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Behind The Scenes in Epsom: Unveiled at last - tribute to town's link with Classic.

Byline: Howard Wright

PUB signs and place names are one thing, but Epsom has never had a noteworthy public tribute to its link with the racecourse and the Derby.

Not until Wednesday afternoon, that is, when actress Penelope Keith switches to her formal role as High Sheriff of Surrey to do the honours.

She will officially unveil Evocation of Speed, a bronze by Judy Boyt, whose imaginative interpretation combines fragmented images of Diomed, the first Derby winner, and Galileo, the latest at the time she started the commission.

She explains: "Diomed is on one side and Galileo on the other, and both are galloping through a half-circle, which represents

the winning post and winner's enclosure, and is also the E in Epsom when viewed from the Diomed side."

Boyt, whose work also includes the Golden Miller statue at Cheltenham, heard that Epsom and Ewell Borough Council were planning a town centre exhibit through Dick Hern, whom she came to know after having produced bronzes of his champions Nashwan and Dayjur.

"I took it from there," she says, "with help from Epsom's general manager Stephen Wallis, whom I knew through doing the trophies for memorial

races at Haydock and Wincanton for his late father Tommy Wallis, and the Epsom council chief executive David Smith."

Boyt, whose studio is in Devizes, says the idea behind the Epsom bronze was to add narrative and movement to the link with the racecourse and its most famous race.

"It would have been difficult to pick a single horse, so I decided to use the first Derby winner, Diomed, and the first of the new millennium, Galileo," she adds.

The finished work, which took six months to complete, is in the Ebbisham Centre, off Epsom High Street.


Derby winners Diomed and Galileo feature in Judy Boyt's bronze
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 26, 2002
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