As I woke up this morning and sifted through my morning emails, I was struck with some strange news from across the Atlantic, via an article on Thoroughbred Times, prompting me to wonder … What exactly do the French have against top English fillies?
Believe it or not, unless there is a quick reversal, Snow Fairy will not be allowed to contest the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville on Sunday because of selective enforcement of a rather bogus French rule.
First there was the phantom bump that prompted the disqualification of the Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber’s star filly, Dar Re Mi, from a victory in the 2009 Group 1Prix Vermeille, and now this? Remind me never to try to run a horse in France.
Here are the bizarre circumstances of the barring of one of Europe’s top horses.
Strictly by the rules, in France, any horse that has been declared for a race and then failed to take part, cannot be declared within the next eight days. Because Snow Fairy was scratched from a race on Thursday at York, she has been deemed ineligible for the race at Deauville.
Now rules are rules, but keep in mind, it not only seems to be a highly questionable rule, but Snow Fairy’s trainer, Ed Dunlop, was only attempting to choose between two group 1 races based on the more suitable course condition for his highly accomplished stable star. It looks like he made the wrong decision.
Further muddying the issue, according to an article yesterday in England’s Guardian publication, Snow Fairy was only ruled ineligible because one of the other trainers with a runner in the race – André Fabre, Jean-Claude Rouget or Philippe van der Poele, brought the rule to the attention of France Galop (French racing’s governing body.)
Dunlop is quoted in The Guardian article, "More fool me for breaking the rule but I didn't know it existed and France Galop never advised me that it did," Dunlop said on Friday. "What is also very frustrating is that I'm led to believe that on numerous occasions, things have been done differently. Montjeu won the Prix Niel in 1999 the day after he had been declared to run in Ireland."
It seems to be a clear case of what is good for the French goose, is NOT good for the English gander.
The message appears to be clear … enter your horse in a French race at your own risk. So instead of welcoming a filly that has won group 1 races in England, Ireland, Japan, and Hong Kong, and showing her off to local fans, France Galop has less than politely requested that she not come. Interesting choice.
Good luck with your race on Sunday … I won’t be watching.