Horse Race

Epsom Derby: Jockey Club applies for injunction to stop protests

The Epsom Downs racecourseThe Epsom Downs racecourse will host the Derby Festival from 2-3 June

The Jockey Club has applied for a High Court injunction to prevent animal rights protestors disrupting the Derby Festival on 2-3 June.

The Epsom Downs owner says the Animal Rising group has made it “explicitly clear” it intends to breach security.

The injunction would prohibit individuals from entering the track and disrupting races.

Last month, animal rights activists delayed the start of the Grand National by getting on to the track at Aintree.

Protestors also tried to disrupt the Scottish Grand National the following week.

A High Court hearing to rule on whether to grant the injunction is scheduled for Friday.

“If the injunction is granted, individuals acting in breach of the court order could be subject to proceedings for contempt of court, which may lead to a fine and/or imprisonment,” the Jockey Club said in a statement.

It also said the injunction would in “no way threaten the right of anyone to protest in a peaceful and law-abiding way” and it has offered Animal Rising an area near the entrance of the racecourse to protest on the day of the Derby [Saturday, 3 June].

The festival in Surrey features Grade One races The Oaks and The Derby.

Animal Rising has repeatedly posted on social media about disrupting the festival.

“It is our duty and obligation to do everything we can to protect everyone’s safety and prevent a repeat of the illegal and reckless protests we saw at Aintree in April,” said Jockey Club chief executive Nevin Truesdale.

“As such the decision to apply for an injunction is a course of action we have been forced to take and is the result of careful consideration following consultation with Surrey Police and a number of stakeholders. If successful, this would be just one of a range of robust security measures we are implementing to ensure the event can go ahead safely.”

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