Dougie Costello on racing: Saturday night lights could ignite Derby

Dougie Costello on racing: Saturday night lights could ignite Derby

I’M looking ahead at the week, thinking about the meetings that went last week at Newmarket and York and cursing the overlap of good racing.

There is no sense in having big meetings clash on Saturdays and then “down” weekends where the racing is a bit less than top notch. But every track is concerned about what is good for them rather than the greater good of the game.

The fact is there is too much racing, too many horses and not enough quality at the meetings that run nearly every day of the year.

So it was interesting to hear talk last week of the possibility of the Derby running in the evening time in an effort to boost the profile of what many consider to be the Marquee event.

In Flat racing terms it is but the availability of top level sports now means the Derby must compete with whatever else is going on in the world on that Summer Saturday afternoon.

It does makes sense to move it to a time when there is less happening and don’t most people relax on a Saturday night, millions choosing to do so in front of a TV in their home or at the pub.

Racing is a minority sport to begin with so you need to work things in your favour when the opportunity presents itself. If the opportunity doesn’t present then you have to try and push something a bit — a la the Derby suggestion, which I support.

I would love to see the context of this conversation widened to address the clash of big meetings on the same weekends.

I’m not forgetting the Oaks in the Curragh this Saturday and I’ve a bit of a soft spot for Carla Bianca trained by Dermot Weld. I’m sure it has been a week full of nostalgia at his Curragh stables after the death of Vintage Crop who famously won the Melbourne Cup in 1993. More than 20 years on, I remember that race and the real litmus test for an achievement is that it endures like this one does.

This column wouldn’t feel right without name-checking AP McCoy but if he’s not testing his durability when dusting himself down after a heavy fall, he’s breaking records — again. At time of writing AP is one winner short of equalling Martin Pipe’s training record of 4,191 winners.

I’m sure by the time you read this he will have rode as many as the Mr Pipe trained, and probably a few more too.