FRENCH and German racing are looking to resume during the first half of May behind closed doors which is a sign of encouragement to British racing.
France Galop which runs French racing announced last night that racing is expected to start up again on Monday 11 May, some two months after it came to a halt on 17 March, the last time there was racing on British soil. Each horse will only be allowed to have a trainer, jockey and one stable groom on the racecourse while horses and jockeys based outside the country will not be permitted until at least the end of May.
While the exact detail for fixtures in France are still be examined, it is hoped that the four French Classics, the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (2000 Guineas) The Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (1000 Guineas), the Prix du Jockey Club (Derby) and the Prix de Diane (Oaks) will be held around a month later than normal, although not necessarily in Paris.
German racing is due to start a week earlier, on Monday 4 May with Dortmund playing host to the first racing in the country for two months. This follows consultations between Deutcher Galopp and German Government officials.
Meanwhile in the UK, the Resumption of Racing Workstream comprising representatives from the BHA, the NTF, the ROA, the RAC and the Levy Board are working behind the scenes to have racing ready to start as soon as Government gives the go-ahead. Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, has said that sports such as racing should be preparing for a resumption although sporting bodies would have to act in ways consistent with wider public health issues. So of course, that would mean racing would be behind closed doors during the first phase of a resumption but it would be a very welcome first step for all of racing’s stakeholders. There seems to be increasing optimism that racing will resume at some point in June.
To all in British horse racing, stay positive and stay safe!