City Racing Given French Approval

Peter Phillips and sister Zara Tindall at Royal Ascot in 2019 | Getty Images

City Racing, a concept developed by The Queen's grandson Peter Phillips that would see horses race on city streets atop a special all-weather surface, has gained the approval of French authorities. A meeting is expected in Cannes next spring.

Spokesman Johnno Spence said, “We have got the support of France Galop, which enables us to work with them moving forwards. There's still lots to confirm, but we are working towards a date at the end of April or beginning of May next year in Cannes.”

The surface is designed to be able to be taken up within 72 hours, and the original goal of the concept was to hold races on the world's iconic streets. The surface has been tested at Aintree and Newmarket but approval has not yet been granted by the British Horseracing Authority.

“For us, the key is getting one of these under our belts so that we can demonstrate how it will work,” Spence said. “Talks have been taking place with a number of major cities, but everyone would like to see the concept in action.

“This is definitely a step forward for us. We now just have to pinpoint a date and make sure it doesn't clash with any other major fixtures.”

Spence noted that the coronavirus pandemic has slowed progress.

“It has been a long time getting to this point,” he said. “We will obviously abide by any Covid restrictions in place. France has crowds on racecourses at the moment, so hopefully that will still be the case and international travel will be allowed, as we want the top international jockeys to be taking part.

“It's obviously still a way off though and things seem to change so quickly.”

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