As in past years, ABIE France took great pleasure in jointly hosting guests at the annual ‘Luncheon at the Races ‘ with Networkirlande, the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the France Canada Chamber of Commerce. The setting at the Auteuil racecourse was stunning and the sun came out just in time for everyone to enjoy an apéritif on the marvellous terrace upon arrival.
The lunch was held in the private Salon Mandarin, on the top floor of the main stand at the Hippodrome d’Auteuil which offers expansive views over the racecourse and across towards Paris, with the Eiffel Tower prominent in the background. Spread over 18 hectares, the Hippodrome d’Auteuil is located in the Bois de Boulogne and designed exclusively for steeplechase racing.
The incoming President of the Franco-British Chamber, Olivier Campenon, started the proceedings with a warm welcome to all the participants followed by a brief appraisal of and reassurances regarding the future of British-French relations following the Brexit vote. Jean D’Indy, Vice President for Jump Racing at France Galop, partner of the event, thanked guests for attending and explained some of the history of the course and obstacles. Guy de Fontaines informed guests of the important role France Galop plays in promoting the improvement of the racehorse breed, helping to fund and coordinate a vibrant sector employing over 73,250 people (directly and indirectly), operating throughout the regions of France.
There was a racing expert seated at each table who outlined how horse betting works in France and also encouraged guests to take a tour of the enclosure and stables after the lunch. It was an excellent opportunity to strengthen relationships, make new contacts and forge new friendships. The legendary horse trainer François Doumen took ABIE France Board Member Tea Dietterich, Brisbane based Suzanne O’Connell and Networkirlande Board Member, Mark Fenton, to the upstairs lounge and balcony where he providing an interesting insight into horse racing in France. Paris based Australian Angello Kostandas, Head of Marketing at Givaudan, and ABIE member, brought his 16 strong team to the races. A great time was had by all and it was lovely to see the outfits and hats worn on the day.