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Champagne, foie gras, haute couture, bon vivant. The French undeniably have a way of doing things fabulously well – a certain je ne sais quoi. There is something deluxe about the way the French do their racing too.

There are 258 racecourses in France. How’s that for indulgent? Betting is through the PMU, a state-owned tote that is the envy of the racing world, returning profits to benefit the people and organisations who inspired them in the first place. You can wager in bars and cafés up and down the land. During the week, the big races are mostly run at lunchtime, allowing the nation’s workers to enjoy a side order of adrenaline with their croque monsieur and verre de vin: it’s fun; it’s popular; it’s money-spinning. In France, racing’s interests are as carefully tended as a Versailles flower

bed. The result: lavish rewards and enticements to those who put on this remarkable sport, namely the owners and breeders. Basic prizemoney is sumptuous – and sumptuous all the way down to fifth place (even the runner-up in a lowly juvenile claimer earns C


And then there are the treats on top: the famous Owners’Primes. A French-bred two-year-old is paid 75% extra prizemoney on every euro he earns – win, lose or draw. (That French-bred youngster who ran second in a claimer? His earnings just swelled to C

=8,750 – and make that C =20,000 if

he wins a maiden race.) At three, a French-bred earns 63% extra; at four and older, 48% extra. Primes are even paid on foreign earnings. In short, the French-bred horse has enhanced earning potential. He’s a

premium product. As such, he is worth much more than he would have been were he bred in any other country – all the more so in these testing times. If you are going to breed horses to sell or to race yourself, it makes substantial financial sense (+75%, +63%, +48%) to breed them in France. Put simply, the horses you breed here will be more valuable. And then there are the Breeders’Primes. When the French-bred you sold as a yearling wins his maiden (worth C the provinces) you, the breeder, earn C

=12,000 in Paris, or C =2,800 or C =8,000 in =1,960. (It’s 14% of the

prizemoney plus Owner’s Primes added together; in some circumstances, this could be 21%.) Again, you earn if the horse picks up any prizemoney whatsoever. It makes the whole enterprise that much more rewarding. So, answer number one to the question ‘Why Logis?’: because Logis is in France!

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