies and training methods provide the edge to leave the pack behind.

  • Since the first mechanical starting gates were used at Epsom in 1901, and the race was first televised in 1927, technology has changed the face of racing. Jockeys, trainers and spectators look for every advance to increase the excitement of the world's greatest flat race. 
  • Winners are forged from more than just the latest technology. Nutrition, breeding and data analysis, combined with an attention to detail and new training methods are part of the preparation that help turn a contender into a champion on the toughest track in flat racing.  

‘He was meticulous in his preparation - he knew the horses inside out’

Watch as trainer Aidan O'Brien reveals the secret weapon that helped him win the Investec Derby six times, and how his son Joseph gets the most out of his rides.

Read the transcript
Training at Ballydoyle

All in the preparation – why Ballydoyle has the edge in the Investec Derby

Six-time Epsom Derby winner Aidan O’Brien opens the stable doors to reveal the workings behind one of the world’s most successful sporting facilities.

Hugo Palmer

The trainer’s view: the bonds that build a champion thoroughbred

Thoroughbred trainer Hugo Palmer explains how prospects are prepared for the rigours of racing, and how that translates to extraordinary performances.

Starting gates

And they’re off: how starting gates changed the Epsom Derby

There's no room for a messy start at the Investec Derby Festival. In 1939, Texan starter Clay Puett perfected an invention that would change flat racing around the world forever.

Andrew Cooper measuring the going at Epsom

When the going gets tough: managing the unpredictable

It can be the difference between winning or withdrawing from the race. Andrew Cooper, clerk of the course at Epsom Downs, tells us what the going is, how he measures it, and how the best use it to gain an edge at the Investec Derby.

More from the Investec Derby

Derby firsts and inspirational women

Remembering the incredible achievements that shaped the Derby, and the pioneering women who defied convention to accomplish great feats and forge the way for others to follow.

Partnerships at the heart of success

Whether it's between a jockey and a horse, a trainer and an owner or an adviser and client, partnership and collaboration help winners to run a different race.

The Investec Derby Festival 2018

Friday 1 June

Ladies’ day

Saturday 2 June

Derby day

Epsom Downs

Home of the Derby for 239 years

Ladies' Day sees exhilarating racing, open only to fillies, alongside glamour, high fashion and sumptuous hospitality.

This unique event in the sporting calendar culminates in Britain's richest horse race, the Investec Derby.

Epsom Downs racecourse is easy to access by road or rail. Find out how to arrive at the world's greatest flat race.