It was a real surprise to discover that one of the oldest horse race courses in the world is in Mauritius; who would have bet on that? Just on the edge of the city, the Mauritius Turf club was founded by the British in 1812. I was delighted to attend the last meeting of the year.
I got there early, was allocated a parking space next to the grandstand by two nice policemen who even asked me for betting tips. ‘Don’t bet on what I bet on’ was my advice. Then I realised that my ticket and members lounge access I had left at home.
‘They will let me in without that, ‘ I reassured myself, ‘Oops!’ I am sure Colonel Draper never had to show a pass.
You can bet down here, buy refreshments and watch the races on tv but if you go up one flight of stairs you can watch in style from here…
Yes, they did let me in. The staff could not have been more helpful and gave me a replacement badge.
Rules and traditions were well respected and fortunately I had not forgotten to wear a suit and tie because then I would definitely have had to watch from the stands!
Whilst studying the form and trying to look knowledgeable, I heard the Mauritius Police Band marching on to the course. I went for a look and listen.
I returned, due to the heat and the need for liquid refreshment wondering what Mousse T and Tom Jones would have thought of the last song played.
Time to go and place my bet but it was slightly confusing, maybe it was the heat?
Several more lost bets later, it was now time to go to the paddock and study up-to-the-minute form…and not just the fillies!
You could also look from here for the next winner.
So I backed this one ‘Evergreen’.
It was a thrilling race…
…And Evergreen won! I didn’t do quite so well in the next race.
The sounds of music from a Bollywood film echoed loudly across the course so I went for a look.
I wasn’t the only one looking for a tip.
I got back just in time for the next race and my second winner!
It was a great day, faultlessly put on by the Turf Club and I am thoroughly looking forward to next year already.