Epsom face crucial meeting on plans for Derby in July with ‘exclusion zone’ | Sport

Epsom is “exploring the feasibility and practicality” of a one-day Derby meeting behind closed doors.

Jockey Club Racecourses, the track’s owner, has submitted an application to Epsom and Ewell Borough Council concerning permission to hold the Derby and Oaks on the same day in either July or August, along with restricting access to the site.

A provisional date of 4 July has been put forward, but the application also asks for flexibility, with a Saturday in July or August mentioned as no date has yet been set for a resumption of racing after the coronavirus shutdown.

While the Downs are owned by Epsom, there are public footpaths and bridleways and the application asks for access to certain areas to be restricted for 24 hours in order to meet the requirements for a behind-closed-doors card.

Temporary fencing and barriers along with additional security would form an exclusion zone, with JCR also outlining its ongoing dialogue with local police. The application is due to be discussed at a council meeting on Tuesday evening.

A spokesperson for Epsom said: “We are exploring the feasibility and practicality of staging the Derby and Oaks at the racecourse with no crowd present, given their importance to the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industries.

“This is part of the racing industry’s resumption planning, which will be guided fully by the Government, local authorities and delivery partners.”

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