Longchamp gets rebuild go-ahead but one track to close

New Longchamp image

Work will begin on the new Longchamp after this year’s Arc meeting

NEARLY four years after plans for a new grandstand were first unveiled, France Galop’s administrative council has finally given the go-ahead for the rebuilding of Longchamp.

But the project will come at a cost, both financially and to the traditional fabric of racing in the French capital. Budgeted at €131 million, the project will result in the eventual closure of one of Paris’s other racetracks.

The futures of Maisons-Laffitte and Saint-Cloud have been called into question over the last two years, but a working group will start afresh in identifying where the axe is to fall.

All-weather option

Studies are also to be launched into adding a floodlit all-weather track to the new Longchamp when it reopens in August 2017.

Demolition work will begin immediately after this year’s Arc meeting in October after the council voted by a clear majority to adopt the plan.

The rebuild could incorporate an all-weather track

A decision had been delayed after Arc sponsor Qatar expressed an interest in taking a financial share in the project but, under the plan which was passed yesterday, France Galop will meet the entire cost.

Closure to meet resistance

The decision to close another Parisian track is binding according to the communique announcing the council’s decision, although any attempts are bound to be met with fierce resistance.

Maisons-Laffitte was earmarked for closure in November 2013 as part of efficiencies, only for the plan to be withdrawn after strike action caused the cancellation of a high-profile meeting. Subsequent plans to turn it into a jump racing venue met with criticism from trainers and were dropped.

Saint-Cloud has been at the centre of a campaign waged by local politicians and France Galop after the site was identified in a government report into possible locations for social housing. Evry racecourse was closed in 1996.

A rebuilt Longchamp features as an equestrian venue in the Paris candidacy to host the 2024 Olympic Games.

New Longchamp image

The work is budgeted at €131 million and is scheduled to take two years

 

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