Bookmakers support evening slot for Epsom Derby

By Brad Allen
Bookmakers have endorsed the possibility of moving the Epsom Derby to an evening slot to boost TV ratings and betting interest.

David Williams of Ladbrokes told the Daily Mail: "Generally we would welcome anything that looks like reinvigorating viewing figures. If you can create a narrative in a sporting day where there is a climax later in the day it is a good thing for betting purposes."

The 2014 edition of the Classic reached 1.55m viewers, less than half the audience of when it was last shown on the BBC.

"The broadcasters tell us that every hour later could be worth an extra million viewers," said Epsom managing director Rupert Trevelyan.

However there are concerns about the switch ̶ a late start in 2015 means the Derby would be opposed by the Champions League final.

"Racing has to understand that when it goes head-to-head with big football events it comes off second-best," said Williams. "A lot of homework has to go into this.”

The Queen would also have to be consulted, as her presence at the event is "paramount" according to Trevelyan.

The race was moved from Wednesday to Saturday 20 years ago, and Trevelyan dismissed any notion that it should be switched back.

"In the paid stands, we had the biggest crowd ever this year, so that view is misguided," he said.

"Rain in the morning reduced the walk-up crowd on The Hill, but that is not a trend. The race is in good shape, but we should never rule out change."

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