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Letter: Epsom Derby trip can't be changed; Andrew Scott feels the spectacle of the historic race will be lost if the distance is decreased.

Byline: ANDREW SCOTT

IN A commercially influenced bloodstock world where speed is the definitive criteria in a potential stallion, the proposed scheme to reduce the French Derby in distance from twelve to ten furlongs is an understandable one, and would open up countless options for the Classic colts.

However, the Epsom Derby's distance cannot possibly be changed, despite the views of Peter Savill.

The Derby remains the most famous and greatest horserace in the world, with Epsom's unique mile-and-a-half course the ultimate test for the thoroughbred.

Reduce its distance, and you immediately lose that test and the spectacle of this blue riband, which continues to attract the cream of the Classic crop, as well as thousands of racegoers to the Downs every year.

It's only when you walk the full Derby course that you fully understand and appreciate this most amazing track and the undulations that no other racecourse on earth can possibly match.

From the right-handed dog-leg turn soon after the start, the climb to the top of Tattenham Hill - which is the equivalent of Nelson's Column - is simply breathtaking.

That test up the hill before the descent towards Tattenham Corner is what makes the Derby.

You can change certain aspects of the European pattern, but the Epsom Derby cannot be changed.

As for a new-look Prix du Jockey-Club, I, for one, feel it could well fit into an already well-balanced European pattern.

ANDREW SCOTT Maidstone Kent
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 24, 2004
Words:238
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