Surrounded by apple trees and flowers, this beautiful French racetrack, invites visitors to come, relax and enjoy its rustic charm and typical art de vivre. Located in the Normandy region, famous for producing excellent cheeses, apple cider and Calvados apple brandy, this famous old track is just a few minutes away from France’s northern coast and the cool shores of the English channel.
The racecourse can be found in Tourgéville near Deauville, the main horse breeding region in France. It is a 40-acre facility that hosts harness racing, thoroughbred flat racing, steeplechase and hurdle races over its season which typically runs from June to October. This is a jewel in a region that offers amazing natural landscapes and the racetrack’s main building offers a beautiful example of Normandy’s architecture, complete with timber frames and period appropriate modernism.
Thoroughbred flat racing is the main attraction here, with 88 races staged each year on the flat racing track. The steeplechase track and hurdles track host a further 34 jump races and the final track is given over to trot racing, with 21 feature races each year. Major races to look out for at Clairefontaine include the Deauville grand steeple-chase, the Grand Course Hippique de Haies-Guillaume d’Ornano and the Grand Prix de Clairefontaine.
Clairefontaine Race Course History
In 1864, the Duke of Morny created a selection of flat races in Deauville which became so popular that the organizers wanted to expand the races to include jumps. The only problem was that the original course, which is still in use today, was unsuitable so a search for a new “jumps friendly” track was initiated.
In 1875, the selectors decided upon the Société des courses de Pont-l’Évêque, which was created at the Croix-Brisée Racecourse in Pont-l’Évêque but before long this too was deemed unsuitable for, among other things, being located just too far away from Deauville. Through various other ownerships and poorly chosen venues, eventually the Société des Courses du Pays d’Auge, who were now in charge, settled on Clairefontaine, which the city of Deauville had purchased in 1924 and today not only hosts jump racing but also flat, trot and harness racing too.
Clairefontaine Race Course track configuration
The 40 hectare Clairefontaine is equipped with four special courses, one 2,000 meter, one with fences, one with obstacles and a trotting course, making it the only multidisciplinary race course in Normandy.
Clairefontaine race track best trainers
Deauville, which has another famous race track in the city, is home to numerous stud farms with many, many trainers based in the area. It is, in fact, the undisputed home of French horse racing, not unlike what Newmarket is to the British.
This track has been open since 1928, so is not far off reaching its centenary. Over that time, legendary horses such as General du Pommeau, Obo Volo and Ready Cash have won here, while esteemed trainers such as Christophe Gallier have also tasted victory at Clairefontaine. But, Over the last year, which trainers have racked up the most wins?
- Jean-Claude Rouget (50% Strike Rate)
- H. Blume (100% Strike Rate)
- Charlie Appleby (100% Strike Rate)
- J. E. Hammond (100% Strike Rate)
- B. Audouin (100% Strike Rate)
Clairefontaine race track best Jockeys
The expression “horses for courses” could have been written about Clairefontaine. This track, after all, offers four types of racing over four courses so naturally jockeys with experience here, tend to fare better.
The more used to a course a jockey is, the more likely he or she is to remember all of a track’s little quirks and tricks. All of the top jockeys in France work hard over their careers to earn a shot at racing at Clairefontaine and these are some of the top performing jockeys here.
- Ronan Thomas (100% Strike Rate)
- Jefferson Smith (100% Strike Rate)
- Mickael Barzalona (50% Strike Rate)
- Mlle Coralie Pacaut (33% Strike Rate)
Clairefontaine racing season
Established in 1928, the Clairefontaine racing season runs from June through October and offers around 21 meetings a year. The three major events at Clairefontaine are the Deauville grand steeple-chase, the Grand Course Hippique de Haies-Guillaume d’Ornano, and the Grand Prix de Clairefontaine, the final event of its kind of the year.
As the only multidisciplinary race course in Normandy, Clairefontaine offers a mixture of hurdles, sprints, trots and harness racing in its packed calendar making it one of the most attractive courses in France. Cocktail Jet, Fandango, Fuchsia Gazeau, Ideal and many others have all enjoyed runs here, thrilling the crowd in the past.
Clairefontaine race track stakes and Graded Stakes
- Grande Course Hippique de Haies-Guillaume d’Ornano
- Grand Prix de Clairefontaine
- Clairefontaine Race Course address and website
Route de Clairefontaine, Chemin de l’Hippodrome, 14800 Tourgéville, France