Racing at Saint-Cloud on Sunday was abandoned following a protest by a group representing trainers, owners and breeders.
Protesters blocked access from the pre-parade ring to the paddock, eventually forcing officials to call off the meeting 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.
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, who is on the board of directors 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.
“It is difficult to get everybody to agree to any reform of such size. Hopefully they will find something.
“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. They are opposed to it and want to renegotiate.”
Harry Dunlop has been a regular visitor to France mainly due to the attractive premiums and was ready to saddle Fighting Irish in the Criterium International.
The Lambourn trainer said: “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.
“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. We just don't know.”
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