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Longchamp 13.05.2007

Longchamp:redevelopment will include an all-weather track

  Picture:  Edward Whitaker  

Longchamp to close for revamp after 2012 Arc

FRANCE GALOP has revealed details of the long-mooted redevelopment of Longchamp, which will include an all-weather circuit.

The project, the cost of which is estimated at between €55 million and €75 million (£50m-£68m) will start in 2011 with the selection of an architect. The track will then be closed after the running of the 2012 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe for 20 months.

One of the grandstands will be demolished and the project will be built around the remaining structure, with the paddock completely redesigned and 40 more boxes added.

An all-weather track will be added, with the hope of increasing race meetings from 30 a year to between 45 and 50. The new facilities would also be used to host conferences and events.

It had originally been planned that France's premier course would closem temporarily in 2008 to allow work to enable the venue to be used as an equestrian centre had Paris been chosen for the 2012 Olympics.

However, the redevelopment of the course was delayed once London was awarded the games.

France Galop board member Henri de Pracomtal, owner of high-class stayer Kasbah Bliss, said: "The new Longchamp will be more functional, comfortable, welcoming and green. It will also remain the international shop window for French
Flat racing."

An alternative venue for the Arc while Longchamp is closed is Chantilly, not only the most picturesque track in France but also state -of-the art after several years of investment.

However, it would be difficult to accommodate 50,000 racegoers at the track, particularly in early October in bad weather.

In 2006 France Galop's Louis Romanet suggested that Ascot could host as an Arc during the closure of Longchamp, but the idea was afforded little credibility in France.

 
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