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TWO DERBYS WEEKEND
6 Days, 5 Nights (including one en route)
JUNE 1 to JUNE 6, 2005

2 nights in London, 2 nights in Chantilly, France
3 days of racing at Epsom and Chantilly
Training area visit in Chantilly

Day 1
Wed  June 1
Depart U.S., if not joining the trip from London.
 
Day 2
Thur  June 2
Arrive in London. You will be met at the airport and delivered to our London address, the Draycott Hotel. We will also provide transport to The Draycott from other arrival locations in London. The remainder of the day is free for adjustment and your own activities. At 6PM we will gather for cocktails at the hotel to get acquainted and organized for our time together. We suggest an early night: the weekend will be a busy one.

THE DRAYCOTT: The intimate and elegant Draycott is our London headquarters. In the middle of fashionable Chelsea and Knightsbridge, amid superb shopping, dining, and walking, the hotel has been adapted from three grand Edwardian townhouses, and backs onto a private park. Our rooms are very spacious, each with a sitting area, and more likely than not, a fireplace. Visit www.draycotthotel.com for more information. Continental breakfast is included each morning.

 
Day 3
Fri  June 3
Late morning we depart from The Draycott and head out for our first of two days at historic Epsom Racecourse, south of London. It's Oaks Day, a connoisseur's day of racing. With a fraction of the crowd that will be on hand tomorrow, we'll have a chance to get a feel for the place and see two Group 1 races run over the Derby distance of a mile-and-a-half. For those game for the experience, we'll walk across the infield to the Derby starting point and get a runner's-eye view of the uniquely challenging Epsom course.

The headline event is the Oaks itself. First run in 1779, the success of this race for 3-year-old fillies inspired the inauguration of the Derby the following year. Today, two hundred-plus years later, it's considered the premier prize of the year for 3-year-old fillies in Europe. Breeders' Cup heroine Ouija Board won the 2004 renewal. The supporting feature is the Coronation Cup, first run in 1902 to celebrate the accession to the throne of Edward VII. This very important race is the first European Group 1 of the season for classic-distance older horses, and has been won by nine Derby winners and such recent standouts as Swain and Daylami.

We'll have Queens' Stand badges and a block of seats in the Grandstand from which to watch the action. This evening, back in London, we'll organize a no-host group dinner for those who want to join in.

 
Day 4
Sat  June 4
Derby Day. With an atmosphere that's a mix of state fair, gypsy encampment, Woodstock, spring break at Daytona, humongous double-decker bus parking lot, 100,000 fans, and the most famous horse race in the world, this is a race day unlike any other. The adventurous among us will mount another ante-post expedition to the infield for perspective.

The great Italian horseman Federico Tesio, breeder of Nearco and Ribot, said that the Thoroughbred is what he is because of "a piece of wood - the finishing post at Epsom"; and every race in the world that has "Derby" as part of its name gets it from here. This is the race that every breeder, owner, trainer, jockey, and groom in Europe wants to win, and because the Epsom test is so searching, it is seldom taken by a bad horse.

We'll have our same block of seats today, but to avoid the formal dress requirements of the Queen's Stand, we'll stay on the grandstand side. Our race viewing won't suffer.

This morning, we will have checked out of The Draycott and brought our bags along in the coach. Right after the Derby, we'll skip the last two (minor) races and make a quick getaway to beat the crowd out. We'll go straight to the airport and catch our flight to France.

At Charles de Gaulle, we'll be met and taken to our hotel in Chantilly, arriving just before midnight, having lost an hour to Continental time. Our resting place is the Dolce, a luxurious property with several restaurants, an indoor and outdoor pool, a golf course, and extensive grounds. Please see www.dolce.com/chantilly for more details on the hotel. Continental breakfast is included each morning.

 
Day 5
Sun  June 5
You'll have a chance to sleep in a bit today, or the more energetic may want to be up for some golf, tennis, swimming, or walking. We'll leave for the racecourse at about 12:30PM.

Today we'll see the Prix du Jockey-Club, popularly referred to as the French Derby, at what is certainly one of the world's most extraordinarily situated racetracks. Providing the backdrop for the Chantilly course is the combination of the Grand Stables, built by the Prince de Conde for his horses in the 1700's, and the Chantilly Chateau, picture-perfect with its moats, which dates to the 1500s. Sometimes, when the field is sweeping the far turn, it's hard to keep your eye on the horses.

Races were first held here in 1834, and the Prix du Jockey-Club was inaugurated in 1836. The undercard on Jockey-Club day is outstanding, featuring several other Group races. We'll have the equivalent to member's enclosure credentials, entitling us to most of the best parts of the grounds and viewing areas. We can also arrange places in the racecourse restaurant for those desiring it, but this must be reserved well in advance.

This evening, our last night together, we'll arrange a no-host group dinner at the hotel or an area restaurant. We'll have seen plenty in the last three days to spark conversation.

 
Day 6
Mon  June 6
Up early and out for a visit to the gallops. Chantilly is the primary racehorse training area in France, fulfilling much the same function as Newmarket does in England. About a hundred trainers are headquartered here, working with a horse population of close to 3,000. Covering nearly a thousand acres, the training center has grass and sand gallops in open areas and woods.

We'll tour the entire area, look in on a trainer's yard, and have breakfast at the meeting room of France-Galop, the organization which runs racing in Paris and the other major courses in France.

We've arranged for a late check-out at the Dolce, and the organized itinerary ends this afternoon at 2PM. You may wish to leave Chantilly now or do some more sightseeing locally. The museum in the Grand Stables and the Chateau are both highly worthwhile. As part of our itinerary we will provide transport for you at the time of your choosing today to: your departing flight at Charles de Gaulle airport, an airport hotel for a next-day departure, or to your hotel in Central Paris if you are staying on in France. Rental cars are also available at Charles de Gaulle.

Bonne chance, and travel safely.

 

CLOSING DATE:

This trip closed on April 1, 2005.

COME EARLY, STAY LATE:

This itinerary is short and designed to be full and busy. You may want to consider coming early, staying on, or fitting this program into or alongside other European travel plans.

Even a day or two in London for adjusting, exploring or shopping will ease the pace of the trip. You may want three or four days - you can never get to the bottom of London. There is racing nearby most days. The concierge at The Draycott can advise and help organize anything else you want. We will meet you and provide transportation to The Draycott whichever day you arrive.

Chantilly is about 25 miles north of Paris. Racing is scheduled at area courses on most days of the week following our trip's conclusion.

The Draycott in London has promised to accommodate extensions as best they can, but the space is not blocked or guaranteed. Unfortunately, the Dolce is unable at present to provide extensions. This may change between now and the time of our trip, and they will also work with us to find space for those wishing to stay in the area.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you wish to extend your trip.

ITINERARY & PRICES:

The itinerary includes:

  • Four(4) nights lodging as indicated: two(2) in London, and two(2) in Chantilly.
  • Breakfast each morning as indicated.
  • Three(3) escorted days' racing at Epsom and Chantilly, including transportation to and from the racecourse, members' enclosure admission or equivalent, and race card. Grandstand admission at Epsom on June 4. Reserved seating both days at Epsom.
  • Excursion in Chantilly including morning gallops visit and breakfast.
  • Transfer from London airport or other London location to the Draycott Hotel, London.
  • Transfer from Draycott Hotel, London, via Epsom Racecourse, to London airport.
  • Economy-class airfare from London to Paris.
  • Transfer from Paris airport to Dolce Hotel, Chantilly.
  • Transfer from Dolce Hotel, Chantilly to either: Charles de Gaulle Airport or Central Paris.
  • Complimentary racing newspaper each day.
  • Welcome cocktails at the Draycott Hotel, London.
  • Accompaniment throughout by an informed and eminently companionable American escort.
  • *We reserve the right to substitute first-class passage on the Eurostar fast train from London to Paris in lieu of the airline flight described above, and to alter the London to Paris transfer to Sunday morning instead of Saturday night. This may, but not necessarily will, result in an increase in the price of the trip of approximately $150 per person. We are retaining this flexibility in order to take best advantage of all air and train possibilities as the schedules become finalized in the coming months. This decision will be made by the Closing Date of the trip.

The itinerary does not include:
  • Airfare to and from the U.S.A.
  • The cost of lunch or dinner on any day.
The Cost of the Trip does not include:
  • Any charges incurred at hotels other than the basic cost of the room, including but not limited to room service, mini-bar, television or video, restaurant or bar service, laundry or dry-cleaning, business services, golf or other activities, and activities arranged through hotel concierge. (All group members will be required to provide a credit card imprint upon check-in at each hotel to guarantee payment for any individual charges.)
  • Excess baggage charges. Please check baggage limits on inter-European air flights.
  • Costs related to obtaining passports or visas.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Charges incurred for anything other than what is specified in the "Itinerary Includes" summary above.
  • Any gratuities. Please note your principal tour escort does not expect and will not accept a gratuity.
The Cost of the Trip Is:
    $2,545 per person, based on double occupancy.
    $335 single supplement*

    *Please note that the single rooms at The Draycott in London are significantly smaller than the doubles, but they do not add any cost to the Single Supplement price. Single trip members may upgrade to a standard double room, with an addition of $230 to the Single Supplement. Single trip members wishing to be accommodated in a deluxe double must add $505 to the Single Supplement. There is no assurance that single or standard double rooms will be available at The Draycott until they are booked. At the Dolce, singles will be accommodated in the same class of double rooms as the double-occupancy members of the group.

    We will attempt to match single travelers wishing to double up and thereby avoid the Single Supplement, however it will always be the single traveler's decision whether or not to accept a roommate. Because of the limited number of rooms that we have been able to reserve at these very busy times, we regret we must reserve the right to limit the number of single travelers on each trip.

    Trip prices are subject to change up to forty-five(45) days prior to trip departure to reflect fluctuations in currency exchange rates between the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. Dollar prices quoted here are based on the following exchange rates:

      1 US $ = 0.521 UK pound // 1 UK pound =1.92 US $
      1 US $ = 0.741 Euro // 1 Euro = 1.35 US $

OPTIONS:

  • Additional Nights at the Draycott Hotel, London, if available: $255 per night, per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement will vary.
  • Restaurant seating at Chantilly Racecourse, June 5. Estimated cost $225 per person, including wine.

*The trips are designed for ten to sixteen people. We reserve the right to cancel a trip if it has less than ten subscribers. Should we need to do this, all payments made toward the cost of the trip will be fully and promptly refunded.

*You must have a valid passport to enter the United Kingdom and France.

View the itineraries for our other 2005 trips:
For July, click here   For August, click here   For September-October, click here

Racing photos © www.actionplus.co.uk

 

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