The Premier Horse Racing Events in France: A Look at the Calendar

There are few more popular sporting days in France than at the races. Fortunately for French horse racing enthusiasts, the country hosts some of the most prestigious races on the international calendar, attracting thousands of bets at leading sportsbooks and online casinos in France. While flat racing enjoys immense popularity in this European nation, there are also several esteemed jump events throughout the season. So, which are the standout French horse racing events on the annual calendar?

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, undoubtedly the most prominent annual race in France, takes place on the first Sunday of October at Longchamp. Covering the classic distance of 2,400 meters, it ranks among the most financially rewarding races globally, offering a purse of $5 million to the victorious connections.

This Group 1 event is widely acclaimed as the premier turf race worldwide, attracting legendary champions throughout its rich history. A select group of eight horses boasts the prestigious honor of multiple Arc victories, with Enable being the most recent to achieve this remarkable feat in 2018.

The mare was the ride of Frankie Dettori, who rode a history-making sixth win in the race. Andre Fabre is the leading trainer with eight victories, while Ace Impact was the legendary winner of the race in 2023, becoming the first horse aged three to win the race since Enable in 2017.

Prix Du Jockey Club

The French horse racing season steps up a gear in early June as the French version of the Epsom Derby is staged. The Prix Du Jockey Club is run annually at Chantilly, with the field competing over a distance of 2,100 metres. It was first run in 1836 and was named in honour of the Jockey Club based in Newmarket, England.

Horses aged three are involved in this race, which boasts a purse of $1.5 million, with the winner getting just over half of the prize money. Yves Saint-Martin is the leading jockey in the history of the race, with his success on board Natroun in 1987 being his ninth win. Tom Jennings Sr is the leading trainer with ten victories. 

The 2023 edition of the race boasted a star-studded lineup and Ace Impact managed to secure victory, fending off the challenge from Big Rock. Notably, several recent winners of this race have achieved significant victories in other prestigious events. For instance, Mishriff, the winner in 2020, triumphed in the Dubai Sheema Classic, while St Mark’s Basilica, the 2021 champion, went on to win the Irish Champion Stakes.

Prix Jacques Le Marois

One of the standout races on the French racing calendar is staged annually in August. The Prix Jacques Le Marois was added as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge in 2010, meaning that winners have secured a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Since its inception in 1921, the Prix Jacques Le Marois has been a prestigious horse racing event held at Deauville, covering a distance of one mile. This Group One race is open to horses aged three and older, and it has witnessed four previous winners achieve victory in successive years. Inspiral, the most recent horse to accomplish this remarkable feat, clinched victory in the Prix Jacques Le Marois in 2022 and 2023.

Frankie Dettori has ridden the winner of the race in each of the last four editions to take his tally of victories to a record eight. Andre Fabre and Francois Boutin are the joint-leading trainers with seven wins.

Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris

The biggest jumps race in France is the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris. This Group 1 is staged annually in late May, with a total distance of 6,000 meters covered. The field must navigate 23 fences in total, and it is the most prestigious jumps race in France, with a purse of $1 million up for grabs. It was founded in 1874 and was initially named the Grand National de France, taking homage from the Grand National run at Aintree.

Jean Daumas is the leading jockey in the race with five victories, while Guillaume Macaire is the top trainer with seven victories. That includes victory in the 2022 edition with Sel Jem. The most recent winner of the race was Rosario Baron for trainer Daniele Mele.  


While horse racing enjoys immense popularity in France, with numerous prestigious events occurring annually, the crown jewel of French racing is undoubtedly the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. This iconic race captivates racing enthusiasts and attracts avid horse race betting enthusiasts worldwide. It stands as one of the rare races on the calendar where the finest turf runners from across the globe converge to compete.

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