The circular racecourse known as the Champ de Mars is situated in Port Louis. It has a circular 1300M grass track, with an inside dirt track used exclusively for training. Slightly less than 40 weekly meetings are held annually between the end of March and early December. The culminating point is the International Jockeys’ weekend in which internationally renowned riders are keen participants. The race horse population numbers about 400, presently divided among 13 stables which have each a licensed trainer. Since there is no breeding industry in Mauritius, the vast majority of horses are imported from South Africa Both Mauritian and foreign jockeys ride at the Champ de Mars.
Most stables employ for the season a foreign jockey who is usually of South African or French or Australian nationality. However, Mauritian jockeys hold their own against those foreigners. Local apprentices, trained in South Africa where the MTC sends them regularly, show their mettle in competition. The most popular feature race of the season is The Maiden Cup run in September. It was introduced in 1843. Races are televised live locally and relayed to South Africa and Reunion Island where betting on Mauritian horse racing has been recently authorized.
A race day at the Champ de Mars is a unique treat, specially for foreigners who are eager to get acquainted with local specificities. It is a wonderful opportunity to dip oneself into a world of fun and excitement, amid a crowd of ten thousand or more, where the multicultural facets of Mauritian diversity are displayed. In 2012, The Mauritius Turf Club will celebrate its bicentenary, thus confirming its place among the oldest racing institutions worldwide.