The Diamond Jubilee celebrations begin with the Queen’s official visit to Epsom Downs racecourse for the 2012 Investec Derby, and you can watch extensive live coverage of the two-day festival on BBC TV.

One of the most famous events on the racing calendar and arguably the greatest flat race in the world, the Epsom Derby has an illustrious history dating back to 1780, and is one of the highlights of a packed summer sporting schedule.

Contested over a mile-and-a-half of picturesque Surrey countryside, the impressive roll of honour includes legendary horses such as Nijinsky, Shergar and Sea the Stars.

The list of winning jockeys is no less illustrious, featuring the likes of Lester Piggott, Mick Kinane and Frankie Dettori.

The French-trained Pour Moi won a thrilling race in 2011, as the Queen was denied a first victory in the race with her horse Carlton House third behind runner-up Treasure Beach.

With winnings of £1.25m, the Investec Derby has one of the biggest prize in money in UK racing, matched only by the prestige that victory brings. 

The BBC’s live coverage of the two-day meeting from Epsom begins on Friday 1st June with Ladies’ Day, and the highlight on the track is the Investec Oaks.

One of Britain’s horse racing classics, it is run over the same course and distance as the Derby, but is open only to three-year-old fillies.

Dancing Rain triumphed in a thrilling race last year after jockey Jonny Murtagh produced a masterful ride to stun the field on his way to a comprehensive victory.

Off the course it is ladies day and the most elegant and stylish racegoers will be the centre of attention.

As well as top flight racing action, including the showpiece Investec Derby on Saturday at 4pm, the event will have an extra special focus this year as as Derby Day is the first event of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend celebrations.

BBC TV will broadcast live coverage the Queen’s arrival on Saturday in front of more than 130,000 racegoers, plus a series of short films featuring leading jockeys, trainers and industry figures talking about the Queen’s passion for and involvement in racing, which will go out throughout the two programmes.

A passionate and lifelong supporter of racing, The Queen attends the 2012 Epsom Derby Festival on its second day, and she will visit the paddock and speak to trainers and jockeys before the big race begins.

The day will include a Red Arrows display above Epsom Downs and a photography exhibition of the Queen, combining one of the summer’s best days of racing with all the pomp and ceremony of a special royal occasion.

The Derby remains the race that every flat jockey wants to win, as horses and riders push themselves to the limit around the unique and challenging course.

Organisers expect more than 200,000 people to attend the event, which normally attracts 135,000 race-goers, making it one of the biggest sporting events of the year.

BBC TV’s live coverage will be presented by Clare Balding and four-time Derby winner Willie Carson, who is also this year’s Epsom Guest of Honour.

Riding legend Mick Fitzgerald joins Ian Bartlett to provide expert race analysis, while the latest updates from the betting ring with John Parrott and Gary Wiltshire.

Roving reports and interviews from the paddock area and around the racecourse will come from Rishi Persad and Sonali Shah, will bring viewers a flavour of the atmosphere on Diamond Jubilee weekend.

Race commentary will be provided by Jim McGrath.

Before BBC One’s live coverage of the Investec derby, a special edition of Football Focus will be broadcast live from Epsom, presented by Dan Walker, previewing the Euro 2012 tournament (Saturday, BBC One, 12.10pm).

BBC Radio 5 Live will also have extensive coverage from Epsom.

On Thursday 31st May, Clare Balding presents a special programme about the Queen and racing from the Royal Box at Epsom – ‘All the Queen’s Horses’ – live from 9.30pm.

On Friday 1st June there will be commentary of all the key races throughout the day, then on Saturday 2nd June Eleanor Oldroyd presents 5 Live Sport live from Epsom Downs racecourse on, joined by 5 Live’s racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght and ex-jockey Jason Weaver, one of only seven men to have ridden 200 winners in a single Flat season.

John Hunt and Luke Harvey will have commentary of the big race at 4.00pm.

The BBC Sport website will have live video coverage for UK users of all Epsom races featured on BBC television as well as previews, reports and features from the meeting.

The 2012 Investec Derby will be the last to be screened live on BBC TV after Channel 4 won the rights to screen all the marquee events on the racing calendar, including the Grand National and Royal Ascot, from 2013.

BBC Sport has been the home of the Espom Derby meeting since 2001, though prior to that ITV and Channel 4 held the rights to the event for two decades.

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Friday 1st June – Investec Ladies’ Day

Investec Ladies’ Day opens up the two-day festival and combines high style stakes with some of the best flat races in the world. 

Elegant and fashionable racegoers gather for a classic day’s racing at Epsom.

On the track, The Investec Oaks is the Group 1 feature race of the day, a fantastic flat race in which Dancing Rain thundered to an exciting victory in 2011.

Race Card:
13:40 – Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by Investec)
14:15 – Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap
14:50 – Investec Diomed Stakes
15:25 – Investec Mile Handicap
16:05 – INVESTEC OAKS
 
LIVE – 1.30pm-4.30pm – BBC Two / BBC HD
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Saturday 2nd June – Investec Derby Day

In the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, who will be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee, the Investec Derby is the first official event in her long weekend of celebrations.

The Queen has had 10 runners in The Derby, the first in 1953 and the latest was in 2011 when Carlton House finished 3rd.

The closest she has come to winning the race in terms of placing was in 1953, the year of Her Coronation, when Aureole finished second to Pinza.

This year’s Derby is likely to be a two horse race between the impressive 2000 Guineas winner Camelot, and Dante winner Bonfire.

BBC One and BBC Ond HD will have live coverage of five races, including the showpiece event at 4pm.

Race Card:
13:35 – Diamond Jubilee Handicap (Sponsored by Investec)
14:05 – Investec Woodcote Stakes
14:40 – Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup (Sponsored by Investec)
15:15 – Investec Specialist Bank ‘Dash’
16:00 – INVESTEC DERBY
 
LIVE – 12.50pm-4.30pm – BBC One / BBC One HD
Highlights – 12.10am-12.40am - BBC One / BBC One HD
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All of the BBC’s live coverage from Epsom will be streamed via the BBC Sport website.
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