Guineas trials could move to Deauville as flood clear-up begins
Seine burst its banks last Friday for the second time in six months
Maisons-Laffitte may have to give up its traditional role of revealing France's main challenge for the Qipco 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, should the damage caused by last week's flooding prove too severe.
France Galop has announced an alternative plan which would relocate the track's opening two meetings of the season, with Deauville set to host the all-important Prix Imprudence and Prix Djebel on April 9 if the turf at Maisons-Laffitte – a suburb in north-western Paris – fails to recover after the River Seine burst its banks, flooding the track for the second time in six months.
Racecourse director Franck le Mestre said: "In terms of restarting on time, everything will depend on the next fortnight, how much it rains and what temperatures we get. Right now it's impossible to say."
There will be a further communique on the subject on February 15, but the need for Deauville to step in again, having hosted meetings when the Seine overflowed last June, would be a blow to Maisons-Laffitte.
Natagora in 2008 was the last filly to win the Imprudence before going on to Classic glory at Newmarket, while Special Duty landed the Guineas two years later having been beaten on her comeback at Maisons-Laffitte.
As recently as last season the Djebel winner Al Wukair went on to finish third in the 2,000 Guineas, and connections of the unbeaten Sacred Life – a best-priced 33-1 for the 2,000 Guineas – have earmarked the race as a prep before a possible trip across the English Channel this spring.
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