Sun, sand and horses: Beach racing meetings join forces in new alliance

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Racing action in the beautiful setting of Plestin-les-Greves.
Racing action in the beautiful setting of Plestin-les-Greves in France.

A new association formed in Europe aims to promote the spectacular sport of beach racing and will organise a tour of several of the race meetings next summer.

Representatives from six of Europe’s seven beach racing tracks gathered late last month at Plestin-les-Greves, Brittany for the newly inaugurated European Beach Racing Association.

It has been formed under the auspices of the European and Mediterranean Horseracing Federation (EMHF), and was the brainchild of Secretary-General Paull Khan.

“The idea came to me last year when it occurred to me we didn’t know how many tracks across Europe held official thoroughbred beach racing,” Khan told the Racing Post.

“It turns out there were seven tracks and that most of them were unaware of each other’s existence.”

The group aims to establish communication between those responsible for beach race meetings, to identify best practice in ensuring participant and spectator safety and to raise the profile of this most distinct and form of racing.

The meeting in Plestin-les-Greves in France was attended by the town’s mayor, presidents of several racecourses, representatives from the Cantabrian Government (into which area two of the seven tracks fall) and of the Jockey Club Espanol, and the director of tourism for the Lannion-Tregor Communauté, (into which Plestin-les-Greves falls).

The previous day, delegates had been treated to a memorable day’s racing on Plestin-les-Greve’s beach, courtesy of its President, Rene Eleouet. The meeting gave a mandate to Dr Khan and the EMHF’s EU Consultant, Cathy McGlynn, to progress an approach for possible European ‘Leader’ funding, within the EU’s rural development policy, for a cooperative project to promote beach racing to the benefit of tourism in the local areas which the racetracks serve. It is also planned to organise a tour, for racing enthusiasts, taking in two or three of the beach racing tracks, to be held next summer.

Races for Thoroughbreds under the national Rules of Racing are conducted at seven racecourses in Europe, with the 2017 season between May and September:

  • France: Plestin-les-Greves (July 30); Plouescat (Aug 3)
  • Germany: Duhner-Wattrennen Cuxhaven (July 16)
  • Ireland: Laytown (Sept 5)
  • Spain: La Laredo (May 20); Loredo (July 23); Sanlucar de Barrameda (6 meetings, Aug 3-19)

The European and Mediterranean Horseracing Federation represents 28 Racing Authorities. It is the regional body of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.

Delegates at the inaugural meeting of the European Beach Racing Association, at the Office of Tourism, Plestin-les-Greves.
Delegates at the inaugural meeting of the European Beach Racing Association, at the Office of Tourism, Plestin-les-Greves.
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