In what is a stunning set of circumstances, French horseracing authority France Galop has been forced to once again bring about a pause on thoroughbred racing as the French government withdraws its approval to return to racing.
The reshuffle of the racing fixture will now be priority one for France Galop however pundits believe France went too early on its call to return to racing, particularly as the French capital, Paris, remains a red-zoned area as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the nation.
The French government has classified parts of the country into red and green zones, the red – which falls to central Paris, puts an immediate line through popular racetracks ParisLongchamp, Auteuil, and Saint-Cloud, the latter in which racing was conducted on Tuesday.
Until further notice, those racetracks will not be permitted to race.
The good news for French racing is that scheduled races will still go ahead in the south and the west of the country, however France Galop will require a reshuffle of its current fixture to accommodate the lost race days at its three tracks in Paris.
“After obtaining permission to resume racing on Monday, May 11, the parent companies learned during the day that a government decree specifying the terms and conditions for the opening of the racecourses would be published in the next few days.” A statement from France Galop read.
“This decree should specify that horseracing is indeed carried out in the departments located in the green zones but not in those located in the red zones. The regions in red are Ile-de-France, Hauts-de-France, Grand-Est and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.
“While the resumption of racing is reinforced by this decree to be published, the parent companies and the Fédération Nationale des Courses Hippiques deeply regret that the racecourses located in the red zones cannot operate as they have done since May 11.
“The reinforced closed-door protocol and all sanitary measures have also been scrupulously respected since the resumption of racing on May 11. Regular controls have been carried out and have not revealed any problems.
“However, the parent companies take note of this decision, which regulates the conditions for the resumption of horseracing, and will apply the new directives from Thursday.
“Some prefectures, such as Paris, have already anticipated the publication of the decree by notifying France Galop and LeTrot this morning of the decision to prohibit the opening of their racecourses.
“The teams are working on plans to rearrange the May and June calendar and will announce as soon as possible where the races that were scheduled in the red zones will be held. This calendar will be subject to changes as soon as a red department turns green.”
CEO of France Galop, Oliver Delloye remains hopeful no further meetings will be lost.
“I hoped our contingency plans would not be necessary but they will for the forthcoming weeks. B-plan to be released soon. No fixture will be lost – racing goes on but we need to adapt to fast-changing (and hard to read) rules.” he tweeted.
ParisLongchamp was scheduled to race on Thursday and it is also due to stage the French Guineas meeting on June 1.