Businesses from Normandy had an exclusive insight into horse racing and breeding at a chamber of commerce event organised at one of Franceâ€™s leading flat racecourses.
The summer event at the Deauville La Touques racecourse, organised by the Franco British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, began with a welcome from Paris based president Bob Lewis who said that the Normandy branch adds to its 140 year history.
Formed last year, the Normandy branch is based in Caen where Chris McManners, head of the Normandy delegation, is based and promotes British companies in the region as well as helping them to develop and promote themselves in France via an English speaking business network.
The chamber members were able to glimpse the exciting world of international horse sales as one of the sales was taking place at the Deauville racecourse with some young thoroughbred horses selling for over â‚¬90,000 on the day.
There was also a tour of the stables at the racecourse with a guide and information from France Galop, the organising body of flat and jump racing in France, on the current financing and management of the industry.
Development and Promotions manager Guy de Fontaines explained how more and more syndicates and businesses are entering into the world of race horse ownership. â€˜Contrary to popular belief, this privilege is not reserved for an elite. Thanks to shared ownership, the costs of purchasing and caring for a horse are more accessible,â€™ he said.
He also dispelled the myth that attending a race is just for the well off, pointing out that at Deauville, for example, entrance is â‚¬3 during the summer and under 18s are free.
The businesses heard how technology and training are playing leading roles in terms of breeding successful racehorses in France. Deauville has one of the largest racehorse training centre in France. â€˜Here in Deauville the horse is everywhere and in the centre of the town we have this racecourse. We are also in the heart of a region where the horse is king,â€™ added Mr de Fontaines.
Also present was Cosette Cutrara from Currencies Direct who explained the need for businesses to make sure that they have the best deals possible when transferring currency in the current climate. She said that the firm has a team of eight people based in France able to give advice and prices.
Numerous tips on betting and racing were picked up during the event. Perhaps one of the oddest was that when the vet team needs to test a horseâ€™s urine after the race as part of a the on going anti-doping programme then a good old fashioned whistle is all that is needed. The vet takes the horse into a stable, shuts the door, whistles and the animal relaxes and provides the necessary sample. So if you ever pass a closed stable door and hear a tuneful whistle from inside youâ€™ll know exactly what is going on.