Horse play in St Moritz

2nd February 2012, by Chris Gill

Wonderful setting of St Moritz  (c) All photos:

Wonderful setting of St Moritz (c) All photos:

Given forecast temperatures dropping to minus 20 or so, there should be no problems with the frozen lake for this weekend’s horse racing in St Moritz.

The annual White Turf event will take place in the glitzy Swiss resort with racing starting on Sunday 5 February, and also taking place on 12th and 19th February. The international White Turf horse race is one of St Moritz’s leading events of the winter season, and has been going for 105 years. Its distinguishing feature is that it all takes places on a frozen race course on the resort’s big lake and highlights the resort as a well-bred, wealthy yet modern and comfortable lifestyle.

The setting is stunning, the location an upmarket resort where fur coats are as abundant as the good skiing. Every year the exciting gallop and trotting races feature noble thoroughbreds and international jockeys competing in a 1300m sprint. The races keep more than 35,000 spectators spellbound. All this is rounded off with some Skijöring racing, where skiers are pulled at speeds of up to 50 km/h by rider-less horses over an icy and crunchy surface for 2700m.

The competitor who collects the greatest number of points over the three race Sundays will be crowned the year’s ‘King of the Engadine’. At stake on the final Sunday is a 30,000 Swiss Franc prize, which is part of the Grand Prix Berlin-Hoppegarten – taking place as part of a collaboration with Germany, and a similar race event in Berlin.

To allow spectators to enjoy more of the whole race, the starting line has been moved for this winter. It is now placed between the first and second stands. And, of course, the wider picture is that there will be plenty of action off the course too; trade stands, temporary dining points and exhibitions. Also new this winter is a special ‘kid’s’ day, designed around making the event fun for visiting families.

‘Kid’s Day’ will take place on the 12 February (second race day, and the start of half term for many families) . Entertainment will consist of various children’s attractions, such as pony rides. Visitors will be encouraged to contribute donations to children’s charities, and there will also be a dedicated creche-style tent facility on site.

Professional skijöring – ©

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