The bicentenary celebrations of the Mauritius Turf Club will reach a climax on Saturday 30 June when a nine race programme is celebrated at the historic racecourse in Port Louis.
The introduction of an innovative Pick 8 bet has created a buzz and excitement amongst the local punting fraternity, and pools are expected to soar. Saftote also have a carryover of R177 328 going on to the Mauritius Pick6, and this pool is expected to reach R400 000.
The card is headed by the sixth race, Le Trophee du Bicentenaire du MTC, a mile event run for a stake of Rs 1 720 000, and which is highlighted by the presence of the impressive winner of last weekend’s Gr2 Gold Circle Mauritius Guineas Cup, IL Saggiatore.
The Gujadhur-trained son of Galileo, is now unbeaten in four starts on the island,
and is probably best remembered for his sensational 2011 KZN Derby win in the care of Joey Ramsden. In a dramatic boardroom decision, he was placed first on objection ahead of next Saturday’s Vodacom Durban July runner Sage Throne. He will be ridden again by Robbie Burke on Saturday.
We have become accustomed to eight race cards in Mauritius, but this meeting features nine races, and for the first time ever, total race stake prize money on the day will exceed Rs 4million. This is in comparison to the 2011 Maiden Cup Race Day which offered a total of Rs 3 647 000 and the International Jockey’s Weekend Sunday meeting which paid out Rs 2 759 000.
All of Saturday’s racenames have some significance to the history of the Mauritius Turf Club.
The first race, The Fanny Cup, is named in honour of the first ever winner of a race on the island. Fanny was ridden to victory on 25 June 1812 by Mr James Reader.
The second race, The Winking Cup, is named after the only racehorse ever to win all four Mauritian Classics in the same season. The English import won the Duchess Of York Cup, The Barbe’ Cup, The Maiden Cup and the Duke Of York Cup in 1934.
The City Council of Port Louis Cup is the third race, and this marks the excellent relationship that exists between the MTC and the municipality. Mr Louis Lechelle was the first elected Mayor of Port Louis in 1850.
The fourth race is the Lady Farquhar Cup, named to honour the daughter of a rich banker based in Madras, India, and who married Robert Farquhar, the first English Governor of Mauritius.
The Asian Federation Cup is the fifth race,and is named in honour of the 25 member country Asian Racing Federation which meets every two years to formulate policy. It was created in 1960 through a joint effort by the Japan Racing Association and the Club Rangoon Turf Club.
The sixth race is the feature event named in honour of the Bicentenary Celebrations.
The seventh race is the Colonel Draper Cup, named in remembrance of the British born ‘Father Of The Turf’ in Mauritius.
The eighth race is The Prodigal Cup, named after a South African bay gelding who won a record 56 races between 1960 and 1970.
The final race is the Le Grand Prix du Champ de Mars, and this is named in honour of one of the world’s oldest racecourses.
The ninth race brings the curtain down on this phase of the bicentenary celebrations.
Activities included a well- attended fireworks and music performance at the Champ de Mars on Monday, the screening of a documentary on the MTC’s history on Tuesday, the opening of Turf Museum exhibition at the Port Louis Waterfront on Wednesday and the opening ceremony of the Colonel Draper Avenue on Thursday.