Following a general review of the current situation of French racing, one of the main goals is to reverse the trend in the number of juveniles in training.
Indeed, the number of 2-year-olds in training in France on 1 October stands at 2.235, which is 4% down from last year. Whilst that number has deteriorated faster since the Covid-19 outbreak, it was already in the red at the beginning of the year. This is a key issue for France Galop and is requiring fast action, as the French racing authority cannot afford the numbers of horses in training to drop, as it would have a major impact on field sizes, which in turn has an immediate impact on betting turnover and consequently the industry’s revenues.
To tackle these issues, France Galop's stimulus package aims at keeping active owners on board and giving them incentives to invest in younger horses.
The main decisions taken by the Board are as follows :
- Increase the Owners’ Premiums for French bred 2-year-olds from 60% to 70% in 2021, and for French bred 3-year-olds in 2022. As an example, the winner of a €27,000 2-year-old maiden earns €13.500 in prize money. If qualified for French premiums, the winner also receives the 70% premium, which brings the total prize money earned to €22,950.
- Add 25 new maiden races for 2-year-olds in 2021. These races will be open to horses that have run twice already. Horses that have received prize money for being placed, will receive a penalty. These races will be funded by the claiming races that they replace.
- A new program for 2-year-old maiden, sired by stallions based in France or abroad, whose covering fee did not exceed €10,000 at the time of conception.
- Waiving of training center fees for yearlings and 2-year-olds until the month of March. This is aimed at encouraging owners to send their young horses into training sooner than is currently the norm.
- Build a one-mile-long, 15-feet wide woodchip uphill track at the Chantilly training center. Works started earlier this month and will be completed in the spring 2021.
These measures will further improve the 2-year-old program in France that boasts 557 races, of which two-thirds are either maiden, unraced or early conditions races (class 2) and prize money of €15.4 Million.
These measures come on top of the France Galop objective to get back to the 2019 level of prizemoney in 2021, which was €250 Million. Despite the lack of visibility due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, French racing is supported by a healthy financing system and very positive results posted by the PMU since racing resumed last May.