ONE of France’s premier racecourses Maisons-Laffitte is to “halt horse-racing activities” from the end of next year, France Galop has announced.
The course, close to Paris, is home to two Group Two races – the Prix Robert Papin and Critérium de Maisons-Laffitte – as well as noted French Classic trials.
The 2019 calendar of 24 race days may be its last, however, as part of a “reduction in operating costs” in response to falling betting revenues.
Maisons-Laffitte is also renowned as a training base and is described on France Galop’s website as “more than just a racecourse” and “one of the cradles of racing in the Paris region”.
But changes are afoot, after Wednesday’s statement about the venue’s future from the governing body.
It reads: “At its central economic and social committee meeting today, France Galop’s management presented a project for the restructuring of its activities at Maisons-Laffitte.
“The project involves the following: Rescaling and modernising the Maisons-Laffitte Training Centre thanks to an investment of around 1.5million euros, designed to ensure it continues to operate.
“Although the training centre is designed to allow 1,500 horses to train there at any one time, it is home to fewer than 500 at the moment. The adjustment to its actual level of activity will lead to a significant reduction in operating costs.”
As for the track’s future, the statement added further details: “Halting ‘horse racing’ activities at the Maisons-Laffitte racecourse at the end of 2019.
“Since 2011, horse racing has had to contend with the profound transformation of the gambling market. In the space of eight years the amount wagered on horse racing in France has fallen 1.9billion.
“As a result of the drop in betting revenue, which accounts for more than 90 per cent of its financial resources, France Galop recorded a deficit of 119m euros between 2014 and 2017.”
As part of a “transformation plan”, 31 jobs are expected to be lost at the Maisons Laffitte site.
The statement concludes: “France Galop will also make specific resources available in support of a plan for restructuring the Maisons-Laffitte racecourse site, in partnership with the local council and stakeholders.”
WATCH BELOW:France Galop announces closure of Maisons-Laffitte racecourse