Horse racing is a virtual religion in Mauritius and the Champ de Mars racecourse its temple.
The 200-year-old track in the centre of the capital Port Louis has long been a lure for people from across the island’s melting pot of cultures.
On an ordinary race day, around 2,000 people spend an afternoon watching, betting and monitoring the racing form.
“ I like coming here, it’s great fun. It’s live, I like watching the horse run”, said Franco Genave, a racegoer.
The race brings together people of different social and economic backgrounds
Kristy Ballah, invested in a racehorse last year and is already reaping the benefits. “This is one of the few places where you can get together and find people from all over Mauritius. It really is beautiful and really unique”, he said.
Broadcast live, the races take place every half-hour, signalled by a loud siren and the names of race favourites echoing around the course.
The racing season runs from late March to early December and is very popular both as a sport and a form of entertainment.