Friday, 4 November 2016

France 2016- Prix De L'arc De Triomphe Chantilly

The stunning backdrop of the Château de Chantilly is just perfect for the racecourse at Chantilly. Owned by the Institut de France, the château houses the Musée Condé. It is one of the finest art galleries in France. Not only that it was the setting for the James Bond film 'View to a Kill'. Additionally footballer Ronaldo got married here in 2005.

Pink Floyd played two nights of the Division Bell Tour here in 1994.

Chantilly Racecourse is a Thoroughbred turf racecourse for flat racing in Chantilly, Oise, France, about 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of Paris. It's a busy horseracing and and stands on 65 hectares next to Chantilly Forest. A right-handed course, the main course is 2,400 metres long, with another at 2,150 metres, plus a round course adaptable from 1,400 to 2,400 metres. The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is normally run at Longchamp. However ongoing renovation work has resulted in the race being moved temporarily for 2016. the race should return to its historical home in 2017. Before the races we had a wander through Chantilly and it really is a lovely place. The England football team were based here in the 2016 Euros. Reminded me of a larger version of Olney with similar style of brickwork. But today was all about the racing and we were keen to get in , which was easier said than done ! We virtually did a full circuit before finding the correct entrance. It really is a beautiful course with all the surrounding forest, I even brought a few French conkers home to plant. I was surprised that it wasn't too busy , I remember Longchamp being rammed and difficult to get a bet on. It really was a picturesque setting as the band came out prior to the first race and the jockeys walked the track.

The betting was totally different to the English system with no on course bookmakers. Not only that any bets had to be done via a computer terminal system thing which only added to the confusion. Something that came back to haunt us when we thought we had first and second in a forecast at good prices. The other thing with the French betting is they don't pay out as quickly as here. So thinking we were sitting on a nice pick -up we re-invested only to find we hadn't covered all bases.... There was a large contingent from the UK and in particular Ireland who didn't take long to get into the full party spirit. I spotted Andrew LLoyd-Webber in the parade ring along with Trainer John Gosden, but it wasn't to be their day either. The big race did have a British winner though in the shape of 'Found' ridden by Ryan Moore and trained by Aiden O'brien in Ireland. It won convincingly and was one of those you wonder how you overlooked at a price around 10/1... Winners were definitely thin on the ground but it was all about the occasion and taking it all in. Without really noticing the crowd had swelled and I was struck by the mess created of empty beer and wine bottles and wrappers. What had started out as a serene landscape had become tainted by ignorance. No doubt the cleaners would get to work afterwards and restore to it's former glory but that didn't seem the point. 

There were great views of the horses from on the rails.
It turned out to be a beautiful early Autumn afternoon and as the afternoon slowly drifted into early evening there was a wonderful light over the racecourse. Hopefully one or two of these photos might have captured the mood? 

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