The return of racing behind closed doors in France has cheered many in the community and French-based jump jockey Felix de Giles is one of a number of individuals delighted that the sport has resumed this week.

De Giles, who relocated to France in 2016 having previously been attached to Nicky Henderson as his conditional jockey, had 15 rides over the course of Monday and Tuesday, which marked the first time he had ridden competitively since March 15.

Having partnered two seconds on Monday, de Giles hit the mark on Tuesday when riding the Emmanuel Clayeux-trained Lucky Net Love to victory at Moulins.

De Giles said: “It was nice to end on a winner yesterday as nearly every race had a minimum of 14 runners, so it was very competitive racing.

“Obviously, people are going to be able to run their horses more and the authorities are adding a few race meetings to the programme to try and get a lot of races on.

“Everybody involved is very happy we’re back, and the authorities have done great work to get it back. As long as the death rate [from coronavirus] can stay low, I’m hoping we can keep going as it is now with [the sport] behind closed doors.”

A number of new restrictions and protocols have been put in place by France Galop including strict social distancing, the wearing of masks and a reduced number of people allowed into a racecourse.

Having experienced the new restrictions first-hand, de Giles added: “We have to wear masks and can’t shower after a race, which isn’t ideal, but everybody is keen to use their maximum effort to make sure everything is adhered to.

“In terms of other precautions, foreign runners or foreign jockeys aren’t allowed to take part until the end of May. I hope that it is something that will change, as it could be a nice opportunity for English trainers to get their summers out here depending on what happens in the UK.”

Among other measures introduced by France Galop in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has been a gradual decrease in prize-money to protect lower-tier races in the country, with Listed and Group/Graded races being reduced by 30%.

De Giles is hopeful that this measure won’t have to be in place for too long and said: “Once things are back up and running with the PMU, hopefully there’ll be enough made to put the prize-money back up to normal levels.”