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TWO DERBYS WEEKEND
7 Days, 6 Nights (including one en route)
MAY 31 to JUNE 6, 2006

2 nights in London, 3 nights in Chantilly
3 days of racing at Epsom and Chantilly
Training area visit in Chantilly
Optional excursion to Newmarket for early arrivers

Day 1
Wed  May 31
Depart U.S., if not joining the trip from London.
 
Day 2
Thur  June 1
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 2
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.

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. 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 3
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. For those game for the experience, we'll cross over into the infield for perspective. We can also walk down to the Derby starting point and get a runner's eye view of the uniquely challenging Epsom course.

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.chantilly.dolce.com for more details on the hotel. Continental breakfast is included each morning.

 
Day 5
Sun  June 4
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, 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 5
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 and look in on a trainer's yard or two.

After a return to the Dolce for a freshening, you'll have the rest of the day to explore Chantilly. The Museum of the Horse and the Chateau are each highly recommended, and fluent movers may be able to get in both this afternoon. We will provide transport into town and back to the hotel at times of your choosing. This evening, our last together, we will book another group dinner reservation if the demand is there.

 
Day 7
Tue  June 6
The organized itinerary ends this morning following breakfast and check-out. As part of our arrangements we will provide transport for you to either Charles de Gaulle airport for your return flight to the U.S., or to your hotel in Central Paris if you are intending to stay on in France. Rental cars are also available at Charles de Gaulle.

Bonne chance, and travel safely.

 

NEWMARKET EXCURSION

We are offering a day trip up to Newmarket on Wednesday, May 31, for those coming over early. Newmarket is the headquarters of English racing, and it was here that Thoroughbred racing as we know it began developing hundreds of years ago. Today it's also England's largest training center. Our excursion will include round-trip transport from London, a visit to the famous gallops during morning training and a stop-in at a trainer's yard, the excellent Racing Museum, a look at both of the two racecourses, and a visit to at least one of the area's most prominent breeding farms.

Travelers interested in taking this excursion will need to arrive in London no later than May 30. By the way, the reason we scheduled this event for May 31 rather than June 1 is because, based on our experience, adding a fifth consecutive full day to the basic itinerary would have made the overall trip too busy, and we think most of us would have been over the top by the time we got to France. May 30 arrivers will have this excursion and then a free day to enjoy London before the trip proper kicks off on the evening of Thursday, June 1.

To help us organize this day trip, please let us know as soon as possible of your interest.

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 more 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 and Dolce have promised to accommodate extensions as best they can, but the space is not blocked or guaranteed. Please let us know as soon as possible if you wish to extend your trip.

ITINERARY & PRICES:

The itinerary includes:

  • Five(5) nights lodging as indicated: two(2) in London, and three(3) 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 3. Reserved seating both days at Epsom.
  • Excursion in Chantilly including morning gallops and trainer's yard visit.
  • 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.
  • Independent transfer to central Chantilly and back to Dolce Hotel on afternoon of June 5.
  • 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:
    $2,595 per person, based on double occupancy (ten or more travelers)
    $2,775 per person, based on double occupancy (six to nine travelers)
    $435 single supplement*

    *Please note that the single rooms at The Draycott in London are significantly smaller than the doubles, but they add only a minimal cost to the Single Supplement price. Single trip members may upgrade to a standard double room, with an addition of $240 to the Single Supplement. Single trip members wishing to be accommodated in a deluxe double must add $435 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 $ = 0.565 UK pound // 1 UK pound =1.77 US $
      1 US $ = 0.833 Euro // 1 Euro = 1.20 US $

OPTIONS:

  • Additional Nights at the Draycott Hotel, London, if available: $240 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.
  • Newmarket Excursion, May 31. Price will vary depending on number of people. Our best estimate at this time is from $125 per person for a group of about six(6) up to as much as $300 per person if there are only a couple of people and they wish exclusive transportation.

*The trips are designed for six to sixteen people. We reserve the right to cancel a trip if it has less than six 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 2006 trips:

For June-July, click here       For August, click here
For September-October, click here

Racing photos © www.actionplus.co.uk

 

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