Where To Bet On French Horse Racing
With 200+ live French horse racing meetings screened on Sky Sports Racing each year and the flat and jump racing season returning in France this week, horse racing fans will turn to the picturesque settings of Longchamp, Chantilly and Compiegne to see top class racing action over the coming days and weeks before action resumes closer to home in the UK and Ireland.
Betting On French Horse Racing
French horse racing betting is available with the best online bookmakers for the major Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) meetings, sanctioned by the governing body France Galop.
Betting online outside France is provided primarily by Paddy Power, Unibet and William Hill with other firms, most notably Ladbrokes and Coral pricing up races that are shown via the SIS betting shop service.
The number of races priced up isn’t overly high, with the most popular fixture in the French calendar being the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe meeting in early October. But British and Irish raiders to the French Guineas meeting at Longchamp, and the major jumps fixtures at Auteuil, has seen more bookmakers offering betting on these races too.
What is the PMU in France?
The PMU is like Britain and Ireland's Tote. It has a monopoly on pool betting at France’s major horse racing courses, with the more local PMH available at provincial meetings.
It provides plenty of betting options on French horse racing, including the popular Quinte+ bet - a bet generally on a high value, big field handicap were punters aim to forecast the first five horses home in the correct order.
The PMU regularly covers overseas fixtures too, including meetings from Britain, Ireland, Hong Kong, Australia, Mauritius and the US.
In recent years, the PMU pools have been split, with the on-course betting pools open to anyone betting on the racetrack and in shops, and the online pool restricted to PMU account holders.
The above restrictions on online wagering didn’t stop the PMU recording turnover of €9.92 billion in 2017 - international wagering increasing by 10% on the previous year to just under €1.5 billion
Where To Find French Horse Racing Odds
You can find French horse racing odds at several leading online bookmakers, with Paddy Power, Unibet and William Hill offering odds on all the major PMU meetings, and others on those shown on the SIS betting shop service.
Ladbrokes and Coral presently provide French horse racing odds for those races, but with the increased coverage from Sky Sports Racing going directly into people's homes, expect plenty more bookmakers to start pricing odds.
When To Bet On French Horse Racing
The Paris racing season is the best time to bet on French horse racing. For both Flat and jumps, it runs from the end of February, or beginning of March, until the end of June, with a decline in meetings during the summer months and a resumption from the end of August until the end of November.
Paris Horse Racing Tracks
With well over 200 racecourses in France there is generally at least eight or nine meetings on each Sunday, with the provincial meetings particularly popular with punters and many staging mixed fixtures of Flat, jumps, and trotting meetings.
During the height of summer, attention on the Flat for the big yards switches primarily to the coastal town of Deauville where the two tracks (Deauville and Clairefontaine) stage a number of fixtures, and a Group 1 every weekend in August.
Summer action away from Paris for the jumps fans takes place primarily at Clairefontaine, which also plays host to Flat racing.
From December to February the high profile all-weather tracks at Chantilly and Deauville keep the north going, though focus is on southern citiies like Marseille and Lyon, both having all-weather racing too.
The winter jumps meetings take place at Cagnes-Sur-Mer near Nice from the beginning of December until mid-January, and at Pau which continues through February.
Best French Races To Bet On
Everyone has had a bet on France's most famous horse race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Paris-Longchamp's €5million Group 1 with 100 years of history.
It's glittering accompanying cards over the first weekend of October are the most widely-watched French horse races in the world. But there are other key meetings to look out for when you're thinking about dipping in to betting on French horse racing.
- May - French 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas - Paris-Longchamp
- May - Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris - Auteuil, Paris
- June - French Derby and Oaks - Chantilly
- July - Bastille Day's Grand Prix de Paris - Paris-Longchamp
- August - Deauville's 5 Group 1 Meetings - Deauville
- September - Arc Trials Day - Paris-Longchamp
- November - 48 Heures de l'Obstacle - Auteuil, Paris
All this and more will be part of Sky Sports Racing's live French horse racing coverage, so you will be able to get French horse racing cards on their website, with all online bookmakers set to provide odds.
Where To Find French Horse Racing Form
France-Galop is the main hub for all French racing form, providing full form for all French horses on the Flat and over jumps, in addition to a horse tracker and details of trainers and jockeys.
One key aspect to note, mainly for jumps racing fans, is that French-style form doesn’t differentiate between a 'ran out', 'fall', 'unseated rider' or 'slipped up'. If any of those things happen to a horse in a race, it's simply written in the form as 'T' ('tombe', French for fall). Additionally,'A' in the form indicates a horse was pulled up.
French Horse Racing Form Guide
|C||Cross Country||T, TB||Ran out, Fall, Unseat, Slipped Up|
|A, AR||Pulled Up||RECL||Claiming race|
When reading French horse racing form summaries, that is also done differently. Form lines for different disciplines are all listed in one line, lowercase letters telling you what type of race the placing occurred in.
- e.g French form: 4sAh 2s(17)3pTh = 4th Chase, pulled up, break, 2nd Chase, start of 2017 form, 3rd on Flat, fell hurdle
Race distances are all listed in metres too, with 1600m being a mile race, 2400m 1m4f and so on. To read those French horse racing distances, just divide by 200 to get the number of furlongs.
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