When punters seek their fortune

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n day at the races, it’s a spectacle with seven, eight or nine races and the arrival of the best horses and jockeys. This Wednesday 1er May, the seaside resort also welcomed the two best drivers in France, Éric Raffin and Benjamin Rochard. The opportunity for horse racing betting enthusiasts to spend a day full of twists and turns.

The tension was also palpable in the large betting hall of the racecourse. All generations combined, canes and strollers crossed paths in the bustling crowd, papers and pencils in hand, eyes glued to the screens. Some came as families, others as couples. The regulars spot each other, sitting on their own folding chairs brought for the occasion. So this group of octogenarian friends, a couple coming from Saintes, the other from La Rochelle, who meet like every week at the racecourses of the region. This 1er May, an appointment is set at Châtelaillon-Plage.


The public brings together all generations.

XAVIER LEOTY/SO

It’s an opportunity to meet friends, to have a pleasant time

The ladies are elegant. They leave it to their husbands to make the bets. However, one of them is designated by his as “a real racer”. She also confirms that she knows a lot about horse racing: “For forty years, we went to all the races that took place in the Great West, from Nantes to Bordeaux, sometimes further. And I used to make winning bets. Since retiring around twenty years ago, we have remained in the nearby region. But it’s an opportunity to meet friends, to have a pleasant time. It gives us a nice outing almost every week. »

They won’t want to say more about the amount of their bets or their winnings, but they will leave together with a smile on their faces.

The risk didn’t pay off

A little less delighted, this other elderly couple, who travel from Rochefort for each race at the Châtelaillon racecourse. Monsieur is almost 93 years old, and horse racing betting is his pleasure. “I decided not to bet on the favorites today, I didn’t want to be like everyone else. » Unfortunately, the risk did not pay off, because the bet was completely lost.

“50 euros was our maximum budget for the day,” explains his 85-year-old wife. “We don’t have a big pension, and the bills are constantly increasing, so we have to remain reasonable. And already, 50 euros lost is a lot,” she laments. But she consoles herself with the idea of ​​going to end the day at the Casino de Châtelaillon: “I really like the Casino de Châtelaillon. And we had tickets at the entrance to the racecourse, it would be a shame not to take advantage of them. »

Monsieur does his best against bad luck, to each his own pleasure obviously. “At least we might be able to recover our 50 euros lost at the races. » The day might not have been so bad in the end.


In the hall, some were taking their very first steps in horse racing betting.

XAVIER LEOTY/SO

In the hall, some were taking their very first steps in horse racing betting. This was the case, for example, of Bérénice Bonnard, 26 years old, and Joris Blanc, 27 years old, a young couple from Montpellier on vacation with family in Châtelaillon. “One of the volunteers who smoothes the tracks with a tractor between each race is a member of our family. We all met in Châtelaillon and it was the opportunity for a little family challenge: who is paying for the aperitif this evening? The one who won the most of course! », explains Bérénice Bonnard. “This is my very first time betting. As it’s more of an amusement, we only made the smallest possible bet, 2 euros. »

Joris Blanc, for his part, is not just starting out as a sports bettor. “My usual thing is betting on football. This is the first time I’ve made a horse racing bet. But in the three races where we made bets, we had winnings each time. » He explains their way of proceeding: “We rely on the favorites, and we choose “placed” rather than “winner”. The winnings are smaller but there are more chances of winning. At least it paid us back every time. » But they conclude with a laugh: “It won’t be up to us to pay for the aperitif this evening, others in the family have earned much more! »

The enthusiast focuses on the horse.


The enthusiast focuses on the horse.

XAVIER LEOTY/SO

Another type of punter, the horse riding enthusiast who focuses on the horse. This is the case of Sarah Lelièvre. This 25-year-old young woman has been riding horses for many years. “I completely disregard jockeys or trainers. What interests me are horses and their performances,” she explains.

“I do three horse racing events a year, always around Rochefort, either at the Châtelaillon racecourse, the Gémozac racecourse or the Palmyre racecourse. I spend the day there, and I make bets on each race. I leave with 20 euros in my pocket. I make my choices based on previous results, and with each bet I win. » The rest of the time, gambling isn’t really his thing.

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