Mauritius Turf Club was founded in the year 1812. Located on a prestigious avenue in Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius, it is the oldest horse racing club of the southern hemisphere and the second oldest in the world.
Horse racing in Mauritius was introduced by Colonel Edward Drappper in the same year when Mauritius Turf Club was created. Drapper’s objective was to earn an esteem and warm cooperation of the French population who are still uncomfortable under the British rule. His belief was that if both parties were brought together in an atmosphere of leisure to forget their traditional rivalry then the goal of cooperation can be attained. The idea worked out with the first racemeeting just after the foundation of Mauritius Turf Club. The race meet was organized at Le Champ de Mars racecourse on 25th of June 1812 with the backing of the Governor Sir Robert Farquhar.
La Champ de Mars is like heaven for horse racing. It is located in the capital city of Mauritius. On 25th of June 1812, this race course was inaugurated at the Mauritius Turf Club. Taking a visit to this place, one can find that horse racing has become one of the main hobbies of Mauritian people. The first organized race meeting was held in 1812 at this race course. Approximately 30,000 people gathered every Saturday to this only race course of the island. Now four race events are organized every year. They are Duchess of York Club, Barbe Cup, Maiden Cup and the Duke of York Club.
It is said that horse racing existed in Mauritius since 1812 when both, the Mauritius Turf Club and Champs de Mars track was created. After that there have been a lot of improvements in the track as well as in the race. Over the last decade a high level of professionalism has been attained in such races. Telephone betting with the TOTE is the only off course betting facility here and bookmarks are allowed to operate on course race only.
Two training centres are run by Mauritius Turf Club. One is Champ de Mars and the other one is Guy Desmarais Training Centre at Floreal. The first one accommodates 160 horses and opens the sand tracks at 5 in the morning for trackwork.
Most of the horses to these grounds are imported from South Africa. They are geldings aged 3 to 5 years old. Australia, UK and France also exports horse to this race course. Each stable signs a foreign jockey. Most of the jockeys are from South Africa and Australia.