Epsom Racecourse, by virtue of its hosting of the Derby, is one of the most famous racecourses in the world.
A U-shaped turf track, Epsom has races up to the Derby distance of one and a half miles.
It has a unique layout on the Downs.
Most races are downhill until the final moments when runners climb again, while the Derby course features a little of everything.
Epsom Course Draw Bias Overview
The early parts of six and seven-furlong races here are downhill and on the turn, while the five-furlong straight is the fastest in the world.
The Derby course is a little different and that’s the one featuring a number of myths about what does and does not make a good draw.
5 Furlongs at Epsom
The main straight, which five-furlong runners join after a furlong or so, is just a little wider than the chute housing the five-furlong start. With that, its unusual for runners to tack right across to the far side.
High numbers therefore, those on the stands side, have often been the main Epsom Dash draw bias. That goes for any five-furlong race at Epsom featuring a large field.
In smaller fields, a lot will depend on the stalls position as they could be situated on the far side which can change things a little.
6 Furlongs at Epsom
Six-furlong runners start in a chute, going downhill around Tattenham Corner to the straight. That turn means that the high number bias of the five-furlong course is reversed here, with low numbers generally coming out on top.
The rail helps many runners at Epsom, so those drawn low and able to stick to the far side fence can take an advantage, but it’s not a hugely pronounced one.
7 Furlongs at Epsom
The seven-furlong course is similar to the six, i.e., it begins in a chute (a separate one), with runners going downhill around the turn to the straight.
With this, low numbers can hold just a slight advantage, but it really isn’t a massive game-changer but simply something to keep in mind in handicaps.
1-Mile+ at Epsom
Runners at Epsom over a 1m and 1m 2f take a wide, sweeping turn towards Tattenham Corner before hitting the straight. Very rarely will being drawn wide make a huge difference here.
The only time to keep an eye on the draw would be in the very rare circumstance in which there are 15+ runners for example, with fancied horses being drawn very wide as this may just hand the others a major chance of getting into a good position first.
The Derby Course at Epsom
Many thoughts are available when it comes to a Derby draw bias, though they often conflict with each other.
For clarity; the reason the Derby is the best race in the world is that it asks a little bit of everything from its winners. Runners begin at the end of the course, turning right first and going uphill which means a quick start is needed to get into position, tactical speed needing to be maintained as they travel uphill to the halfway point.
Then, a left turn is needed with runners requiring major balance as they turn while going downhill as the race gets going in earnest. Finally, after all that, they go uphill again at the end of 1½ miles which tests stamina.
All of this has led to some saying that runners can’t win from low-number draws, given that the first turn is a right-handed one meaning high numbered horses get into position first. This isn’t true.
It’s important to keep everything mentioned above in mind when picking a Derby horse as they truly need early speed, tactical speed, strength, balance and stamina, but a particular draw is not on the desired list.