The Qipco Prix du Jockey-Club (Gr1), run over 2,100m, will be run at Chantilly on Sunday, June 2nd. This race is one of four classics to grace the French season in tandem with the Emirates Poule d’Essai des Poulains/Poule d’Essai Pouliches (Grs1) (1.600m) and the Prix de Diane Longines (Gr1). The latter race is also run over 2.100m but is restricted to fillies. Classic races are by their very nature restricted to three-year-olds, and they are designed to produce the cream of the crop – with an eventual view to a career in the breeding shed. The Prix du Jockey-Club traces its name to the Jockey Club de Paris, created in 1834. Anecdotally speaking, the Prix du Jockey-Club, also referred to as the Derby français, or French Derby, hasn’t always been run at Chantilly. Versailles acted as the host venue in 1848 and the classic was transferred to Longchamp in the 1919-20 period and 1940. Le Tremblay also filled the same role during the Second World War until 1947. Because of the outbreak of war, the classic wasn’t run in either 1871 or the 1915-18 period. The classic has crowned by some very great champions of the past, and in a more contemporaneous setting, those fitting the same star billing comprise the likes of Peintre Célèbre, Montjeuand Dalakhani. All were to prove future winners of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr1). After the distance of the race was reduced from 2.400m to 2.100m in 2005, it also consecrated the careers of 1600m horses, or milers, but colts who also showed that they had the required stamina for the trip.
This has been the case with Shamardal, Lawman, Le Havre and Lope de Vega. All have gone on to become excellent stallions. The Prix du Jockey-Club, therefore, revels in a dual role of not just showcasing the talents of a potential future champion on the track in the coming months, but also those of a future heavyweight stallion in the making.