PARIS (AP) French horse racing resumed on Monday after an almost two-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, while sports in Britain had to wait until June 1 at the earliest for a restart.
The jockeys wore masks or face covers and there were limited staff at the famous Longchamp racecourse in west Paris, authorities having given France Galop the go-ahead for a stage race without spectators.
Strict social distancing and hygiene measures were also in place.
“What a satisfaction to finally see this first race coming,” said Olivier Delloye, general manager of France Galop, on Twitter, next to a photo of a few horses about to enter the stalls.
Races also took place in Compiègne, in the north of France.
France is emerging from isolation, the nation having been confined since March 17.
The British government has announced a plan to gradually loosen restrictions on the country’s foreclosure, but has said there can’t be sporting events until June 1 – and only then without spectators.
The British horse races, suspended since March 17 and which hoped to resume without spectators this month, announced that they were “determined to plan a recovery on June 1”.
The British Horseracing Authority has said officials will publish a schedule over the next seven days outlining what the races must do to reach this goal, as well as a tentative meeting schedule.
The 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, two of the five classics on the British flat racing calendar, are slated to take place on consecutive days in Newmarket in early June.
The races will only take place in Great Britain, however, subject to evaluation by public health officials.
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