CHAMP DE MARS RACECOURSE

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The Champs de Mars racecourse lays claims to be being the second oldest racecourse in the world, and is built on land which was still a French Military training ground in 1810. It is located in Mauritius in the City of Port Louis and has a season which extends from early May to Late November, although in its early days the season stretched from April to August. The Mauritius Turf Club has a very proud history dating back to its founding in 1812, with the first meeting taking place on Thursday 25th June 1812, followed immediately by its second meeting the next day. After that inaugural 2 day meeting, from 1813 regular 3 day meetings were held annually. The acknowledged ‘father’ of the Mauritius Turf Club is Colonel Edward A Draper, although others associated with founding the Club include Mr Reader, Registrar of the Vice-Admiralty Court, and Sir Robert Townsend Farquhar, the first English Governor of Mauritius. The Principal race it organises is the Maiden Cup which is held in the first week in September, although when it was instigated in 1843 it was known as the Maiden Plate, run over 1 ½ miles and 190 yards, it was open to any horse which had not previously won a race in Mauritius, so they were not necessarily maidens.  However, it also hosts other important races, including the Duke of York Cup, the Duchess of York Cup and the Barbe Cup.

Local Patrons Mauritius Turf Club
Principal Races Maiden Cup, Duke of York Cup, Duchess of York Cup, Barbe Cup
MTC BL.JPG (13188 bytes)

In October 1867 Prince Alfred was on a tour of the Southern Hemisphere and had left Kenya on board Galatea on his way to Australia. It was hoped at the time that he would call in at Mauritius where the annual horse races at Champ de Mars were due to begin on 7th September 1867. During those races the crowd was significantly down on previous years owing to an epidemic sweeping across the island, but the principal race, the Colonial Maiden Plate, was won by Coventry, an Australian horse.

1861 The Maiden Plate was won by Tormentor owned by Mr Couve
1867 The Maiden Plate was won by Coventry, an Australian horse
1879 The Maiden Plate was won by Wentworth
1880 The Maiden Plate was won by Emperor
1881 The Maiden Plate was won by Avernus
1885 The Maiden Plate was won by Don Quixote

At the 1885 Meeting the Maiden Cup and Port Louis Cup were won by an Australian horse Don Quixote. The Mauritius Turf Club offered the owner of Don Quixote and Dukedom a prize of the Port Louis Cup on condition that he allowed the two horses to compete against each other. The owner agreed and the race was duly won by Don Quixote in 2 minutes 58 seconds, a record for the year.

1895 The Maiden Plate was won by Drummer II ridden by Sam Anwin
1896 The Maiden Plate was won by Marengo owned by Mr P Langlois
1897 The Maiden Plate was won by Mercury owned by Mr G Tostee
1898 The Maiden Plate was won by Earl of Montrose owned by Mr P Langlois

Throughout the 19th century there was no grandstand or boxes for the majority of racegoers, with the only permanent box reserved for the Governor, the Mayor of Port Louis and the officials of the Mauritius Turf Club. It was not until 1909 that a permanent grandstand was first erected, with further improvements to facilities in 1927, 1939 and again in 1954.

1902 The Maiden Plate was won by Cyrano owned by Mr G R Lagane
1903 The Maiden Plate was won by Orion owned by Mr A Esnouf
1904 The Maiden Plate was won by King of the Ring
1905 The Maiden Plate was won by Tahara Maid owned by Mr Larche
1906 The Maiden Plate was won by Gay Lad owned by Mr H G Robinson

Note that the picture above is shown courtesy of ‘Mauritius Illustrated: Historical and Descriptive, Commercial and Industrial published in 1914’

1908 The Maiden Plate was won by Grace owned by Mr J Ganachaud
1909 The Maiden Plate was won by Noonet owned by Mr G M Ajum
1910 The Maiden Plate was won by Majestic owned by Mr R Pitot
1911 The Maiden Plate was won by Santa Claus, owned by Mr G Rousset and ridden by Arnold Lovell
1912 The Maiden Plate was won by Straightshot owned by Mr G Rousset
1917 The Maiden Plate was won by Damoiselle ridden by G Moncrieff
1920 The Maiden Plate was won by Pay Day ridden by G Moncrieff
1921 The Maiden Plate was won by Tiggy ridden by T Matthews
1922 The Maiden Plate was won by Knight of Lothian ridden by W McCloud
1924 The Maiden Plate was won by Passenham ridden by Wally Sibbritt
1928 The Maiden Plate was won by Zinovieff ridden by Alan Lewis

Note that the picture above is shown courtesy of ‘Mauritius Illustrated: Historical and Descriptive, Commercial and Industrial published in 1914’

In 1929 the newspapers gave an insight into racing in Mauritius. Each year the Mauritius Turf Club purchased a shipment of thoroughbreds from England or France, which were then shipped to Port Louis. Members of the Mauritius Turf Club made their selections in order of rotation decided by ballot. The cost of leasing each horse for a season was one rupee, the equivalent of 1 shilling in English money. At that time the season lasted from April until August.

Recent Maiden Cup winners
1955 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by No Name, owned by Mrs Robert Noel and ridden by M Fitzgerald
1956 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Roseraie, owned by Mr Raoul Rivet and ridden by W Gyzen
1957 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Filos, owned by Mr Eddy Rey and ridden by V Caddy
1958 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Romandale, owned by Mr Clement P Dalais and ridden by V Caddy
1959 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Student Prince, owned by Mr Jacques G Ducray and ridden by V Caddy
1960 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Why Worry, owned by Mrs J Henry Fabre and ridden by L O’Brien
1961 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Derndyke, owned by Mr Gunness Gujadhur and ridden by J Gilmore
1962 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Captain Trial, owned by Mr Gaetan de Chazal and ridden by B Eider
1963 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Saman, owned by Mr Henri Rousset and ridden by B Lewis
1964 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Old Trafford, owned by Mr Y Albert Rey and ridden by G Patmore
1965 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Mystic Snow, owned by Mr Serge Henry and ridden by B Passmore
1966 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Noble Hero, owned by Mrs J Daruly de Grandpre and ridden by A Richardson
1967 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Sniper, owned by Mr Herve Poulel and ridden by W Attrill
1968 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Gay Knight, owned by Mr Balkrishna Ramphul and ridden by R J Setches
1969 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Verdot, owned by Mr Gunness Gujadhur and ridden by N Pyatt
1970 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Astronomy, owned by Mrs Louis Edgard Adolphe and ridden by G Lambie
1971 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Zillah, owned by Hon Henry Ylthier and ridden by T Little
1972 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Corban, owned by Mr Gunness Gujadhur and ridden by N Landers
1973 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Samat, owned by Mr Gunness Gujadhur and ridden by L Harvey
1974 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Strident, owned by Mrs Cyril Fijac and ridden by F White
1975 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by King Sweep, owned by Hon Henry Ylhier and ridden by J Bymes
1976 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Hellop Polly, owned by Hon Sir R Gujadhur and ridden by R Heffeman
1977 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Esperanto, owned by Mrs Alain Perombelon and ridden by M de Coriolis
1978 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by High Hearted, owned by Benoit Espitalier Noel and ridden by J E Noel
1979 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Beacon Top, owned by Mr J Henry Ylhier and ridden by J Bymes
1980 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Holdall, owned by Benoit Espitalier Noel and ridden by J Wilson
1981 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Monastic, owned by Mrs J Marc David and ridden by R Hardwicke
1982 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Monsieur Blanc, owned by Mrs Ran Ruhee and ridden by A Smith
1983 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Noble Salute, owned by Mrs Serge Ladegourdie and ridden by D Grant
1984 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by ippy Regen, owned by Sir R Gujadhur and ridden by A Walkinshaw
1985 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Rome, owned by Sir Gaetan Duval and ridden by R Sham
1986 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Lucinius, owned by Mrs Norbert Poupard and ridden by P Barnett
1987 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Pacific Ocean, owned by Mr Alain Tennanl and ridden by L Masters
1988 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Lines of Power, owned by Noelli Sung Sang and ridden by C Merger
1989 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Lines of Power, owned by Mr N & J Li Sung Sang, and ridden by P Whitmore
1990 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by South Lake, owned by Mr Gunness Gujadhur and ridden by G Waterston
1991 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Evader, owned by Mr & Mrs Charles Ng, and ridden by J Geroudis
1992 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Rough Rope, owned by Mr Gunness Gujadhur and ridden by M Sutherland
1993 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Home Style, owned by Mrs Gilbert Merven and ridden by G Schofield
1994 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Proud Appeal, owned by Mrs Virginie Maurel and ridden by T Van Sooma
1995 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Flaming Axe, owned by Mr Saulier, Mr Coquel and Mr B Cayeux, and ridden by G Figueroa
1996 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by River Run, owned by Mr R Mauvis, Mr I Box and Mr C Dily, and ridden by S P Nagadoo
1997 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Studded Chalice, owned by Mr Moosa, Mr B Gujadhur and Mr A Gujadhur, and ridden by T Jackman
1998 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Pinehurst, owned by Mr J S Henry and Mr P Bhoyroo, and ridden by G Hatt
1999 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Mast Abeam, owned by Mr & Mrs Charles Ng, and ridden by R Ibompson
2000 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Gwinganna, owned by Mrs & Mrs M Jauffret and Mr J M Henry, and ridden by V Venkaya
2001 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Shah’s Star, owned by Mr & Mrs J P Montocc…, Mrs J S Henry and N Larson, and ridden by R Hill
2002 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Altaturk, owned by Mr & Mrs Hoornen R Kalleechum, and ridden by D Williams
2003 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Have Mercy, owned by Mrs M Fok, R Gujadhur, K Thecka and S Ochit, and ridden by S Mahadia
2004 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Etro, owned by Mr & Mrs Patrick Lee Chung, and ridden by K Shea
2005 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Have Mercy, owned by Mrs M Fok, R Gujadhur, K Thecka and S Ochit, and ridden by S Mahadia
2006 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by To The Line, owned by Mrs Serge Seenyen and ridden by K Shea
2007 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Ubusuku, owned by Mrs Serge Seenyen and ridden by G Hatt
2008 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Mr Brock, owned by Mrs Serge Seenyen and ridden by A Delpech
2009 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Solar Symbol, owned by Mrs Gunness, Mr Vijay Kumar and Mr Tikanand Gujadhur, and ridden by G Hatt
2010 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Captains Knock, owned by Mr A D de Speville, Mr G Rousset, M Virahsawmy, Mrs A Howlakhan and Dr G Stasica, and ridden by J Geroudis
2011 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Senor Versace, owned by Mrs Gunness, Mr Vijay Kumar and Mr Tikanand Gujadhur, and ridden by M Neisius
2012 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Ice Axe, owned by Mr Maxime Henri Maingard, Mr V C Veeramootoo and Mr Sudesh Sawon, and ridden by G Faucon
2013 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Intercontinental, owned by Mrs E Courtieux, Mr Adam, Mr A de Speville, Mr J de C Du Mee and Mr A Heeralall, and ridden by J Geroudis
2014 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Man To Man, owned by Mrs J S Henry, Mr Hassen Khan Taher, Mr V K Bhoojedhun and Mr J A Lagesse, and ridden by R Joorawon
2015 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Vettel, owned by Mr & Mrs Ramapatee, Mr Tikanand Gujadhur, Mr Uday and Dr Prashant Gujadhur, and ridden by K Ghunowa
2016 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Parachute Man, owned by Mr Henri Maingard, Mr Didier Descroizilles, Mr & Mrs Bundhoo, Mr Didier Peten and Mrs A Keonig, and ridden by R Joorawon
2017 The Maiden Cup over 2400 metres was won by Enaad, owned by Mr & Mrs Ramapatee, Mr Tikanand and Dr & Mrs Gujadhur, and ridden by S Arnold

Today the oval racecourse has a perimeter of 1,298 metres, with a width varying between 12 and 14 metres, and a home straight of 225 metres, and is very well run by the Mauritius Turf Club which offers a vibrant programme of horse races culminating in the running of the Maiden Cup.

Course today The racecourse continues to flourish.
If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email johnwslusar@gmail.com

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

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