1 Hurdles World Snow Hurdle Championship Final 2‘700 m 20‘000.-
2 Flat race GP PRESTIGE supported by Jockey Club of Turkey 1‘800 m 15‘000.-
3 Trotting race BMW – Grosser Traberpreis von Pontresina 1‘700 m 20‘000.-
4 Skikjöring CREDIT SUISSE GP von Silvaplana 2‘700 m 15‘000.-
5 Trotting race GP Herz 1‘700 m 15‘000.-
6 Flat race GP Christoffel Bau Trophy 1‘900 m 20‘000.-
7 Flat race Preis Handels- und
Gewerbeverein St. Moritz
1‘600 m 10‘000.-
Prix d’Honneur
Badrutt‘s Palace Hotel St. Moritz
Guardaval Immobilien – Zuoz
Wellness Hotel Seeleiten Kaltern
Let’s Go Tours

White Turf, a unique, exclusive, top-class event with exciting horse-racing, gourmet catering, lively music and inspiring art exhibitions, all taking place in winter sunshine on the frozen lake among the stunningly beautiful, snow-capped mountains of St Moritz. This spectacular, major event is not just one with Champagne on ice for the rich and beautiful but an annual event where race-horse owners, trainers and jockeys from all over the world meet up as well as being an unmissable fixture on the calendar for local people. It is thanks to the sponsors as well as the municipality of St Moritz and the local tourist board, who have been supporting White Turf for decades, to make this top-class race-meeting possible.

In addition, members of the organising committee along with their staff and countless volunteers ensure that the 35,000 visitors who attend these unique race-meetings on 7th, 14th and 21st February can enjoy a flutter, cheer on the horses they have backed and enjoy top-quality catering in a number of marquees put up specially on the frozen lake. What is more, visitors have the opportunity of winning holidays in luxury hotels on far-off tropical islands.

If you have a passion for racing, or just want to spend an unforgettable day out at a unique event in spectacular winter surroundings, make sure you join us in February in St Moritz. Pioneering with an Olympic touch. St. Moritz has an inborn pioneering spirit – it is the alpine health resort where winter sport and tourism were founded, and was the first place in Switzerland to have electric light. And it was also here that, almost 100 years ago, a couple of enterprising sports enthusiasts invented a brand new equestrian pastime, which in 1923 – five years before the first Winter Olympics were held in St. Moritz – even flirted with the idea of becoming an Olympic discipline: the sport of skijoring. However, although imitated and adapted in many alpine countries, skijoring in its original form has only established itself in the place where it originated, the Engadine valley in Switzerland. Nowhere else in the world do thoroughbred horses regularly compete without riders on their backs but instead with skiers in tow.

Back in the days of the first skijoring race in 1906, many things were quite different to today. The race followed a route by road from St. Moritz to Champfèr, and the participants did not start all together, but individually at one-minute intervals. Philip Mark, President of the Alpina Ski Club, and his Irish chestnut gelding, Blitz, were the fastest, taking 20 minutes and 22 seconds to complete the almost ten kilometre stretch. Ever since skijoring was transferred to the racecourse, it has been run like any other horse race – in a group, horse against horse, skier against skier. This demands a great deal of skiing prowess on the part of the athletes, as well as firm control of their four-legged partners.

A particularly precarious stage of the race is the start, for then the reins can easily get tangled up or the thoroughbreds sometimes take off in different directions. Over the decades there have been many reports of this “hopeless confusion”; in 1965, for example, not a single skier succeeded in crossing the finishing line. As a result, skijoring is now organised as an official gallop discipline, the equipment has been standardised, coloured skis have been made compulsory (so that the horses can see them in the snow), and the skiers are required to undergo stringent testing in the run-up to the race. Although the quality of the horses used in these competitions has steadily improved over the years, and each winter every effort is made to increase the safety of the racecourse on the 60 cm thick ice, even today skijoring involves a certain degree of foolhardiness. For in order to master a 2,700 metre long course over compressed “turf”, with a flurry of snow raining down on all sides and with speeds reaching up to 50 kilometres per hour, a considerable amount of strength, athleticism, balance, instinct and toughness is required. A decisive factor governing success or failure is the attempt to vie for position between the start and the first bend. However, incidents can also happen at a later stage in the race, for example, when a horse accidentally stands on the driver’s skis. In recent years, the St. Moritz skijoring races on the three racing Sundays have been combined, with participants competing for one trophy.

The skier with the highest number of points is crowned “King of the Engadine”. It is a shame that the idea of anchoring this mixture of skiing and horse racing in the Olympic programme has never been seriously discussed. There is no doubt that the Swiss would dominate in this sport – at least, until skijoring is also discovered by the Austrians

14/02/2017 ST MORITZ HORSE RACING ON THE FROZEN LAKE RACE 7TH 14TH 21ST FEBRUARY 2016

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