Shutdown in France

The authorities in France have announced that racing has been suspended with immediate effect until April 15.

Races that will be lost during this period include the Group 3 Prix Djebel and Group 3 Prix Imprudence, recognised prep races for the Classics in May.

In an effort to tackle coronavirus, French President Emmanuel Macron has imposed a 15-day lockdown and prohibited residents from leaving their homes unless absolutely necessary, with 100,000 police officers deployed across the nation to enforce the order.

Edouard de Rothschild, President of France Galop and Jean-Pierre Barjon, President of Le Trot, said in a joint statement: “Our top priority is the well-being of everyone involved in the horse racing industry and to be fully compliant with the state directives. Above all, we want to protect everyone from the current pandemic, which is why we have suspended all race meetings. With this decision, the French horse racing industry also shows its solidarity and responsibility towards the whole nation.

“We are fully aware of the economic impact of cancelling race meetings. For this reason, we ask all the different businesses and sectors involved in the racing industry to supply the organising associations with feedback. In the coming weeks, we encourage the industry associations to collect relevant observations, trade by trade, and to pass them on to us. This will be the first step in safeguarding our industry.

“These are exceptional times of unprecedented gravity. We know we can count on the commitment of all stakeholders to overcome this pandemic as quickly as possible. You can also count on our commitment and our determination: no one will be abandoned.”

The Direktorium, Germany’s governing authority, has also taken the decision to suspend racing in the country until April 18.

Tattersalls keen to trade

Sales house Tattersalls has released a statement explaining that it intends to fulfil its current auction dates at its multiple venues, though possibly with a restriction on the number of attendees.

The Craven Breeze-up Sale, scheduled for April 13-15, is one of Europe’s most important two-year-old auctions, attracting clients from across the globe.

Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony said: “It is our current intention to proceed with sales scheduled to take place in March and April at our Ascot, Newmarket and Cheltenham locations to proceed with as little disruption as possible and in line with government guidelines.

“We are conscious that the situation is changing and evolving rapidly, but we are also acutely aware of our ongoing responsibilities to carry out our primary role on behalf of our clients to the very best of our ability.”

Today’s racing

Racing in Britain and Ireland is continuing for now, albeit behind closed doors, and there are four jumps meetings today at Taunton, Wetherby, Down Royal and Wexford.