The Epsom Derby Festival is a chance to see three-year old horses make history with the two classics the Oaks and the Derby. With its strict age restrictions, this really is an exciting meeting where horses must demonstrate speed, stamina and good balance on one of the steepest courses in the country. Whether you have secured a coveted Derby ticket or are making your front room an exclusive enclosure, you will undoubtedly witness history being written before your eyes. Let The Wine Tipster guide you through his tips for the Cazoo Derby Festival.
Legend has it that the 12th Earl of Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury spun a coin as to whether the race should be called the Derby Stakes or the Bunbury Stakes. Nearly 250 years later, we are still celebrating this impressive meeting of the finest three year old colts and fillies.
Both days offer the highest quality of racing. On Oaks Day the Coronation Cup (Group 1) and Cazoo Oaks (Group 1) headline a quality card. In this year’s Coronation Cup Al Aasy is deservedly favourite after looking so impressive last time out at Newbury, whilst in the Cazoo Oaks the Aidan O’ Brien trained Santa Barbara will be make significant progress after her fourth in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Derby Day’s Cazoo Derby (Group 1) is a fascinating renewal this year with Aidan O’Brien surprising everyone with one runner only with favourite Bolshoi Ballet, who looked so dominate in his Derby Trial at Leopardstown. John Leeper, named after John Dunlop, would be a poignant winner for his son Ed Dunlop, with Frankie Dettori now in the plate. Mohaafeth looks a raw talent, who has impressed on his last two starts at Newmarket, although he has to show he can make the step up here in this Group 1.
The Wine Tipster is excited to be at Epsom Downs for this return to spectator racing with crowds of 4,000 each day. On Thursday, the final preparation day, it was great to be on course and see lots of hospitality colleagues too.
Catch all the races on ITV Racing and RacingTV. If you missed any of the action, Racing Replays are available here. For all his Epsom Derby tips, keep up with The Wine Tipster’s Unibet Racing Blog here.
Alongside the finest racing talent, Epsom is synonymous with outstanding hospitality. With over 400 people working across the racecourse in hospitality, this meeting really is a chance to celebrate this wonderful industry. For those lucky few with a Derby ticket, make sure to plan your day including downloading The Jockey Club App. All food at onsite hospitality venues will be ordered through this.
The Wine Tipster’s personal hospitality favourite is Chez Roux at the Blue Riband Restaurant, which is always an exquisite fine dining experience. The panoramic views overlooking the Parade Ring, Winner’s Enclosure and the Winning Post, alongside the wondrous offerings of the Roux family, make for a memorable Epsom experience. Look out for The Wine Tipster and Michel Roux Jr on ITV this weekend.
Epsom Chef Rhys Owen is also a huge part of the raceday hospitality, providing superb food across the hospitality venues.
Many of the venues offer an afternoon tea which is easily replicated at home with some top quality scones, cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches and lots of strawberries.
On offer across the racecourse is the Moët & Chandon 2012 Grand Vintage Brut, Champagne, France (Around £50 – £55 Majestic, Ocado, other retailers). This a brilliant vintage and such a great style which would be perfect for an afternoon tea at home as well as on the course. A wonderful limited edition cocktail featuring Moët & Chandon Rosé is The Strongman’s Little Rituals. This labour-intensive cocktail includes a rich, creamy custard made with Glenmorangie 10yo Whiskey, mixed with Rhubarb Wine, Moët & Chandon Rosé and Soda. To get your taste-buds around this amazing concoction, order it pre-made here (£12.50).
For a top fizz from closer to home, the Coates & Seely Brut Reserve NV, Hampshire (£32.95 Coates & Seely online and Lea Sandeman) is an impressive option. Brut Reserve is a very stylish blend of mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with 10% Pinot Meunier that makes for a deep and and complex English fizz. Coates & Seely as they are currently expanding their 30 acres of vineyards so it’s an exciting time to enjoy a bottle!
If Rosé is your tipple of choice then you’re in luck as the release of Prosecco DOC Rosé late last year means we can now enjoy high quality bubbles in a refreshing pink style. Why not try the La Gioiosa Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato (£8.99 from Majestic, Waitrose and £12.99 from Ocado) which is a perfect dry example of this innovative wine. Fresh and fun, this pairs beautifully with summer food like salads and berry desserts.
On to the still wines now. If you’re looking for an affordable accompaniment to the Derby then the Castellore Pecorino 2020, Italy (£5.99 from Aldi) is a new favourite of The Wine Tipster. Its citrus and floral aromas make this a great value white for seafood and summer salad dishes.
Another impressive value wine from Aldi: the Bowler & Brolly English Rosé Cuvée 2020, Surrey, England (£8.99 Aldi) is a wonderfully vibrant rosé with summer fruits and crisp acidity, making it a go-to choice for any weekend.
Finally, the Cellier des Dauphins Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône Villages 2019 (now £7.49 in Waitrose) really is a must-try red. Full of ripe summer berry aromas and rich spice and notes make this a classic Rhône.
Soft drinks don’t have to be boring! Luscombe have an impressive range of fruity and fun still and sparkling drinks and tonic, which work well with slices of fruit and ice or with a splash of Racing Gin (£37.99).
After a year of At Home racing, many of us have come up with some exciting ways to bring the buzz of the racecourse to our front rooms. Last year’s Derby celebrations were no exception, and are a great source of inspiration for this year’s Festival.
The Garden Party activity pack from The Jockey Club is also packed full of recipes, bunting, games, selfie props and fun for a memorable Derby. In particular, The Wine Tipster is looking forward to making Homemade Lemonade and the famous Derby Spritz Cocktail. To make this, fill a large glass with ice. Adding 50ml Pink Gin and 50ml Lemonade. Top up with 25ml Prosecco DOC and a splash of lemon juice before garnishing with halved strawberries and enjoying!
The Wine Tipster hopes that whether you are celebrating The Epsom Cazoo Derby Festival 2021 in person or at home that you have a most wonderful weekend and some wins! Look out for his Unibet Blog on Saturday for tips and follow him on social media for updates. For blogs straight into your inbox, subscribe here.
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