|Proud Partner of
and Breeders Association
|EPSOM & NEWMARKET
Featuring the Derby and Oaks
with an Optional Excursion to France for the French Derby
8 Days, 7 Nights (including one en route)
MAY 31 to JUNE 7, 2011
5 nights in London, 1 night in Newmarket
3 days/evenings of racing at Epsom and Windsor
Full day’s experience of Newmarket
Sightseeing in Windsor
Optional day trip to France for the French Derby
Depart the U.S., if not joining the trip from the U.K. or elsewhere.
Arrive in London. We’ll meet your flight at the airport (or other London location) and get you on up to Newmarket, approximately 70 miles and ninety minutes to two hours away. We’re starting the trip this way for several reasons: we’ll avoid the early-morning drive time we’d have coming up from London tomorrow; an overnight in Newmarket will allow us to experience the town and its associated attractions more completely; and we think you’ll enjoy lodging in the historic Jockey Club.
Once in Newmarket, the rest of your arrival day is free for adjustment and your own interests. It’s a good walking town, and you can take your first independent look at the famous gallops. For the more adventurous, the picturesque university city of Cambridge is only a half-hour’s taxi ride away. As always we advise keeping active if it’s your first day over from the U.S.
At about 6PM we’ll gather up the group, have a drink or two to get acquainted, and go over the plans for our upcoming time together. We’ll also organize a casual no-host group dinner for those interested, and we won’t be out late.
THE JOCKEY CLUB ROOMS: we’re fortunate to be able to overnight in the Jockey Club Rooms in the heart of Newmarket. The Jockey Club dates back to the 1750s. It was for centuries the ruling authority of English racing, and governing bodies all over the world took their cues from here. Members would lodge at the Rooms during racing or other meeting times. The renovated bedrooms are very comfortable and we’ll be having our cocktail hour in one of the traditional club rooms. A full English breakfast is included in the morning.
An early start this morning to begin our exploration of the place known as “HQ” in English racing. Thoroughbred racing as we know it had its genesis in Newmarket hundreds of years ago, and in addition to its historical significance, the town today remains England’s largest training center and home to many important breeding farms.
Our day will begin with a visit to the 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 Jockey Club’s meeting rooms, and we’ll stay on for a nice lunch at the Club. In the afternoon we’ll make time for a visit to the excellent Racing Museum, have a look at both of the two local racecourses, and hopefully have time left to visit at least one of the area’s more prominent breeding farms.
Late afternoon we’ll head off for London and The Draycott Hotel, our home for the next five nights, and arrive in the early evening.
THE DRAYCOTT: The graceful and refined Draycott is no ordinary hotel. Three Edwardian-era townhouses have been combined to create a unique atmosphere of quiet elegance. The public rooms are peaceful, no two bedrooms are the same, and there's a private park just outside the back doors. And the great location at the junction of Chelsea, Belgravia, and Knightsbridge means there's fine shopping, dining, and walking right in the neighborhood. We've come to The Draycott since we started Racing-Europe, and many of our travelers have happily returned to it on their subsequent independent London trips. Our deluxe double rooms are spacious and a Continental breakfast is included each morning. Please see www.draycotthotel.com for more information on the property.
Late morning we depart from the hotel for our first of two days at venerable Epsom Downs, south of London. It’s Oaks Day.
It's now promoted by the racecourse as "Ladies Day", so this Friday draws a much bigger crowd than it used to. But it's nowhere near as frenetic as it will be tomorrow for the Derby, so it's a good day to get your bearings. The superb race card includes five Group and Listed races, two of them Group 1s over the traditional classic distance of a mile-and-a-half.
The headline event is of course the Oaks itself. Inaugurated in 1779, the success of it led to the organizing of the Derby the following year. For more than two hundred years it's been the premier prize of the year for 3-year-old fillies in Europe, and it remains so today. And of course the Oaks "brand" is used for top-class filly races the world over.
The other Group 1 is the Coronation Cup, which dates to 1902 and the crowning of Edward VII, one of the great royal supporters of racing down the years. This is the first European Group 1 of the year for classic-distance older horses and is a very important race on its own. Nine Derby winners and the great filly Pretty Polly have taken it, and postwar winners include Ballymoss, Exbury, Mill Reef, Roberto, Swain, Daylami, Yeats, and Shirocco.
We’ll have entry badges to the prestigious Queens’ Stand, and a well-located block of reserved seats in the Grandstand from which to watch the racing action.
This evening, back in London, we’ll organize a no-host group dinner at a smart area restaurant for those who want to join in.
Derby Day. With an ambiance made up of equal parts state fair, gypsy encampment, Woodstock, spring break at Daytona, humongous double-decker bus parking lot for the folks and helicopter landing field for the swells, 100,000 fans, and the most famous horse race in the world, this is a racing 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 for most of its history this race has been the definitive test for all the qualities that make a great or near-great horse. Every race in the world that has “Derby” in its name gets it from here.
The Derby is your trip organizer’s favorite race in Europe.
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 testing Epsom course. We’ll do a course walk: up the 150-foot right-turning climb of the first five furlongs, down the sweeping, descending left-hand turn to Tattenham Corner, and finally have a look up the 3 1/2-furlong finishing straight with its camber toward the rail and its treacherous uphill final 100 yards. You’ll get an appreciation for all the things a horse has to cope with at Epsom and understand why many think it’s the most demanding race in the world.
This day there are formal dress requirements for the Queens Stand and the enclosure gets uncomfortably crowded without enough places to park. For these reasons we’ll stay in the Grandstand side (now officially known as the “Duchess’ Stand”). We’ll have our same block of reserved seats as yesterday, and the best view of everything.
Tonight, if there’s a demand, we’ll put together another no-host dinner booking. It might be a nice evening to “stay in”, enjoy relaxing at The Draycott, and have the hotel do something for us out of the kitchen.
Those who’ve had enough racing for the time being can relax and have an OPEN DAY to enjoy London. If you don’t want to miss anything we’ll be up early and off to France for another day of Classic racing at Chantilly. We’ll probably be flying over and back, but if it turns out the scheduling and pricing is significantly better as trip time approaches, we might wind up taking the under-the-channel high-speed Eurostar train. Either way we’ll leave The Draycott at about 8:30AM and be back by about 10:00 tonight. Door-to-door transport will be provided all day.
Our target 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 beautiful racecourses. With the trademark backdrop of the Grand Stables (which date to the 1700s) and the beautiful Chateau behind the stretch turn, the siting sometimes makes it difficult to concentrate on the racing itself.
Races were first held here in 1834, and the Prix du Jockey-Club was inaugurated in 1836. The undercard on this day is always excellent, featuring several other Group races.
France adventurers can sleep in a bit this morning, and the stay-at-homes can enjoy some more free time in London. Early afternoon we’ll journey west to Windsor for sightseeing and racing.
Windsor has been the site of a royal residence since William the Conqueror first threw up a few battlements in 1070. The present castle is England’s largest, and by some accounts the biggest inhabited fortification in the world. Queen Elizabeth and her family spend a share of time here, and it’s from Windsor that she sets off to meet her carriage for the Royal Procession that comes down the stretch at Royal Ascot every June.
In addition to the castle, which we will of course visit, Windsor’s Thames River-side location offers plenty of other history and agreeable walking. Eton is just across the bridge and we’ll have a walk over there as well. Depending on timing and available access we might work in a short visit to the school also, but at the least we’ll see the environs and the famous playing fields.
Early evening we’ll boat upstream a mile or so to the town’s lovely racecourse. The Windsor Monday evening meetings are a favorite rite of the English racing summer, and atmosphere is everything here. With its tall trees and siting hard by a bend of the Thames, the course is a pleasure despite its lack of major racing. The quirky figure-8 layout can even allow you, for some longer events, to walk across the course for a closeup of the start and have time remaining to amble back to the finish line to see the horses come back by. Windsor shows off English racing at its eccentric best.
We'll be back in London by about ten and have a final nightcap together at The Draycott.
The organized itinerary unfortunately 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 your London airport or to any alternate London destination. Those extending at The Draycott will get their transfer on their departure day.
Good luck, and travel safely.
This trip will close on April 6, 2011. 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.
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 for adjusting or exploring at the beginning can ease the pace of the trip. We can get you up to Newmarket whatever day you arrive and, subject to availability, book you into the Jockey Club Rooms. You might instead want to consider extending at the back end – certainly you will never run out of things to do and see in London. There is racing nearby on many days, and the concierge at the Draycott can advise and help organize anything else.
We will accommodate extensions as best we can, but room space is not blocked or guaranteed at this time either before or after our trip dates. It’s a very busy time of the year. Please let us know as soon as possible if you’d like to extend your trip.
ITINERARY & PRICES:
The itinerary includes:
The itinerary does not include:
- Five(5) nights’ lodging at The Draycott Hotel in London
- One(1) night’s lodging at the Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket
- Breakfast each morning as indicated.
- Lunch on one(1) day: at the Jockey Club in Newmarket on June 2.
- Three(3) escorted days/evenings of racing at Epsom and Windsor, including transportation to and from the racecourse, and race cards. Queen’s Stand admission on June 3 at Epsom, Duchess’ Stand admission June 4 at Epsom, and Members’ Enclosure admission June 6 at Windsor. Duchess’ Stand reserved seating both days at Epsom.
- Full-day exploration of 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 (time permitting).
- Afternoon sightseeing in Windsor on June 6.
- Arrival transfer from London airport or other London location to Newmarket.
- Transfer from Newmarket to London on June 2.
- Departure transfer from Draycott Hotel, London, to London airport or alternate London location.
- Complimentary racing newspaper each day.
- Welcome cocktails in Newmarket.
- Accompaniment throughout by a knowledgeable American escort.
The Cost of the Trip 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 Is:
- Any charges incurred at hotels other than the basic cost of the room and breakfast, 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 the 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, except for the “Welcome” cocktail hour.
- 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, farm and barn personnel, and 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.
$3,775 per person, based on double occupancy (thirteen or more travelers)
$3,855 per person, based on double occupancy (ten to twelve travelers)
$3,955 per person, based on double occupancy (eight or nine travelers)
$525 Single Supplement, regardless of group size.*
*Please note that some of the single rooms at The Draycott in London are quite small, but they add very little cost to the Single Supplement price. Single trip members may wish to upgrade to a standard double room, with an addition of $665 to the Single Supplement. Single trip members wishing to be accommodated in a deluxe double (the room category of our double-occupancy travelers on this trip) must add $1,045 to the Single Supplement.
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.
Please note we have not received final costing for some minor elements of the itinerary, and therefore the final price of the trip is subject to minor adjustment until we do.
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. U.S. Dollar prices quoted herein are based on the following exchange rates:
1 US $ = 0.633 UK pound // 1 UK pound =1.58 US $
1 US $ = 1.32 Euro // 1 Euro = 0.758 US $
- The day-trip to Chantilly, France, for the French Derby (June 5):
About $450 per person is our best estimate at the moment. Final price will depend on prevailing air or train fares and the number of people selecting this option, but will be confirmed prior to the Closing Date of the trip. The excursion will include economy-class airfare or Eurostar train fare from London to France and back, airport or terminal transfers in London and all transport in France, arrangements at the racecourse at Chantilly, and accompaniment throughout by a knowledgable American escort.
- Additional Nights at the Draycott Hotel, London, if available: and at the Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket, if available: Please inquire with us.
*This trip is designed for eight(8) to sixteen(16) people. Although we will make every effort to operate the trip, we reserve the right to cancel the trip if it has less than eight(8) subscribers. Should we need to cancel the trip, all payments made to Racing-Europe toward the cost of the trip will be fully and promptly refunded.
*You must have a valid passport to enter the United Kingdom or France.
Racing photos © www.actionplus.co.uk, Mary Goodman, The Draycott Hotel, Don Skelly,
and Windsor Racecourse
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