Saint-Cloud protest: France Galop revises savings plan after meeting is lost
The administrative council of France Galop has unanimously voted for a package of €25 million worth of cuts to additional prize incentives and travel payments, but with concessions to the protesters who forced the abandonment of the Saint-Cloud card on Sunday.
The council reached its decision after adopting several nuanced changes to the original plan designed to counter claims that racing's rulers were unfairly targeting trainers, owners and breeders lower down the sport's pyramid.
Monday's vote came 24 hours after the card at Saint-Cloud was abandoned after the first race in the wake of a protest that blocked the entrance to the parade ring, resulting in the loss of France's final two Group 1 races of the year.
The new version of the budget retains the governing principle of the original plan – that basic prize-money on the Flat should be left unchanged. But the concerns of many who supported the 'Sauvons Le Galop' protests appear to have been heeded.
Put on hold
One of the most contentious parts of the original proposal, the reduction in owners' premiums for horses aged six and above from 43 per cent to 25 per cent, was replaced with a compromise figure of 35 per cent.
A decision on whether to go ahead with a flat-rate of breeders' premiums for French-bred horses who win abroad, regardless of whether they were covered in France or not, has been put on hold to allow for further study.
And modifications have been made to proposed reductions in travel allowances for horses competing away from the area in which they are trained.
At the other end of racing's social and economic spectrum, the uniform reduction of owners' premiums for Group 1 races to 25 per cent was approved, leading to a saving of €2.8m.
At the conclusion of the council session – on which elected representatives of all the main strands of the racing industry sit – France Galop president Edouard de Rothschild praised members for their diligence in working through the process.
He said: "The process and its successive versions have not necessarily been simple. We have all sought to serve the general interest, without causing division or excluding anyone.
"I congratulate the administrators who, after months of work, have adopted this plan unanimously. It's a sign of confidence in the future of racing. We'll succeed only if we remain united."
France Galop announced late on Sunday that none of the three Group races lost to the Saint-Cloud protest, which were due to feature a number of Irish- and British-trained horses, will be rescheduled.
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