Saint-Cloud Card Off After Protest

By Tom Frary

Racing at Saint-Cloud on Sunday, which was set to feature the G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud, G1 Criterium International and G3 Prix Perth, has been abandoned following a protest involving trainers, owners and breeders and their representatives. Having blocked the entrance to the parade ring, the members of the demonstration were unable to be placated by France Galop officials and the decision was made to stop racing as early as the first race. It is understood that the group named “Save Our Racing” is protesting over France Galop’s planned €25-million budgetary cuts which include a reduction in payments made to cover transport and the rise in VAT, as well as owners’ and breeders’ premiums. Rescheduling arrangements of the meeting are yet to be made.

Georges Rimaud, who is on the board of directors at France-Galop, said, “I don’t think the blockage as such was pre-planned, but it was planned to have a meeting with the leaders of the organisations involved. They have met with them and discussed with them. The blocking was due to reforms, and the finances, being announced by France-Galop. It is difficult to get everybody to agree to any reform of such size. Hopefully they will find something.”

Harry Dunlop, who was due to saddle Fighting Irish (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) in the Criterium International, added, “Obviously, we’re unsure about when they are going to reschedule racing or whether they will reschedule the group races. To us that’s the priority. It seems to be a certain number of smaller trainers who are dissatisfied. A lot of trainers, though, who I know quite well, are very annoyed at the situation. I’m always there for an opportunity and we mustn’t rush home in case they restage it in two days’ time or something. We just don’t know.”

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