French racing set to return next Monday after Paris police give green light  

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The prospect of racing resuming in France within days received a timely boost on Monday when the Paris police service gave its approval for the sport to return behind closed doors at Longchamp on May 11.

With Paris hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the possibility of moving fixtures in the area to other courses had been mooted. However, France Galop president Edouard de Rothschild revealed this morning that policing authorities in the capital had given next Monday’s meeting the green light.

De Rothschild tweeted: “We obtained and received from the Prefecture of Police in Paris authorisation to resume racing on May 11. This is great news and a real victory!”

French racing has been suspended since March 17. Racing officials have been preparing a bumper card for next week’s intended resumption, with four Group races on Longchamp’s opening fixture. French 2,000 Guineas favourite Victor Ludorum, trained by Andre Fabre, is one of the stars due to line up.

All Group 1 races have been rearranged, with the French 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas now set to take place on a Monday, June 1.

France Galop CEO Oliver Delloye said: “We’re still aiming to resume racing on all the major racetracks – including in Paris – and we have no red light regarding racing’s resumption at that stage. It’s a case of so far so good.”

All sport with the exception of horse racing, which is under the remit of the agricultural ministry, has been suspended until September in France. Delloye insists dialogue between France’s racing authorities and government has been positive throughout.

“There has been a constant discussion with the government from day one and they have been pretty much supportive of our intention to start racing again as early as possible,” he said.

Similar to the restrictions previously enforced for racing behind closed doors in Ireland, only the trainer, jockey and one groom will be permitted on the racecourse for each runner, with horses and jockeys based outside of France prohibited from competing until at least the end of May.

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