Good news for owners as minimum of €8m in 2020 prize-money cuts to be repaid

French racing bosses have pledged to repay at least €8 million in prize-money cuts to winning and placed connections from last year.

France Galop's administrative council first announced the ambition to redress some of the reductions enforced on them by the pandemic last August. However, the level of compensation had been in doubt after a second national lockdown at the end of October, during which racing continued but around 4,000 high-street betting outlets were closed, threatening a recovery in betting revenues. 

Provisional accounts for the year reveal that €185m of €248m budgeted for prize-money and premiums was paid out. 

Part of the 25 per cent shortfall is down to the two months during which racing was suspended last spring, after which France Galop imposed graduated prize-money cuts in order to stay within budget when the sport resumed on May 11. 

At Group 1 level the cuts were steepest at 40 per cent, while at the other end of the spectrum any race with a published value of €19,000 or less was left untouched. 

Work to revalue more than 3,200 races will commence after the end-of-year accounts close on January 12, and France Galop hopes to have what will be a major administrative task completed by the end of the month. 

All races will be revalued by the same percentage, while premiums for owners and breeders will also be topped up.

Officials have frequently stated their aim of returning to 2019 prize-money levels for this year, although the financial instability caused by the second lockdown has led to a more cautious approach, with only January and February's values confirmed.