Derby, Oaks Clear Hurdle To Stay At Epsom

Anthony Van Dyck winning the 2019 Derby | Racing Post

The G1 Investec Derby and G1 Investec Oaks cleared a major hurdle in the race to remain at their historic home at Epsom Downs on Tuesday, with the Epsom and Walton Downs Conservators giving their backing at a special council meeting on Tuesday evening to the Jockey Club's plans to stage the two Classics on alternate dates, behind closed doors and with the public areas surrounding the track temporarily closed to the public.

The Derby and Oaks have been staged at Epsom every year since their respective inceptions in 1780 and 1779 bar the war years (1915 to 1918 and 1940 to 1945), when they were held in Newmarket. Jockey Club Racecourses announced on Apr. 7 that the Derby and Oaks would be moved from their traditional early June slots as a result of racing's shutdown due to COVID-19. Racing in Britain looks likely to resume with other sports no earlier than June 1.

Delia Bushell, group chief executive of the Jockey Club, said, “we are working hard on a practical and deliverable plan to stage the 2020 Investec Derby and Investec Oaks at their traditional home, without a crowd and once racing is approved to resume by government. I'd like to express my sincere thanks to the Epsom and Walton Downs Conservators for their backing today. These two Classics play a vital role in the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industries, so it's of great importance for them to be able to go ahead during this difficult period. Our teams now look forward to working with the British Horseracing Authority and local authorities to bring our plan to life.”

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