Preparations underway for 233rd Epsom Derby
With the 233rd Epsom Derby just days away, preparations are well underway for the world’s greatest flat race where the Queen will start her diamond jubilee weekend celebrations.
Tickets for the Queen’s and Duchess stands at Epsom Downs Racecourse have sold out for Derby Day on Saturday, with a limited number of tickets still available for the Upper Tattenham and Lonsdale enclosures.
The Queen, who attended the Derby four days after her coronation in 1953, will be accompanied to the race by the Duke of Edinburgh.
Other royals expected to attend are the Duke of York and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
The Queen will arrive at the racecourse at 1pm after being driven from Tattenham Corner station, down the racecourse, to the winner’s enclosure.
The National Anthem will be sung by Welsh opera star Katherine Jenkins, as the Queen is greeted by Anthony Cane, chairman of the racecourse, local MPs, the Mayor of Epsom and Ewell and the High Sheriff of Surrey, before making her way to the Royal Box.
The Red Devils parachute team will make a dramatic entrance holding a Union Jack, landing next to the winner’s post.
A racecourse spokesman said: "There will be no road closures. People usually line the racecourse because the Queen is driven down it. We expect people to be waving flags the whole way down.
"35,000 Union flags will be distributed to spectators and 200 large flags will be displayed around the racecourse."
Later in the day, the Queen will present the Coronation Cup, to be renamed the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup, to the winner of the Derby.
This year’s race will see the second-ever woman to ride at Epsom, Hayley Turner, take to the track with her horse, Cavaleiro.
There will be entertainment, food and drink outlets and a fairground throughout the day for visitors to enjoy.
Another highlight of Epsom and Ewell’s celebrations will be the lighting of the Jubilee Beacon on Epsom Downs on Monday (June 4).
The mayor Councillor Christine Long will light it at 10.15pm and residents are being invited to watch for free in an evening which will include entertainment and refreshments.
For more information visit www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/2012
Inspector Craig Knight of Epsom police said: "The Derby is a pre-planned event and staff across the county will be coming in to police it.
"Officers will be working on and around the Derby site throughout the day.
"In the evening, many of the officers will remain on the site while the last race occurs and teams will then move around the area - some into the town centre, with some remaining on the hill.
"A traffic plan will be in place as people arrive at the Derby to ensure traffic keeps moving and then again in the evening as people leave."