First run in 1904 at Maisons-Laffitte as the Prix du Président de la République. The name would eventually be changed after the fall of the 3rd French Republic in 1941; becoming the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, for 3 year-olds and upwards. Until 1986, the race was run over a mile 4 ½ furlongs. Between 1904 and 1914 the venue was switched to Maisons-Laffitte, and again in 1943 and 1945; it was run at Longchamp in 1941 and 1942 and at Tremblay in 1944. The race was postponed from 1915 to 1918 and again in 1940 due to war. Record time over a mile and a half: 2' 26'' 50/100 by Moon Madness in 1987; over a mile 4 ½ furlongs, 2' 32'' 80/100 by Exceller in 1977.
For 90 years this race was foremost among all those organised by the Société Sportive d'Encouragement at Maisons-Laffitte, Saint-Cloud and Enghien. Founded in 1887, the Société Sportive d'Encouragement eventually merged with the other Parisian horseracing firms at the end of 1994 to form “France Galop, Société d'Encouragement pour l'amélioration des races de chevaux en France".
In 2012, the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud will be run for the 104th time. Two dead-heats have occurred, between Burgos and Oroso (1956) and between Dunette and Shakapour (1980). The 99 winners can be divided up as follows: 3 year-olds = 27; 4 year-olds = 57; 5 year-olds = 13; 6 year-olds = 2. The largest field was twenty in 1968. The smallest field was four in 1997 and 2000, when Helissio and Montjeu scared other runners away.
Though many horses have tried, only five have won the race twice: Nino (1926, 1927), Tanerko (1957, 1958), Rheingold (1972, 1973), Helissio (1996, 1997) and Ange Gabriel (2002, 2003).
A brief history.
Originally, the race organisers sought to create an international race in which 3 year-olds could confront their elders. For 3 year-olds having run in the Prix du Jockey Club over 12 furlongs at Chantilly, then the Grand Prix de Paris over a mile 7 furlongs at Longchamp, it was a tall order to rise to the challenge just a week later. Nevertheless the first 3 winners of the race were all 3 year-olds.
A considerable advantage to the race was that unlike most Classics, where horses must be entered before they are born or as yearlings, it was possible to enter just 2 months beforehand. The prize-money of 100,000 F to the winner placed the Prix du Président de la République as the fifth richest in France. In 1904, the Grand Prix de Paris winner Ajax ran away with 200,000 F plus 72,500 F in gate receipts. For winning the Prix du Jockey Club the same Ajax received 100,000 F plus 102,500 F in gate receipts. The Prix de Diane winner, Profane, picked up 50,000 F plus 57,200 F in gate receipts. Presto II won 100,000 F plus 4,300 F in gate receipts for winning the Prix du Conseil Municipal. As for Gouvernant, first ever winner of the Prix du Président de la République, she picked up 100,000 F net, the Société Sportive d'Encouragement keeping the gate receipts. It is worth noting that three of the five horses listed above (Ajax, Profane and Gouvernant) were owned by the same person, Edmond Blanc, who also owned Saint-Cloud racecourse where his horses trained (see below).
From 1904 to 1939 (32 races), the vast majority of runners were 3 year-olds, 159 runners for 13 wins; 116 four year-olds went to post and won 16 times; 48 five year-olds won 3 times; 6 year-olds went to post 8 times without success and 1 seven year-old also ran. From 1941 to 1958 the number of 3 year-olds taking part greatly decreased, only 68 going to post, the same number as for 4 year-olds; 3 year-olds winning 4 times and 4 year-olds 9 times. With just 27 runners, 5 year-olds were first past the post 5 times. One 5 year-old also won the race and three 7 year-olds also ran.
In recent years, fewer and fewer 3 year-olds have gone to post. In 2002, 2003 and 2004, none lined up at the start. In the thirteen years between 1992 and 2004, the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud attracted a total of 102 runners, 11 of which were aged 3 year-olds, 60 were 4 year-olds, 25 were 5 year-olds, 4 were 6 year-olds and 2 were 7 year-olds. The 3 year-old contingent supplied 1 winner and 3 second placed horses; the 4 year-olds 9 first places, 7 seconds and 10 thirds; the 5 year-olds 3 first, 2 seconds and 2 thirds; the 6 year-olds 1 second and 1 third. It is this continued absence of 3 year-olds that led the organisers of the race programme to restrict the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud to older horses from 2005. In another change, it is now run a week earlier, no longer on the first Sunday of July but on the last Sunday in June, which was left vacant when the Grand Prix de Paris was switched to 14 July.
Five winners of the Grand Prix de Paris which have then lined up at the start of the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud have done the double: Finasseur (1905), Verdun (1909), Sardanapale (1914), Barneveldt (1931) and Exceller (aged 4, in 1977). Twice as many Prix du Jockey Club winners have made it a double at Saint Cloud: Finasseur (1905), Maintenon (1906), Sea Sick (1908), Sardanapale (1914), Pot au Feu (1924), Mon Talisman (aged 4, 1928), Ardan (aged 4, 1945), Coaraze (aged 4, 1946), Herbager (1959) and Montjeu (aged 4, 2000). As the above statistics show, only two horses have achieved the Jockey Club-Grand Prix de Paris-Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud treble, Finasseur (1905) and Sardanapale (1914).
The Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud honours list includes the names of three heroes from the English Derby, Relko (aged 4, 1964), Sea Bird (1965) and Teenoso (aged 4, 1983), as well as four second placed finishers, Dicta Drake (1961), Gyr (1970), Rheingold (at 3 and 4, 1972, 1973) and Glint of Gold (aged 4, 1982).
The “ladies” have only won the race nine times: Corrida as a 4 year-old (1936), Banassa as a 4 year-old (1954), Dahlia as a 4 year-old (1974), Riverqueen as a 3 year-old (1976), Dunette as a 4 year-old (1980), User Friendly as a 4 year-old (1993), Pride as a 6 year-old (2006), Plumania as a 4 year-old (2010) and Sarafina as a 4 year-old (2011).
Only two Prix de Diane Longines winners have also been first past the post in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud: Dunette, as a 4 year-old in 1980, who finished in a dead-heat with the 3 year-old Shakapour; and Sarafina, who won as a 4 year-old in 2011. before Sarafina's victory in 2011, the last two Chantilly heroines to run at Saint-Cloud were Carling, a 4 year-old who finished out of the frame in 1996 and Egyptband, a 4 year-old who finished 3rd in 2001.
The Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
In 1925, Cadum became the first Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winner to go on to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. After a stewards’ enquiry, however, he was disqualified for interfering with Priori and placed second. Since then only ten horses have triumphed in both races: Mon Talisman (1927 as a 3 year-old in the Arc and the GPSC in 1928), Corrida (1936, both as a 4 year-old and the Arc again as a 5 year-old), Djebel (1942, both races as a 5 year-old), Ardan (1944 as a 3 year-old in the Arc and the GPSC in 1945), Exbury (both as a 4 year-old in 1963), Sea Bird (both as a 3 year-old in 1965), Rheingold (The GSSC as a 3 year-old in 1972 and both as a 4 year-old), Carnegie (in 1994 as a 3 year-old in the Arc and 1995 in the GPSC), Helissio (both as a 3 year-old in 1996 and the GPSC again in 1997) and finally Montjeu (in 1999 as a 3 year-old in the Arc and in 2000 as a 4 year-old in the GPSC).
Eighteen foreigners have won the GPSC, all since the end of the First World War, although. Mushroom only lost by a neck to Ossian in 1911. The first foreign victory came in 1921 when Pomme de Terre (English – despite the name) triumphed, followed by the Belgian entry, Prince Rose, in 1932. The third foreign win came in 1968 when a record 20 horses went to post and Queen Elizabeth’s horse Hopeful Venture, a 4 year-old trained at Newmarket by Noël Murless was first past the post – beating Minamoto by a neck, while the favourite Vaguely Noble (7/10) left it too late, finishing 2 lengths back in third. Another English horse, Rheingold, won in 1972 and 1973, when he also won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Three more back to back British wins came in 1982, 1983 and 1984: brothers Glint of Gold (82) and Diamond Shoal (83) both wearing Paul Mellon’s colours (as did their champion sire Mill Reef) and Teenoso in 84, ridden by Lester Piggott, who steered his mount home by a neck. The ninth foreign win came in 1986 in the shape of German champion, Acatenango, ridden by top.
American jockey Steve Cauthen, who was riding in Europe at the time. The Duchess of Norfolk’s horses won in 1987 and 1989, when brothers Moon Madness and then Sheriff's Star triumphed. User Friendly, trained at Newmarket by Clive Britain became the 12th foreign winner in 1993, after finishing second in the Arc the year before behind Subotica. The thirteenth foreign winner was the 4 year-old Japanese entry, El Condor Pasa who edged out the German horse Tiger Hill in 1999. El Condor Pasa would go on to finish second in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe behind Montjeu. The five most recent foreign victories are those secured in 2004 by the English Gamut, trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Kieren Fallon; another English horse, Alkaased, in 2005, trained by Luca Cumani and ridden by another star jockey, Lanfranco Dettori. In 2007 the laurels were taken by another Sir Michael Stoute charge, Mountain High, again ridden by Kieren Fallon; in 2008 by Youmzain, trained by Mick Channon and ridden by Richard Hughes; and in 2009 by yet another Sir Michael Stoute horse, Spanish Moon, ridden by Ryan-L. Moore.
Though El Condor Pasa was indeed trained in the Land of the Rising Sun, he was in fact bred in Kentucky at Kihachiro Watanabe stables. Technically speaking, therefore, no Asian runner has yet bagged the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. A horse from Oceania, however, Strawberry Road, bred in Australia and trained in France, won the race in 1985.
5 stallions have sired at least 3 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winners.
3 Clarissimus sire of Nino (1926, 1927) and Feb (1930).
3 Tourbillon sire of Djebel (1942), Coaraze (1946) and Magnific (1953).
3 Tantième sire of Tanerko (1957, 1958) and Match (1962).
3 Vaguely Noble sire of Dahlia (1974), Exceller (1977) and Gay Mecene (1979).
3 Sadler's Wells sire of In the Wings (1990), Carnegie (1995) and Montjeu (2000).
Five brood mares have each produced two GPSC winners: Spring Cleaning produced Cadum (1925) and Bubbles (1929), Montagnana produced Ocarina (1950) and Violoncelle (1951), Relance produced Match (1962) and Relko (1964), Crown Treasure produced Glint of Gold (1982) and Diamond Shoal (1983), while Castle Moon produced Moon Madness (1987) and Sheriff's Star (1989).
Marcel Boussac holds the record with 5 wins: Corrida (1936), Djebel (1942), Ardan (1945), Coaraze (1946) and Goyama (1948).
4 Baron Edouard de Rothschild: Prédicateur (1913), Cadum (1925), Bubbles (1929) and Genièvre (1939).
4 François Dupré: Tanerko (1957, 1958), Match (1962) and Relko (1964).
4 Prince Karim Aga Khan: Sheshoon (1960), Shakapour (1980), Akarad (1981) and Sarafina (2011).
4 Daniel Wildenstein: Felicio (1969), Strawberry Road (1985), Epervier Bleu (1991) and Pistolet Bleu (1992).
3 William K. Vanderbilt: Maintenon (1906), Sea Sick (1908) and Oversight (1910).
3 Baron Maurice de Rothschild: Verdun (1909), Ossian (1911) and Sardanapale (1914).
3 Baron Guy de Rothschild: Ocarina (1950), Violoncelle (1951) and Exbury (1963).
2 M.-P. Moulines: Nino (1926, 1927).
2 Julien Décrion: Un Gaillard (1944) and Banassa (1954).
2 Henry Zeizel: Rheingold (1972, 1973).
2 Nelson Bunker Hunt: Dahlia (1974) and Exceller (1977).
2 Paul Mellon: Glint of Gold (1982) and Diamond Shoal (1983).
2 Duchess of Norfolk: Moon Madness (1987) and Sheriff's Star (1989).
2 Sheik Mohammed Al Maktoum: In The Wings (1990) and Carnegie (1995).
2 Enrique Sarasola: Helissio (1996, 1997).
2 Mme Henri Devin: Ange Gabriel (2002, 2003).
The record of eight wins is held by François Mathet: Tanerko (1957, 1958), Dicta Drake (1961), Match (1962), Relko (1964), Exceller (1977), Shakapour (1980) and Akarad (1981).
6 André Fabre: Village Star (1988), In the Wings (1990), Apple Tree (1994), Carnegie (1995), Fragrant Mix (1998) and Plumania (2010).
4 James d'Okhuysen: Finasseur (1905), Verdun (1909), Ossian (1911) and Sardanapale (1914).
4 William Duke: Maintenon (1906), Sea Sick (1908), Oversight (1910) and Pot au Feu (1924).
4 Charles Semblat: Djebel (1942), Ardan (1945), Coaraze (1946) and Goyama (1948).
4 Geoffroy Watson: Victrix (1938), Ocarina (1950), Violoncelle (1951) and Exbury (1963).
4 Etienne Pollet: Magnific (1953), Sea Bird (1965), Sea Hawk (1966) and Gyr (1970).
4 Elie Lellouche: Epervier Bleu (1991), Pistolet Bleu (1992) and Helissio (1996, 1997).
3 Maurice d'Okhuysen: Barneveldt (1931), Assuerus (1934) and Un Gaillard (1944).
3 Alec Head: Chingacgook (1955), Sheshoon (1960) and Gay Mecene (1979).
3 Sir Michael Stoute: Gamut (2004), Mountain High (2007) and Spanish Moon (2009).
2 Henry Count: Kircubbin (1922) and Louqsor (1935).
2 William Hall: Nino (1926, 1927).
2 Maurice Zilber: Felicio (1969) and Dahlia (1974).
2 Barry Hills: Rheingold (1972, 1973).
2 Iann Balding: Glint of Gold (1982) and Diamond Shoal (1983).
2 Eric Libaud: Ange Gabriel (2002, 2003).
2 Alain de Royer-Dupré: Pride (2006) and Sarafina (2011).
Only one lady trainer has won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud: Lady Herries saddled up Sheriff's Star (1989) who belonged to her mother the Duchess of Norfolk.
Yves Saint-Martin has ridden a record 7 winners: Relko (1964), Rheingold (1972, 1973), Dahlia (1974), Shakapour (1980), Akarad (1981) and Strawberry Road (1985).
4 Cash Asmussen: Village Star (1988), In the Wings (1990), Helissio (1997) and Montjeu (2000).
4 Thierry Jarnet: Apple Tree (1994), Carnegie (1995) and Ange Gabriel (2002, 2003).
3 Frank O'Neill: Oversight (1910), Prédicateur (1913) and Nino (1926).
3 Roger Poincelet: Un Gaillard (1944), Goyama (1948) and Chingacgook (1955).
3 Freddy Head: Riverqueen (1976), Exceller (1977) and Gay Mecene (1979).
3 Olivier Peslier: Helissio (1996), Fragrant Mix (1998) and Plumania (2010).
2 John Reiff: Quérido (1907) and De Viris (1912).
2 George Bellhouse: Sea Sick (1908) and Kircubbin (1922).
2 Maurice Barat: Verdun (1909) and Ossian (1911).
2 Matthew MacGee: Sardanapale (1914) and Cadum (1925).
2 Charles Semblat: Mon Talisman (1928) and Vatellor (1937).
2 Charles Bouillon: Bubbles (1929) and Genièvre (1939).
2 André Rabbe: Barneveldt (1931) and Macaroni (1933).
2 Jacques Doyasbère: Djebel (1942) and Ardan (1945).
2 Fernand Rochetti: Coaraze (1946) and Yong Lo (1947).
2 Jean Laumain: Ocarina (1950) and Violoncelle (1951).
2 Guy Lequeux: Tanerko (1957, 1958).
2 Henri Samani: Ramsin (1971) and Guadanini (1978).
2 Pat Eddery: Glint of Gold (1982) and Moon Madness (1987).
2 Steve Cauthen: Diamond Shoal (1983) and Acatenango (1986).
2 Dominique Boeuf: Epervier Bleu (1991) and Pistolet Bleu (1992).
2 Kieren-Francis Fallon: Gamut (2004) and Mountain High (2007).
2 Christophe-Patrick Lemaire: Pride (2006) and Sarafina (2011).
History of Saint-Cloud Racecourse.
Saint-Cloud racecourse celebrated its 100th birthday on 15 March 2001. It was founded by the owner-breeder Edmond Blanc who wanted to run out his horses on a grass track on private ground within easy distance of Paris.
After establishing the Jardy stud farm in 1891, near Versailles, Edmond Blanc’s next purchase, in 1898, was the Domaine de la Fouilleuse, a model farm during the Second Empire put on sale by the State and located between Rueil, Saint-Cloud, Suresnes and Garches communes. It was with this parcel of land, along with a further 83 hectares acquired later that Edmond Blanc built a racecourse and training stables around a luxury personal residence. The architect Léon Berthault, known for his Anglo-Norman style, was entrusted with the job and the racecourse opened to the public two and a half years later.
Whilst still using the stables and the various tracks to run out his horses, Edmond Blanc signed a 50 year lease with the Société d'encouragement pour l'amélioration du cheval français de demi-sang (Authorities for half-breed horses), for horseracing. The later had stopped organising races at Neuilly-Levallois and were expecting to forego Vincennes racecourse which was being claimed by the army.
Saint-Cloud – the name the course was given – differed from the other Parisian courses in that it was surrounded by elegant houses rather than greenery. The huge grandstand stood opposite the Mont Valérien, and racegoers could reach the course by the tramway running from Porte Maillot to Val d'Or. Many believed it the most modern racecourse in Europe at the time, and not the least elegant. When, in April 1905, Edouard VII, King of England visited the course and the Fouilleuse training centre, Edmond Blanc pointed out the typically English style of the architecture. "Yes, it’s English, said the King with a smile, but with good measures of French taste.
Jumpers and flat horses would both enjoy the facilities which first opened its doors to the public on Friday 15 March 1901 under rainy skies. The first race – over the flat – the Prix d'Ouverture, over the flat, was won by Vestris, owned by Count Gérard de Ganay. Other first day winners included: Fraisier, Junipérus, Joujou III, Ibiscus and Robo. On 11 May the trotters had their first outing and on 3 June the Prix du Président de la République was moved to Saint Cloud from Vincennes – and was won by Diomède.
Each morning Edmond Blanc’s thoroughbreds ran out under trainer Robert Denman, and in the afternoon jumpers and flat horses shared the course. Famous horses that ran in Edmond Blanc’s colours include: Quo Vadis, Ajax, Gouvernant, Val d'Or, Jardy and Dagor. Such was life at Saint Cloud until 1914 when War broke out. During the hostilities the racecourse served as a Canadian army barracks, and afterwards, the Société du Demi-Sang, decided to modernise Vincennes and give up the lease on Saint-Cloud to the Société Sportive d'Encouragement. Saint-Cloud did retain a Prix du Président de la République, however, a flat race that had been run at Maisons-Laffitte since 1904.
Upon the death of Edmond Blanc in 1920, his widow began running the Fouilleuse stables and champion horses like Ksar, double Arc de Triomphe winner in 1921 and 1922. Another famous date in Saint Cloud history is 19 May 1924 when Epinard, owned by Pierre Wertheimer, took on Sir Gallahad for a 20,000 F cup over 1,300 metres. The former only lost by a neck, despite giving up 10lbs to the latter.
The course closed between 1939 and 1945, and in 1952 became the property of Marcel Boussac, as did the stud farm at Jardy. The Société Sportive renewed the lease and decided to give the course a facelift. In the space of six months between July 1954 and February 1955 all the buildings were knocked down and more functional replacements put up. Luckily the splendid Fouilleuse stables escaped the bulldozers – and we can still appreciate these installations today in their new form as the very swish Paris Country Club. The old riding school has become auction rooms and offices for Goffs France while since 1990, the ground has been closed to the public and become a private golf club.
The racecourse was sold by Marcel Boussac in 1974 to the Société Sportive d'Encouragement, today France Galop. Happily, though the façade of the new buildings are somewhat lacklustre, the modern facilities are greatly appreciated by the race-going public for the some 30 meetings held every year - come rain or shine.