The Betfred Derby will be run at 1:30pm in a rescheduling which will see the highlight of the flat racing season front up an extraordinary day of live sporting action on Saturday, June 3rd.
Following news that the FA Cup final between Manchester City and Manchester United will be played at 3pm at Wembley Stadium on the same afternoon, the Jockey Club has moved to allay fears over a clash by moving the Derby forward by three hours from the initially scheduled 4:30pm start time.
And that means a bumper calendar of sport throughout the day, which will also see the opening day of action in the Betfred Super League’s annual Magic Weekend event at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
The FA Cup final will kick off at 3pm for the first time in 12 years following the Metropolitan Police's plea to avoid a later start time in order to help fans travelling to the capital from Manchester. Since the decision was made to hold the 2012 final between Chelsea and Liverpool at 5:15pm to avoid a clash with Premier League fixtures, the season-ending showpiece has never started earlier than 4:45.
But concerns over travel issues after full time in the all-Manchester final have resulted in the traditional 3pm start being restored, and the Jockey Club has followed suit by bringing forward the famous Epsom spectacle. The Derby will be the second race on the day’s card, with racegoers who also want to watch the final now having the ability to take in both huge 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,” Epsom Downs Racecourse’s General Manager, James Crespi, explained.
“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.”
The first day of the Betfred Super League Magic Weekend will also throw up some fantastic action up in the north east as Salford Red Devils and Hull Kingston Rovers look to maintain their respective play-off pushes in a 1:30pm kick-off, with league-leading Wigan Warriors taking on Catalans Dragons immediately after at 3:45pm.
The day’s events at St James’ Park will be brought to a close when West Yorkshire rivals Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers meet at 6pm, before another triple-header the following day as Wakefield Trinity face Leigh Leopards, world champions St Helens clash with Huddersfield Giants and Hull FC take on Warrington Wolves.
SATURDAY 3RD JUNE SCHEDULE:
1:30pm – Betfred Derby at Epsom Downs.
1:30pm – Salford Red Devils v Hull Kingston Rovers at St James’ Park.
3pm – FA Cup final – Manchester City v Manchester United at Wembley.
3:45pm – Wigan Warriors v Catalans Dragons at St James’ Park.
6pm – Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers at St James’ Park.