A racetrack in Paris sent visitors home with a unique, and somewhat smelly, souvenir last weekend — a goody bag of horse manure.

Racegoers left the Paris Vincennes trotting track on Saturday (11 April) with high hopes for champion roses as they carried out their bags of dung, fresh from the champion trotters.

Organisers Cheval Francais said the gifted manure is “high-end, 100% natural, guaranteed non-genetically modified and French-origin”.

Sneak previews of the top-quality manure— presented in red velveteen jewellery-style boxes — were released prior to the event.

The plush containers were accompanied by a diagram of a pile of horse manure on a red silk cushion stating: “When champions grow, so do our plants”.

“Horse dung has a great reputation,” said Cheval Francais. “When used on indoor plants or on balconies, it improves the bloom, the colours and the life of flowers. In a garden, it does wonders for tomatoes, potatoes and roses.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (16 April, ’09)