Until 1995, the Derby was always ran on a Wednesday, and was a special occasion midweek in June. Then someone in their wisdom decided it should be run on a Saturday, when in theory, more people would have the opportunity to see it. Though the idea might have been good, in practice, it hasnt worked.
Why, probably because before, it was an event away from the ordinary working day for many people, now its more just another sporting event on a Saturday, and has therefore become less important, just the opposite of what was aimed for. When ran on a Wednesday back then, it was the main meeting of the day, probably only one other meeting in the afternoon as a sideshow. Tomorrow afternoon there are 6 meetings in all, just one of which is Epsom’s big day. Therefore airtime, will be more limited, and shops will only flick to the pictures mere moments before the horses enter the stalls, probably shortly after one of those dreadful virtual races, now part of the wall to wall coverage in betting shops.
The BBC coverage will probably show a bit more of the build up, but will their hearts be in it? I doubt it, the BBC are giving up on racing coverage after this year, and its been pretty feeble for many years in all honesty. And given that this year we have a highly touted, short priced favourite in a small field, its hardly going to appeal to the small punter, is it?
The ‘classic’ today wasnt a lot better, yes we had 12 runners, and a reasonable betting market, but one trainer had 5 of the horses in the race. As it was, his main horse didnt win it, but one of the others did all the same. Great for him, and his connections, but for everyone else, it probably lacked something.
I used to get excited about the Derby, for me it was the 2nd biggest race of the year, after the Grand National, but in recent times, I havent got excited by it at all. Camelot, the hot favourite may well win tomorrow, but can I start to get excited by it, no I cant. The likelihood is I’ll probably get a call from a shop during the race, asking something inane, that they could have waited 2 minutes to ask. But will I really regret missing it, probably not!
No, like many things, you cant bring back the good old days, but I think the Derby’s greatness has been damaged by the Saturday switch. Maybe more will watch (though how many non racing fans, who would watch it any Saturday will do so?), but many used to stop on a Wednesday afternoon to watch, or listen to the race for 3 minutes who probably wont now.
Maybe I’m just a ‘grumpy old woman’ lol?
Right, the video, very tenuous connections here to the favourite, which hopefully someone will get at least, even if it means using Google lol!