The first two classics of the French racing season were held at the recently reopened Longchamp overnight, but the results were overshadowed by controversy and safety concerns surrounding the track surface.
During the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas), the front-running US Navy Flag appeared to stumble as the field ran downhill towards the home turn. The Aidan O’Brien-trained runner regathered himself and stuck on to finish fifth, but jockeys took their concerns to the stewards.
After a heated debate the fillies’ equivalent, the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, was relocated from the Moyenne Piste (middle track) to the Grand Piste (outer track).
“Ryan Moore’s horse slipped in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains and he said the track is dangerous,” jockey Christophe Soumillon told French racing channel Equidia.
“With a ten-minute delay we could move the stalls to the Grande Piste. Maxime Guyon, Mickael Barzalona and Pierre-Charles Boudot asked for the same, and the stewards have told us to get on with it. What are we supposed to do?
“The track is dangerous. I have done everything, but nobody is listening to us. It’s scandalous."
Longchamp reopened last month after being closed for two years for a major renovation.
Soumillon had also raised concerns about the track during a Longchamp meeting earlier this month.
The French 2000 Guineas was won by French colt Olmedo, who edged out Hey Gaman and Dice Roll by a neck and a nose. A son of first-season sire Declaration Of War, Olmedo has had five starts for two wins and three second placings.
British trainer David Simcock collected his first classic win in the fillies’ feature as Teppal (Camacho) beat Coeur De Beaute and Wind Chimes.