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EPSOM & NEWMARKET
Featuring the 238th running of The Derby Stakes

8 Days, 7 Nights (including one en route)
JUNE 2 to JUNE 9, 2016

4 nights in Windsor, 2 nights in Newmarket
3 days/evenings of racing at Epsom, Goodwood, and Windsor
Morning training, farm visits, the Jockey Club, and more in Newmarket
A Thames River cruise and other special sightseeing in Windsor

 

Day 1
Thu  June 2
Depart the U.S., if not joining the trip from the U.K. or elsewhere.
 
 
Day 2
Fri  June 3
Arrive in London. We'll meet your flight and transfer you to our accommodation at the Oakley Court Hotel on the Thames River in nearby Windsor. We can also collect you in-town in London if you're already there.

The remainder of the day is free for your adjustment and personal activities. Although we'll be having a good look at historic Windsor later in the week, you might want to pop into town for a bit to stretch your legs. There's plenty to see and it's only a ten-minute taxi ride. We always think it's a good idea to stay active if it's your first day over from the U.S.

In the late afternoon we'll rendezvous at the hotel's dock and have a multi-hour cocktail cruise on the Thames while we get to know each other and get organized for our week together. Back at the hotel you can be on your own this evening or join in on the no-host booking we will have made for the group in the hotel's casual dining area. It won't be a late night.

The Oakley CourtTHE OAKLEY COURT: We've been regulars here for five years running and never been disappointed. Atmosphere and tranquility are the hallmarks of this beautiful country house, originally built as a private residence in 1859. The public spaces offer traditional English ambiance and the 37 acres of manicured grounds include several hundred yards of frontage on the gently flowing Thames. For the more actively inclined there’s a gym, sauna-and-steam, an indoor pool, and a Par 3 golf course. Our deluxe rooms are located in a quiet modern wing. Please refer to www.oakleycourt.co.uk for more details on the property. A full English breakfast is included each morning of our stay.

 
 
Day 3
Sat  June 4
Derby Day. With an atmosphere made up of equal parts amusement park, gypsy encampment, pre-game tail gate party, rock festival, spring break at Daytona, the largest double-decker bus parking lot you've ever seen, 100,000 fans, and the most famous horse race in the world, this is one of the great sporting spectacles in the world.

The Derby (circa 1821)Certainly no other single event has been as influential through the centuries as the Derby. The great Italian horseman Federico Tesio, breeder of Nearco and Ribot, hit the nail on the head when he said that the Thoroughbred is what he is because of "a piece of wood – the finishing post at Epsom". For most of its history this race has been the definitive trial for all the qualities that make a great or near-great horse, and just this century it's been won by the likes of Galileo, High Chapparal, Motivator, New Approach, Sea the Stars, Workforce, Australia, and Golden Horn.

Every race in the world that has "Derby" in its name gets it from here. It's your trip organizer's favorite single race in Europe.

In addition to a Listed race and a Heritage Handicap sprint, also on the card today is the Group 1 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, Shirocco, St Nicholas Abbey, and Cirrus des Aigles.

Off in The DerbyUpon 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 treacherous uphill final 100 yards. You'll get an appreciation for all the things a horse has to cope with at Epsom, and come to understand why many think it's the most demanding race anywhere.

This day there are formal dress requirements for the premier Queens Stand and that enclosure also get uncomfortably crowded. The restaurants have poor views, there are no reserved seats, and unreserved ones are hard to find and hold. For these reasons we'll be in the grandstand side (now officially referred to as the "Duchess's Stand"). Our race viewing won't suffer -- our block of reserved seats is in the best spot in the house, just before the finish line.

On the way back to the hotel, assuming everyone's on board in advance, we can renew a Racing-Europe tradition and stop for a post-race no-host dinner at the 400-year-old Thatched Tavern in Cheapside, a Berkshire landmark and a place where we've had great fun on past trips. It's no problem for those not interested to continue on straight back to the hotel after the races.

 
 
Day 4
Sun  June 5
Another special racing day -- at Goodwood, a racecourse thought by many to be the prettiest in the world. It's about 90 minutes down to the course in West Sussex and we'll depart the Oakley Court late morning.

Goodwood's beauty is matched by its singularity, with a course layout so unusual as to defy easy description. It's more or less in a bent L-shape, following a natural contour in the terrain, with a loop at the far end to accommodate the return trip in longer-distance races. There are two separated turns leading into the homestretch and an undulating six-furlong straight coming in from the right. Races start at and go off to an array of different places, sometimes crossing the same spot on the course in opposite directions during the same event.

GoodwoodGoodwood is a major English course which hosts a lot of important racing throughout the year. It's best known for the five-day "Glorious Goodwood" meeting in late July when thirteen Group contests are run, a festival rivaled in England only by Royal Ascot. And historically speaking, many administrative procedures we take for granted today -- including mandatory pre-race public saddling and the draw for post positions -- were first instituted here back in the 1800s.

This day's program is a modest one, with no Group or Listed events on the card. But in some ways Goodwood is more enjoyable on a quiet day than on a crowded one. There's more time and space to fully appreciate the course and its surroundings -- it's altogether a splendid place to go racing. We'll have a private box in which we'll be served a light lunch on arrival.

Midsummers in England are renowned for their soft and slow-fading evening light. Following the racing today we'll enjoy another Racing-Europe tradition -- a post-Goodwood no-host pub dinner at the Fox Goes Free in the nearby village of Charlton. The Fox, besides putting a great meal on the table, boasts a sizeable outdoor terrace overlooking adjacent pastureland. It's the perfect spot to be "on time for the sky".

We'll be back at the Oakley Court by bedtime.

 
 
Day 5
Mon  June 6
You can have a sleep-in this morning, as we have no scheduled activities until later in the day. Early afternoon we'll head into central Windsor for a walking tour of the town and its castle with a private guide.

The Castle, WindsorWindsor has been the site of a royal residence since William the Conqueror put up the first walls here over nine hundred years ago. The present castle is England's largest, and according to some sources the biggest inhabited fortified site in the world. It's also one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite resting places, and she spends a good bit of time here. Our walk will include, in addition to the castle, some street-level poking around in Windsor and across the bridge in Eton.

Late afternoon it'll be time to get to the town docks and catch the boat for the ten-minute ride back upstream to Windsor Racecourse.

Windsor by the ThamesIn English racing, Summer Monday evenings belong to Windsor. From late April to late August the local course is a firm fan favorite despite the fact that few major races are contested. It's all atmosphere here – from the tall trees surrounding the walking ring, to the old traditional-style members' stand, to the peculiar figure-8 course layout dictated by the riverside siting that can take the runners out of sight for long moments. Windsor presents English racing in all its idiosyncratic wonder.

We'll have dinner at a paddock-side restaurant that's close to everything and be back at the hotel by about ten.

 
 
Day 6
Tue  June 7
This morning it's time to pick up stakes at the Oakley Court and head north to Newmarket. Following breakfast and checkout we'll get on the road for the two-hour journey. Upon arrival we'll check in at our accommodation at the Bedford Lodge Hotel, but we won't linger as we're due in town for lunch and our visit to the Jockey Club and its historic rooms.

Modern organized racing traces its origins to Newmarket over 300 years ago. The matching of horses here goes back even further in time, to the 1300s, but it was in the 1660s that King Charles II selected this locale to be the most suitable place in England to establish his stud and begin improving the emerging Thoroughbred breed. Thus did Newmarket gradually become English racing's "HQ" -- and the home of its governing authority, its principal training and farm area, and its major sales.

At the Jockey Club: The Morning RoomThe Jockey Club assumed ruling powers over racing in the mid-1700s, and the customs and standards it set were largely copied wherever racing took hold around the world. It no longer administers the sport in England -- that role passed to the new British Horse Racing Authority in 2006 -- but the Club still has enormous prestige and owns and operates 15 courses around England, owns and manages the more than 3,000 acres of training grounds here and at Lambourn in Berkshire, and provides many advisory services for the racing industry.

We'll have a guided tour, with much historical commentary, of the Club's meeting, social and supervisory rooms as well as its significant collection of racing art.

Right next store to the Jockey Club is the incomparable Racing Museum. Its permanent galleries and special exhibitions showcase racing from its earliest beginnings to the present day. The building itself has an interesting past as the principal gathering spot for big bettors, in the days before wagering became more democratized. Crowds would gather outside to await the latest info on who was getting the major action.

Late afternoon we'll return to the Bedford Lodge for a respite. Those interested can re-gather for a round of drinks and/or a no-host dinner either in town or at one of the small villages nearby.

THE BEDFORD LODGE HOTEL sets the standard for comfort in Newmarket. Originally a hunting lodge built for the Duke of Bedford in the 1700s, it was converted to a hotel seventy years ago and has been the leading property in town ever since. There is on-site dining, a charming bar, gym facilities and an indoor pool, and a full-service spa. It's three acres of grounds are literally surrounded by training yards, and the Warren Hill gallops are just across the steet. See www.bedfordlodgehotel.co.uk for more details. A full English breakfast starts each of our days here.

 
 
Day 7
Wed  June 8

Morning Work at NewmarketFollowing breakfast, a full day of exploring Newmarket begins with a visit to a trainer's yard and an overview of the famous training grounds. Over 80 trainers are based in Newmarket and upwards of 2,500 horses a day exercise on the more than 60 miles of grass and artificial gallops and tracks, many of which are specialized for certain types of work. The training areas are spread out on both sides of the "downtown" (horsewalks right through town connect up the two sides) and we'll get a good look at all of it.

Over the course of the rest of the day we'll see both of the local racecourses -- one of which is the home of the classic 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas races in the spring -- visit two of the most prominent breeding farms, and see as many other of the significant features as we can squeeze in. There won't be too many spare minutes today.

Back home at the Bedford Lodge we can put our feet up for a bit. Then, as its our last night, we'll aim to find a suitable place for a last dinner together.

 
 
Day 8
Thur  June 9
Regretfully, the organized itinerary ends this morning following breakfast and check-out. We'll provide transport for you to either your departing flight at your London airport or to any alternate London destination. Those extending at The Bedford Lodge will get their transfer on their departure day.

Good luck, and travel safely.

Rounding the Turn at Chantilly

CLOSING DATE

This trip will close on April 8, 2016. 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 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 greet you at the airport on whatever day you arrive, or from London if you're already there, and get you to the Oakley Court. It's Oaks Day at Epsom on Friday June 3 and we can arrange transport, admission and seats for you. (You'll most likely miss the cocktail cruise.)

You might want to consider extending at the back end – there is racing at Yarmouth and Nottingham on Thursday June 9, either of which is within a couple of hours of Newmarket, and the interesting university town of Cambridge is just a half hour away by taxi or train.

We’ll accommodate extensions as best we can, but room space is not blocked or guaranteed at this time at The Oakley Court or the Bedford Lodge 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 stay at either of our trip hotels.

ITINERARY & PRICES:

The itinerary includes:

  • Four(4) nights’ lodging at The Oakley Court Hotel in Windsor.
  • Two(2) nights' lodging at the Bedford Lodge Hotel in Newmarket;
  • Breakfast each morning as indicated.
  • Three(3) escorted days/evenings of racing at Epsom, Goodwood, and Windsor, including transportation to and from the racecourse and race cards. Duchess’s Stand admission June 4 at Epsom, and Premier Enclosure admission June 5 at Goodwood and June 6 at Windsor. Duchess’ Stand reserved seating at Epsom, private box at Goodwood, and restaurant seating at Windsor.
  • Lunch on two(2) days: at Goodwood Racecourse on June 5 and in Newmarket on June 7.
  • Dinner on one(1) night: at Windsor Racecourse June 6.
  • Admission to the Racing Museum in Newmarket.
  • Full-day exploration of Newmarket including transportation, gallops and trainer’s yard visit, farm visits, and non-racing day visits to the racecourses.
  • Afternoon Welcome cocktail/sightseeing cruise on the Thames River on June 3.
  • Arrival transfer from your London airport or other London location to the Oakley Court Hotel. (Please note the trip price includes transfer from Heathrow Airport. Transfers can be arranged from Gatwick Airport or from central London, however they will incur a surcharge.)
  • Group transfer from Windsor to Newmarket on June 7.
  • Departure transfer from the Bedford Lodge Hotel to your London airport or alternate London location. (Please note the trip price includes transfer to Heathrow Airport. Transfers can be arranged to Gatwick Airport or to central London, however they will incur a surcharge.)
  • Complimentary racing newspaper each day.
  • Accompaniment throughout by a knowledgeable American escort.
The itinerary does not include:
  • Airfare to and from the U.S.A.
  • The cost of lunch or dinner any day except as specified above.
The Cost of the Trip does not include:
  • 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 during the “Welcome” Thames River cruise.
  • 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 their incoming and outgoing transfer drivers and 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:

    $3,575 per person, based on double occupancy (twelve or more travelers).
    $3,745 per person, based on double occupancy (ten or eleven travelers).
    $3,845 per person, based on double occupancy (eight or nine travelers).

    $745 single supplement, regardless of group size

    *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.

    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. Single travelers on this trip will be accommodated in the same class of room as the double occupancy travelers at the Oakley Court Hotel (with a less desirable view to help keep the singles’ price down). The single rooms at the Bedford Lodge are somewhat smaller than the double-occupancy rooms.

    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 and the United Kingdom. U.S. Dollar prices quoted herein are based on the following exchange rates:

      1 US $ = 0.653 U.K. Pounds // 1 Pound = 1.53 US $

OPTIONS:

  • Additional Nights at the Oakley Court Hotel in Windsor, if available: or at the Bedford Lodge in Newmarket, if available: Please inquire with us.
  • Racing on Oaks Day at Epsom (June 3): Please inquire with us.

GENERAL INFORMATION:

*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.

*Some of the activities listed for Newmarket may be shifted from one day to the other due to scheduling issues, however all will be included.

*Please note the transfer time from the Bedford Lodge to Heathrow or Gatwick Airports is approximately two hours and can take longer if you are in rush hour or are otherwise unlucky with traffic. We recommend leaving the hotel a minimum of five(5) hours prior to your flight departure time. Therefore, we advise a departure time for your flight as late in the day as you can make it, consistent with when you want to be back in the U.S. You may want to consider spending a night near your airport and taking a flight on the following day.

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

Epsom racing photo © www.actionplus.co.uk. Other photos courtesy of the Oakley Court Hotel, Goodwood Racecourse, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Windsor Racecourse, The Jockey Club, and Kay Minton.


View the Itinerary for our other 2016 trips:

For May (Germany), click here

For August (France), click here

 

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