Shock for Epsom: Investec exits as Derby sponsor and hunt starts for new backer
Epsom is looking for a new sponsor for the Derby after parting company early with Investec after more than ten years, the Racing Post can reveal.
In a move sure to send more shockwaves through a pandemic-hit sport reeling with prize-money worries, the longstanding link-up between Jockey Club Racecourses and the international banking and wealth management firm, which dates back to 2009, has come to a sudden, surprise end.
Investec, whose distinctive zebra logo quickly became a familiar sight in promotional activity for the world's most famous Flat race, had renewed its partnership three times in that period and its latest contract was for ten years, stretching until 2026.
The company had previously cited the Derby deal as one of its best performing sponsorships, but a global review of its marketing policy led it to change its approach and end its backing of England cricket and the British hockey team.
Although it was contracted for the next six Derbys, Investec was making less use of its sponsorship via promotional and other activity, and that was set to continue for the duration.
In light of that, JCR agreed to end the deal early and seek a new lead sponsor and naming partner for the Derby, Oaks and Coronation Cup in 2021, when the three Group 1 events should return to their usual place as part of a two-day meeting at Epsom in June.
Both parties stress that the decision to end their partnership is not related to Covid-19 or to the nature of this year's Derby fixture, which was a one-day event held behind closed doors in July.
Malcolm Fried, chief marketing officer for Investec, said: "Our partnership with the Derby festival has been fantastic for Investec. After more than a decade of the association, though, late last year we began a review of our marketing objectives and are now working to a new set of priorities and a new mix of marketing channels. We and the Jockey Club have agreed, as a result, to conclude the sponsorship sooner than intended.
"On behalf of Investec, we'd like to thank the team at the Jockey Club for a great partnership. Our thanks also go to the racing industry and the media who cover the sport. Whoever succeeds us as sponsor, we wish them every success and we hope the event goes from strength to strength. We've been proud to play a role in the Derby's recent history."
The Derby is Britain's most valuable race at £1.5 million, and the value of the Oaks (£500,000) and Coronation Cup (£420,000) underline the outlay required from a potential new sponsor.
Phil White, who runs Epsom Downs as London regional director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said: "I'd like to thank the Investec team for their great partnership. Together we've enjoyed year after year of Classic generations battling to lift our sport's most coveted prizes, along with magical moments such as Her Majesty The Queen presenting the Derby trophy as part of her 90th birthday celebrations.
"We look forward to welcoming a new partner for the next chapter in the history of one of Britain’s most iconic events."
The news from Epsom means that three of Britain's five Classics are currently without a sponsor, as Doncaster and Arena Racing Company have still to finalise a backer for the St Leger.
This story is exclusive to Members' Club Ultimate subscribers. Read more great members' content:
Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on racingpost.com