In a meeting on 12 May, the Conservators of Epsom and Walton Downs considered a proposal to stage the Investec Derby and Oaks behind closed doors.

The Jockey Club proposed that the races be moved from their original June dates to a Saturday in July or August, and to be staged with restricted access to certain areas of the Downs for 24 hours, so a seven-race fixture can take place without a crowd present.

The land on which the racecourse is situated is owned by Epsom Downs Racecourse, but public footpaths and bridleways that surround it must be fenced off and closed to members of the public to ensure the races can be staged safely.

The Investec Oaks was originally going to take place on 5 June, with the Derby following on 6 June. However, as racing in Britain is suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a new provisional date for the two races is 4 July.

The conservators voted unanimously in favour f allowing the date change and restrictions on the races, citing the fact that the Derby is ‘crucial’ and ‘vital’ to Epsom and the local area, as it is ‘the most famous Flat race in the world.’

Delia Bushell, Group Chief Executive of The Jockey Club, which runs Epsom Downs Racecourse, said: “We have worked 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.”

Whilst racing in Britain is still suspended, it is hoped the sport may resume once the Government lifts certain restrictions on 1 June.