MISTER MARIO (Kheleyf out of a Country Reel mare) took third place in the 2000 meter (11/4 mile) Prix de la Place Wagram handicap on the good going in St Cloud July 13, 2020. Jockey Coralie PACAUT managed the far outside draw to ensure the place for owner Marie-Carmel NAIM.
ASIAN QUEEN (Diamond Green out of a Country Reel mare) took second place in the 2400 meter (11/2 mile) Prix des Gardenias claiming race on the exceptionally fast turf in Clairefontaine the 10th of July, 2020. Jockey Frida Valle SKAR insisted until the end to ensure the place for owner Marie-Carmel NAIM. The horse was not claimed.
|There have been some unexpected turns, but our racing season is finally under way and we are just about back up to a full house as we send out our first runners.|
|Just a week after we got started at Longchamp on May 11, the French government reversed its decision that allowed us to race in the first place. Thankfully, instead of stopping racing altogether, they decided to restrict it to tracks located in the so-called Green Zone of the country, where the virus is less widespread.|
So now races that would have been run at Longchamp, St. Cloud or Chantilly are being moved as far away as Lyon – and as one traveling lad once said, “Never underestimate the size of France.”
Our first runner to hit the board since the reprise was My Sweet Boy, who finished fourth this week in Deauville. Sweet, who carries the colors of Roger Straus, made the running, which wasn’t the plan. But jockey Mickael Barzalona said the horse had such big action he found it better to control the pace from the front rather than try to fight with him to find a leader. We’ll get him to settle down. He is a very promising horse and a good claiming buy.
Dubai Empire also ran his comeback race that day and continues his run as the unluckiest horse in France, getting blocked twice in the stretch. At 2,000 meters, the race was a little short for Dubai, who runs for owner Bryan Gusdal. He came back fresh as a daisy and will run 2,400 meters on May 30.
Aborigene, owned by Paule Descargues, and Mister Mario, owned by Marie-Carmel Naim, ran comeback races actually AT Longchamp, and both needed the race. As well as they’re working at home, there’s nothing like racing to keep them tuned and a lack of competition for more than two months can take a toll. They’ll be able to build on their comeback race with another run at the end of the month.
Tour de France
We have some very good entries in the next couple of days. El Viso will be hitting the road early Monday for Lyon, where he’ll run in the second division of the quinte handicap in a field of only 10 runners. He’s had a few niggles physically but seems in good form at the moment, so hoping for good things. Theo Bachelot takes the ride on El Viso, owned by Bryan Gusdal and Kay Minton.
On Tuesday, we head in the opposite direction to Dieppe with Minnipa, who makes her debut for owners Susanne Born and Bryan Gusdal. Minnipa was claimed in Cagnes from trainer Jean-Claud Rouget, so the forced break actually did her some good. She has grown a lot and is looking well. She may be just a little short of work for this race, but the entry is very good and she should still have a chance. Coralie Pacaut will be onboard.
On Thursday, it’s looking like Asian Queen might finally get a run. The plan had been for her to go to Fontainebleau last week, but when racing got moved to the far corners of the country, we decided to wait. She’s only had one run so far and needs to learn the game, so it’s a shame to have to drive six hours one way to do that! She is entered in a maiden race that got moved to Clairefontaine. While it’s not the easiest entry in the world, it allows us to get a run a little closer to home than Lyon or Vichy! Queen, owned by Marie-Carmel Naim, had a promising debut in March before racing was suspended.
Looking further ahead:
Dubai Empire holds an entry in Dieppe on May 30 over a distance of 2,400 meters, which should suit him better than the 2,000 we’ve been stuck with lately. His run of bad luck has to end soon!
Aborigene and Mister Mario had an entry at Longchamp on June 1, but that meeting has been moved to Deauville and their race now carded for the fibersand. That suits Mario just fine, but Aborigene has to find something else to do because he’s not a fan of the sand. He holds entries on the turf in Moulins on May 29 or in Dieppe with Dubai on May 30. The race in Moulins is 2,200 meters, which is a little closer to his distance than the 2,400, so we might find ourselves trucking down there.
We haven’t set a definite target yet for My Sweet Boy, but he could go for a 2,400 meter handicap in Dieppe on June 12.
These are strange times – we find ourselves living in a science-fiction reality show, and sometimes not a very good one. All of us have to wear masks when at the racecourse and enforcement is strict – at least one trainer and jockey have been fined 300 euros each for getting caught with their masks down. An owner who managed to sneak in to watch his trotter win was fined 1,000 euros for the privilege. We work in silence – there is no on-track race call and the Equidia feed is delayed, so figuring out what’s going on in an 18-runner handicap can be a challenge!
We are verifying nonstop when and where the racing is even happening – the program changes almost daily and organizing transport and staffing is also a challenge.
But amid the chaos there has been a combination of humor and determination that has allowed us to make it work. In Deauville, the organization was excellent. The racecourse gave free picnic lunches to every trainer and lad. Free coffee and water were available in the scales and the stables. The staff were happy to be back to work, everything ran smoothly and underneath the masks I’m sure there were plenty of smiles.
We are all hoping that owners can very soon come back to the track. For many of you, traveling to France once that is allowed will be the next challenge, but some of you will make it! We still don’t know the fate of our summer festivals like Vichy, and using the Deauville course now might mean we’ll be back at Longchamp in August. Who knows? We will adapt and look ahead and plan to win, as always. Thanks for being along for the ride!
Quiet Zain (Youmzain out of a Sulamani mare), a six-year-old two-time Quinte winner, carries Bryan Gusdal’s colors. Effective on any ground or surface, QZ is a bulldozer of a horse who runs 2,400 meters and possibly longer. He will make his Cagnes debut on either Jan. 14 or Jan. 18.
Pantomime (Mastercraftsman out of a Green Desert mare), now eight years old, runs for Paul Philippeau, Brian Dunn, Kay Minton and Roger Straus. She’s a big grey mare who runs from the front and wants either top of the ground or fibersand. Can run anything from 2,400 and longer. Nicely placed at 28 in the handicaps, she’ll start on Jan. 20.
Ray of Hope (Layman out of a Verglas mare) loves Cagnes, and at age 10, he’ll be having his final season in the sun. Ray has won five handicaps in Cagnes sur Mer and if he wins one more, he’ll hold the record! He’s ready to go for it! He’s a great horse and he certainly isn’t showing his age. He is a specialist at 2,000 meters on the fibersand. He carries a 28.5 rating into the meeting and will start on Jan. 21.
Dubai Empire (Motivator out of a Langfuhr mare) runs for Bryan Gusdal. An impressive big chestnut, Dubai is a lovely horse and has run some great races for us but hasn’t managed to win yet! We’re expecting to remedy that situation in Cagnes, because he’s in great form and should easily be able to run to his rating of 32. Best on the fibersand at 2,400 meters and maybe more, his first outing is Jan. 29.
Folle Passion (Motivator out of a Dashing Blade mare) carries the silks of Susanne Born. Another impressive big chestnut, Passion is another distance specialist, happy from 2,000 meters on up. He likes heavy turf but can also handle the fibersand, and is nicely placed in the handicaps at 30.5. His first Cagnes target is Jan. 18.
Aborigene (George Vancouver out of a Johannesburg mare) runs for Jacques Jarnet and Paule Descargues. So far Aborigene has been the little horse that could. He runs on the turf from 2,000 to 2,400 meters and now we’ll have to see if his small size stops him from being effective against older horses. But he has a great attitude and leaves his heart on the track every time, so we’re expecting him to do well. Working off a rating of 29, his first run will be Jan. 23.
El Viso (Camelot our of an Elusive City mare) is owned by Bryan Gusdal and Kay Minton. He seems to have plenty of ability but is a very nervous horse at the track, so hopefully the Cagnes experience will agree with him. He runs 2,000 meters and longer, and we’re still testing his distance limits. He likes to come from behind and loves the fibersand. Fairly rated at 28.5, his first run will be Jan. 18.
Glorious Emaraty (George Vancouver out of a Kheleyf mare) carries Roger Straus’s silks with co-owners Brian Dunn, Kay Minton and Susanne Born. Another horse with plenty of ability who has been reluctant to show it so far, Glorious is our only sprinter in Cagnes this year. That gives him plenty of options on both surfaces at distances from 1,300 to 1,500 meters. His last run in Deauville was promising, and he will debut in Cagnes on Jan. 14 or 15, still working off a prohibitively high rating of 34.5.
Midas Girl (Dabirsim out of a Kodiac mare) will carry Kay Minton’s colors with co-owner Tim Rarick. Her last run in Deauville was impressive as she closed from dead last to finish third in a maiden. She was running sprint distances in England but that was clearly not her sport, despite having speed breeding. We think her distance is 2,000 meters and if she can confirm her Deauville run, she will make money in Cagnes. She is running off an initial rating of 32.5, which is higher than it should be, so will run the claimer on Opening Day, Jan. 13.
Starstruck (Masterstroke out of a Montjeu mare) will carry the colors of Roger Straus and is co-owned by Susanne Born, Brian Dunn and Manuela Groll. She’s been an absolute star in 2019 winning three races for us, but that means she’s coming into Cagnes with a high rating of 34. She’s a gazelle on heavy ground and runs any distance from 2,200 meters on up, the longer the better. She has already beaten older horses, so she comes with solid experience. Her comeback race will be Jan. 18.
Ray of Hope runs a clinic on winning in Cagnes-sur-Mer
Chicken dinner! Ray of Hope gives us our first win of the year (and of the Cagnes meeting). Good old Ray absolutely loves it down here and the wide draw was no problem at all. He was in control from start to finish and won without a single crack of the whip.
From Gina Rarick on Facebook
Ray was cursed with the worst draw on the 2000m fibersand course in Cagnes, 16 out of 16. However, Mickael Forest, who knows the horse perfectly, ran it just right, taking control of a field that never threatened. It was a demonstration by the jockey and horse team that controlled events from beginning to end.
Ray has now run 11 times in Cagnes-sur-Mer, with an incredible record of 4 wins*, 4 seconds, and a 6th. Only twice was he out of the money.
*Ray actually won 5 races but was distanced once to second.
Bleu Astral holds on for the win!
Coralie Pacaut held on to win with Bleu Astral. Crossing the finish line first, by a short nose, ahead of Magic Mystery who was finishing very strong. Coralie managed the ride very well taking advantage of an open rail to pick up ground on the backstretch, then gain and hold on the lead until the end.
This marks Bleu’s first win since his long layoff because of an injury in 2017, and a job well done by all of the team to bring him back to form. Special credit goes to Cat Ternynck and Kimara Hoste for helping him in his rehabilitation.
Time flies, and so it is the moment for a quick look back at the year that was 2018. We had 151 runners this past year, and 80 of them came home earning some money; Twelve of them won, and our total yard earnings topped 400,000 euros for the first time, finishing at 410,258. We never have more than 18 horses in training at any one time and started a total of 31 different horses. That makes those numbers something our team can be proud of. We had some sales-ring thrills this year, too, watching Ardara Belle top 200,000 euros in the Arc sale.
In the 10 years that I’ve been a public trainer, the numbers have improved every year. We have every expectation that the trend will continue in 2019. We have some very interesting horses in the yard at the moment, and the search for even better performers never stops. But nothing can happen without our owners, and this is the moment to say a huge thank you for coming aboard and having the faith to stay aboard!
We are going to put every effort into making 2019 a truly spectacular year for our yard and our owners. As you all know, French racing is struggling and after next year there will be some serious questions about prize money and the situation going forward. So over the next year, let’s take all the money we can, and hope that France Galop can sort itself out so that next year when I’m writing my annual wrap, it won’t be an obituary for racing.
We’re off to Cagnes-sur-Mer in two weeks to start the year with a bang, and after that, we have some very specific goals to reach. We need more winners and more black type next year. Stay tuned to see if we can make it happen!
July was a very busy month at the yard. Avenue du Monde (Champs-Elysees) ran her final race, we attended the Tattersalls Horses in Training sales in Newmarket, two new horses entered the yard from claiming races – Never Compromise (Astronomer Royal) and Surewecan (Royal Applause) – and we ran the racing festival in Vichy.
Avenue du Monde’s last race
Avenue du Monde’s last race before becoming a broodmare was in Vichy on the 20th of the month, the last day of the festival. We were hoping that she would drop to the third division of the handicap that day but ended up in the second with Grey Sensation (Aussie Rules) and Gascon (Heliostatic). Gascon proved to be the best of the three on the day finishing a good second while Grey picked up fourth and Avenue was just out of the money at sixth. By then, we were running on a turf that was well worn from the week of racing and the heavy rain that fell the Monday before and again that day.
Ray Of Hope finds his form
Earlier in the month, we took Ray of Hope (Layman) back to Deauville and the fibersand and he ran much better than his previous outing at Longchamp. This time picking up second place, one of two that he would run this month.
Further notable runs included Gascon again, finishing fifth at Compiegne, Never Compromise was seventh in a Quinte handicap and Mr. Chuckles (Arcano) adding a seventh in the second division of that same Quinte handicap.
The Mickaëls – Forest, and Barzalona – did most of the riding except for Mr. Chuckles who was ridden by Delphine Santiago and Maxime Guyon who rode Gascon in Compiegne.
The best paying horse in July was Ray of Hope with his second place on 4 July, paying €9,90 for a one euro place bet.
We entered last week optimistic. We had some good chances at the track, the horses in the yard are in form, and Gina had just returned from a successful trip to Royal Ascot.
Things, however, started to unravel mid-week. Mr Chuckles – Arcano and Caribbean Escape (Pivotal) – who is in peak form, was entered in a handicap in Maisons-Laffitte, only to be eliminated from that race. A new entry was found for the following week, but that one started to look complicated for him, so he will have to wait a few more weeks before running again.
Gina, hesitant to run at Longchamp for what are known problems with the track (unevenness of the ground that was not properly maintained during construction the last two years), decided to forge ahead there and so we went to France Galop’s Thursday night after-work meeting, Jeuxdi, a nice play on French words and marketing effort that did actually succeed in getting a younger public to the racetrack, albeit most of them were nowhere near the racing and unaware that it was taking place.
Ray of Hope – Layman and Risque de Verglas (Verglas) – ran that night, his second race after more than a year off to repair a hind-leg fracture. The jockey who was supposed to ride, Mickael Forest, couldn’t make it because his flight was canceled. With much deliberation on the way to Longchamp, Gina reflected on her options of available jockeys. We weren’t sure that the rules of racing would allow the one she chose to ride, Mickaelle Michel, to take the ride. In the end, the stewards deliberated and she saddled up and did a fine job on such short notice.
Ray looked perfect, and seemed ready to race, but didn’t fire in the stretch. He will try again next week in Deauville on the surface that he prefers, fibersand.
Saturday we headed back to Longchamp to try and get our first results at the new ParisLongchamp, which reopened in April after two years of work to install new grandstands. This day we arrived with Eternal Gift – Layman and Get The Ring (Linamix) – who has won at Longchamp and Grey Sensation – Aussie Rules and Sensasse (Imperial Ballet). Eternal Gift was not the horse that we saw a couple of times earlier this year. Gina had this to say the following day:
Eternal Gift has earned his retirement. I’ll never forget pulling him out of the box in Newmarket all those years ago (2012!) and what a stunning horse he was. He still is, but it’s now time for a second career. He’s won four races and placed 27 times in 65 races, and given many good memories to four different owners, particularly to Clément Rollin who has looked after him for nearly five years now. Ponito, as he’s known around here, will give someone many years of enjoyment to come. He retires with no health issues, four good legs and a kind heart. We’re looking for his next home, but we will take as much time as we need to find the right one!
The second runner Saturday was the standard-bearer of the High Street Racing syndicate, Grey Sensation. Like Ray earlier in the week, we went into the race expecting good results, but this time with a cheering block as several High Street members showed up for the event.
Grey looked every bit the part, but like Ray of Hope on Monday, simply didn’t fire in the stretch. Mickael Forest felt that the unevenness of the surface didn’t help so we’ll send him out again on a track that we know will suit him better.
We hope that we’ll have a winner at ParisLongchamp soon, but we’ll wait a while for the surface to get sorted out before returning to this track. We have other options.
So, what was supposed to be a good week for Ecurie Rarick, didn’t quite end up that way. But as the old saying goes, “That’s racing”.