Epsom has defended its decision to rebrand the famous hill in the middle of the track following the announcement of a 10-year deal association with budget high street retailers Poundland during the Investec Derby Festival.

The popular area of the course, which is free to the public and has in years gone by attracted thousands of racegoers, will be known as Poundland Hill at the Investec-sponsored two-day meeting, which will this season be staged on 2-3 June.

Poundland's owners Steinhoff International was on Thursday unveiled as a partner of Investec, who also agreed a further five-year extension of its sponsorship of the Derby Festival. The bank and asset manager will back the premier Classic until 2026.

Poundland Hill has been praise and criticised by many on social media.

But Phil White, who is responsible for Epsom in his role as Jockey Club London regional director, said in a statement the move was "fantastic news for the event and also for British racing".

White said: "We're looking to build and reinvigorate the hill and having a partner to work alongside us represents a great opportunity.

"The Derby Festival attracts such a wide range of society and that's what makes it unique. It's known as the people's race and the activities and all the people who go on to the hill is one of the reasons for that.

"The hill is unique, and having a high street retailer like Poundland associated with it can only be good for its long-term growth.

"It's great to have the certainty, Investec are huge supporters of British racing and are dedicated to the Derby.

"We love working with them and we're delighted that they have introduced Poundland, and we're really pleased to introduce a new sponsor to racing."

Poundland trading director Barry Williams said: "All of Britain loves the Derby and as the people's store, we're looking forward to helping make the people's hill at Epsom one of the best ways for the family to experience the Derby at Epsom."

Malcolm Fried, global head of marketing at Investec, added: "We are proud to have extended our sponsorship of the Investec Derby Festival, an event that shares our values of energy, passion and outstanding talent.

"The Investec Derby has given back so much to our brand over the years, and we are committed to ensuring it remains the greatest Flat race in the world."