On our most recent From The Horse’s Mouth podcast we had the pleasure of speaking to French racing expert, Laurent Barbarin to discuss French racing making a return on Monday, public perception in France about that return and how Monday’s three meetings attracted an incredible 1,000 entries plus. Take it away, Laurent.
We’re among the lucky ones at the moment. We’re going to have racing behind closed doors and this is going to be a very strict procedure and protocol to get on the racecourses. But everything seems to be in place, the green light from the government, the organisations like France Galop have done a very good job in terms of reorganising racing and resetting the racing programme.
There hasn’t been much of an issue about it except the very famous president of the football club of Lyon in France who made a case about racing coming back before the football. But as we said before, in France racing is run under the banner of the agricultural ministry and the financial ministry so it’s just different.
It has never been considered as a sport in France – we don’t really speak about racing in the sport use – so it’s something really different and the public hasn’t made any issues about this.
On three meetings on Monday in France which attracted over a 1,000 entries
We’ve seen already that obviously the big races, the Group races, the number of potential runners have shrunk a lot. But the National Hunt card at Compiegne – 405 entries for just nine races. Over 400 entries – they are down to 200 and things are going to obviously shrink as well here [155 runners were actually declared].
But everyone needs money, everyone needs to run to make money and it’s going to be very, very competitive for the next two or three months and maybe to the end of the year. Fewer races but still the same number of horses in training.