It was a riveting day at the races Saturday with the inaugural “Prix Princesse Charlène de Monaco-Charity Mile” at the Hippodrome in Cagnes-sur-Mer.
With the Mediterranean sun beaming overhead, the venue’s three restaurants packed with diners overlooking the racetrack, and horse racing fans and families filling the stands, the setting couldn’t have been more enthusiastic to welcome HSH Princess Charlene, who has spent nearly a year helping to organise this never been done before event in the French, and European, horse racing calendar.
“It was wonderful to launch this Charity Mile in Cagnes-sur-Mer and a great way for French Racing to support charitable endeavours in the local community,” Princess Charlene told Monaco Life. “I was very touched by the welcome I received and it was great to see so many families enjoying a day at the races.”
Dressed in an Akris Jockey Jacquard Coat, the Princess was a gracious award presenter in the Winner’s Circle, making certain the spotlight was shared with the jockeys, owners and race federation officials, including Mr François Forcioli-Conti, President of the Côte d’Azur Racing Society.
The Charity Mile matched 18 horses with 18 local charitable associations and foundations as chosen by the Princess, and which supported three main themes: children, animals and the needy. These organisations were invited as special guests of the event, and had an opportunity to speak to the crowds to explain their missions.
Sponsors collectively donated €50,000 to the Charity Mile, and this was divided amongst the 18 groups, depending on the race results.
Ronan Thomas brought his horse Miracle des Aigles home for a sweet victory, earning €10,000 for Action Innocence, the Monaco-based charity founded in 2002 that helps to inform children and adolescents on the dangers of the internet.
“We are very happy, we didn’t know we would win,” President of Action Innocence, Louisette Levy-Soussan Azzoaglio, who had never been to a horserace before, told Monaco Life. “We are very honoured to have been chosen by Princess Charlene.”
Second place (€6,000) was awarded to CDEAM-Handi Mobile Equitation while €4,000 for third placement went to the Monaco Red Cross.
Each of the other 15 associations received €2,000. This involved Monaco’s Children & Future, the group that runs No Finish Line. Founder Philippe Verdier, who was also a first-time visitor to the Hippodrome, talked to Monaco Life. “We received an email telling us that our association had been chosen for the Charity Mile. It is a big honour, and we are very proud.”
Brit John Hammond, who for the last three decades has been training thoroughbred horses in northern France, best summed up the spirit of the day. “This particular race is a great initiative, a brilliant innovation. Good on the Princess!”