Irish and French officials eager to avoid future Curragh-Longchamp time clashes
Racing officials in Ireland and France are set to work together to avoid a repeat of Sunday's time clashes that saw Group 1s in both countries scheduled for the same time.
In an unfortunate piece of scheduling, both the Qatar Prix Vermeille at Longchamp and Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh were due off at 2.55pm (Irish time).
Similarly, the Group 2 Qatar Prix Foy at Longchamp and Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh went to post for 3.30pm.
Interim Curragh chief executive Evan Arkwright is eager that racing fans will not have to choose watching one race over another when Longines Irish Champions Weekend takes place alongside Arc trials day in Paris next year.
"Sunday's terrestrial coverage was obviously good with RTE and ITV showing races from the Curragh but this should be something we look at," said Arkwright.
"It's crazy to have two Group 1 races that have global interest taking place at the same time."
He added: "When we're discussing things between Horse Racing Ireland and the various media networks, we'll be very mindful of that to make sure there isn't a clash next year. People who have interest in both races shouldn't have to decide which one they look at."
From the French side there is a desire to improve matters to try to avoid high-profile clashes in the future, while France Galop’s director general, Olivier Delloye, admitted that on the ground at Longchamp officials did try to ease a little extra space into the schedule on Sunday.
"We have to integrate good foreign races into the domestic offering, one where we have a race every 15 or 17 minutes," said Delloye.
"But I do think we can do better and it is certainly in everyone's interest not to have Group 1s going off at the same time.
"On Sunday we 'cheated' slightly by having a couple of races go off slightly behind schedule in order to let the Irish get their races away."
Delloye added: "We have to give priority to a French meeting, even if it is of inferior quality to the foreign one, and that is why the Curragh was on Equidia Racing online on Sunday and not on the main channel.
"Every time you put a foreign race in between two French races you reduce the amount of preview time that French punters have to study a race and we simply can’t do that five times in the same afternoon.
"Next year we need to avoid those clashes to the best of our ability, albeit they will still have to follow on very quickly from one another. Whether we can have real breathing space between the Group 1s at the Curragh and the good races at ParisLongchamp we'll see, but I’m sure things can be improved."
Arkwright described the return of 4,000 spectators to the Curragh on Sunday as a very positive experience for the track.
"I think there was generally a good atmosphere around and it all went pretty smoothly with everyone complying with the protocols," he said.
"The 4,000 figure actually worked nicely, particularly coming off having 500 at meetings recently. We have two days coming up on September 25 and 26 and we can look to extend the numbers again. Hopefully we might get a bit more access for the public inside if we can."
Leopardstown chief executive Tim Husbands added: "We were delighted with the response from the racegoers and industry personnel on day one of the weekend.
"All the plans we put in place seemed to deliver as we thought they would and everyone just seemed delighted to be back."
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