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Prix Niel

Group 2 race
Prix Niel
Location Longchamp Racecourse
Paris, France
Race type Flat / Thoroughbred
Sponsor Qatar
Website france-galop.com
Race information
Distance 2,400 metres (1½ miles)
Track Turf, right-handed
Qualification Three-year-olds
excluding geldings
Weight 58 kg
1½ kg for fillies
Purse 130,000 (2009)
1st: 57%, 2nd: 22%
3rd: 10.5%, 4th: 7%
5th: 3.5%

The Prix Niel is a Group 2 flat horse race in France which is open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies. It is run at Longchamp over a distance of 2,400 metres (about 1½ miles), and it is scheduled to take place each year in September.

The race serves as a trial for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, which is held three weeks later at the same venue. The field usually includes some of the leading three-year-old candidates for the "Arc", and many of these will be racing for the first time since mid summer.



The Prix Niel developed from a race called the Prix de Chantilly, which used to be contested over 3,000 metres by horses aged three or older. This was staged at Longchamp in early September. Its distance was cut to 2,400 metres in 1952, and to 2,300 metres in 1953.

The Prix de Chantilly was restricted to three-year-olds only in 1955, and at the same time its length was reverted to 2,400 metres. A separate race was introduced for older horses, which was initially titled the Prix Henri Foy (now the Prix Foy). Both of these events were specifically designed to act as trials for the most prestigious race in France, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

The distance of the Prix de Chantilly underwent several changes during the 1960s. It was cut to 2,000 metres in 1960, and then restored to 2,400 metres the following year. The race began a brief spell at Chantilly in 1964, and it returned to Longchamp two years later with a reduced length of 2,100 metres. It was extended to 2,200 metres in 1968.

The race was given its present title, the Prix Niel, in 1972. This was in memory of Gaston Niel (1880–1970), a long-serving member of the Société d'Encouragement, a former governing body of racing in France. Niel became the president of this organisation upon the death of Henri Foy in 1954.

The present distance of the Prix Niel, 2,400 metres, was set in 1979. The event was promoted to Group 2 status in 1987 – it had been previously classed at Group 3 level since the early 1970s.

Twelve winners of the race have gone on to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in the same year. The first of these was Sica Boy in 1954, and the most recent was Rail Link in 2006.

Records since 1952

Leading jockey (4 wins):

  • Freddy HeadTaj Dewan (1967), Mississipian (1974), Gay Mecene (1978), Cariellor (1984)

Leading trainer (10 wins):

  • André FabreCariellor (1984), Trempolino (1987), Subotica (1991), Carnegie (1994), Housamix (1995), Sagamix (1998), Valixir (2004), Hurricane Run (2005), Rail Link (2006), Cavalryman (2009)

Leading owner (4 wins):

  • HH Aga Khan IVAkarad (1981), Mouktar (1985), Sinndar (2000), Dalakhani (2003)

Winners since 1979






1979 Le Marmot Philippe Paquet François Boutin Rodolph Schafer
1980 Prince Bee Willie Carson Dick Hern Sir Michael Sobell
1981 Akarad Yves Saint-Martin François Mathet HH Aga Khan IV
1982 Bon Sang Alfred Gibert Mitri Saliba Mahmoud Fustok
1983 Sagace Yves Saint-Martin Patrick Biancone Daniel Wildenstein 2:43.5
1984 Cariellor Freddy Head André Fabre Suzy Volterra
1985 Mouktar Yves Saint-Martin Alain de Royer-Dupré HH Aga Khan IV 2:30.6
1986 Bering Gary W. Moore Criquette Head Ghislaine Head 2:36.8
1987 Trempolino Pat Eddery André Fabre Paul de Moussac 2:38.4
1988 Fijar Tango Tony Cruz Georges Mikhalidès Mahmoud Fustok 2:34.6
1989 Golden Pheasant Tony Cruz Jonathan Pease Bruce McNall 2:32.5
1990 Epervier Bleu Dominique Boeuf Elie Lellouche Daniel Wildenstein 2:32.0
1991 Subotica Thierry Jarnet André Fabre Olivier Lecerf 2:28.5
1992 Songlines Olivier Benoist Edouard Bartholomew Sir Robin McAlpine 2:32.8
1993 Hernando Cash Asmussen François Boutin Stavros Niarchos 2:36.7
1994 Carnegie Thierry Jarnet André Fabre Sheikh Mohammed 2:34.9
1995 Housamix Thierry Jarnet André Fabre Jean-Luc Lagardère 2:36.1
1996 Helissio Olivier Peslier Elie Lellouche Enrique Sarasola 2:30.4
1997 Rajpoute Gérald Mossé François Doumen John D. Martin 2:30.9
1998 Sagamix Olivier Peslier André Fabre Jean-Luc Lagardère 2:41.3
1999 Montjeu Michael Kinane John Hammond Michael Tabor 2:32.8
2000 Sinndar Johnny Murtagh John Oxx HH Aga Khan IV 2:26.4
2001 Golan Kieren Fallon Sir Michael Stoute Lord Weinstock 2:27.0
2002 Sulamani Thierry Thulliez Pascal Bary Niarchos Family 3:12.8
2003 Dalakhani Christophe Soumillon Alain de Royer-Dupré HH Aga Khan IV 2:27.6
2004 Valixir Eric Legrix André Fabre Lagardère Family 2:29.4
2005 Hurricane Run Kieren Fallon André Fabre Michael Tabor 2:30.7
2006 Rail Link Christophe Soumillon André Fabre Khalid Abdullah 2:31.9
2007 Soldier of Fortune Johnny Murtagh Aidan O'Brien Magnier / Smith / Tabor 2:25.6
2008 Vision d'Etat Ioritz Mendizabal Eric Libaud Detré / Libaud 2:27.4
2009 Cavalryman Frankie Dettori André Fabre Godolphin 2:30.1

Earlier winners

  • 1952 -
  • 1953 - Shikampur
  • 1954 - Sica Boy
  • 1955 - Walhalla
  • 1956 -
  • 1957 - Amber
  • 1958 - Upstart
  • 1959 - Montrouge
  • 1960 - Puissant Chef
  • 1961 - Devon
  • 1962 - Kistinie
  • 1963 - Le Mesnil
  • 1964 - Sigebert
  • 1965 - Super Sam
  • 1966 - Nelcius
  • 1967 - Taj Dewan
  • 1969 - Belbury
  • 1970 - Stintino
  • 1971 - Arlequino
  • 1972 - Hard to Beat
  • 1974 - Mississipian
  • 1975 - Anne's Pretender
  • 1977 - Crystal Palace
  • 1978 - Gay Mecene


See also


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