French racing resumes - behind closed doors, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

French racing resumes - behind closed doors

France resumed racing yesterday - behind closed doors - at Longchamp, Toulouse and Compiegne.

This, after France Galop (FG), the ruling body of French racing, obtained the green light in what is believed to have been urgent behind-the-scenes lobbying by FG's president, Edouard de Rothschild, that persuaded French president Emmanuel Macron to finally give his approval to the resumption.

The Guardian reported that de Rothschild thanked Macron and Édouard Philippe, France's prime minister, for their efforts in a tweet in the early hours of Saturday that confirmed racing had seen off last-minute objections to its return.

The protests are rumoured to have been lodged by a group of senior executives from French football, which has been suspended, along with all other professional team sports in the country, until September.

France Galop has issued a statement confirming the news that tracks in Paris - which is classified as a "red zone" under the French government's plans to ease its coronavirus lockdown - will be allowed to race behind closed doors.

"France Galop, LeTROT (which regulates trotting) and the National Federation of horse racing have received the government authorities' definitive approval for the resumption of racing behind closed doors from 11 May," it said.

"The parent companies would like to point out the importance of respecting the barrier gestures (physical distancing) at the racecourses and thank everyone involved for following the sanitary procedures to the letter, which is crucial for the resumption of racing."

Yesterday's opener at Longchamp, home of Europe's marquee classic - the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - was a Group 3 race. It was won by 11-1 shot Batwan, the mount of Maxime Guyon.