Sports Listings: Plan Ahead - The Derby

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THE DERBY, run on Epsom Downs, is one of the great Flat races that has spawned imitations from Kentucky to Hong Kong. Though the field for the 214th running may be small with the presence of the odds-on favourite, Tenby, diminutive in size but big in stature, the huge crowd expected on 2 June reflects its popularity.

The first Derby was run in 1780 over one mile. Four years later, the distance was increased to the one and a half miles over which it is run today. The race is a great test of a thoroughbred, proving the ability to gallop up and downhill and coping with the course, particularly the sharp descent to Tattenham Corner. Usually the best horse wins.

Entrance to the course starts at pounds 5 for the Walton enclosure, opposite the Tattenham enclosure next to the grandstands. At pounds 10, the Lonsdale Enclosure, opposite the grandstands, offers good viewing at the rails for the final furlong; the paddock, at the same price, is beyond the finishing post.

Tickets can be booked in advance for the Grandstand and the Anglesey Stand. This also applies to the Members Enclosure, the Queen's Stand, where morning dress is obligatory on Derby day. Annual or meeting memberships are still available and can be booked on the day. Members are allowed two guests, admitted by voucher at pounds 50 each.

Ever Ready Derby, Epsom Downs, 2 June.

First race 2.15, Derby 3.45, last race 5.45.

Enquiries: The Club Secretary, The Grandstand, Epsom Downs, Surrey KT18 5LQ (Tel: 0372-726311/464348).

Admission: Walton Enclosure pounds 5 on day; Tattenham Enclosure pounds 7 on day; Lonsdale Enclosure and Paddock pounds 10 on day. Grandstand pounds 20 in advance; Anglesey Stand reserved seat pounds 40 in advance; Queen's Stand (members' enclosure) annual membership pounds 120, Derby meeting membership pounds 85. Car parking pounds 10 pre-booked or from pounds 5 on day.

Derby Hospitality: Paddock Village ( pounds 170 plus VAT per person) and Classic Stand ( pounds 235). Suites are still available in the Grandstand. (Tel: 081-828 8011).

How to get there: British Rail (071-928 5100): London Waterloo to Epsom (journey time 30min); Victoria to Epsom (30-35min); London Victoria to Epsom Downs (47min); London Charing Cross to Tattenham Corner (45-55min); Victoria to Tattenham Corner (52min). Stations are within one mile of course.

Hascombe Aviation (0279-680291): Helicopter (15min) from the London Heliport, Battersea, and Sandown Park racecourse, Esher, to centre of Epsom Racecourse with transport to Grandstand.