Other information / 04/23/2022
PMH: a word to our great witnesses
This evening, for the second part of our file on the French racecourse network, we gave the floor to individuals who know the French province well … and Australia.
Get inspired by Australia!
Carl di Iorio (Racing.com) is a prominent horse racing journalist in Australia. The country is known for its liberalism… but also for being a role model when it comes to racing. However, it has a peculiarity, which consists in the fact that there are many hippodromes here, like in France. Read: The reviews are amazing!
Comparable geographic network
“There are many racetracks in the Australian countryside. A bit like in France. If you go back to the history of the country, when immigrants created small towns and villages in Australia, they built a church, a post office, a cricket ground … and a hippodrome. And most of the time, these hippodromes have survived to this day. Some have closed. But if you take only the state of Victoria, there are still at least seventy hippodromes. In this multitude of racetracks scattered across the country, many race five or fewer times a year. This is especially true for those who conduct races only for amateurs, but not only. »
Close hand pumps? Not very productive…
“Like in France, these rural hippodromes don’t generate a lot of income from betting on horse races. Thus, there was a centralizing movement that led to the closure of some of the campaign routes. However, in hindsight it turned out that this did not give the expected savings. Or at least less significant savings than advertised. This is partly because these rural racetracks have very low running costs, thanks in part to the voluntary work of the teams. In addition, land, often provided by the municipality, has little property value, since its only possible use is for shopping. »
Small Hippodromes: A Real Recruitment Vector
“Overall, betting on horse racing in Australia is doing very well, although inflation and the coronavirus have somewhat undermined their pace. Thus, the industry can bear the cost of small race tracks.
Australian horse authorities see this as an advantage in terms of recruitment. The people who work in the stables come from the countryside. If you need staff, you need people who will be easily connected to sports in all rural areas. The urban environment that brings together prestigious racetracks provides the sector with a proportionately small workforce. »
Should hand pumps be banned in mammoth stables?
“Singling out smaller racetracks is essential (with the exception of amateur racing). So the big stables send horses to unhook them. But this creates problems. Because the biggest ones can have a total workforce of 500 to 600 horses a year. If they keep so many horses in training, it’s because they also target races in smaller countries. However, the purpose of these modest events is not necessarily to welcome such professionals. As such, there is some debate as to whether there should be a limit on the number of horses per trainer in Australia. This is a longstanding discussion in the Australian racing landscape. Should we limit it to 200? 300? It is hard to say. In any case, in January the association of Cyaron Maher and David Eustace left the Gold Coast Yearling Sale with 5% of 1 books in the catalog. That’s about 39 horsepower. This puts many small stables out of business. »
Challenge: future obstacles
“Right now in Australia, jumping is a very limited activity. The discipline has visibility, limited to ten years, as to its future. It has become a political topic, which largely depends on the orientation of the leaders of the races at the moment and the elected officials of the state at the same time. Twenty years ago, no one would have thought that an obstacle could be in danger in the state of Victoria. Now his disappearance is possible. However, the Warrnambool festival has an audience of around 15,000 spectators. But this is purely out of love for the sport. No money, no sponsor, no profit… which weakens the future of the discipline. »
Better on the topic of animators
“In a way, things have stabilized in terms of animalistic attacks on horse racing in general. We have learned to live with it. If they were so vicious, it’s also because in Australia on Saturdays, the main channels skip six hours on television. The racing is very visible and it also has less positive effects. Because in this case you also reach people who are against your sport. »
With actors in the regions
Local racing is their daily life. We gave them the floor.
David Elyon : “Important politically…and equestrian”
Head of Regional Program and Regions at France Galop
“It is by being present in the regions that the races can still have locally elected representatives sensitive to the issues facing the sector. Support is likely to operate at the highest level. During Covid, when it was necessary to transfer a large number of meetings from one circuit to another, we were able to see the features of each of them. And thus to understand how useful they were for the whole work. »
François Forcioli-Conti : “Where callings are born”
President of the Racing Society of Cagnes-sur-Mer
“The network is important because it is at the racetracks that the professions of professionals, owners or racing enthusiasts are created. In my opinion, much more than in front of a TV screen or telephone … With only one hippodrome in Alpes-Maritimes (Cagnes), one in Var (Hyères) or even three in Bouches-du-Rhone. (Boreli, Vivo and Salon), we are not in the same situation as in other regions. Any closure of the hippodrome here would be a disaster. We depend on each other. For example, in Kanye, Calas-trained horses made up nearly 25% of the starting horses for ten years. A very important figure, but it is distributed differently depending on the plane or obstacle. For this last discipline, horses trained outside of the region make up the vast majority of participants. The fact that the hurdle races in Borély or Hyères were moved to Nimes is not, in my opinion, the cause of the problem of the number of runners in the jumps. He comes back much longer. »
Philippe Fouche: “Where Disciplines Meet”
Director of the Anjou Maine Course Federation – Center Ouest
“While the very essence of regional racecourses is to race on Sundays, another important element is the fact of organizing interdisciplinary meetings where the entire racing community can be represented. The organization of awards in the middle of the week, of course, exposed our hippodromes a little, but I see that there is a tendency to redistribute these meetings to us over the weekend. In our Federation, only one hippodrome has been closed in recent years. This is Seichs-sur-le-Loire, 2018. The council of the department that owned the land decided to sell it, and for this the races had to be stopped. But they were redistributed to other hippodromes. The main issue we know is about the calendar. If, for example, there is no Galop race in January, we have up to fourteen meetings in May, meetings mostly PMH, which we have to place in the calendar given to France Galop, LeTrot and PMU. Race presidents are paying close attention to issues, especially those around #Raceandcare, where companies are encouraged to do more steeplechase in the fall and winter than in the summer, for example. »
Jean-Baptiste Andreani: “The closure has a direct impact on breeding”
Member of the France Galop Committee, President of the Federation and againstadvice RRegional du Galop de Corse, as well as the racing company Prunelli.
“In Corsica, in just over twenty-five years, we have gone from twenty-five to four hippodromes… Knowing that two years ago, out of solidarity with the premiums, we also canceled one meeting per company… So the situation is very specific in our territory. Now it’s one of those with the West Indies where we play the most. The reasons for closing racecourses are economic and safety related. But also because in certain places there was too high a concentration of hippodromes. The consequence of all this is the complete cessation of the activities of some breeders and, consequently, the loss of our local breeding, which we have been trying to revive for some time. Small companies are a showcase for racing, and other Corsican racecourses should not close. The Corsican politicians who visit our hippodromes every summer would be skeptical. »