RACING fans are miffed that the Derby will be run at the earliest start time in it’s history to avoid a clash with the FA Cup final.
The Epsom Classic will go off at the incredibly early time of 1.30pm – some three hours before the original off time of 4.30pm.
The Epsom Derby will be moved to the early slot of 1.30pm on June 3
It’s because the Metropolitan Police pushed for the FA Cup clash between Manchester rivals City and United to kick off at 3pm.
Both the Derby and the footy will be broadcast live on ITV1, and racing chiefs decided against pursuing a later start time for the big race.
It has annoyed plenty of punters and the switch to a lunchtime start will likely have a negative impact on TV viewing figures.
The earliest Derby so far was held at 2.25pm in 1996 – to avoid a clash with the opening match of Euro 96.
One fan said on Twitter: “Personally I think this is an utterly ridiculous idea.”
While another posted: “What a load of rubbish. Why couldn’t they run it at half-time in the football?”
And another said: “What a disgrace. All the more reason to move the race back to a Wednesday.”
But Epsom chiefs are trying to put a brave face on it.
And they will promote the great race as the first-leg of a ‘Derby double’ on the ITV main channel, with coverage from Epsom starting at 12.30pm.
James Crespi, general manager at Epsom, said: “This year, the first Saturday in June will play host to two Derby’s and two of Britain’s great sporting events.
“In order to give fans of both horse racing and football the opportunity to enjoy the Betfred Derby and the FA Cup Final and to maximise the publicity and exposure of these two iconic sporting occasions, which will both be broadcast live on ITV1, we have made some changes to our usual schedule.
“We are grateful to our partners at ITV and our generous sponsors Betfred for their help in facilitating the move, and we can’t wait for what is sure to be a great afternoon for British sport.”