Maia Racecourse - Merano
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Tel. (+39) 0473 446222 - Fax (+39) 0473 210693
Unique in its kind, located in the very heart of the Alps, the Maia racecourse is situated in the centre of Merano, a holiday location and well known spa centre. There was a functional racecourse in Merano well before the Belle Époque, whose tracks were the venue for races between the best riders in Central Europe. Indeed, at Merano, a meeting point for the European nobility and upper middle classes, from the Tzars of Russia to the Archdukes of Hofburg, including the Empress Sissi, the enthusiasts, whether for flat, obstacle or trotting races, rarely missed a meeting. The Baron von Ludwigsdorf won the first edition of the International Steeple-Chases: this was the start of a series of constant improvements to the structure and, after the Great War, the racecourse was refurbished for the first time. In 1933, after Hitler blocked the country borders, there was another crisis. But Rome had the idea of creating a race track for steeple chases and a new Lottery, to combine with the motor-car lottery of Tripoli. And, thus, in 1935, the new racetrack was opened, launching its Grand Prix which was in combination with the Lottery, the oldest in Italy. Conceived by colonel Pollio, designed by the architect Vietti Violi, Maia constituted a jewel of modern architecture. A technical committee had prepared, with the aim disorientating the French steeplechasers, a tortuous track which, still today, is reflected in the layout. But it was the transalpine Roi de Tréfle who was to win the first edition. Merano also offered a good calendar of flat racing, and the great Tenerani (Ribot's father) was defeated by Zambra at Maia. Maia can boast of the most varied steeple-chase track in the world, and hosts two annual meetings, in the spring and in the autumn. In the summer, when Rome and Milan are closed, Maia is the only track upon which the mile is run, with only one bend. For this reason, the technical boards have increased the program of flat racing, especially around the mid-August Ferragosto public holiday. The prizes, being of some entity, have also led to the presence of foreign stables: the "Scala degli ostacoli" is well known all over the world, and attracts a large number of trainers - also from the rest of the EU - who decide to prepare and have their best-two-year-olds make their début at Maia, with the autumn trials in mind. Thoroughbreds from Europe, but also from the other hemisphere (above all, from New Zealand) arrive annually at Merano. This special attention has been an incentive for the directors of the Merano Maia, who - with the intent of guaranteeing hospitality and an ever-better quality of training - intend to improve the structures and create a physiotherapy Centre for horses, thus enabling many stables to pass the winter there.
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