It is now almost 100 years since the most sensational running of the Derby: 2013 marks the centenary of the Suffragette Derby. On Wednesday 4 June 1913, fledgling newsreel cameras captured just over two-and-a-half minutes of British social and sporting history when Emily Davison, a militant activist for women's suffrage, stepped out in front of Anmer, the King's horse, sustaining injuries from which she would die four days later. The 250,000 people thronging Epsom Downs masked a quartet of combustible elements: a fanatical, publicity-hungry suffragette; a scapegoat for the Titanic disaster and the pillar of the Establishment who bore him a personal grudge; a pair of feuding jockeys at odds over money and glory; and, finally, at the heart of the action, two thoroughbreds - one a nasty savage and one the consummate equine athlete. What brought this disparate group to Epsom Downs for one of the nation's greatest social and sporting jamborees? How did they contribute to a day that will forever live in infamy?
Acclaimed racing writer Michael Tanner has scoured public and private sources - drawing on unpublished diaries and interviews with descendants of the principals - to debunk the myths and reveal for the first time the definitive account of what led to the events of that day and how they unfolded.