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Epsom Downs receives green light for Derby behind closed doors

Jockey Seamie Heffernan rides Anthony Van Dyck (R) to victory in the Derby Stakes (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

The Derby is set to go ahead as planned at Epsom Downs Racecourse this summer following approval from the local authorities to stage the horse-racing event without fans.

Epsom tweeted a statement from Delia Bushell, chief executive of The Jockey Club, detailing the plans to stage the event on a Saturday in July or August.

Racing is currently suspended in Britain until June 1 at the earliest and The Jockey Club submitted an application to hold both the Derby and the Oaks on the same day. The company, which operates Epsom, had said that the event would need to be held elsewhere if its application was not approved.

Bushell said: “We are working hard on a practical and deliverable plan to stage the 2020 Investec Derby and Investec Oaks at their traditional home, without a crowd and once racing is approved to resume by government.

“I’d like to express my sincere thanks to the Epsom and Walton Downs conservators for their backing today. These two classics play a vital role in the thoroughbred racing and breeding industries, so it’s of great importance for them to be able to go ahead during this difficult period.

“Our teams now look forward to working with the British Horseracing Authority and local authorities to bring our plan to life.”

Discussions will be held to determine how Epsom can be set up to stage the Derby and the Oaks as part of a seven-race card.