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Horse racing is huge in France, with nearly 10,000 horses in training on the flat and over jumps. It is the jurisdiction which has most in common with British and Irish racing, a fact reinforced by the regular participation of French horses at the Cheltenham Festival.
There are more than 6,500 races run by France Galop, the official governing body of flat and jumps racing in France. There are actually even more races than this in total, as trotting racing is also popular in France, but given the difference in knowledge sets required we do not provide tips for trotting racing. However, we do provide betting tips for both flat and jumps racing across the major meetings in France.
Major meetings take place between March and November, and it is not uncommon for British raiders to travel over as prize money is often bigger than in the UK or Ireland. For example, Too Darn Hot won the Prix Jean Prat (Group 1) at Chantilly in 2019, shortly before winning the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. Japan, trained by Aidan O’Brien, also won a Group 1 in France in 2019 – the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp, before winning the International Stakes at York.
In the UK, it is possible to bet and watch French racing with all major bookmakers. Races are usually priced up the evening before, as with UK racing, and fixed odds and Each Way terms are generally available.
In France, all betting is done through the “PMU” (pai-mutuel urbain). The PMU offers pool betting only – that is, all bets are added into a pool, and (once expenses, tax, vigorish, etc have been taken) the pool is split between everyone who has backed the winner. The UK betting pools are run by the Tote but over the English Channel the French pools do not have to compete with fixed odds bookmakers as they are not allowed to take bets on horse racing.