A 19th Century French bronze figure entitled ‘Vainqueur du Derby’ by Pierre Jules Mene. An extremely fine bronze cast study of the famous French derby winner in 1866 ‘Florentin’ exhibiting excellent colour slightly worn in areas to a golden hue mounted on a naturalistic base, signed and dated 1866.
Vainqueur du Derby
The Prix du Jockey Club, sometimes referred to as the French Derby, is a Group 1 flat horse race in France open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies. It is run at Chantilly over a distance of 2,100 metres (about 1 mile and 2½ furlongs) each year in early June.
The format of the race was inspired by the English Derby, and it was named in homage to the Jockey Club based at Newmarket in England. It was established in 1836, and it was originally restricted to horses born and bred in France with the winner being titled – Vainqueur. Its distance was initially 2,500 metres, and this was cut to 2,400 metres in 1843. It was switched to Versailles during the Revolution of 1848, and it was cancelled due to the Franco-Prussian War in 1871.
The race was abandoned in 1915, and for three years thereafter it was replaced by the Prix des Trois Ans. This took place at Moulins in 1916, Chantilly in 1917 and Maisons-Laffitte in 1918. The first two runnings after World War I were held at Longchamp.
A substitute race called the Prix de Chantilly was run at Auteuil over 2,600 metres in 1940. The Prix du Jockey Club was staged at Longchamp in 1941 and 1942, and at Le Tremblay over 2,300 metres in 1943 and 1944. It returned to Longchamp for the following three years, and on the second occasion it was opened to foreign participants.
The present system of race grading was introduced in 1971, and the Prix du Jockey Club was classed at the highest level, Group 1. The first foreign-trained horse to win was Assert in 1982. The distance was shortened to 2,100 metres in 2005.
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