The French horseracing sector is among the most active and dynamic worldwide. It organizes more than 2.000 meetings a year with an average of 8 races per meeting proposing all disciplines: flat, jump and trotting. 12 000 of these races are opened to betting via the PMU. France Galop and Le Trot (Cheval Français) are the racing associations responsible for organizing the races in France.
Each year, France organizes 7,000 gallop races in both disciplines: flat racing (68%) and jump racing (32%). Jump races cover three disciplines: hurdles, steeplechase and cross-country.
France Galop is the Parent society which manages gallop races in France. Founded on May 3, 1995 when three horseracing societies were merged, France Galop is an organization within the 1901 Law whose mission is to encourage the breeding and training of gallop racehorses in France.
Although offering racing almost every day of the year, the primary Gallop racing season in France is recognized as commencing from March to the end of November, with the main races being:
- The Grand Prix de Printemps series of races during May and June:
- The Deauville summer meeting which takes place in July and August.
Did you know?
- A horse in flat racing races can run on average 5 times a year,
- A horse in jump racing races can run on average 4 times a year
- The biggest prize money in France is 4 million, this is offered in the famous Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe race.
France is a world leader in organizing trotting races. It also created and conceived its own breed, le Trotteur Français (the French Trotter). More than 11,000 trotting races take place in France every year, representing 61% of the total French races organized.
France offers two specialties: harness and mounted trotting races. Created on October 21, 1864, the Société d’Encouragement à l’élevage du Cheval Français (SECF) (Association for the encouragement of French horse breeding) is the Parent Association for Trotting Racing. Abiding by the Law of 1901 as a non-profit association, its mission is to work towards the recognition and development of trotting racing in France as well as to protect the characteristics of the French Trotter breed.
French trotting races are held throughout the year. However, the Paris-Vincennes winter meeting, starting from November until March, is the highlight of the season.
It's feature events include the international events such as:
- The Prix d’Amérique OPODO and the Prix de Cornulier at the end of January,
- The Prix de France and Prix de Paris in February.
Vincennes also hosts the Prix du Président de la République meeting in June. Furthermore, the SECF has, for several years, been encouraging the development of the 'French Trotter' breed on an international scale. 17 foreign federations have signed a production convention with the Cheval Français.
For a full list of all Horse Racing Terms visit the PMU Glossary.
Did you know?
- A trotting horse races on average 10 times a year,
- 4% of the trotting races are harness races (i.e. 9,500 races),
- The minimum weight carried by the jockeys in mounted races is 55 kilos,
- 1/3 of the mounted races are run at Vincennes.
History of French Racing
The first official trotting races were held in 1836 on Cherbourg racecourse
Creation of the Societe d'encouragement du Cheval Francais (Association for the Encouragement of French horse breeding).
Opening of Vincennes racecourse.
Creation of the Prix d'Amerique, in tribute to the US ally after their help during WW1
Galop (Flat & Jump)
First races in France took part near Paris.
Creation of the French breeding committee that organised the first event in Paris (on the Champ de Mars) as well as the first meeting in Chantilly.