The Champ de Mars Racecourse was inaugurated on 25 June 1812, by the Mauritius Turf Club (MTC) which was founded earlier in the same year by Edward Alured Draper (1776-1841). The Mauritius Turf Club is the oldest horseracing club in the Southern Hemisphere and the second oldest in the world. The racetrack follows a very selective right-hand oval path and is relatively small, with a circumference of 1,298 meters and a width between 12 and 14 meters. The home straight extends uphill and is 225 meters long. When Mauritius gained Independence on 12 March 1968, the event including the flag hoisting ceremony was held here. Since then, and for many years, the racecourse has seen the annual Independence celebrations. Today, the Champ de Mars attracts tens of thousands of people on each racing day during the racing season from late March to early December and has become the ultimate meeting place for racing fanatics from the island and abroad. The track has also played a fundamental role in propelling horse racing as the most popular sport and form of entertainment among the local population.
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