Auteuil Race Course in Paris was forced to cancel the first day of its 2017 season after racecourse employees protested and refused to work.
According to a report in the Racing Post, track officials were unable to reach an agreement with the striking workers and union representatives. The employees gathered and picketed in the parade ring, leading to one trainer to describe it as a “hostage situation.”
“This action, which is timed to coincide with the reopening of Auteuil, places us in a situation where we have been taken hostage along with our horses,” said trainer Marcel Rolland.
“We have been working in subzero temperatures during the winter to prepare for the new season and now we are being prevented from running.”
Workers staged the protest to highlight several grievances, most notably the plans to merge the racecourse teams which work at Saint-Cloud, Maisons-Laffitte and Auteuil.
The cancellation of Tuesday's card is estimated to have cost €1.5 million in lost revenue. Track officials and horsemen are hoping that four of the races can be added to the upcoming Sunday card.
Read more in the Racing Post
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