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Coupling on PMU set to come to an end; INTERNATIONAL.

Byline: Desmond Stoneham.

THE coupling of horses in the French parimutuel betting system could be consigned to history after France-Galop revealed their intent to scrap the rule in a bid to boost turnover, writes Desmond Stoneham.

Under the current system, punters betting on racing in France are often required to take shorter odds on horses who race for owners with multiple representation as runners in the same ownership must be coupled.

However, frustration over the lost revenue caused by coupling has triggered the latest bid by the French racing authorities to have the bracketing of horses abolished.

France-Galop director Dominique de Wenden said: "We voted to change the coupling law about 15 years ago, but the government insists the organisers of trotting must also agree. We hope to have their agreement some time in September.

"When horses are coupled for a win, we are losing betting turnover, so the change would reverse this trend."

Coupling was introduced to protect punters, a number of whom were spared a controversial loss in 1979 when pacemaker Dragon made all to win the Group 1 Grand Criterium for Mahmoud Fustok having forced the pace for the owner's more fancied In Fijar.

British punters have been less affected by coupling in recent years due to industry prices and the enthusiasm of bookmakers to form their own markets on big events.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 6, 2008
Words:242
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