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TWO DERBYS WEEK

8 Days, 7 Nights (including one en route)
MAY 29 to JUNE 5, 2007

3 nights in London, 3 nights in Chantilly, France
3 days of racing at Epsom and Chantilly
Training area visits in Newmarket and Chantilly

 

Day 1
Tue  May 29
Depart U.S., if not joining the trip from London.
 
 
Day 2
Wed  May 30
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'll gather for cocktails at the hotel to get acquainted and organized for our time together. We suggest an early night: beginning tomorrow we have a busy schedule.

THE DRAYCOTT: The intimate and elegant Draycott is our regular London headquarters. Located in the borderlands between 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
Thur  May 31
The Gallops at Newmarket We'll get an early start this morning and head up to Newmarket, 70 miles northeast of London, for a long look at the place referred to as "HQ" in English racing circles. Thoroughbred racing as we know it had its genesis here hundreds of years ago, and in addition to its historical significance, Newmarket today remains England's largest training center and home to many of its most important breeding farms.

Our day will begin with a visit to the famous "gallops" during morning training and a stop-in at a trainer's yard. Later in the morning we'll have a private tour of the venerable Jockey Club, long the governing seat of the sport in England. We'll stay on for lunch at the Jockey Club.

In the afternoon we'll go through the excellent Racing Museum, which in 2007 will be featuring an exhibition of art by Alfred Munnings along with its permanent collection of memorabilia. We'll then have a look at both of the two local racecourses and a visit to at least one of the area's more prominent breeding farms.

We'll be back in London by early evening.

 
 
Day 4
Fri  June 1
Late morning we depart from The Draycott for our first of two days at historic Epsom Racecourse, south of London.

It's Oaks Day. Lately promoted by the racecourse as "Ladies Day" and drawing larger crowds every year, this is still a good day to have your first experience of Epsom in the relative calm of the day before the Derby. A superb race card features two Group 1 races over the Derby distance of a mile-and-a-half.

The headline event is of course the Oaks itself, first run in 1779. The success of this race for 3-year-old fillies led to 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, Daylami, and Shirocco.

We'll have Queens' Stand badges and a well-located block of reserved 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 5
Sat  June 2
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 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.

Upon arrival today, 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.

We'll have our same block of reserved seats as yesterday, but to avoid the crowding and the formal dress requirements of the Queen's Stand on this day, 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 with us 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 Paris/Charles de Gaulle airport, 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 Hotel, 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. A buffet breakfast is included each morning.

 
 
Day 6
Sun  June 3
You'll have a chance to sleep in a bit this morning, or the more energetic may want to be up for some golf, tennis, swimming, or walking. We'll leave for the racecourse at about Noon.

Today's main event is the Prix du Jockey-Club, also 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 famous 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 first run in 1836. The undercard on Jockey-Club day is always excellent, 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'll also have access to a restricted lounge, where a buffet lunch is included in the day's arrangements.

Following the races, you can cab it back to the hotel and be on your own. Or, you can stay with the group as we walk across the course into town for a sidewalk aperitif, and then dinner at our traditional spot.

 
 
Day 7
Mon  June 4
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 at a trainer's yard or two.

After a return to the Dolce for freshening, you'll have the rest of the day to explore Chantilly on your own The Museum of the Horse and the Chateau with its art collection are each highly recommended, and fluent movers should 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, which will be our last together, we'll book another group dinner if the demand is there.

 
 
Day 8
Tue  June 5
The organized itinerary ends this morning following breakfast and check-out. As part of our arrangements we will provide transport for you to either your departing flight at Charles de Gaulle airport 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 will close on April 2, 2007. Payment in full and all necessary completed paperwork must be received by us no later than this date to insure that you will be able to join the trip. THIS TRIP HAS CLOSED.

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 - you can never get to the bottom of London. There is racing nearby on most days. The concierge at the Draycott can advise and help organize anything else. 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:

  • Six(6) nights lodging as indicated: three(3) in London, and three(3) in Chantilly.
  • Breakfast each morning as indicated.
  • Lunch on two(2) days: at the Jockey Club in Newmarket on May 31 and at Chantilly Racecourse on June 3.
  • 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 2. Reserved seating both days at Epsom.
  • Full-day excursion to Newmarket including transportation, gallops and trainer's yard visit, tour of the Jockey Club, admission to the Racing Museum, visits to the racecourses (non-racing day), and farm visit.
  • Morning excursion in Chantilly including 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.
  • 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 $250 per person. We need to retain this flexibility in case the flight schedules are altered in a way that is unfavorable to us. The change is highly unlikely to occur, and if it should, it will be determined prior to the Closing Date.

The itinerary does not include:

  • Airfare to and from the U.S.A.
  • The cost of lunch except as specified above 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.
  • Personal gratuities. As part of our arrangements we will tip our drivers and the hotel staffs on behalf of the group. Group members should appropriately tip anyone who provides them with personal assistance, including special assistance by hotel staff. Please note your principal tour escort does not expect and will not accept a gratuity.

The Cost of the Trip Is:

    $3,675 per person, based on double occupancy. (Twelve or more travelers)
    $3,775 per person, based on double occupancy. (Ten or eleven travelers)
    $3,875 per person, based on double occupancy. (Eight or nine travelers)
     
    Single Supplement. $545*

    Suggested Upgrade: a number of our travelers in the past have upgraded to a junior suite at the Dolce Hotel in Chantilly, which is more in line with our accommodation at the Draycott in London. The cost is $110 per person, based on double occupancy. Single travelers must add an additional $335 to the single supplement for this upgrade.

    *The Draycott in London has a few small double rooms that are suitable for single travelers, and they add very little to the single supplement price quoted above. Single trip members may upgrade to a standard double room, with an addition of $525 to the Single Supplement. Single trip members wishing to be accommodated in a deluxe double must add $735 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 if they do not take the upgrade to a junior suite.

    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 thirty(30) 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 $ = 0.513 UK pound // 1 UK pound =1.95 US $
      1 US $ = 0.758 Euro // 1 Euro = 1.32 US $

OPTIONS:

  • Additional Nights at the Draycott Hotel, London, if available: will vary according to availability. Please inquire as soon as possible.
  • Additional Nights at the Dolce Hotel, Chantilly, if available: will vary according to availability. Please inquire as soon as possible.

GENERAL INFORMATION:

*The trips are designed for eight to sixteen people. We reserve the right to cancel a trip if it has less than eight 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 2007 trips:

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

Racing photos © www.actionplus.co.uk

 

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