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French racing re-slates Jockey-Club and Prix Diane for July 5

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Paris (AFP)

Two of France's top thoroughbred horse races, the Prix du Jockey-Club and the Prix Diane, will be raced on the same card for the first time ever at the Chantilly racetrack on July 5, likely behind closed doors.

The sport was closed down on March 17 due to coronavirus but organisers are working on rebooting the industry on May 11.

Horseracing is a major economic activity in France with 10,000 licensed professionals, over 9,000 thoroughbred racehorses and 142 racetracks.

The French tote system, the state-controlled PMU gambling system, had a turnover just short of 10 billion euros ($10.8 billion) in 2018, with sport contributing over 90 billion euros a year to the French economy.

Warm-up races to the Diane and the Jockey Club should be raced at Longchamp in Paris June 1, where France's top race the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe is raced in October.

France hosts 37 so called 'Group 1' elite races per season including the fillies-only Prix Diane, or the French Oaks, which has been run since 1843 and the fillies and colts Prix du Jockey club, also known as the French Derby.

"Horses, above all those trained for competition, cannot be confined. The stables and stud farms have continued to function without the income that comes from racing," French horse authority France Galop said.

"Each competing horse will be accompanied by a strictly limited entourage with the trainer, the jockey and one other person to look after the horse," it added.

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