Hocquart History: A classic prep on a new path

Hocquart History: A classic prep on a new path

June, Chantilly*

PRIX HOCQUART LONGINES


Group 2, 3-year-olds, 2,500m (12.5f), €90,000

Created in 1861 as the Prix de Longchamp

Last winner: Al Hilalee (c3, GB by Dubawi ex Ambivalent, by Authorized), owned by Godolphin, bred by Rabbah Bloodstock, trained by Charlie Appleby, ridden by James Doyle.

Record-time on 2,500m (12.5f) at Deauville : 2’34’’3

The race is run in 2020 for the 153th time

History

This race, first run in 1861 as the Prix de Longchamp, became the Prix Hocquart in 1885 in tribute to one the French horse racing’s leading figures.

For many years, the Prix Hocquart was one of the five races set up by the Société d’Encouragement as trial events for the Prix du Jockey Club – the French Derby – successively in 1841 (Poule des Produits, became Prix Daru* in 1877), in 1855 (Prix de l’Empereur, became Prix Lupin in 1896), in 1861 (Prix de Longchamp, became Prix Hocquart in 1885), in 1878 (Prix du Nabob, became Prix Noailles in 1896) and in 1882 (Prix Greffulhe).

Apart from the Prix Lupin, which had no restrictive conditions, the other four each envisaged specific qualification conditions based on the nationality of the product’s sire or dam. The race was open to “produce out of mares covered by stallions born and bred in France.”

These five “poules de produits” had been introduced in order to strengthen the emergence of 3-year-old horses who had previously only benefited from one important race en route to the Classic event par excellence, the Prix du Jockey Club. This was the “Poule d’Essai” – then run over 7 ½ furlongs (1 mile from 1867) like the “Guineas” in England – created in 1840 and mixed until 1883 when it was split into two events, one for colts and the other for fillies.

These five “poules des produits” were contested over distances of between 1 mile 2 furlongs and 1 mile 4 ½ furlongs, a similar length to the Jockey Club’s mile and a half. For these five races, entries were submitted before the birth of the produce, in the very year of their conception. The aim was to bring together a large number of paying entries whose volume would permit the race concerned to be funded. This practice of pre-birth race entries continued right up to the 1968 “poules des Produits”.

The Hocquart was initially run over 1 mile 4½ furlongs but was reduced to a mile and a half in 1902, the distance of the Prix du Jockey Club. The Prix Hocquart was not run in 1871, 1914-1919 or 1940 due to war. The race was held at Tremblay over 1 mile 3½ furlongs in 1943, 1944 and 1945, and at Chantilly over 1 mile 3 furlongs from 1997 to 2000. In 2005, despite the reorganisation of the three-year-old classic season, the race conditions were not affected until 2016, when it was reduced to 10 furlongs and moved to Deauville because of the Longchamp renovation works. Since 2017, however, the race has been moved to Chantilly on Prix de Diane day, mid-June, and extended to 1m4f to become a Grand Prix de Paris prep race.

(*) In 2020, the race was run at Deauville over 12.5f in early August as the Grand Prix de Paris had been moved to September because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Hocquart family

The Societe d’Encouragement paid tribute to the recently deceased Louis Hocquart de Turtot (1823-1884) by naming the Prix de Longchamp after him in 1885. After serving in the army as an artillery captain, he was elected as a joint member to the board of French horseracing in 1861 before being named a founder member in 1876. In 1872 he was appointed steward, a post he held until his death in 1884. He was also one of the four head stewards of the Deauville Racecourse Association (now an independent body), which was created in 1864, and was also named its president. As a result, he gave his name to one of the roads close to Deauville Racecourse.

Two other members of his family, his father Edouard and his nephew Antoine, also figure in the history of the Société d’Encouragement.

Edouard Hocquart (1792-1852), a chamberlain to the kings Louis XVIII and Charles X, and the owner of a large stud farm in Valmont in the Seine-Inferieure département was named a founding member of the board in 1836, replacing Lord Henry Seymour, who resigned his post.

Antoine Hocquart de Turtot (1872-1954), a former cavalry officer and the brother-in-law of James Hennessy, was elected to the board of the Société d’Encouragement in 1921. Appointed a steward on the same day, he became a head steward in 1928, a post he would hold for 20 years along with that of the president of the National Racecourse Federation. Only one member of the Societe d’Encouragement has held the position of head steward for a longer period of time: La Rochette from 1849 to 1889. On 30 November 1948, Antoine succeeded Ganay as the president of the Societe d’Encouragement, a position he held until 1 December 1950 when he was forced to step down due to ill health. He remained on the board until his death on 15 January 1954, aged 83.

The main innovations in which Hocquart de Turtot played a decisive role were as follows: the installation of the electric tote board at Longchamp in 1928 (a move that was initially criticised and then welcomed as a labour-saving innovation); the introduction of handicaps for two-year-olds in 1930; the creation in 1931 of a race for two-year-olds prior to the customary opening of the two-year-old race season in summer; the introduction of the Tote in 1931, considered by many at the time as an impossible dream; sponsored races in 1933; “Nuits de Longchamp” (night racing at Longchamp) from 1934 to 1939; and the National Lottery sweepstake in 1935.

These measures were implemented to ameliorate the impact of the economic crisis, but with the advent of the Second World War, the management of racecourses became an even more difficult proposition. The numerous problems facing Hocquart de Turtot during the Occupation included keeping Paris’s main racecourses open, transporting horses and supplying them with food at the stables, and preventing horses from being sent away, tasks that he managed to carry out successfully, albeit in very trying circumstances. As the head steward, it was his duty to explain the reasons behind a historic decision taken by the board of the Société d’Encouragement on 25 October 1946: the opening of all French courses to foreign horses, a decision made “in the light of the resounding and repeated victories of French horses in England.”

The Prix Hocquart and the Prix du Jockey Club

The winner of the Prix Hocquart has gone on to win the Prix du Jockey Club 27 times. The horses who have achieved this notable double are as follows: Patricien (1867), Bigarreau (1870), Upas (dead-heat 1886), Ragotsky (1893), Perth (1899), Ex Voto (1903), Maintenon (1906), Sardanapale (1914), Ksar (1921), Belfonds (1925), Hotweed (1929), Tourbillon (1931), Mieuxce (1936), Clairvoyant (1937), Le Pacha (1941), Verso II (1943), Ardan (1944), Sicambre (1951), Auriban (1952), Rapace (1955), Herbager (1959), Val de Loir (1962), Reliance (1965), Val de l’Orne (1975), Darshaan (1984), Mouktar (1985) and Bering (1986).

Now a prep race to the Grand Prix de Paris, the Prix Hocquart immediately played its role since in 2017 as Shakeel, second in the Hocquart that year, won the Grand Prix de Paris on the following July 14 ahead of the Hocquart winner Ice Breeze, fourth.

Fillies in the Prix Hocquart

Up until the First World War, it was not unusual to see fillies lining up in the Prix Hocquart, eight of them going on to win the race: Villafranca (1863), Victorieuse (1866), Filoselle (1876), Versigny (1880), Serpolette II (1881), Orange Blossom (1904), Brienne (1905) and My Star (1910). Three of them, VictorieuseVersigny and Serpolette II, also won the Prix de Diane Longines.

Although the race has always been open to them, over the years fillies have been more notable by their absence, the last of them to claim a top-three finish being Crudite, who came home third in 1935 before claiming the Grand Prix de Paris three weeks later.

Owners

  • Henri Delamarre (7 wins): Matamore (1965), Victorieuse (1866), Patricien (1867), Faublas (1872), Filoselle (1876), Vésuve (1877), Vin Sec (1891).
  • Marcel Boussac (5 wins): Tourbillon (1931), Ardan (1944), Timor (1947), Auriban (1952), Floriados (1956).
  • Aga Khan IV (5 wins): Darshaan (1984), Mouktar (1985), Sadjiyd (1987), Rifapour (1995), Khalkevi (2002).
  • Famille Wertheimer (5 wins): Beaugency (1969), Bourbon (1971), Hakkodate ex-Talleyrand (1972) for Mrs Pierre Wertheimer, Val de l’Orne (1975) & Mot d’Or (1980) for Jacques.
  • Frédéric de Lagrange (4 wins): Allez y Rondement (1862), Villafranca (1863), Le Bosphore (1868), Farfadet (1883).
  • Edouard de Rothschild (4 wins): Flamant (1927), Veloucrème (1930), Royal Gift (1938), Iriflé (1939).
  • Guy de Rothschild (4 wins): Argel (1957), Free Ride (1964), Frontal (1967), Jeu de Paille (1983), also Poil de Chameau (1974) for his spouse.
  • Auguste Lupin (3 wins): Absalon (1873), Saint Cyr (1875), Aérolithe (1889).
  • Bertreux (3 wins): Silex (1884), Upas (1886), Vanneau (1887).
  • Maurice de Rothschild (3 wins): My Star (1910), Faucheur (1911), Sardanapale (1914).
  • Volterra Family (3 wins): My Love (1948) et Val Drake (1949) for Léon, L’Amiral (1950) for Susy.
  • Strassburger Family (3 wins): Bishop’s Rock (1932) for Ralph B. Strassburger, Angers (1960) & Moutiers (1961) for his widow, May.
     

Trainers

  • André Fabre (9 wins): Jeu de Paille (1983), Nasr El Arab ( 1988), Dancehall (1989), Vadlawys (1994), Hurricane Run (2005), Démocrate (2008), Tableaux (2013), Ampère (2015), Nocturnal Fox (2018).
  • Thomas-Richard Carter (6 wins): Matamore (1865), Victorieuse (1866), Patricien (1867), Faublas (1872), Filoselle (1876), Vésuve (1877). 
  • Alain de Royer Dupré (6 wins): Darshaan (1984), Mouktar (1985), Sadjiyd (1987), Rifapour (1995), Lord Flasheart (2000), Khalkevi (2002).
  • Jean-Claude Rouget (6 wins): Shaka (1997), Maille Pistol (2001), Coroner (2003), Lord du Sud (2004), Numide (2006), Mekhtaal (2016).
  • Alec Head (5 wins): Beaugency (1969), Bourbon (1971), Hakkodate ex-Talleyrand (1972), Val de l’Orne (1975), Mot d’Or (1980).
  • Tom Jennings (4 wins): Allez y Rondement (1862), Villafranca (1863), Le Bosphore (1868), Farfadet (1883).
  • Geoffroy Watson (4 wins): Argel (1957), Free Ride (1964), Frontal (1967), Poil de Chameau (1974).
  • Pascal Bary (4 wins): Arbatax (1996), Sayarshan (1998), Falcon Flight (1999), Ice Breeze (2017).
     

Riders

  • Yves Saint-Martin (5 wins): Reliance (1965), Margouillat (1973), Darshaan (1984), Mouktar (1985), Sadjiyd (1987).
  • Freddy Head (5 wins): Bourbon (1971), Hakkodate ex-Talleyrand (1972), Val de l’Orne (1975), Montcontour (1977), Mot d’Or (1980).
  • George Stern (4 wins): Maximum (1902), Mehari (1909), Ksar (1921), Joyeux Drille (1922).
  • Roger Poincelet (4 wins): L’Amiral (1950), Fort de France (1953), San Roman (1958), Le Mesnil (1963).
  • Charles Pratt (3 wins): Good By (1861), Villafranca (1863), Bigarreau (1870).
  • A. Carver (3 wins): Faublas (1872), Filoselle (1876), Vésuve (1877).
  • James Kearney (3 wins): Vanneau (1887), Ragotsky (1893), Kerym (1896).
  • Charles Semblat (3 wins): Belfonds (1925), Hotweed (1929), Le Grand Cyrus (1933).
  • Charles Bouillon (3 wins): Veloucrème (1930), Mieuxcé (1936), Royal Gift (1938).
  • William Johnstone (3 wins): My Love (1948), Val Drake (1949), Auriban (1952).
  • Christophe Soumillon (3 wins): Khalkevi (2002), Hurricane Run (2005), Prairie Star (2011).
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