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France Galop seeks to raise the stakes for 2019 Arc

France Galop will launch a survey amongst ticket buyers for the 2018 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe amid problems encountered for the horse racing showpiece’s return to ParisLongchamp.

The 2018 Arc took place from October 6-7 and was the first to be held at ParisLongchamp racecourse following a €140m (£126.1m/$161.8m) redevelopment project that commenced after the 2015 edition.

This resulted in an initially planned one-year stay for the Arc at Chantilly being extended for last year’s edition. France Galop, national governing body of flat and steeplechase horse racing, reported that the 2018 Arc weekend was a huge commercial success with an attendance of 45,000 generating revenues of nearly €2m, a four-fold increase on recent editions.

Key to this increase was France Galop’s decision to abandon the traditionally low ticket prices for the Arc, with general admission tickets said to have increased to €75, compared to €30 for last year’s running at Chantilly and only €20 for the previous event at ParisLongchamp in 2015.

However, France Galop conceded that all did not run completely smoothly for the Arc’s return to ParisLongchamp, with multiple reports of lengthy queues for food, drink, toilets and betting outlets. The organisation will now survey racegoers who purchased their ticket online, with France Galop director general, Olivier Delloye, adding in a statement: “This first edition of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp was a real test. 

 The balance sheet is excellent with an Arc that will probably remain in the annals. The economic balance is quite encouraging with a strong increase in revenue for France Galop. This is a significant element given the significant resources mobilised for this event. In terms of organisation, this baptism is globally successful even if everything was not perfect according to the facilities

The main lesson we learn… is that the mandatory points of passage that are the bars, toilets and betting points were undersized to fully satisfy parts of the public. The coming days will be devoted to the implementation of a major survey of all spectators who have purchased their ticket online and to the drawing up of first improvement measures for the 2019 edition to be a great success for all audiences.

The Arc traditionally attracts a healthy number of race fans from the UK and Ireland, with Delloye adding, according to The Guardian newspaper: “I’m sorry some of our British friends left ParisLongchamp disappointed or upset by the experience.

“The Arc has always been a big day, thanks to the huge participation of the British and Irish racing fans. They bring their passion and enthusiasm. It is our duty to treat them as well as possible. We have clearly identified the weaknesses of our set-up and we will make everything possible to be top class next year. It takes a bit of time to get new facilities up to cruising speed. Major UK racetracks have been through the same experience.”

Image: France Galop