A short history
With races first run here in 1849 over the cobbles of Waregem's town centre, the Grote Steeplechase was inaugurated in 1858, and still forms the centrepoint of Waregem's days-long 'kermesse' festival. A party takes over the streets of this Flemish settlement. Run over twenty-five obstacles, at a course whose notable feature is not to include a paddock, 2023's edition of the Grote Steeplechase saw around 35,000 spectators in attendance. Waregem Racecourse's infamous obstacle is the 'Gaverbeek' water jump: shortened in width over time, but still a mighty challenge.
What happened in 2023's edition?
2023's Grote Steeplechase van Vlaanderen saw a consecutive win from François Nicolle, jockey Angelo Zuliani and his mount Polinuit. The grey gave France another victory in the race, with the day also seeing French representation from the likes of Gabriel Leenders and Patrice Quinton. Attended by the Prime Minister of Belgium and top Belgian jockey Cristophe Soumillon, as usual, 2023's ten-race card was supplemented with trotting, hurdling and flat contests, including the Belgian St Leger.