Betfred Derby: Epsom officials on alert for possible Animal Rising protests following Grand National disruption

The Jockey Club is taking every possible precaution to prevent the Betfred Derby at Epsom on June 3 being disrupted by protesters, saying it has “robust security measures” in place.

The Grand National at Aintree was delayed a little over 10 minutes by animal rights group Animal Rising, with attempts to disrupt the Scottish National at Ayr the following weekend threatened by police and security staff.

Epsom is owned and run by the Jockey Club and meetings with Surrey Police have taken place to make sure everything possible is done to ensure the two-day fixture runs smoothly.

Last year's Derby was delayed as police and security removed protestors from the track
Last year’s Derby was delayed as police and security removed protestors from the track

However, the vastness of the area which needs securing, including public areas where people do not require tickets, presents obvious challenges. A handful of protesters made it onto the track before last year’s race, but were swiftly dealt with.

Nevin Truesdale, chief executive of the Jockey Club, said: “As part of our planning for the Derby Festival, we have been working with Surrey Police to ensure we have a range of robust security measures in place to protect the safety of everyone at the event, especially our equine and human participants, which will always be our number one priority.

Fireworks are let off at Epsom before the Cazoo Derby
Fireworks are let off at Epsom before the 2022 Derby

“While we completely respect anyone’s right to peaceful and lawful protest, we would condemn illegal and reckless plans to breach security in an effort to disrupt the action on the track and endanger the safety of the participants in the strongest possible terms.

“Thousands of people look forward to attending the Derby every year and millions more will be watching at home and around the world, so we look forward to staging what is not only an important event for the sport but an iconic moment in the British summer and a celebration of the Thoroughbred.”