A guide to horse racing in Mauritius

Welcome to the exhilarating world of horse racing in Mauritius, a unique blend of passion, tradition and glamour that captivates both locals and visitors alike. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the rich history and culture of thoroughbred racing on this beautiful island nation while providing essential insights into attending events at the prestigious Champ de Mars racecourse.

From understanding betting odds to savouring fine cuisine in VIP lounges, prepare to embark on an unforgettable equestrian adventure steeped in both excitement and elegance.

Key Takeaways

  • Horse racing in Mauritius has a rich history dating back to colonial times and remains an important sport that is well-loved by locals and tourists alike.
  • The racing season runs from late March to December, with the biggest events being the Maiden Cup and Barbé Cup. Visitors should familiarise themselves with betting odds and proper etiquette, as well as take advantage of food and drink options available at the racecourse.
  • Non-racing enthusiasts can also enjoy activities such as visiting the paddock or touring the stables to get an inside look at how horses are trained and prepared for races.

The History And Culture Of Horse Racing In Mauritius

Horse racing first arrived in Mauritius during the colonial era, with the arrival of British settlers who brought their enthusiasm for equestrian sports to the island.

Origins Of Horse Racing In Mauritius

The origins of horse racing in Mauritius can be traced back to the early 19th century, making it one of the oldest equestrian sports on the island. It all started when British Empire Governor, Sir Robert Farquhar, introduced thoroughbred racing to foster unity among the diverse population and bring a sense of camaraderie after years of conflict between French colonisers and British forces.

Since those early days, horse racing has become deeply ingrained within Mauritian culture – a symbol of passion, tradition and glamour. Over time, this sport has evolved into an exciting spectator event where locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy thrilling races featuring talented jockeys atop majestic horses.

Development Of Horse Racing In Mauritius Under British Colonial Rule

During British colonial rule, horse racing in Mauritius flourished as it became increasingly popular with the upper classes. The first racecourse was built in 1812, and by the late 19th century, there were three major racecourses on the island.

The Champ de Mars racecourse, which is still one of Mauritius’s most popular venues for horse racing today, was initially opened to cater to British officers stationed on the island.

Over time it expanded to become a cultural event open to all social classes.

Horse racing also played a critical role during times of war when tensions between French and British communities ran high.

Current Status And Popularity Of Horse Racing In Mauritius

Horse racing is an important and well-loved sport in Mauritius, with a rich history that dates back to colonial times. Today, the sport enjoys immense popularity across the island, with thousands of locals and tourists attending race meetings at venues like the Champ de Mars racecourse in Port Louis each year.

The racing season runs features a variety of events, including flat races and steeplechases. One of the most significant races on the calendar is the Maiden Cup, which attracts top horses from around the world and offers substantial prize money.

The Racing Season And Major Events Of Horse Racing In Mauritius

Dates And Venues For The Racing Season

The horse racing season in Mauritius typically runs from March to December, with around 28 race meetings held throughout the period. The main venue for these races is the Champ de Mars racecourse in Port Louis, which has a rich history dating back to 1812.

Other venues that occasionally host horse racing events include the Guillaume Tell Showground and the Saint Felix racecourse. Some of the most popular races held during this season include the Maiden Cup, Barbé Cup, and Duchess of York Cup.

Visitors can check holiday guides or the Mauritius Turf Club website for specific dates and locations of upcoming races.

Types Of Races, Including Flat And Steeplechase

Horse racing in Mauritius features a variety of different types of races, with the most common being flat and steeplechase. Flat racing involves horses galloping over a straight or oval track without any obstacles, while steeplechase involves jumps such as fences and water hazards.

The races vary in length from 990 metres to 2400 metres, showcasing the speed and stamina of these magnificent animals. The Draper Mile is one of the most famous distances at 1500m.

Visitors can experience an exhilarating atmosphere watching these majestic creatures compete for top honours on race day, surrounded by passionate spectators cheering their favourite horse on to victory.

Major Events, Including The Maiden Cup And The Barbé Cup

Mauritius has several major events in horse racing, with the two most famous being the Maiden Cup and the Barbé Cup.

  • The Maiden Cup is a prestigious event held annually at Champ de Mars racecourse. It is a 1600m flat race for three-year-old horses and attracts large crowds of spectators, including local and international visitors.
  • The Barbé Cup, also known as the International Jockeys’ Weekend, is a two-day horse racing event that features jockeys from around the world. It includes races such as the S.A.Toms Trophy and the Barbe Cup, which are open to local and international horses.
  • Other significant events on the Mauritius horse racing calendar include The Duke of York Cup, The Duchess of York cup, and The Governor’s Cup Day.
  • Horse racing enthusiasts come out in droves to witness these thrilling events, which showcase some of the best thoroughbred horses in Mauritius and around the world. It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience equestrian culture and passion on this beautiful island.

Experiencing Horse Racing In Mauritius

Attending a day at the horse racing in Mauritius is not just about watching horses race, but an opportunity to experience local culture and dress up in your finest clothes.

Attending A Race Day, Including Dress Code And Etiquette

Attending a race day in Mauritius is an exciting experience, but it’s important to follow the dress code and proper etiquette to show respect for the sport and its traditions. Here are some tips on what to wear and how to behave:

Dress code: Men should wear suits or blazers with trousers, while women can opt for dresses or skirts with appropriate lengths. Hats are also a popular accessory, especially for ladies. It’s best to avoid wearing casual attire such as shorts and flip flops.

Arrival time: Make sure to arrive at the racecourse early so you can find a good spot to watch the races. The gates usually open at least two hours before the first race, giving you plenty of time to explore and get settled in.

Betting: If you’re planning on placing bets, make sure you understand the different types of bets available (win, place, forecast) and how odds work. Always bet responsibly and within your means.

Paddock area: The paddock area is where horses are prepared before races. Visitors can observe jockeys saddling up their mounts or trainers preparing them for their run. However, it’s important not to approach horses without permission from their handlers.

Food and drink: There are several food stalls available at the racecourse serving local delicacies such as samosas, kebabs, and biryanis. Drinks range from local beer such as Phoenix Beer or Blue Marlin to cocktails like Ti Punch or Mojito if you want something special.

Etiquette: During races, it’s important not to shout or wave arms that might confuse jockeys or startle the horses. It’s also customary to stand during key moments of each race such as when they begin galloping past towards the finish line.

Departure time: After each race finishes there is usually a 30-minute break until the next one starts which gives attendees time to grab some refreshments or visit the Bookmaker and then return to their viewing position. Once your day is done, gather your belongings and make your way out of the racecourse.

By following these tips, you can enjoy a race day in Mauritius to its fullest and experience the thrill of horse racing while respecting its rich cultural traditions.

Facilities Available, Including Food And Drink Options

Spectators attending horse racing events at Champ de Mars racecourse in Mauritius can take advantage of a range of facilities available, including food and drink options. Below are some of the amenities available:

Food Stalls: There are various food stalls where spectators can buy quick bites like sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs.

Restaurant: The restaurant at Champ de Mars offers a more formal dining experience with a varied menu that includes both local and international cuisine.

Bars: There are several bars located throughout the venue offering a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

VIP Pavilion: For those looking for a more sophisticated experience, the VIP pavilion offers an all-inclusive service, including refreshments and snacks.

Picnic Area: Spectators are welcome to bring their own picnic baskets into the racecourse, where they can enjoy a meal while watching the races.

Horse racing enthusiasts visiting Mauritius should not worry about missing out on food and drink options while enjoying their experience at Champ de Mars. With plenty of choices available, visitors can focus on enjoying the thrilling action happening right before their eyes.

Activities For Non-Racing Enthusiasts, Including Visiting The Paddock And Touring The Stables

Visiting the paddock and touring the stables are two great activities for non-racing enthusiasts when attending horse racing events in Mauritius. Here are some things you can expect:

  • Paddock visits allow spectators to see the horses up close before they take to the track, providing an opportunity to get a good look at their size and physicality.
  • Visitors may also have the chance to speak with jockeys, trainers, and stable staff as they prepare the horses for their races.
  • Touring the stables is another activity that allows non-racing enthusiasts to get an inside look at how the horses are trained and prepared for racing.
  • Visitors can see where the horses live and learn about their daily routines, such as feeding, exercise, and grooming.
  • Tours of the stables often include guided conversations with trainers or stable hands who can provide insights into caring for these highly specialised animals.

Whether watching from the stands or exploring behind the scenes, visiting the paddock and touring stables offer non-racing enthusiasts a unique perspective on this historic sport.

Betting On Horse Racing In Mauritius

To place a bet on horse racing in Mauritius, attendees can choose from various options such as Win, Place, and Forecast bets while understanding the odds and betting regulations of responsible gambling.

Types Of Bets Available, Including Win, Place, And Forecast

Betting is an integral part of horse racing in Mauritius, and there are several types of bets available. These include:

  • Win: Betting on which horse will cross the finish line first.
  • Place: Betting on a horse to finish first or second.
  • Forecast: Betting on the horses that will finish first and second, in the correct order.

These bet types are offered by bookmakers both on-site at racecourses and online, allowing punters to place their bets from anywhere. The odds for each bet type can vary based on factors such as the horse’s track record and current form, as well as the total amount of money being bet on each outcome. It’s important to understand these odds before placing a bet to ensure that you’re making an informed decision.

Responsible gambling practices are also important in Mauritius, and the Mauritius Turf Club has strict regulations in place to prevent problem gambling. This includes age restrictions for betting and limits on the amount that can be wagered. By following these guidelines, visitors can enjoy a fun day out at the races while still maintaining responsible gambling habits.

How To Place A Bet And Understanding Odds

If you’re new to horse racing in Mauritius, placing a bet can seem intimidating. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it and understand the odds:

  1. Find a bookmaker or betting booth at the racecourse. Look for signs that say “Pari Mutuel” or “PMU.”
  2. Decide on the type of bet you want to make. There are several options, including Win, Place, and Forecast bets.
  3. Choose your horses. Each race has a list of horses competing, along with their names and numbers.
  4. Place your bet with the bookmaker or at the betting booth.
  5. Wait for the race to start and cheer on your chosen horse!
  6. Understanding odds is also crucial when it comes to placing bets on horse racing in Mauritius. Odds represent the amount of money you can win if your chosen horse wins the race.
  7. For example, if a horse has 5/1 odds, this means that if you place a $1 bet and win, you’ll receive $5 in return (plus your original $1).
  8. The lower the odds, the higher chance there is of that horse winning – but also less payout potential.
  9. Keep in mind that there are betting regulations and responsible gambling practices that need to be followed when placing bets on horse racing in Mauritius.

By following these steps and understanding how odds work, you can place bets confidently while enjoying the thrill of horse racing in Mauritius!

Betting Regulations And Responsible Gambling Practices

As with any form of gambling, it’s essential to understand the regulations and responsible practices that go along with betting on horse racing in Mauritius. The Mauritius Turf Club has strict rules and guidelines to ensure fair play and transparency.

One important regulation is that you must be over 18 years old to place a bet on horse racing in Mauritius.

When placing bets, there are several options available, including win bets where you bet on a specific horse to win the race or place bets where you bet on a horse finishing in the top three.

Overall, while betting can add excitement to watching horse racing events in Mauritius, it’s crucial always to practice responsible gambling habits and adhere strictly to the regulations set out by the Mauritius Turf Club.


In conclusion, Mauritius offers a unique horse racing experience with its rich history and diverse equestrian culture. Whether you are an avid racing enthusiast or a curious visitor, attending the races at Champ de Mars racecourse guarantees excitement and glamour.

Remember to dress up in your finest clothes, familiarise yourself with the various types of bets available and enjoy watching jockeys and trainers compete for glory on one of the most beautiful tracks in the world.

Horse racing has been an integral part of Mauritian life for centuries, offering excitement, entertainment, and even peace during difficult times.


What is the history of horse racing in Mauritius?

Horse racing has been a popular sport in Mauritius since the colonial era, with the first racecourse established in 1812. Today, there are two main racetracks on the island, Champ de Mars and Casela, where races are held throughout the year.

How can I place a bet on horse racing in Mauritius?

Betting at Mauritian racecourses is done through Tote systems, which calculates odds based on all bets placed and distributes payouts accordingly. In addition to traditional win/place/show bets, punters can also make exotic wagers like exactas and trifectas for potentially higher payouts.

What should I wear when attending a horse race in Mauritius?

Although there is no strict dress code for attending races in Mauritius, it’s generally recommended to dress smartly to fit with its glamorous atmosphere. Men typically wear collared shirts and trousers while women often opt for dresses or skirts.

Are there any major horse racing events that take place annually in Mauritius?

Yes! The most notable event is undoubtedly the Maiden Cup – an annual horseracing competition that takes place between July and November every year at Champ de Mars Racecourse featuring some of the country’s finest thoroughbreds battling it out over multiple distances to earn coveted titles such as ‘Champion Horse’ or ‘Best Jockey’. Another popular event is International Jockeys’ Weekend – an international jockeys’ festival held annually around late January/early February each year where top riders from different countries come together to compete against one another across several disciplines including Flat Racing & Show Jumping amongst others!

2 thoughts on “A guide to horse racing in Mauritius”

  1. Where did you get your information from.There is no horse racing in Mauritius in January or February.International festival is normally in December..OK.

    • Thanks for your comment Satsan but I’m not seeing any mention of horse racing in Mauritius during January or February, perhaps you can reply and let us know where you see that mentioned.


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