The Epsom Derby, ‘the Greatest Flat Race in the world’, which ran for the 237th time this year, was made all the more special by the Queen’s 90th Birthday. Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II is renowned as one of Epsom Down’s strongest supporters and has managed to attend on all but two occasions during her reign. For the 100,000 racegoers it is the quintessential English day out where spectators can watch the race while enjoying the many attractions that the grounds have to offer. There is plenty of green space around The Hill to settle with a picnic blanket, while open topped buses, funfairs and a market keep the whole family entertained.
Even with an overcast day it was still lovely to soak in the atmosphere of the iconic Derby. To make the most of a day at the races and to get a chance to get a glimpse of the Queen, friends organised a table in the Derby Suite that included a three course meal, drinks, afternoon tea and, of course, great company! A strict dress code guards the doors to the Derby Suite and in order to get in, gentlemen had to wear hats and morning suits whereas ladies were asked to wear a formal day dress with either a hat or substantial fascinator. Merely admiring the astonishing fascinators, hats and gorgeous outfits in which the ladies attended the race would have been worth coming for!
For the much anticipated Queen’s arrival we gathered at the balcony of the Queens stand, from where we enjoyed amazing views over the grounds and the Queens motorcade – which was led by the Queen’s black Bentley.
The Queen arrived with the Duke of Edinburgh and was greeted by the National Anthem, played by a small orchestra. The Queen seemed to be in good form and looked absolutely stunning in her sky blue coat and white hat, ready to watch another exciting race from the Royal Box.
While the Queens menu is a secret to the public, we started the day with champagne, canapés and an amuse bouche of sweet garden pea and mint soup.
For starters we were served Bloom Cured Smoked Salmon, creme fraiche, lemon curd, micro lemon balm salad and rye bread croutes.
In-between courses it was important to watch the races on which we bet all our money – in all honesty we sadly had no clue who to bet on so we selected a few and decided not to bet all of our belongings on the most handsome horses.
For main course we opted for the Contra Fillet of 21 Day Aged Birchstead Beef, Herb roasted English beef, slow cooked shin of beef, summer vegetables and a brick pastry ring.
For dessert we had this beautiful tart filled with white chocolate ganache, raspberry coulis and topped with strawberries and cream.
The winner of the Epsom Derby this year was Harzand.
This years Derby was particularly special to the queen, where she presented the Derby trophy for the first time during her reign.
We thoroughly enjoyed our day out at the Derby and headed home after a lovely afternoon tea – despite our losses!