Plan for French racing to resume in May with strict conditions

Plans are being made for horse racing in France to resume next month with strict rules in place.

The sport's governing body France Galop has issued a statement which outlines how meetings would be run from May 11, if given the green light.

None have been held since March 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Like Ireland and the UK, a number of fixtures were held without spectators leading up to that date.

France Galop said on Wednesday evening: "Horseracing, which has been suspended since March 17, could resume from May 11 under strictly controlled health conditions.

“France would hence follow other European countries that are also preparing to gradually relaunch their horseracing activities.

“Tens of thousands of French households depend on the racing industry. From studs to yards, it is an important workforce that cares and looks after the well-being of horses.

“During the suspension of horseracing most of them have been able to continue with their work, as horses and especially competition horses, cannot remain inactive.

“The yards and studs have hence continued their activities without being able to count on revenues generated by competition, which is their “raison d’être.”

French President Emmanuel Macron extended the country’s lockdown until May 11 last week and the return would need government approval.

The fixture list is due to be published in the coming days.

“When racing resumes, France Galop and LeTrot’s main priority is to protect the health and safety of the people involved in the organisation of race meetings," the statement added.

“These race meetings will be run behind closed doors for as long as necessary and in the strictest conditions, as it was already done in the final days leading to the suspension of horseracing in France.

“This successful experience of holding race meetings behind closed doors at racecourses in the Oise region in March provides a solid basis to ensure the health security at future race meetings.

“Race meetings behind closed doors will be subject to very strict specifications. For example, only the trainer, the jockey or driver and one lad can accompany and look after a horse declared to run in a race.

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