Jump racing back in focus on the Riviera
1 December 2023
Cagnes sur Mer
December 4 is a big day on the Cagnes-sur-Mer schedule as it signals the opening of the jump meeting which begins on Monday and runs through to 7 January.
With 11 racedays programmed for the month, including a trio of ‘spectacle’ events, there will be no shortage of action for national hunt enthusiasts who, on Cagnes dark days, can take advantage of more jumps racing at Pau, situated in the southwest.
But back to Cagnes where the grass was punished by the unusually high temperatures and dryness of the summer months, it is now back in shape thanks to the various groundskeeping teams. Ahead of the December meeting, the racecourse invested €235,000 primarily in the renovation of some of the fences, with the parade ring and stables also receiving attention.
Much-awaited by professionals, the winter festival comes to a close early January, as it does every year, with the coveted Grand Prix de la Ville de Nice (chase) and the Grande Course de Haies de Cagnes-sur-Mer. Last season, Tanguy Andrieux topped the jockey’s table for the month, and Yannick Fouin’s young pilot will be eager to keep his crown. Every year, Fouin ships a host of good horses from Maisons-Laffitte to Cagnes for the meeting, which has resulted in him landing the trainer’s prize two years in succession with 13 victories.
And, there will be some new names on the racecards this term with the likes of Noel George, Erwan Grall, and Joël Boisnard all sending horses to the meeting for the first time. Mathieu Pitart, ex-jump-jockey-turned-trainer, has moved two-thirds of his yard (36 horses) to the Riviera and, from a sporting perspective, it will only raise the bar.
Road to Grande Course de Haies gets under way
July Flower and Kevin Nabet at Auteuil