After eight days of racing behind closed doors since resuming on May 11, racing has once again been called off in France's 'red zone' areas–Ile-de-France, Hauts-de-France, Grand-Est and Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, which comprise Paris and its surrounding areas–with a government decree expected to be published in the coming days specifying that racing can continue in the country's 'green zones,' but not the red. The meetings affected over the next week are ParisLongchamp (Thursday and Sunday), Strasbourg (Thursday), Fontainebleau and Compiegne (Friday), Saint-Cloud (Monday) and Auteuil (Tuesday). Other courses in red zones include Maisons-Laffitte, La Croise Laroche, Amiens, Wissembourg, Nancy and Vittel.
France Galop is working on plans to rearrange the May and June calendars and relocate the affected fixtures. Changes through this weekend include the movement of the two ParisLongchamp meetings to Deauville; the Fontainebleau meeting will move to Vichy and Compiegne to Dieppe. Thursday's Strasbourg meeting has been postponed with a new date to be announced soon.
A joint release from France Galop and LeTROT read in part, “While the resumption of racing is reinforced by this decree to be published, the parent companies and the Federation Nationale des Courses Hippiques deeply regret that the racecourses located in the red zones cannot operate as they have done since May 11. The reinforced closed-door protocol and all sanitary measures have also been scrupulously respected since the resumption of racing on May 11. Regular controls have been carried out and have not revealed any problems.
“However, the parent companies take note of this decision, which regulates the conditions for the resumption of horse racing, and will apply the new directives from Thursday. Some prefectures, such as Paris, have already anticipated the publication of the decree by notifying France Galop and LeTROT this morning of the decision to prohibit the opening of their racecourses.”
A Tuesday evening Tweet from France Galop President Edouard de Rothschild read, “inexplicable and irrational. I will not give up. I am proud of your exemplary behaviour behind closed doors since May 11 and the colossal work provided by our teams for more than two months. Responsive we are and we will be. Long live our races.”
France Galop Chief Executive Officer Olivier Delloye tweeted: “I hoped our contingency plans would not be necessary but they will for the forthcoming weeks. B-plan to be released soon. No fixture will be lost: racing goes on but we need to adapt to fast-changing (and hard to read) rules.”