Derby loses £3m In­vestec spon­sor­ship

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - Mar­cus Army­tage RAC­ING COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Ep­som is search­ing for a ti­tle spon­sor for the Derby af­ter a sur­prise break­down in its re­la­tion­ship with In­vestec.

The bank­ing and wealth man­age­ment com­pany has ended its nine-year sup­port for both the Derby and the Oaks, as well as the Derby trial fix­ture. The £3mil­lion-ayear spon­sor­ship was due to run un­til 2028 but Rac­ing

Post said last night that it had come to an abrupt end.

There had been re­ports of a rift be­tween Jockey Club Race­courses, the own­ers of Ep­som, over the run­ning of this sum­mer’s meet­ing be­hind closed doors, with In­vestec

seek­ing a re­bate on its £3mil­lion in­vest­ment. It was felt the lack of crowds and hospi­tal­ity de­val­ued the event, which 25-1 shot Ser­pen­tine won to give Ai­dan O’Brien a record eighth Derby win.

In­vestec has spon­sored the Derby and the Oaks since re­plac­ing Vo­da­phone in 2011.

Mean­while, En­able, who at­tempts to be­come the first horse to win the King Ge­orge V and Queen El­iz­a­beth Qipco Stakes three times and only the sec­ond six-year-old to tri­umph, will face just three ri­vals, all trained by O’Brien, in the mid­sum­mer all-age midBy dle dis­tance cham­pi­onship at As­cot to­mor­row.

O’Brien has tried with 19 dif­fer­ent horses to lower En­able’s colours and this time he goes with Ja­pan and An­thony Van Dyck, who have tried and failed, and a 20th, Sov­er­eign, last year’s sur­prise Ir­ish Derby win­ner. How­ever, En­able seems equally at home mak­ing the run­ning or dropped in.

“I’ll leave the tac­tics to Frankie [Det­tori],” said trainer John Gos­den. “We’ll go in with a blank can­vas and see how it pans out. Nor­mally when Plan A doesn’t work, Plan B is a blank can­vas, but this time Plan A is a blank can­vas.”

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