Saint-Cloud races off because of protest

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October 30, 2017 - 09:51 AM

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A Group One race meeting in France has been abandoned because of a protest by a group representing trainers, owners and breeders.

Protesters blocked access from the pre-parade ring at Saint-Cloud on Sunday, eventually forcing officials to call the meeting off after just one race.

They were demonstrating against a planned cut in premiums that will affect in particular French-bred horses who currently receive bonuses for races they run in. The reforms were due to be voted on by France-Galop on Monday (Tuesday AEST).

There were two Group One races on the card, featuring runners from Aidan O'Brien's record-breaking stable and several English-trained horses.

"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," Georges Rimaud, a director at France-Galop, told At The Races.

"They have met with them and discussed with them. The blocking was due to reforms, and the finances, being announced by France-Galop.

"The people are the owners' and trainers' association and also a group of professionals which have decided that the reforms being put forward by France-Galop are not to their liking."

English trainer Harry Dunlop has been a regular visitor to France mainly because of the attractive premiums and was ready to saddle Fighting Irish in the Criterium International.

"It seems to be a certain number of smaller trainers who are dissatisfied," Dunlop said.

"A lot of trainers, though, who I know quite well, are very annoyed at the situation.

"We'll have to wait and see. I'm always there for an opportunity and we mustn't rush home in case they restage it in two days' time or something."