Location of Champ de Mars Racecourse
Champ de Mars is located in Port Louis. As a result, the drive took a total of about 30 minutes from our villa in Pointe aux Cannoniers. The directions are simple therefore just go south on M2 until you get to Port Louis, then go left on A1 across from the Port Louis Waterfront. Although things get slightly confusing at this point if you are driving there for the first time. However, there is no reason to worry because everyone knows where it is. After asking for directions we found it straight away. Most essentially, my friend spoke fluent French which made it a bit easier.
Brief History of Champ de Mars
Champs de Mars was first inaugurated in 1812. It is the oldest race track in the southern hemisphere and it is the 2nd oldest racecourse in the world.
Previously, the land the racecourse is constructed on was a training ground for the French military. After the French surrendered the island to the conquering British in 1810, Champ de Mars was constructed. Therefore, the new British administration decided a racecourse could ease the cultural tensions between the British and French residents on the island.
The attendance record was set in 1984 when 100,000 fans showed up to watch the Maiden Cup. However, on the day we attended the races the crowd was much smaller.
The Thoroughbred Horses
This was my first thoroughbred horse race and I was very impressed with the horses. Most notably, the horses were very tall at the shoulder, very well groomed and had beautiful coats.
The horses are slowly walked in a circle before entering the race track.
The horses were a bit jumpy as they assembled at the starting gate.
There were several different levels of seating arrangements to watch the race. The V.I.P. room was more of a formal affair. Although it was not cost prohibitive we still decided to explore different view points for the races.
Additionally, there is a seating gallery on the top level which offers a birds eye view of the races.
Black and white photo of the horse race taken from the upper seating level.
Additional black and white photo from the upper level.
There appeared to be a seating area in the center of the track. However, we did not attempt to access this area because it was possible to get the same view from this side of the racecourse.
Track side at the final stretch of the race.
Champ de Mars is definitely worth the effort. It was a great way to diversify and enjoy all aspects of Mauritius. Now it was time to go to the beach. In addition, I would be going deep sea fishing with Le Performant in the coming days.