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Deauville prepares for floodlit all-weather meetings

 

Deauville will become the first of France's major racecourses to stage floodlit fixtures from November following the unveiling of plans to install a state-of-the-art eco-friendly lighting system. 

The lighting will cover only the all-weather track and will be adjustable between five and 100 per cent capacity to provide only the extra illumination necessary for spectators and television cameras.  

At present, meetings over the winter from the major courses owned by France Galop are obliged to start early, while the later parts of the betting offer to punters are taken up with trotting as well as lower- grade racing action from courses like Lyon La Soie, Marseille Pont de Vivaux and racing from abroad. 

"This is a significant cost and illustrates that, despite the current crisis, we are determined to carry on investing in the future of racing, albeit in a selective way," said France Galop director general Olivier Delloye.

"We have invested a lot in renewing the facilities at the training centre at Maisons-Laffitte and with a new woodchip gallop in Chantilly, and we felt it was important to have a major racecourse with floodlighting in order to better satisfy our punters.

"We want to offer racing of better quality at a time when people are more available to bet than they are at the start of the day. We have felt this has been a missed opportunity for some time and we want to put the racing public and punters at the heart of our investment."

As well as widening the range of times that meetings can be staged during the winter, the floodlight project will also mean that some midweek fixtures will be held during the month-long August meeting from 2022.

While Deauville has been judged a suitable candidate for floodlights, other major courses are unlikely to follow, with Chantilly a protected historic site and development at Longchamp also heavily restricted by its sensitive location on the Bois de Boulogne.

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