French racing in red zones transferred

A new French government decree will see racetracks in coronavirus red zones transferred to courses in green zones.

Paris tracks, such as Longchamp and those in areas classified as red zones, have been barred from staging races despite the May 11 reopening behind closed doors. The new rules started yesterday and Sunday's cards at Longchamp have been switched to Deauville on the Normandy coast.

Today's meet at Fontainebleau has been moved to Vichy and the Compiegne steeplechasing meet goes to Dieppe.

French racing leaders France Galop and Letrot said they were saddened for the racetracks in red zones.

"If getting racing back has been reinforced by this latest decree, as it seems to have been, we can also say we sadly regret that the racecourses in the red zones cannot operate," France Galop and Letrot said in a joint statement.

Trainers and jockeys wore masks as French racing resumed under the shadow of Covid-19 at the fabled Longchamp racecourse on Monday. There were also meetings at Toulouse and Compiegne.

It restarted only after reported last- minute lobbying persuaded President Emmanuel Macron to give it the go-ahead.

However, strict rules were laid down, including being held behind closed doors, a far cry from the near-50,000 crowd that greeted Waldgeist, the winner of Europe's most prestigious race - the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - last October. - AFP