Leading British trainer Andrew Balding has called for the Epsom Derby to still be ran even if it means being away from Epsom, with the sport needing to try and get as much racing on as safely and efficiently as possible as the soon as the BHA decide it is safe to continue racing.
The Jockey Club, who own Epsom Racecourse, announced on Tuesday that the highlight of the flat season would not go ahead at the original scheduled date for Derby weekend on June 6th, along with the Guineas meeting at Newmarket the month before.
The organisation are doing everything to try and reschedule the event for when racing comes out the other side of this difficult time and if that means running the Derby away from the prestigious Epsom racecourse it will happen.
(Credit At The Races)Andrew Balding said:Obviously it’s not quite the same test (if it is run at Newmarket), but at the same time that is what happened in the war years and it’s not unprecedented.
“I would much rather see a Derby run somewhere than no Derby at all. I think that would be a shame for the whole industry.
“The Classics are the most important races of the year and very much need to be restaged if they possibly can at whatever venue they can.
“Obviously it’s a work in progress, but it’s still a long summer and there’s a lot of hope there we can get some sort of season together that would resemble what it would have done had this not happened.”
The British trainer looks to have a leading chance in some of the big Classic contests this season with Kameko who rounded off his two year old campaign with a win in the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy .
A delayed start to the season is a hindrance to everyone but the trainer states it is not troubling him to much yet, he added: “We’ve had some idea for a while that the earliest we’d be running would be the beginning of May in the Guineas, and the extra time certainly won’t do him any harm.
“We’ve just reduced the workload a little bit with all the horses to be honest. “The two-year-olds are doing as they ever would at this stage of the season – we rarely have a two-year-old runner before June anyway, so I cant say they’re too affected.
“(With) the older horses we’ve had to reduce the intensity of the work to some degree and just sit and wait and hope for happier times.”
Racing will be out of action until at least May 1st but Balding believes that this could be extended before the sport makes a return.
He said: “Recent circumstances suggest it might perhaps be a little bit optimistic to be thinking about early May.
“But we have got to get back at some stage, some where, to get some form of racing going – whether it be early May or middle of May, the plans have got to be there so that we can react when Government suggests it is permissible to allow a sport like racing to resume behind closed doors.”