Vicomtesse Vigier History: A French Gold Cup

13 June 2020

Vicomtesse Vigier History: A French Gold Cup


May, ParisLongchamp*

Prix Vicomtesse Vigier


Group 2, 4-year-old and above, 3,000:/15f, €90,000

Created in 1859 (prix Jean Prat), renamed in 1985

Last winner: San Huberto (h, IRE by Speightstown ex Sediciosa, by Rail Link), owned by à OTI Management, Maurice Lagasse, Riviera Equine, Fabrice Chappet & Nicolas de Chambure, bred by Gestüt Zur Kuste, trained by Fabrice Chappet, ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot.

The race is run in 2021 for the 158th time


The 2020 edition

Sunday, June 14, Chantilly. - Winner of the Qatar Prix du Cadran (Gr1) in 2018 and a major player in the European stayers' division, Call the Wind (Frankel) was the obvious favourite in the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier (Gr2). Traine dby Freddy Head for his owner/breeder George Strawbridge had just won twice, first in a big handicap in the Saudi Cup undercard, then in the Prix de Barbeville (Gr3) in Deauville. However, his rider Olivier Peslier lost too much time behind the leading line and could not reach a brave San Huberto (Speightstown), who won by almost a length after a nice trip behind the leader Get Shirty (Teofilo), finally 3rd. Also unlucky in running, Called to the Bar (Henrythenavigator) finished well in fourth. Trained by Fabrice Chappet for OTI Management, Maurice Lagasse, Riviera Equine, Fabrice Chappet and Nicolas de Chambure, San Huberto is a 4-year-old male bred in Ireland by the Gestüt Zur Kuste AG. Winner of the Coupe des 3ans (L) last year at Lyon-Parilly, then in the Prix Michel Houyvet (L) over 14 furlongs in Deauville, he took the third place in the Belmont Derby before failing at the end of the year at ParisLongchamp in the Qatar Prix Chaudenay (Gr2) on very soft ground.

Fifth for his return at Lyon, he has now won his first Group 2.

Purchased € 70,000 as a yearling by Hubert Guy at the Deauville sales, but then unsold at the Arqana breeze-up, he is out of Sediciosa (Rail Link), winner of the Prix de Royaumont (Gr3) and also dam of the dual winner Saint Julien (Street Cry), an Invincible Spirit filly in training with Yann Barberot and an Almanzor filly.


It was in 1985 that the title of Prix Vicomtesse Vigier was given to one of two races then bearing the same name, the version of the Prix Jean Prat that was open to older horses, run over 1 mile 7 ½ furlongs and, at the time, served as a trial for the Classic race, the Prix du Cadran. This brought an end to a sometimes confusing situation by leaving just one Prix Jean Prat (see the race of that name), reserved for 3 year-olds. In 1940, the name Prix Jean Prat had been given to two very old races held at Longchamp under the name of the "Prix Biennal", one of which, created in 1858, was reserved for 3 year-olds, while the other, first run in 1859 and that was to become the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier, was exclusively for 4 year-olds.

Originally, the race’s distance was 2 miles, but the distance was changed a few occasions until 1955, when it settled at 3,100m/15.5 furlongs, and at 3,000m/15furlongs from 2016. The race has produced a dead heat once, in 1881 between Beauminet and Le Destrier. In 1871 and from 1915 to 1918, the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier was cancelled. It was transferred to Maisons-Laffitte for three years, from 1943 to 1945, to Deauville in 2016 and 2017 during the Longchamp renovation works, and (*) in June at Chantilly during the coronavirus outbreak.

From its creation, the race served as a trial event for the Prix du Cadran run a few weeks later over 2 miles 4 furlongs. But since the Prix du Cadran was moved to early October in 1991, the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier has become the main long-distance race held in France in the first half of the year. During this period, only four horses have done the Vigier-Cadran double: Molesnes in the same year (1994); Tajoun with a gap of one year (the spring event in 1998 and the autumn event in 1999); Westerner, twice a winner of the Cadran (2003 and 2004), then of the Vicomtesse Vigier as a 6-year-old in 2005 after having come second in the event the previous year, and finally Vazirabad in 2017 at 5.

Vicomtesse Vigier (1869-1970)

Born Madeleine Double de Saint-Lambert, Vicomtesse Vigier was the niece of the leading breeder, Jean Prat. Upon his death in early 1940, she inherited his stable. Before long, the colours of Vicomtesse Vigier (brown jersey, orange sleeves, white cap) shone courtesy of Maurepas (Prix du Cadran and Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud 1941), Mascotte (2nd in the 1941 Prix Vermeille), Rengaine (Prix de Pomone 1942) and Magister, who did the Jockey Club-Grand Prix de Paris double in 1942. All three were trained by Charles Defeyer. After becoming the owner of the Lessard-le-Chêne stud farm, Vicomtesse Vigier bred several good performers there who, then entrusted to Richard Carver senior, ensured her colours kept flying high on French racecourses. These included Musette (1946, seven wins, Prix de Minerve, 2nd in Prix Morny, 3rd in Poule d'Essai, Prix de Diane), Rancio (1946, Prix Noailles, 2nd in Prix Greffulhe), Neda (1947, Prix de Malleret), Siva (1955, Prix Boïard) and Seddouk (1956, Prix Berteux, 3rd in Prix Hocquart).

Vicomtesse Vigier’s memory remains associated with the ceremony held on 14 September 1969 at Longchamp in celebration of her 100th birthday. Sharp and stylish, she received a bouquet of flowers from the hands of 'Yves Saint-Martin, while the chairman of French racing’s governing body, Marcel Boussac, presented her with a cup and 2 three-stemmed chandeliers. On this historic day, the meeting’s showpiece event, the Prix de la Salamandre, temporarily took on the name of the "Prix du centième anniversaire de Madame la Vicomtesse Vigier".

A few months later, in January 1970, Vicomtesse Vigier passed away in her 101st year. The last horse to carry her colours to victory had been Lampire, trained by Edouard Bartholomew, a winner in the Prix de Compiègne at Le Touquet on 13 July 1969. C’est en 1985 qu’est donné le titre de Prix Vicomtesse Vigier à l’une des deux courses portant alors un même nom, Prix Jean Prat, celle ouverte aux chevaux d’âge, disputée sur 3 100 mètres et, à l’époque, préparatoire au classique Prix du Cadran. Dès lors va cesser une confusion parfois fâcheuse, avec un seul Prix Jean Prat (voir à ce nom) réservé aux 3 ans. C’est en 1940 qu’avait été attribué le nom de Prix Jean Prat à deux très anciennes courses disputées à Longchamp sous le nom de « Prix Biennal », dont une 1ère épreuve était réservée aux 3 ans et une 2ème épreuve aux 4 ans, la première ayant été créée en 1858, la seconde -celle qui devint le prix Vicomtesse Vigier- en 1859.



  • Famille Rothschild (7 wins): Biéville (1875), Forum (1882) pour Alphonse, Prédicateur (1913), Cadum (1925) pour Édouard, Céladon (1954), White Label (1965), Alyscamps (1966) pour Guy.
  • Aga Khan (6 wins): Zamazaan (1969), Tajoun (1998), Shamdala (2006), Vazirabad (2016, 2017, 2018).
  • Henri Delamarre (5 wins): Pauvre Hère (1861), Angus (1862), Clotaire (1872), Boiard (1874), Clio (1883).
  • Marcel Boussac (5 wins): Marsyas (1944, 1945), Arbar (1948), Marveil (12950), Scratch (1951).
  • Famille Wildenstein (5 wins)*: Buckskin (1977), Balitou (19856), Air de Cour (1986), Tale Quale (1987) pour Daniel, Westerner (2005) pour l’écurie Wildenstein.
  • Frédéric de Lagrange (4 wins): Fille de l’Air (1865), Fleurette (1867), Nemea (1868), Mortemer (1869).
  • Edmond Blanc (4 wins): Gouverneur (1892), Lagrange (1894), Gouvernant (1905), Génial (1906).


  • Alain de Royer-Dupré (7 wins): Starski (1982), Tajoun (1998), Shamdala (2006), Ivory Land (2012), Vazirabad (2016, 2017, 2018).
  • Henry Jennings (6 wins): Tippler (1859), Light (1860), Fumée (1866), Cerdagne (1870), Revigny (1873), Mourle (1879).
  • Thomas-Richard Carter (5 wins): Pauvre Hère (1861), Angus (1862), Clotaire (1872), Boiard (1874), Clio (1883).
  • Charles Semblat (5 wins): Marsyas (1944, 1945), Arbar (1948), Marveil (1950), Scratch (1951).
  • André Fabre (5 wins): Magwal (1984), Amilynx (2000), Coastal Path (2008), Américain (2009), Brigantin (2011).
  • Tom Jennings (4 wins): Fille de l’Air (1865), Fleurette (1867), Nemea (1868), Mortemer (1869).
  • George Cunnington senior (4 wins): Brisolier (1888), Pourtant (1890), Germain (1900), Nimbus (1914).
  • François Mathet (4 wins): Polar (1956), Cirio (1963), Danseur (1967), Zamazaan (1969).


  • Yves Saint-Martin (6 wins): Cirio (1963), Danseur (1967), Zamazaan (1969), Paseo (1970), Récupéré (1974), Buckskin (1977).
  • Freddy Head (6 wins): Hallez (1971), Midshipman (1978), Campero (1979), Gold River (1981), Starski (1982), Dadarissime (1993).
  • George Bridgland (5 wins): Casterari (1934), Admiral Drake (1935), Quorn (1936), Malkowicze (1938), Chanteur (1946).
  • Christophe Soumillon (5 wins): Shamdala (2006), Domeside (2013), Vazirabad (2016, 2017, 2018).
  • Tom Lane (4 wins): Lapin (1886), Alger (1887), Alicante (1891), Gouverneur (1892).
  • Johnny Reiff (4 wins): Querido (1907), Sablonnet (1911), Joyeux V (1912), Nimbus (1914).
  • Albert Sharpe (4 wins): Gave (1919), Odol (1921), Harpocrate (1922), Massine (1924).
  • Olivier Peslier (4 wins): Molesnes (1994), Amilynx (2000), Westerner (2005), Américain (2009).