Prix d’Harcourt. Longchamp. (4 year-olds and over, 1 mile 2 furlongs, Group II, 130,000 Euros).
The Prix d’Harcourt was set up in 1929 in memory of an influential owner-breeder who also reached the position of committee president at the Société D’Encouragement. Customarily taking place at Longchamp, the Prix d’Harcourt has been held at other racecourses on three occasions: in autumn 1940 at Auteuil, and at Maisons-Lafitte in 1943 and 1944. Its distance has also been subject to numerous changes: 1 mile 4 furlongs between 1929 and 1943; 1 mile 2 furlongs in 1944 and 1945; 1mile 2 ¾ furlongs between 1946 and1952; 1 mile 2 ½ furlongs between 1953 and 1957; 1 mile 2 furlongs between 1958 and 1960; 1 mile 2 ½ furlongs between 1961 and 1968; 1 mile 3 furlongs between 1969 and 1970; and 1 mile 2 furlongs from 1971 onwards. The record time of 2' 01" 35/100 was posted by Giofra in 2012. It will be run for the 86th time in 2014.
Viscount Emmanuel d’Harcourt (1844 – 1928)
After carrying out the role of general secretary of the Presidency of the Republic in 1973, before working as the secretary of the French Embassy in Vienna, he handed in his notice after the resignation of Marshall MacMahon in 1879 and moved away from the world of diplomacy and politics. He became an avid follower of the racing scene and, after the death of Edouard Fould in 1881, he bought a share in the Duc de Castries’ yard in association with the Baron de Soubeyran. Part of this stable was made up of produce from the then defunct Saint-Georges stud farm in the Allier. After the Duc de Castries’ passing in 1886, this partnership was continued under the management of Baron of Soubeyran until it went into liquidation in 1890. It was then that Vicomte Emmanuel d’Harcourt, who had since married the Duc de Castries’ widow, declared his personal colours (red jersey, gold jodhpurs, red cap) and took over the Saint-Georges stud farm (see Prix de Saint-Georges entry). The following year in 1891, he had the stallion Gulliver (Richmond Stakes at Goodwood, and Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot) brought over from England to reside at Saint-Georges, and that same year he was elected a committee member at the Société D’Encouragement. He would later join the Société’s sub-committee in 1896 and performed the role of racing commissioner between 1899 and 1905. He was also a member of the board of directors at Le Gaulois newspaper.
His best horses were Idalie (1889, Critérium de Maisons-Laffitte), Odin (1889, eight wins aged 2 and 3 years, including victory at the Prix du Commerce in Milan and the Prix Prince Amedée in Turin as a 3-year-old, and in the Grand Prix du Printemps at Auteuil for Georges Ledat as a 4-year-old), L'Hérault (1891, Critérium de Maisons-Laffitte), Addy (1892, ten wins as a 3-year-old, including the Grand Prix de la Ville de Lyon, and two wins as a 4-year-old, including La Coupe at Longchamp), Cherbourg (1892, another winner of the Critérium de Maisons-Laffitte that at 3 years old won the Prix Noailles and came second in the Prix du Jockey Club and the Grand Prix de Paris , and as a 4-year-old tasted victory at the Prix La Rochette), Olmutz (1893, seven victories between 2 and 4 years-old including the Prix du Cadran, a second-place finish in the Critérium de Maisons-Laffitte, the Prix Daru, stood at stud in Tarbes), Le Guide (1895, Prix Noailles), Kerlaz (1897, at 3 years of age he was the first winner of the Grand Prix du Cercle International de Vichy, latterly the Grand Prix), Saint Armel (1898, seven victories between the ages of 2 and 4, which included wins as a 3-year-old at the Prix Hocquart, Derby du Midi, Prix La Rochette, an in-the-frame finish at the Prix Royal Oak, and a fourth place in the Grand Prix de Paris. He stood at stud in Cluny, and sired the excellent show-jumper Rosette XIV), Exéma (1899, 15 wins between the ages of 3 and 5 including the Prix d'Ispahan, Prix Monarque, Prix du Prince de Galles, Prix du Pin, the Grand Prix de Baden-Baden and a third-place finish behind La Camargo in the Prix du Conseil Municipal, and stood at stud in Pompadour), Holbein (1905, Prix Lupin, Poule d'Essai de Pau, third in the Prix Royal Oak), Italus (1906, ten wins between the ages of 3 and 5 including the Derby du Midi, Prix Dollar, Hédouville, a second place in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains, Prix La Forêt, Prix d'Ispahan), Amadou (1910, Prix Saint-Roman, Prix du Petit Couvert as a 2-year-old, La Coupe, Prix La Force and third in the Prix du Président de la République as a 3-year-old) and Ecouen (1910, three wins aged 2, including the Grand Critérium; three wins aged 3, the Prix des Cars, the Prix Daru, and the Prix Lupin, second in the Poule d'Essai and the Prix du Président de la République, third in the Grand Prix de Paris; four wins aged 4, the Prix La Force, Prix Edgard Gillois, Prix de Dangu, Prix Seymour, and third place in the Prix du Cadran). The latter two horses enabled him to take fourth and ninth place in the owners’ rankings in 1913 and 1914 respectively. All of his horses were bred either at the Saint-Georges stud, or at the Marly-la-Ville stud in Seine-en-Oise, bought from George Arnaud in 1910.
In the wake of the Great War, in 1920 Vicomte d’Harcourt took over the presidency of the Société d’Encouragement committee from the Prince d’Arenberg. From that point forth he devoted little time to racing, preferring to occupy himself with breeding and showing his produce at yearling sales. His most notable yearlings were Trésigny (sold in Deauville in 1923 for a record price of 250,000 French Francs and a third-place finisher in the 1925 Poule d'Essai des Poulains) and the outstanding mare Maguelonne, who took the laurels at the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris in 1928. Suffering from poor health, the Vicomte d’Harcourt sold off his breeding stock of 25 animals at a sale at the Chéri auction house in Saint-James on 26 October 1925 and in 1926 he handed over his presidency of the Société d'Encouragement, of which he was subsequently made honorary president, to Comte Paul de Pourtalès. He died on 18 September 1928. The journal Le Jockey said of him: “He was of the belief that elegance is the essence of racing, and he sought to uphold the values of good taste and honesty which he felt were indispensable. […] He went on to become a valuable link between the ideas of the past and the future.”
A brief history
The Harcourt-Ganay double.
A distinguished double triumph has been pulled off on a number of occasions, but not always in the same year. In the order Ganay-Harcourt it has been achieved six times, by Amfortas (1932-1931), Victrix (1938), Djebel (1942-1941, 1942), Tanerko (1957, 1958-1958), Carmarthen (1969-1968) and Grandier (1970-1969). In the order Harcourt-Ganay it has been achieved ten times, by Caro (1971), Allez France (1974-1974, 1975), Trillion (1979-1978), Argument (1981), Lancastrian (1982-1983), Marildo (1993, 1994), Valanour (1996), Astarabad (1998), Dark Moondancer (1999), Indian Danehill (2000), Cutlass Bay (2010) and Planteur (2011)
4 Freddy Head: Cadmus (1967), Pistol Packer (1972), Card King (1975) and Three Troikas (1980).
4 Gérald Mossé: Valanour (1996), Astarabad (1998), Dark Moondancer (1999) and Earlene (2001).
3 Georges Bridgland: Mary Tudor (1935), Victrix (1938) and Pearl Diver (1948).
3 Jacques Doyasbère: Djebel (1942), Tifinar (1943) and Priam (1945).
3 Jean Deforge: Drago (1961), Tang (1963) and Trac (1964).
3 Alain Lequeux: Argument (1981), Lancastrian (1982) and Lovely Dancer (1984).
3 Cash Asmussen: Village Star (1988), Star Lift (1989) and Creator (1990).
3 Christophe Soumillon: Ana Marie (2003), Vangelis (2004) and Planteur (2011).
3 Stephane Pasquier: Manduro (2006), Trincot (2009) and Maxios (2013).
2 Charles Semblat: Assuerus (1934) and Djebel (1941).
2 Guy Duforez: Bouillon (1936) and Ksar El Srir (1940).
2 Fernand Rochetti: Yong Lo (1947) and Piqu'avant (1952).
2 Freddy Palmer: Alizier (1951) and Gérocourt (1954).
2 Serge Boullenger: Tapioca (1957) and Tanerko (1958).
2 Léon Flavien: Franc Luron (1959) and Sigebert (1966).
2 Maurice Philipperon: Grandier (1969) and Caro (1971).
2 Olivier Peslier: Freedom Cry (1995) and Indian Danehill (2000).
2 Maxime Guyon: Cutlass Bay (2010) and Giofra (2012).