Prize-money secure but premiums set to be reduced in €25m 'rebalancing'
Savings plan goes before administrative council on Monday
France Galop has pledged to cause the least possible amount of "pain and shock" to owners and breeders in proposing plans to cut €25 million from its overall budget for prize-money and other renumeration.
Headline levels of prize-money on the Flat will remain untouched at premium meetings but changes to France's owners' and breeders' premiums, as well as to reimbursments for transport and for VAT payments, will be tabled before France Galop's administrative council on Monday.
Small decreases in the prize pools for jump racing – which attract less of the premiums – are also part of the plan, in order that the two codes share the burden of cuts evenly.
France Galop has already embarked on making €10m of economies in-house but the overall financial health of the sport has been damaged by five consecutive years of falling returns from the Pari Mutuel Urbain between 2011 and 2015.
That trend was halted in 2016 and the figures up to October 1 2017 are encouraging, with a 2.7 per cent rise in bets taken.
The owners' premiums – the extra money paid on top of winning prize-money to horses bred in France – face a small cut for two and three-year-olds and a bigger drop for four-year-olds and above, with a return to the three-tier system that was in place up until 2013 (see table below)
The change to owners premiums will yield an estimated €7.9m while a restructuring of the premiums paid to breeders will account for another €5.9m in savings.
France Galop director general Olivier Delloye said: "We have designed these changes to minimise the economic and psychological shock to owners."
The plan calls for the cuts in premiums and other renumeration to be reversed once receipts from the PMU show "significant improvement".
Group 1 races on the Flat (apart from the Arc) will be treated differently with a uniform 25 per cent rate of owners' premium, allowing budgetary savings of €1.5m and the creation of a €1m strategic fund to boost prize-money where it is deemed necessary.
A internal study showed that, whereas French prize-money is on average twice that paid across the English Channel, 17 of the 28 Group 1s run in France have lower headline prize-money than the equivalent race in Britain.
Summarising the package of measures, France Galop president, Edouard de Rothschild said: "We have gone through this process over eight or nine months. No government has asked us to do this but it is necessary and it is good management."
Changes to owners' premiums in 2018
|+64%||2,3 & 4yo|
|+60%||2 & 3yo|
|+45%||4 & 5yo|