The first Saturday in June each year can mean only one thing for racing fans, as Epsom Downs plays host to what is just about the most eagerly anticipated flat race of the entire season.
The eyes of the racing world will of course be on the Derby, but it takes more than one race to make a quality card, and the pick of the supporting action is this pedal-to-the-metal five furlong sprint handicap.
Epsom Dash Handicap Course Map
The Epsom Dash is a straight five furlongs which begins in a section just off the home straight with runners thundering past the stands towards the winning post.
Epsom Dash Handicap Past Winners
|2022||Tees Spirit||10/1||Adrian Nicholls||Barry McHugh|
|2021||Mokaatil||25/1||Ian Williams||David Egan|
|2019||Ornate||33/1||David C. Griffiths||Phil Dennis|
|2018||Tanosoq||12/1||Paul Midgley||James Sullivan|
|2017||Caspian Prince||25/1||Tony Coyle||Tom Eaves|
|2016||Caspian Prince||11/1||Dean Ivory||Robert Winston|
|2015||Desert Law||16/1||Paul Midgley||Martin Lane|
|2014||Caspian Prince||9/1||Tony Carroll||Adam Kirby|
|2013||Duke Of Firenze||5/1||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2012||Stone Of Folca||50/1||John Best||Luke Morris|
|2011||Captain Dunne||13/2||Tim Easterby||David Allen|
|2010||Bertoliver||33/1||S C Williams||Jack Mitchell|
|2009||Indian Trail||11/1||David Nicholls||P M Quinn|
|2008||Holbeck Ghyll||15/2||Andrew Balding||William Buick|
|2007||Hogmaneigh||7/1||S C Williams||Saleem Golam|
|2006||Desert Lord||12/1||Kevinn Ryan||Darragh O'Donohoe|
|2005||Fire Up The Band||14/1||David Nicholls||Richard Hughes|
|2004||Caribbean Coral||20/1||John Quinn||Robert Winston|
|2003||Atlantic Viking||9/1||David Nicholls||Seb Sanders|
About the Epsom Dash: Blink and You Miss It on the Downs
The Epsom Dash is a handicap horse race which is run on the flat at Epsom Downs in Surrey. This particular race is seen as one of the fastest horse races in the entire world. The reasoning behind this is that almost all of the five furlongs of the race are downhill, all except for the final 100 yards. This hotly contested and prestigious race also holds the current world record for a five furlong sprint, which is 53.69 seconds, and was achieved by Stone Of Folca in 2012. It really is a blink-and-you-miss-it event.
The race was first run in 1988 when the winner was Durham Place, who ran the distance in a rather speedy 55.59 seconds. The race was originally known as the Night Rider Handicap until 1993, when it became known as the Epsom Dash. In 2021 the World Pool lent its name to the race as the World Pool ‘Dash’ Handicap, replacing the long standing sponsorship of this race and the meeting by Investec, with Simpex Express backing the latest renewal in 2022.
Listing The Greats
Being one of the most high profile five furlong events to take place in the racing calendar means that only the absolute best in the world of horse racing’s speedsters have a chance of achieving success in the Dash. The honours list includes the late David ‘Dandy’ Nicholls as the all-time record holding trainer with five wins from 1997, when winning with Ya Malak, to 2009 when Indian Trail claimed first place.
As for the best jockey in terms of winners of the Epsom Dash, it is the retired Robert Winston who leads the way with three wins (in 2001, 2004 and 2016). Jimmy Fortune is the only other jockey to have won the race more than once. This is surely a testament to how competitive the affair tends to be.
The winners of the race have come from a variety of different ages, and Caspian Prince found himself victorious on three occasions (in 2014, 2016 and 2017) at the ages of five, seven and eight years of age. To The Roof (in 1996 and 1998) and Bishops Court (in 1998 and 2001) have each also won the race more than once.
When looking at the recent winners of this race there are certain conclusions punters should be able to draw. First of all you need to forget considering your selection by price; in the 13 races up to 2022 alone there were two 33/1s runners, two 25/1 options and a 50/1 shot (Stone Of Folca in 2012) who were all successful. Therefore, choosing a shorter priced horse based solely on thinking that a 20/1 shot cannot romp home just isn’t the right choice for this event.
There are however some factors to note to help you make the right selection. A highly significant 18 out of the 20 winners up to 2022 had not won their previous race. Also, 18 out of the 20 winners up to 2022 had run within six weeks of the Epsom Dash, and lastly, 14 of those 20 winners were racing from stall eight or higher.