Picture: 123RF/ MELORY S
Picture: 123RF/ MELORY S

The Investec Derby — first run in 1780 — was scheduled for June 6 but has been postponed with the British Horseracing Authority hoping to stage it later.

This is the second disappointment in April for Investec co-founder Bernard Kantor. This was to be the 12th time the banking group had sponsored the race.

It was a huge coup by Investec when it secured sponsorship of the Derby in 2009, replacing previous sponsor Vodafone.

Hopes the Derby could be run behind closed doors — similar to last Saturday’s meeting in Sydney, Australia — would present difficulties, said Phil White, London regional director for Jockey Club racecourses.

“The Downs, in the middle of the track, is a public space therefore it would be difficult to regulate members of the public congregating in that area,” said White.

This is fair comment.

White added: “We are now working with the sport to explore our options to reschedule, at minimum, the Investec Derby and Investec Oaks as part of delivering the 2020 classic programme for three-year-olds.”

Trainer Andrew Balding said it was important the Derby was staged, even at a different racecourse.

“The classics are the most important races of the year and very much need to be restaged if they can at whatever venue they can. Obviously, it is not quite the same if it is run at Newmarket, but at the same time that is what happened in the war years and it’s not unprecedented,” he added.

Commenting on the Derby, top jockey Frankie Dettori said: “As you get older you appreciate its importance and how difficult it is to win.”

Kantor's second April disappointment came in Saturday’s Sydney Cup at Randwick racecourse where his stayer Young Rascal started favourite for the A$1m race but could only manage seventh place.

Kantor, now in London, had given an interview on the racing channel Tellytrack, saying he was “hopeful” Young Rascal would win.

Young Rascal’s trainer, William Haggas, had previously earmarked the John Porter Stakes at Newbury for his charge.

“But that race was worth £34,000 compared to the A$1m in Sydney. You don’t need to be Einstein to work out where we should be,” said Haggas.

After the race Haggas told reporters that he was disappointed with Young Rascal’s performance but that Addeybb’s victory in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes had “made up for it”.

The Newmarket-based trainer added: “I think we’ll leave Young Rascal there. I think his future will lie in Australia.”

Meanwhile, a plan is being put forward to the UK government whereby a limited number of racecourses — Newcastle and Lingfield are two to have been put forward — would race under strict quarantine conditions once deemed safe by the government.