Maia Racecourse - Merano
Grand Prix Meran
Hotels Maia Racecourse - Merano
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Since 1935, the never-ending history of this fascinating racetrack has been ever-present in our time and, every twelve months it rears its head again to give us new emotions. To tell the truth, Merano was famous for its horseracing well before that year, competitions already being held under the Hapsburg Empire, but its true "modern era", as we may define it, begins in 1935. In this year, in fact, right in the middle of the twenty years of fascism, the regime saw to the construction of this racecourse in the dimensions and setting which still remain today, and attributed to it its "specialisation" of track destined prevalently to steeple-chasing, although also with a strong vocation for flat racing. Again, at the same time, at the Government's will, the Lottery of Merano was instituted and proved to be, amongst the few other national lotteries, the
richest. To talk about the Grand Prix of Merano for horse racing is like talking about the Grand Prix of Montecarlo for Formula 1: it is different from all the others and, because of this, it involves you in a special way. There are plenty of GPs more important than that of Merano and which are more or less alike, but
this one occupies a special place, like Montecarlo, both amongst those involved in its preparation, and amongst the enthusiasts of the sport of horse racing as well as those who only occasionally show an interest. There are any number of stories which this racetrack could tell about the men and horses it has known. A great horse-racing journalist of the past, Luigi Gianoli, has collected them together in a thoughtful and engaging volume, called "Fascino del Rischio" (Fabbri Editori) which narrates the happenings of the first fifty years of this racecourse. We warmly recommend the reading of this book to whoever wishes to understand, or even just get a little more knowledge of this extraordinary event. Roi de Trèfle was the name of the first winner, then, in more recent years, the sorrel Or Jack won three times in a row, a record shared with Aegior, but in different years; Pigalle dominated in 1968 with a race which left its mark, The Champ was the name of the horse who won, having come the farthest (from New Zealand), i Creme Anglaise was the mare which was the first to have won, representing local colours which also took the highest step of the podium last year with Present Bleu. We could continue writing about winning and losing jockeys who have raced all career long, coveting a victory on this racetrack, those who have managed to secure it and those from whom it has always slipped
away, and like them, their trainers and the owners of the stables who in this GP see the "summa" of all their work, their effort and their investment. Because winning the "Merano" is something else and participating from the tribunes as a spectator means allowing oneself to be carried away by the event: it is not possible to remain indifferent.