Derby-winning handler Marcus Tregoning believes it would be better to call off this year’s renewal of the Classic than run it at a rescheduled time or changed venue.
It was announced last week that the first four Classics – the 1000 and 2000 Guineas, Oaks and Derby – had been put on an indefinite hold as racing is suspended until at least May 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jockey Club Racecourses, which owns both Newmarket and Epsom, said it was in talks with the British Horseracing Authority and other relevant parties to work out possible new dates, once racing has resumed.
However, Tregoning, who sent out Sir Percy to win the Derby in 2006, feels the race would just not be the same if staged away from Epsom or at a different point of the campaign.
He said: “The Derby is run at a certain time of year, on particular course and that is part of the test.
“If you move it until later in the year or run it at a different course, it is obviously not the same race.
“The Derby is unique. Of course you could run a Group One over the distance somewhere else and call it something else, but it would not be the Derby.”
The sport’s Resumption of Racing Group – established by the COVID19 Racing Industry Group – has been working with horsemen, racecourses and others on a plan to resume racing behind closed doors as soon as that becomes possible.
Tregoning thinks safety must be paramount though, adding: “The most important thing is to save lives.
“We can do lots of planning for a resumption of racing, but in my opinion, we should not resume until it is safe to do so.”