• FR

Lunch at the Races 2015 – Longchamp

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Ireland, Australia and Britain – three nations famed for their penchant for sport and racing in particular, so what better way to bring them all together than a day out at France Galop’s flagship racecourse, the Hippodrome de Longchamp, home of the world famous 'Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe' classic race? This is exactly what NetworkIrlande, in association with the Franco-British Chamber and Australian Business in Europe, did on the 18th of June 2015 and, non-surprisingly, the event was a sell out with some100 guests having reserved their places for this exclusive 'Lunch at the Races'.

Held in the presence of the Ambassador of Ireland to France, Ms. Geraldine Byrne Nason and representatives of both the Australian and UK Embassies, Ms. Elisabeth Day and Ms. Kara Owen, this Luncheon was festive, instructive as well as convivial and brought home the success of previous years events.

 

After a few words of welcome from Clem Garvey, President of NetworkIrlande, Guy de Fontaines, Head of Owner Development at France Galop, took centre stage.  Mr de Fontaines greeted all those in attendance and gave a brief history of horse racing in France, an exciting pastime synonymous with France Galop. Some information that will definitely remain engraved in our memory is just how much of the money the state controlled system reinvests back into horse racing in France: just over €200 million euros or approximately half of all money made from bookmakers. This vast sum of money maintains the livelihood of some 70 000 people in France, making horse racing a vital cog in the world’s sixth largest economy. With the reassurance that gambling on horses was therefore a noble cause, it was time to have a flutter.

 

The races continued throughout the 3 course meal occasionally tearing the otherwise suave sophisticated spectators from their seats to stare at the finish line directly below with an intense look of nervousness paired with unadulterated glee before either slumping back into their seats, or high fiving their new found friends with a childlike grins on their faces. The racing bug was reaching epidemic proportions.

 

After smoked salmon, tender chicken thigh on a bed of roasted vegetables, and delicious tarte au chocolat, it was the turn of Pascal Adda, a renowned horse trainer from Maison-Laffitte to take the mic. He provided a rigorous and pertinent account of the science of horse breeding and training with a view to picking a winning horse with very little background knowledge. The meal was concluded with a few final words of thanks from Olivier Campenon - representing the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce - and then guests were whisked on a “behind the scenes” tour of Longchamp.

 

The visit started with a viewing of where the jockeys are weighed, where the chance arose for a couple of guests to express their congratulations to the winning jockey. Afterwards, the group was taken into the stables where the horses were paraded past them on their way to the ring. Guests arrived back to their box just in time for the last race of the day before making their way home to count their winnings, or rue what could have been.

NetworkIrlande would like to thank their co-organizers, the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce and Australian Business in Europe France, as well as France Galop for their 1st rate hospitality. After such a resounding success, all that's left to say is "A l'année prochaine!"

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