The Maiden Cup race is an important cultural moment in Mauritius, horse-riding being one of the favorite sport of Mauritians who are great gamblers. The race takes place every start of September, on a Sunday (while normally racings days are on Saturdays), and gathers thousands of Mauritians at Le Champs de Mars in Port-Louis (around 70,000 each year), the oldest horse-race track of the Southern hemisphere. Every Mauritian families have memories of this race, as it is a good family time for a picnic, admiring the horses or betting on “long shots” (horses with an interesting quote e.g. 16/1).

When the race has started, you can hear the crowd clamor, supporting their favorite horse until the end. The voices of Jug Gokhooi and Robert Deschambeaux, the 2 commentators, are on radios ad national TV, inviting all people to stop what they were doing and watch the race. At Le Champs de Mars, you can bet on horses, have a lunch, play different games, watch several animations … The whole country is either there or in front of their TV set.

This year, the race took place on Sunday 5 September. The weather was very good, le Champs de Mars was crowded, the track excellent. Favorite horses were Senor Versace and Captain’s Knock, the latter won the the Maiden Cup. For the first time, I went to the loges, to be able to get the best images of this special event. The atmosphere was great, electric – I saw the owners of horses at the paddocks, women with beautiful hats and men in perfect suits. I was also in the crowd, vibrating with them, shouting at my favorite horse … A real good experience that I would like to share with you with the following images, part of an important reportage I did for the occasion !