2024 flat season

Flat racing in south west London: dates you need to know for 2024

With the 2024 flat racing season now underway, here are the key dates for all the big races in South West London and a few things to look out for.

Sandown Park

Sandown is a great visit in the summer with views down the home straight towards London, and their Summer Festival is the highlight of the programme.

Featuring the Group 1 Eclipse on Saturday 6 July, tickets start at just £28 for a grandstand ticket – one of the best value tickets for the quality of racing this season.

Paddington and Emily Upjohn fought out the race last year, and horses of a similarly high quality can be expected again this time around to compete for the hefty prize pot of over £750,000.

Ladies Day precedes that on Friday 5 July with a variety of good listed contests and the usual after-race entertainment.

Other key events at Sandown include their three big music nights, this year headlined by Madness, McFly and Pete Tong, as well as Gentlemen’s Day and Brigadier Gerard Evening, otherwise known as London’s night at the races.

Epsom Downs

The Derby is one of the biggest races in the British 2024 flat racing calendar and takes place this year on Saturday 1 June.

The race, run for a prize pot of over £1m, has an illustrious list of previous winners and will feature a host of exciting names looking to join their ranks.

Won last year by now-global superstar Auguste Rodin, the market for this year is headed by the hugely exciting City Of Troy (15/8) whose brilliant juvenile campaign has left racing fans keen to see more.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained prospect will first head to the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket before attempting the classic double at Epsom.

Beautifully-bred stablemate Henry Longfellow (8/1), has proven himself similarly talented but will follow a different route to possible Derby contention, most likely targeting the Poule d’Essai des Poulains in Paris before deciding between the Epsom Derby and the French version, the Prix Du Jockey Club at Chantilly.

Godolphin and their primary trainer Charlie Appleby had a hugely underwhelming 2023, but have enjoyed a stronger winter and will likely be pinning their hopes on last year’s Futurity winner Ancient Wisdom (12/1).

The day itself features a DJ set from Vernon Kay this year and is always a great spectacle, with the centre of the course packed with spectators.

Ladies Day, which has The Oaks as its feature race, precedes it on Friday 31 May, with JLS’ Marvin Humes on the decks for after-racing entertainment.

Frankie Dettori won the race last year on Soul Sister, and this year’s edition looks quite open with a clear favourite yet to emerge from the pack.

Again, Aidan O’Brien has the two ante-post leaders with Opera Singer (7/1), who won the Prix Marcel Boussac, and Fillies’ Mile victor Ylang Ylang (8/1) who will first contest the 1000 Guineas.

Tickets for Ladies’ Day start at £20 for adults, £10 for 12-17-year-olds, and are free for U12s, with the respective prices for Derby Day, £25, £13 and free.

Younger racegoers looking for discounts on a ticket with a better view can sign up for the Jockey Club’s free 18-24 Racepass scheme, or the British Champions Series Club 26, where exclusive deals are available.

Other racedays: The Derby might be the highlight of the Epsom calendar but there are plenty of other racedays on the downs.

The season starts on Tuesday 24 April with the Spring Meeting, and there’s free entry to any Georges or Georgias to celebrate St George’s Day.

There’s also a key trial for the Derby which could help to inform expectations for the big race.

Their summer racing evenings across July and August feature entertainment from The Overtones, an Abba Tribute, and Massaoke.

There is also a bank holiday family race day on 26 August.

Kempton Park

Kempton Park might not provide quite as much flat-season glamour as the other two South West London courses but can still be relied upon for a fun and informal evening at the races.

Their all-weather track hosts weekly race meetings that often features a number of future stars.

Featured image credit: Ronnie Macdonald via Flickr under CC BY 2.0 DEED

Related Articles