French racing secures ‘conditional approval’ on restart programme

French horseracing will be allowed to return this May, operating its schedule and track meetings on a ‘conditional basis’ granted by France’s Ministry of Agriculture.

Last week, Edouard de Rothschild – President of France Galop – and LeTrot counterpart Jean-Pierre Barjon presented French racing’s action plan to resume fixtures on 11 May behind closed doors.

Underlining that races would be held under the ‘strictest of sanitary conditions’, Rothschild and Barjon presented a slimmed-down racing programme to French Agricultural Minister Didier Guillaume.

France Galop’s limited programme will allow approved regional racetracks to host only three races per day. Meanwhile, overseeing race operations, LeTrot will permit just two representatives per horse to be present at sanctioned racecourses.

Maintaining strict sanitary discipline, France Galop will enforce that only French-trained studs will be allowed to compete during the summer schedule.

Minister Guillaume backed France Galop and LeTrot’s action plan to restart racing on the condition that the French government eases national lockdown restrictions with regards to travel and transport.

Racing eyes have, therefore, turned to President Emmanuel Macron, who is scheduled to publish ‘phase-1’ of new French public measures on 11 May.

Nevertheless, addressing French trade unions on Labour Day (Friday 1 May) Macron urged France’s business community to maintain expectations, stating that the country would take a staggered approach to reopening in which all public measures would be examined carefully by French health authorities.

Speaking to national media, de Rothschild said: “At this point the news sounds positive. It has approval from the top level but in the current circumstances things change from one day to another and the situation is so unpredictable. The language is a bit cautious in the sense that we are never sure what is going to happen in two weeks’ time but the [view of the] office of the Prime Minister is quite favourable.”

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