Located just a stone’s throw from Promenade des Anglais in Nice, Cagnes-sur-Mer is a sun-bathed, seaside venue in the most stunning of locations on the gorgeous Cote d’azur, by the shores of Southern France’s Mediterranean coast, that prides itself on offering stunning landscapes, fantastic food and great winter racing. The winter months here are not as cold as in the north of the country or in the rest of Europe, so this venue offers something different to what’s happening elsewhere.
The Hippodrome de la Cote d’Azur was the first venue in Europe to offer winter racing, firstly on turf and then, from 2000 onwards, on synthetic too. Located on the seafront, this exceptional place combines top class horse racing with panoramic views of the sea.
In terms of the number of meets annually, the Hippodrome de la Côte d’Azur, or Cagnes sur Mer after the town it is based in, is the second biggest racecourse in France, primarily functioning December through March. The course was initially opened with temporary facilities back in 1952 and wasn’t officially opened until December 1960.
Trotting and hurdles take place until mid-January after which the flat racing season begins. The most prestigious race held here, and one of the great classics of Europe’s trotting season on the whole, is the Grand Criterium speed of the Riviera which is held each year in March.
Cagnes-sur-mer Race Course History
West of Nice, Cagnes-sur-Mer is a seaside resort that attracts sun seeking tourists with its attractive 2 mile beach. As well as being home to a medieval château built for the Grimaldis of Monaco and the former home of French Impressionist Renoir, visitors to the resort are all drawn by its love of professional horse racing.
The Hippodrome de la Côte d’Azur is located in a truly unique setting, nestled in between the blue waters of the Mediterranean sea and the Southern Alps mountain range in the tourist town of Cagnes-sur-Mer. The racetrack here was opened in 1952, albeit with temporary facilities. Since then, it has continually improved and developed its infrastructure to the point where today, it is one of the best performing race tracks in France.
Cagnes-sur-mer Race Course track configuration
Left-handed oval course
Both Polytrack and turf boast broad fair turns and long straights
Cagnes-sur-mer race track bias
At this straight oval course, runners over 7 ½ f on turf, or a mile on the all-weather, only need to navigate the one turn, so this is not a course where people are left cursing their luck. The 300 metre straight is ideal for breaking sprinter’s records and is a great run for those that love a galop.
Cagnes-sur-mer race track best trainers
Nestling next to the city of Nice, Cagnes-sur-Mer provides picture-perfect backdrop of the Mediterranean which, along with stellar horse racing meetings, draws plenty of noteworthy names among the trainer ranks. Here are some of the most successful trainers in recent seasons:
- F.X. Belvisi (13% strike rate)
- Fabrice Vermeulen (100% strike rate)
- Archie Wilson (13% strike rate)
- Y. Barberot (50% strike rate)
- Fabrice Chappet (0% strike rate)
Cagnes-sur-mer race track best Jockeys
Winters spent by the med are inviting to say the least but throw in some top quality horse racing and you can see why Cagnes-sur-mer has steadily grown into France’s second busiest horse racing venue. Home to some of the nation’s biggest horse racing events, the world’s best jockeys all aspire to one day race here and, if they’re truly lucky, win here too.
These are the top five performing jockeys at Cagnes-sur-mer in recent meets:
- Stephane Pasquier (25% strike rate)
- Maxime Guyon (25% strike rate)
- Cristian Demuro (100% strike rate)
- Edward Greatrex (50% strike rate)
- Pierre-Charles Boudot (0% strike rate)
Cagnes-sur-mer racing season, race track stakes and Graded Stakes
Cagnes-Sur-Mer is the home of French winter racing, and is famous for gallops and trots, that run from December until mid- March, a time of year when the Northern Europe is regularly wrapped in fog, frost or snow. The Côte d’Azur racetrack hosts many gallops meetings and harness meetings during the season and is extremely busy over this period. Five weeks of competition over jumps are followed by six dedicated to the flat, while there are also a set of harness fixtures that run alternatively over the four months.
There are five listed races over the flat season, some of which are early form setters in the build up to the classics. These include the Prix Policeman named after the 1980 G1 Prix du Jockey Club winner, who started his Classic campaign with a pair of wins here at Cagnes-sur-Mer. It is also worth looking out for the Grand Prix de la Riviera Cote d’Azur and the Prix de la Californie. By far the biggest race of its season though remains the Grand Criterium speed of the Riviera which goes in March.
Cagnes-sur-mer Race Course address and website
Hippodrome de la Côte d’Azur, 2 Boulevard J F Kennedy, 06800, Cagnes-sur-Mer, France