A heritage trust is spending £4,000 on the repair of historic derelict graves belonging to legendary Derby winners.

Surrey Historic Buildings Trust is making the grant to help restore grade II listed graves in woodland by the Durdans Stables in Chalk Lane, Epsom.

The trust said: "The grant will fund the repair of grave slabs and railings at the property, which was owned by the Victorian statesman and racehorse owner Lord Rosebery.

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The grave of Sir Visto

"The stables themselves have recently been refurbished thanks to a substantial grant from English Heritage to enable the building to come off the Heritage at Risk Register."

Former Prime Minister Lord Rosebery’s Derby winners Ladas (1894), Sir Visto (1895) and Cicero (1905) are buried in the grounds of the Durdans.

The 1838 Derby winner Amato, which gave its name to the Amato pub in Chalk Lane, is also buried there.

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Amato by John Frederick Herring Snr 

The stables' website said: "Lord Rosebery died at the Durdans in 1929 and it is said, in his dotage, he was often found sitting by the graves of his Derby winners, his great passion in life."

Philip Buckman, who took over as joint owner of the stables in 2011, described the horse graves as discoloured, crumbling, strewn with weeds and in a "very poor state".

Mr Buckman said: "I'm delighted to receive the grant. They are the history of Epsom really. They are iconic graves of Derby winners and I think they are unique in the country. They should be restored for the future."

He said they are still looking for more funding because the restoration will cost between £10,000 and £12,000. He said: "We aim to restore them this year."

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Caroline Baldock, who has previously fought to save the Durdans, welcomed grant towards the repair of the graves.

She said: "That’s absolutely fantastic. We have got these fantastic graves that have been left to wrack and ruin. They are the most amazing things."

The trust was formed in 1980 in order to preserve the historic architectural heritage of Surrey for future generations.