RACING in France will recommence with four Group races on the opening day at Longchamp on May 11, as France Galop revealed a revised schedule following the shutdown of racing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All Group 1 races are to be rearranged, starting with the unusual sight of the French 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas taking place on a Monday, June 1.
What is also evident is that Longchamp is still scheduled to host the Classic races despite a warning from leading trainer Nicolas Clement on Thursday when suggesting the races may be moved with Paris’s healthcare services already strained.
Among other Group 1 races, the Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary and Prix Ganay will be run on June 14, the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on June 28 and the French Derby and Oaks a week later on July 5.
The Prix d’Ispahan has been moved to July 19 and, for this season only, is open to three-year-olds.
The first day of racing in France, on May 11, is set to be a key trials day for top-level events later in the year. The feature is the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt – a key early-season Arc trial won by Al Kazeem, Cloth Of Stars and Ghaiyyath in recent years.
The main trials for the two Guineas, the Prix de la Grotte and Prix de Fontainebleau, are also scheduled along with the Prix de Saint-Georges, a Group 3 sprint.
Longchamp’s curtain-raising meeting will supplement racing in Toulouse and Compiegne.
Notable races that will be lost from the calendar include Maisons-Laffitte’s Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam, won last season by the Roger Charlton-trained Headman.
The key Arc trial, the Group 2 Prix Niel, has also been scrapped with the Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris to take that race’s slot on September 13.
The jumps programme has been cut significantly to provide more opportunities for Flat horses but the Grand Steeple Chase de Paris and Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil are scheduled for June 7.
Racing in France has been suspended from March 17 and a resumption date of May 11 was revealed on Tuesday. Racing will take place behind closed doors and horses or jockeys based outside of France would not be able to run until the end of May at the latest.
Entries for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will be closed in mid-June although no official date has been set yet. – TAB News.