Balding would rather 'a Derby run somewhere' than no race at all

Trainer not opposed to Epsom switch if necessary.

  • Wednesday 08 April
  • News
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Andrew Balding would prefer the Investec Derby to be run away from Epsom rather than not be contested at all in 2020.

Jockey Club Racecourses, which owns Epsom, announced on Tuesday the two-day Derby meeting scheduled for June, along with next month’s Guineas fixture at Newmarket, would not be run in their expected slots due to the coronavirus pandemic.

JCR is looking to reschedule the events once racing has resumed and Oaks-winning trainer Balding is eager for the Derby to be staged, even if that is not possible at Epsom.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “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.”

Balding has a leading Classic contender in last year’s Vertem Futurity Trophy winner Kameko and the delayed start to the year is not troubling the handler too much yet.

He said: “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 is currently on hold until at least May 1 and Balding is anticipating a lengthier delay before the sport resumes.

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.”

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