Without the continued sponsorship of the East Anglian Derby by Bresbet , it is unlikely that the 76th East Anglian Derby would take place – writes Floyd Amphlett.
With the closing date for Yarmouth’s biggest event of the year just three weeks away, promoter Simon Franklin has been explaining the importance of a sponsor in an event that boasts a £15K first prize, with £3,000 for the runner-up, £2,000 for the third and £1,000 for the other finalists.
He said: “Even with a sponsor, it makes no financial sense to run the Derby; it would be much cheaper to run four graded meetings. We do it because it helps Yarmouth’s profile, because the trainers want it, and because it is an event that my grandfather introduced and I would like to keep going. Would there be a Derby without a sponsor? I’m not sure there would, and it certainly wouldn’t be for anywhere near this level of prize money.”
The 462m event which returns to a 48 runner format this year has had a long line of sponsors from Betfair, to Totepool, to Ladbrokes and then Sunbet. RPGTV sponsored the event for three years, though that too had a downside.
Simon said: “RPGTV didn’t sponsor many events and we were grateful for it, though it must have had a detrimental affect on crowds.”
With a format of Saturday-Saturday-Saturday-Wednesday, the first three meetings will not be available to view on SKY Racing, though Yarmouth are contracted to ARC’s digital/on-line service.
Simon said: “Ideally we would prefer the traditional Thursday for the final but will go with the Wednesday because that is our contracted meeting. It will obviously be available on TV which will affect the crowds. I would anticipate getting a crowd of a thousand for final night.”
As always, all entries will be expected to have trialed at the track within the previous three months.
Simon said: “We realise the track takes some getting used to but it has always been that way. The top trainers have always chosen to trial dogs, including Charlie Lister who knew the place so well.”
So given the restrictions, will the event still be staged if it doesn’t fill?
Simon said: “Hopefully we will be okay, there isn’t much in opposition. We would run it as a 36-dog event if we had to. But if we were just a handful short, and could perhaps stage seven first round heats we would put the three fastest qualifiers through to the next round.”
BRESBET.COM 76TH EAST ANGLIAN DERBY
First round: Saturday August 27
Second round: Saturday September 3
Semi finals: Saturday September 10
FINAL: Wednesday September 14