Going news from Clerk of the Course Andrew Cooper

Andrew Cooper, Head of Racing & Clerk of the Course at Epsom Downs, said today: “Towards the end of May, we got the local go ahead to aim for the Investec Derby and Investec Oaks to be held at Epsom Downs. The exact date at that time was reliant on other factors such as the resumption of racing, the date of the Guineas and so on. It is not in the circumstances any of us would wish for, but we are here today with the Investec Derby and Investec Oaks being held at their rightful home.

“I am calling the ground Good. We have had the best part of an inch of rain here since Saturday morning of last week. If you had said to me last Saturday, when I was calling the ground Good, that I would still be calling it Good a week later, I am not sure even I would have believed you! I would have thought it would have been slower. I think we are still Good due to having several windy days over the past week – including yesterday which was very windy. Sunday and Monday were also particularly windy.

“The way the course has taken rain – and at Sandown even though Sandown has taken less rain – has meant we have never got beyond the slow side of Good. We have never been Soft here all year and that is a factor too. The soil profile is such that the amounts of rain we are getting just moves us between the slow and fast side of good. Thursday saw around half an inch of rain, but even that only took us from Good to only just on the slow side of Good. Epsom Downs is a remarkable course in that it is soil straight on to chalk and does not stay Good for long.

“The GoingStick reading is 6.8, which suggests historically ground on the slightly slower side of Good – our average for Good ground here is 7.2 and our average for Good to Soft is 6.4. We are south of 7 and I always think 7 is bang on for Good ground at Epsom Downs. I and others have walked the course this morning and I don’t think there is enough variation either side of Good to call the going anything else.

“There are no rail movements with racing taking place on one day and the course is at full width – this is the course the Derby would be run on in a normal year.”

Investec Derby Day is being held behind closed doors due to the current COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. There will be no public access to the racecourse, the outer enclosures or to the Hill. A section of the Downs is closed for a 24-hour period from 0001hrs to 2359hrs today.

Cooper concluded: “We have three miles of fencing up and I am confident we have a plan in place to handle the situations that I think we can anticipate. Part of that is hoping that people act sensibly, don’t cause a nuisance and don’t cause us to have to step in unduly. There is a strong security and police presence out there, with the intention of keeping it secure.”