Why France?

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With 260 racecourses and €116m(flat) in prize money, €38.5m in Owners Premiums and €17m in breeders premiums it is no surprise that France is the envy of every other European racing nation. French racing’s finances have continually increased over the past 10 years and the construction of several new All Weather tracks at Deauville, Chantilly, Pornichet, Lyon la Soie, Pau and Cagnes-Sur-Mer has made flat racing in France an all-year-round attraction. For UK-based owners the strength of Sterling against the Euro further reduces costs. The information on this page provides a financial break-down of ownership in France and most importantly, the excellent financial rewards on offer.

Prize Money Distribution
All races in France pay prize money down to 5th place split in general:

1st           50%
2nd          20%
3rd           15%
4th           10%
5th           5%

In big betting handicaps (called the Quinté, of which there is one every day), prize money is paid down to 7th place. Group race distributions vary but are guaranteed to at least 7th place.

Minimum 1st place prize money is €3,000, but very few races fall below €5,000 1st prize.  Average prize money per race is €22,897 (latest figures are for 2010 and have increased since).

Breakdown of Prize Money

  • 14% to the trainer, of which 4% goes to Stable staff
  • 7% to the jockey (jockeys may invoice owners for an extra 3%, the payment of which is optional)
  • Various small deductions result in an Owner’s share of between 74% and 76%

Entry Fees
In principle there are NO entry fees for races other than Listed class and above. Owners are charged a small fee for withdrawing horses at the forfeit or declaration stage as follows:

Forfeit Stage                                      0.08% (€16 for a €20,000 race)
1st Declaration Stage                       0.15% (€30 for a €20,000 race)
2nd Declaration Stage                      0.30% (€60 for a €20,000 race)

These charges are not cumulative.

Jockey Fees
Riding fees are paid to jockeys for unplaced (no prize money) rides at a rate of €14.92 for a qualified flat jockey. Riders are also paid a travel allowance of €0.31 per km from their home to the track and a small fee of between €8 and €20, which is divided by the number of rides at the race meeting.

Transport Subsidy
A transport subsidy is payable for each horse trained in France when travelling to race meetings (other than local meetings). The transport subsidy for primary meetings (called PMU meetings, usually televised live on the French racing channel Equidia) is as follows:

 

Less than 400km €0.225/km + a payment of €33.00
Greater than 400km €0.13/km + a payment of €133.00
Greater than 900km flat rate of €250

So for a journey of 300km a travel subsidy of €109.50 would be paid by France Galop.

Journeys to provincial meetings (called PMH meetings) are paid at half the above rates.

Race Grades and Prize Money Scale
French flat races are divided into the following grades: G, F,Fi, E,D,B,A, Listed and Group. Race meetings are divided into PMU meetings, meaning it is one of the main meetings of that day and PMH meetings, which are provincial meetings. For 2012 the scale of prize money for 2 & 3 year olds by race grade is as follows:

 

G races €6,000-€16,000 (very few races are of a value less than €10,000)
F races, PMH meetings €17,000-€24,000
Fi races, PMU meetings Unraced maidens €19,000-€24,000
F races, PMU meetings Maiden races €19,000-€24,000
E races €24,000-€26,000
D races €27,000-€29,000
B races €30,000-€35,000

There are 2 forms of major handicaps:

 

Quinté Handicaps €60,000 minimum
Grand Handicaps €70,000 minimum

Black Type races have the following race values:

 

Listed €55,000 minimum
Group 3 €80,000 minimum
Group 2 €130,000 minimum
Group 1 Various

All of the above races (with the exception of races confined to French-bred horses and the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe) are subject to lucrative Owner and Breeder premiums.

Owners and Breeders Premiums
Premiums are paid to the Owners and Breeders of French-bred and French-assimilated horses to encourage thoroughbred breeding in France. Owners Premiums are paid out as an additional percentage of prize money to all placed horses at a flat rate of 64% of prize money for horses of all ages.

Breeders qualify for an additional prize of 14% of prize money.

Race Conditions – The Programme Book
French racing offers a greater variety of race conditions and does not suffer from an over-reliance on handicapping to provide opportunities and create competition. There is a healthy mix of conditions races, claiming races and handicaps across the spectrum of racing abilities.

Conditions races are usually framed around prize money won over a fixed calendar period, or by grade of race(s) won.   So a talented 2 year old can begin racing in a low grade of race and gradually progress through the grades towards a Listed or Group race, accumulating excellent prize money along the way.

Claiming races form an integral part of the French race plan. They range in value from €6,000-races for horses to be claimed for between €4,000 and €8,000 through to €23,000-races for horses to claimed for between €18,000 and €34,000. Weights carried are determined by the published claiming price. The process is a sealed bid auction conducted on the racecourse 15 minutes after the jockey has weighed in. Any registered trainer or owner may bid and the highest bid wins. Where the successful bid is higher than the listed claiming price the owner receives half of the difference, however if the owner retains the horse through a bid higher than the published claiming price he/she must pay the full excess to France Galop.

Going Racing
All registered owners gain free entry to EVERY race meeting in France without exception. Owners are also allowed access to racecourse stable yards when their horse is running.