Jockey Club History: The other Derby

27 May 2024

Jockey Club History: The other Derby



June, Chantilly



Group 1, 3-year-old colts and fillies, 2,100m/1 mile 2 ½ furlongs, €1,500,000

Created in 1836

Last winner: Look de Vega (c3, FRA by Lope de Vega ex Lucelle, by High Chaparral), owned by Haras de la Morsanglière, Écurie des Charmes, Carlos&Yann Lerner, Patrick Madar, bred by Haras de la Morsanglière, Écurie des Charmes, trained by Carlos&Yann Lerner, ridden by Ronan Thomas.

Record-time: 2'02''6, Ace Impact (2023)

The Prix du Jockey Club will be run in 2025 for the 185th time

The 2024 edition

Sunday, June 2, 2024, Chantilly Racecourse (Oise). – Previously unbeaten in two outings, with only one run this year due to a setback, Look de Vega (Lope de Vega) dominated a particularly competitive 184th edition of the €1.5m Qatar Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby, Gr1), run over 10.5f. Bred by Haras de la Morsanglière of Joëlle Mestrallet and Écurie des Charmes of Lucien Urano, also his owners in association with trainers Carlos and Yann Lerner and Patrick Madar, the colt won by two lengths over First Look (Lope de Vega), who finished a length ahead of 3rd-placed Sosie (Sea the Stars).

The winner raced in the second tier, trailing the leaders, including the favourite Fast Tracker (Churchill) and Ramadan (Le Havre), who failed to stay the distance. Pulled out at the crucial moment by Ronan Thomas, Look de Vega accelerated sharply to keep finishers First Look, on the outside, and Sosie, on the rail, at bay. The British raider Ghostwriter (Invincible Spirit) secured fourth place after struggling to get off the rail, with Mondo Man (Mondialiste) finishing strongly down the centre of the course to take fifth place.

Purchased for €160,000 privately at the Deauville sales by his trainers, Look de Vega debuted with a victory over one mile at Fontainebleau in November, winning by seven lengths. Entered in February for this Qatar Prix du Jockey Club, he returned to competition on May 5 at ParisLongchamp, winning the 1m2f Prix de Croissy by over three lengths. Thus, he remained unbeaten and presented himself here with the inside draw of 3.

His half-brother by Almanzor was sold last October at Deauville to Marc Pimbonnet for €24,000. He is now training with his buyer under the colours of Bernard Giraudon and Jean-Paul Chuzeville.

The dam, Lucelle (High Chaparral), bred by the late Lady O’Reilly, also raced under the colours of Haras de la Morsanglière and was trained by Jean-Claude Rouget. She won at three years old at La Teste, Dax, and Fontainebleau, eventually finishing fifth in the Prix Panacée (L) over 1m4f at Toulouse. She had been sold for €85,000 as a yearling to Meridian International (Ghislain Bozo) at Deauville.

Look de Vega's sire, Lope de Vega, who also sired the second-place finisher, won the Prix du Jockey Club himself, just like Lawman, whose dam is the third dam of Look de Vega and whose sister Latice also won the Prix de Diane over this course.


Regarded by purists to be the most important of all French Classic races, the “French Derby”, as it is known, was one of the very first created by the Société d'Encouragement pour l'amélioration des races de chevaux en France, founded on 11 November 1833 to promote thoroughbred racing in France.

The first Prix du Jockey Club was run at Chantilly on 24 April 1836 over a mile 4 ½ furlongs. It was run at this distance till 1842, when it was reduced to 12 furlongs… until 2005, when it was cut again to 1 mile 2 ½ furlongs. The Prix du Jockey Club was postponed in 1871, from 1915 to 1918 and in 1940. It was run in Versailles in 1848, at Longchamp in 1919, 1920, 1941, 1942, 1945, 1946 and 1947, and at Tremblay in 1943 and 1944 (over 1 mile 3 ½ furlongs). A record number of 28 horses went to post in 1942 when Magister won the race.

A dead heat has been declared five times at the finish of the Prix du Jockey Club. Twice, the owners opted to rerun the event to obtain a winner. Renonce won in this way (at the expense of Prospero) in 1843, as did Lion (to the detriment of Diamant) in 1856. On the subsequent three occasions, the owners split the prize: in 1882, Dandin and Saint-James shared the spoils, as did Upas and Sycomore in 1886 and Sea Sick and Quintette in 1908. The probable reason for this change in thinking was the creation of the Grand Prix de Paris, as the owners were now loathed to subject their horses to a further effort only two weeks before the big event at Longchamp. The narrowest-ever margin of victory came when Ragmar finished a nose in front of Polaris Flight in 1996, while the greatest winning distance was Old Vic’s seven-length triumph in 1989. Alcantara II (1911) and Holding Court (2000) are close behind him with six-length wins. Four “late entries” have won the race: Natroun (1987), Polytain (1992), Celtic Swing (1995) and Holding Court (2000).

The name Jockey Club was chosen in homage to the English equivalent of the Société d'Encouragement based at Newmarket in England, the cradle of thoroughbred horseracing. The code of the body that has governed British racing since 1752 was copied, and the name Jockey Club was given to the event created by the Société at Chantilly in 1836 in the image of the Derby (held at Epsom since 1780), the ultimate test for top thoroughbreds. Moreover, the Cercle (today, 2, Rue Rabelais in Paris), which the Société opened in 1834, soon became commonly known as the Jockey Club.

The first Prix du Jockey Club, run on 24 April 1836, had five starters. Its winner was Frank, bred at the Glatigny stud farm close to Versailles and trained by Thomas Carter. His jockey Tom Robinson (aged twenty-six) wore the colours (orange jersey, black cap) of Lord Seymour, who recorded further wins in the event in the following two years and then a fourth in 1841. In 1839, the victor was Romulus, a protégé of the Meudon royal stud who bore the colours (scarlet jersey, dark blue cap) of the Duc d'Orléans, the son of King Louis-Philippe. 1840 brought the first Norman success with Tontine, bred in the Calvados region at the Victot stud and owned by Eugene Aumont (white jersey, green cap).

Two different horses with the same name, Monarque, have prevailed in the Prix du Jockey Club. The first (presumed to be the son of The Emperor) triumphed in 1855 for his breeder, Alexandre Aumont, brother of the aforementioned Eugene. The second (son of Saxifrage) took the plaudits in 1887 on behalf of Paul Aumont, Alexandre’s son. The first also proved to be a remarkable breeder at the Dangu stud for the Comte de Lagrange, who had acquired the premises in 1856. For the second, who suffered from intermittent lameness, it proved to be his only career victory.

Fillies in the Jockey Club

Eight fillies have won the Prix du Jockey Club: Lydia in 1837, Tontine in 1840, Poetess in 1841, Lanterne in 1844, Jouvence in 1853, Gabrielle d'Estrées in 1861, La Toucques in 1863 and Saltarelle in 1874. The last time a filly finished in the running was in 1958 when Bella Paola finished second, three-quarters of a length behind Tamanar and then again in 2008 when Natagora came in third behind Vision d’Etat and Famous Name. Two other fillies recently ran in the Prix du Jockey Club were Paix Blanche (1992) and Moonlight Dance (1994), both of whom wore the colours of Daniel Wildenstein.


Until 1946, the Prix du Jockey Club was only open to horses born and bred in France. Although this restriction was lifted after the war, foreign horses generally stayed away. It wasn’t until 1975 that a foreigner finished in the frame when the English horse, Patch, came in second. Two years later, the Irish-bred Artaius also finished runner-up. 1982 heralded the first foreign winner when Robert Sangster’s Assert, trained in Ireland by David O'Brien, came in first. Another Sangster horse, Caerleon, also trained in the Emerald Isle, this time, the great Vincent O'Brien, David’s father, won the following year. A Sangster/O’Brien hat trick was foiled the following year when Darshaan finished ahead of Sadler's Wells, the future champion at stud. The first English win came in 1989 with Old Vic trained at Newmarket by Henry Cecil. The feat was repeated in 1990 when another English horse, Sanglamore, trained by Roger Charlton, was first past the post. The visitors now have 9 wins to their name courtesy of the wins of Celtic Swing, trained by Lady Harries at Arundel in 1995, Holding Court in 2000, trained at Newmarket by Michael Jarvis, Shamardal in 2005, trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, also at Newmarket, The Grey Gatsby in 2014, trained by Kevin Ryan in Hambleton, North Yorkshire, and finally, Mishriff, trained in Newmarket by John Gosden.

Jockey Club, Derby and Arc de Triomphe

The Prix du Jockey Club and the English Derby are run too close together to allow horses to run in both races in the same year. There have been a few exceptions, however. In 1878, Insulaire won at Chantilly on the Sunday and finished second out of 22 runners at Epsom the following Wednesday. In 1914, Durbar won at Epsom on 27 May, before managing fourth at Chantilly on 14 June.

A better bet after the Prix du Jockey Club is the Irish Sweeps Derby at the Curragh, which is usually run around a month later. Four horses have managed the double: Assert (1982), Old Vic (1989), Dream Well (1998), and Montjeu (1999). The last horse to attempt this double was Dalakhani in 2003, but he failed when his stablemate Alamshar pipped him by a half-length at the Curragh.

Ten Prix du Jockey Club winners have won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (first run in 1920). They are: Ksar (1921), Mon Talisman (1927), Le Pacha (1941), Verso II (1943), Ardan (1944), Suave Dancer (1991), Peintre Célèbre (1997), Montjeu (1999), Dalakhani (2003), Ace Impact (2023).

And six Prix du Jockey Club runners up have later won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe: Biribi (1926), Kantar (1928), Tantième (1950, 1951), Bon Mot (1966), Trempolino (1987) and Subotica (1992).


Sires of at least three Prix du Jockey Club winners:

  • Brûleur (4), sire of Ksar (1921), Pot au Feu (1924), Madrigal (1926), Hotweed (1929).
  • Pharis (4), sire of Ardan (1944), Scratch (1950), Auriban (1952), Philius (1956).
  • Royal Oak (3), sire of Poetess (1841), Plover (1842), Porthos (1852).
  • Young Emilius (3), sire of Renonce (1843), Fitz Emilius (1845), Amalfi (1851).
  • Sadler’s Wells (3), sire of Old Vic (1989), Dream Well (1998), Montjeu (1999).

Prix du Jockey Club winners who sired another winner:

  • Monarque (1855), sire of Patricien (1867) and Consul (1869).
  • Consul (1869), sire of Kilt (1876) and Albion (1881).
  • Upas (1886), sire of Omnium II (1895).
  • Little Duck (1884), sire of Champaubert (1896).
  • Gardefeu (1898), sire of Quintette (1908).
  • Perth (1899), sire of Alcantara II (1911).
  • Champaubert (1896), sire of Friant II (1912).
  • Négofol (1909), sire of Tchad (1919).
  • Ksar (1921), sire of Tourbillon (1931) and Thor (1933).
  • Mon Talisman (1927), sire of Clairvoyant (1937).
  • Hotweed (1929), sire of Pearlweed (1935).
  • Tourbillon (1931), sire of Cillas (1938) and Coaraze (1945).
  • Pharis (1939), sire of Ardan (1944), Scratch (1950) and Philius (1956).
  • Prince Chevalier (1946), sire of Charlottesville (1960).
  • Val de Loir (1962), sire of Val de l’Orne (1975).
  • Bikala (1981), sire of Polytain (1992).
  • Darshaan (1984), sire of Dalakhani (2003).
  • Hernando (1993), sire of Holding Court (2000) and Sulamani (2002).
  • Dalakhani (2003), sire of Reliable Man (2011).
  • Shamardal (2005), sire of Lope de Vega (2010).
  • Lope de Vega (2010), sire of Look de Vega (2024).


Prix du Jockey Club-winning fillies who sired another winner were Poetess (1841), dam of Monarque (1855).

Dams of multiple winners of the Prix du Jockey Club :

  • Tarantella, dam of Gambetti (1848) & Amalfi (1851).
  • Currency, dam of Saint-Germain (1850) & Jouvence (1853).
  • Perplexité, dam of Chêne Royal (1892) & Palmiste (1897).
  • Irish Bird, dam of Bikala (1981) & Assert (1982).
  • Soul Dream, dam of Dream Well (1998) & Sulamani (2002).



  • Marcel Boussac (12 wins): Ramus (1922), Tourbillon (1931), Thor (1933), Cillas (1938), Pharis (1939), Ardan (1944), Coaraze (1945), Sandjar (1947), Scratch (1950), Auriban (1952), Philius (1956), Acamas (1978).
  • Frédéric de Lagrange (8 wins): Ventre Saint Gris (1858), Black Prince (1859), Gabrielle d’Estrées (1861), Consul (1869), Insulaire (1878), Zut (1879), Albion (1881), Dandin (1882).
  • Aga Khan IV (8 wins): Charlottesville (1960), Top Ville (1979), Darshaan (1984), Mouktar (1985), Natroun (1987), Dalakhani (2003), Darsi (2006), Vadeni (2022).
  • Auguste Lupin (6 wins): Gambetti (1848), Saint-Germain (1850), Amalfi (1851), Jouvence (1853), Potocki (1857), Salvator (1875).
  • Arthur de Schickler (5 wins): Suzerain (1868), Sycomore (1886), Chêne Royal (1892) Ragotsky (1893) and Palmiste (1897).
  • Mr & Mrs Edmond Blanc (5 wins): Clover (1889), Saxon (1901), Ajax (1904), Dagor (1913), Ksar (1921).
  • Alexandre Aumont: Fitz Emilius (1845), Morok (1847), Porthos (1852) and Monarque (1855).
  • Henri Delamarre: Bois Roussel (1864), Florentin (1866), Patricien (1867) and Boïard (1873).
  • William-K. Vanderbilt: Maintenon (1906), Sea Sick (1908), Négofol (1909) and Tchad (1919).
  • Jean-Louis Bouchard (4 wins): Celtic Arms (1994), Ragmar (1996), Dream Well (1998), Blue Canari (2004).
  • Niarchos Family (4 wins): Hernando (1993) for Stavros, Dream Well (1998), Sulamani (2002). Study of Man (2018).


Trainers’ names only appeared in the race report (Calendrier des courses and Chronique du Turf) from 1890 onwards. Certain racing correspondents do not believe Thomas Jennings trained all the Count de Lagrange’s winners but that some were trained at his Royallieu and Dangu stables. The very well-respected Le Sport (1882) paper, however, considered all the horses to be trained by Tom Jennings. At the time, all the count’s best horses, whether French or English, were systematically sent to be trained by Tom Jennings at Newmarket (at Phantom House) as 2 or 3 year-olds. Training facilities were superior at Newmarket, as Chantilly still had no grass course. The horses made the trip by boat, only travelling to France just before the races.

  • Tom Jennings (10 wins): Porthos (1852), Monarque (1855), Ventre Saint Gris (1858), Black Prince (1859), Gabrielle d’Estrées (1861), Consul (1869), Insulaire (1878), Zut (1879), Albion (1881), Dandin (1882).
  • Thomas Carter (6 wins): Frank (1836), Lydia (1837), Vendredi (1838), Meudon (1846), Experience (1849), Celebrity (1854).
  • François Mathet (6 wins): Reliance (1965), Tapalqué (1968), Sassafras (1970), Rheffic (1971), Crystal Palace (1977), Top Ville (1979).
  • Charles Semblat (6 wins): Ardan (1944), Coaraze (1945), Sandjar (1947), Scratch (1950), Auriban (1952), Le Petit Prince (1954).
  • Alain de Royer-Dupré (6 wins): Darshaan (1984), Mouktar (1985), Natroun (1987), Dalakhani (2003), Darsi (2006), Reliable Man (2011).
  • Pascal Bary (6 wins): Celtic Arms (1994), Ragmar (1996), Dream Well (1998), Sulamani (2002), Blue Canari (2004), Study of Man (2018).
  • Jean-Claude Rouget (6 victoires) : Le Havre (2009), Almanzor (2016), Brametot (2017), Sottsass (2019), Vadeni (2022), Ace Impact (2023)

Two women saddled a Prix du Jockey Club winner: Christiane Head (Bering in 1986) and Lady Herries (Celtic Swing in 1995).


  • Yves Saint-Martin (9 wins): Reliance (1965), Nelcius (1966), Tapalqué (1968), Sassafras (1970), Acamas (1978), Top Ville (1979), Darshaan (1984), Mouktar (1985), Natroun (1987).
  • George Stern (6 wins): Saxon (1901), Ajax (1904), Quintette (1908), Dagor (1913), Sardanapale (1914), Ramus (1922).
  • J. Goater (4 wins): Insulaire (1878), Zut (1879), Albion (1881), Dandin (1882).
  • Charles Semblat (4 wins): Belfonds (1925), Mon Talisman (1927), Pearlweed (1935), Clairvoyant (1937).
  • Charles Elliott (4 wins): Tourbillon (1931), Thor (1933), Cillas (1938), Pharis (1939).
  • Freddy Head (4 wins): Goodly (1969), Roi Lear (1973), Val de l’Orne (1975), Youth (1976).
  • Cash Asmussen (4 wins): Suave Dancer (1991), Hernando (1993), Dream Well (1998), Montjeu (1999).
  • Christophe Soumillon (4 wins): Anabaa Blue (2001), Dalakhani (2003), Darsi (2006), Vadeni (2022).
  • Edward Flatman (3 wins): Lydia (1837), Meudon (1846), Lion (1856).
  • Charles Pratt (3 wins): Gontran (1865), Florentin (1866), Bigarreau (1870).
  • Tom Lane (3 wins): Stuart (1886), Ragotsky (1893), Perth (1899).
  • Milton Henry (3 wins): Mordant (1907), Sea Sick (1908), Alcantara II (1911).
  • Guy Garner (3 wins): Pot au Feu (1924), Madrigal (1926), Hotweed (1929).
  • William Johnstone (3 wins): Bey (1948), Scratch (1950), Auriban (1952).
  • Pat Eddery (3 wins): Caerleon (1983), Hours After (1988), Sanglamore (1990).
  • Lanfranco Dettori (3 wins): Polytain (1992), Shamardal (2005), Lawman (2007).
  • Gérald Mossé (3 wins): Celtic Arms (1994), Ragmar (1996), Reliable Man (2011).
  • Ioritz Mendizabal (3 wins): Vision d'État (2008), Mishriff (2020), St.Mark's Basilica (2021).
  • Cristian Demuro (3 wins): Brametot (2017), Sottsass (2019), Ace Impact (2023). 

George Stern is the youngest jockey to ride a Prix du Jockey Club winner. He was born on September 29, 1883, and was 17 years, 8 months, and 5 days old when he first passed the post aboard Saxon on June 2, 1901.

The second youngest is Serge Gorli, who was born on 1 January 1963 and was 18 years, 5 months, and 7 days old when he rode Bikala to victory on 7 June 1981.