Quiet Zain returned to ParisLongchamp where he slipped and fell and injured himself in September 2018. He was scratched from the Quinte handicap that day. Those injuries kept him out of racing for more than a month. During the months that followed, he showed his early 2018 form only once, in Cagnes-sur-Mer.
Today was his second visit back to Longchamp since that fateful day. In May, he ran in a second division handicap here, only to place third as the top-weighted horse. This time, however, everything lined up perfectly in the first division, the Quinte. He had the same jockey as the previous outing, but a lower weight at 55 kg and a good draw in the 15 horse field (there was one non-runner).
With all that in place, Mickael Barzalona took him straight out of his number 9 gate position, and watched things unfold ahead of him. We thought that maybe he may have been too far back in the pack, but Barza didn’t. In the false stretch run at Longchamp, most horses take a breath. The riskier move is to make a break for it. Mickael did just that. He knew that his horse had what it takes to go to the end. Once in the stretch, he took a convincing lead and never looked back.
We’ve had a great occasion to celebrate this week as Jack O’ Boy won his second handicap in a row, and in so doing pushed my career earnings as a trainer over the three-million-euro mark. This is my thirteen year as a public trainer, and I’m determined to make this the yard’s lucky number.
From the left: Glorious Emaraty with his owners after his win in Cagnes-sur-Mer; the familiar company of Mickael Forest wearing the silks of Bryan Gusdal (Posing for a win by Ray of Hope) and members of High Street Racing at enjoying a day at Longchamp.
We’re settling in well to the fantastic facilities in Chantilly, and we have a top-class team that includes two former jockeys and one active jockey. The quality of the riders and the rest of the staff is really starting to show through in the horses and we are looking forward to a very exciting year. We are putting in grass paddocks for summer turnout, and other facilities are being added.
The only thing we’re missing is the ability to throw a huge party to officially open our stable, which is obviously on hold because of Covid. Luckily racing wasn’t canceled this year so we’re able to continue to work. Hopefully with vaccinations rolling out (a process that has been painfully slow in France, but we live in hope), we can soon start to see each other again.
Me and my entire team extend a huge thank you to our owners, past and present. We could not have built this business without every one of you. Nothing makes us happier than putting all of you in the winner’s circle!
JACK THE STAR!
Owner Susanne Born bought Jack O’ Boy when he finished 2nd in a claimer in Cagnes sur Mer. He’s a small horse but nicely bred, with two black-type brothers, so while he didn’t have a stellar form so far, he seemed worth the risk. He clearly enjoyed the change from the huge yard of Henri-Alex Pantall to a small stable with plenty of attention. We also decided pretty quickly that his best distance might be shorter than the 2000 meters he was currently running, and that fibersand might not be his preference.
When we switched to 1600 meters on the turf at St. Cloud, he rewarded us with an easy win at odds of 70-1! Those odds dropped to 9-1 on his outing on Friday in Compiegne, but no matter, Jack won anyway. We’ll be taking a hit in the handicap ratings for those back-to-back performances, but we’ll see how far Jack can go before we have to worry about that. He’s come out of his race well and we’ll see where he takes us next.
A CAGNES MEETING UNLIKE ANY OTHER
Cagnes sur Mer this year was certainly a different experience than we’re used to, with no public allowed on the track and even owners restricted to one per horse. Despite that, though, the sun was still shining and our horses were in form.
We left Cagnes with two wins and 26 places for just under 100,000 euros in earnings. Most of our new team had never done the meeting before, and I can tell you they’re all counting the days already until next year!
The crew after loading the equipment. Time to head north.
The riders: Johanna, Yasmine, and Maxime.
Quiet Zain was the star of the meeting, with a win and two seconds for his three starts there. We’ve always been lucky enough to have one or two horses that absolutely love this track and keep coming up with the goods year after year. He’s one of them. Four of his five wins have been in Cagnes.
My Sweet Boy finally got his nose in front, too; unfortunately, so did a competitor and we had to settle for a dead heat victory. Next time he won’t share!
March and April are always challenging months for us, because we have the after-Cagnes lull when those horses who worked hard leading up to and through the meeting need a break, and we’re still bringing on the horses for the summer.
Obviously, the next meeting in our sights is Vichy, which is set for mid-July, and this year we hope to have a stronger showing this August in Deauville than we’ve had in previous years.
France Galop has raised the owners’ premiums for two-year-olds to 70 percent this year, and those premiums will carry over to the three-year-old season for these horses. We are working on putting together some partnerships on two-year-olds to take advantage of these premiums, so if you’d like to be involved, please let us know!
Here’s where our current string are in their training and plans:
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.
We are very pleased to announce that we have signed to purchase a stable in Lamorlaye (Chantilly) and will be moving in September. Our new yard is perfectly located midway between the fabulous Le Lion training gallop and the Lamorlaye tracks, which include a top-class turf and all-weather facilities. We will be expanding to a yard of 36 boxes on a hectare of property that will include paddocks..
Our new yard at 21 rue Charles Pratt in Lamorlaye, France.
We’ll be adding some improvements to the new yard, but it is already in great shape to start work from September, and we are very much looking forward to the next chapter in our adventure. It is difficult to leave Maisons-Laffitte after more than 20 years here, but we have found that our operation has outgrown both our yard and the facilities available here. This move will allow us to step up to the next level.
MINNIPA, acquired in a claiming race in Cagnes-sur-Mer, gave us our first win after the quarantine with an impressive gate-to-post gallop in Dieppe. Unfortunately, she couldn’t confirm that outing in a Quinte handicap a month later because of a muscle enzyme issue, but we’re doing some diagnostics this week and hope to have her on the path to recovery soon. .
ASIAN QUEEN progressed nicely to take a place in a claimer that was her third career start and gave her a handicap mark. She found the going too tough at St. Cloud so will head back to the claiming ranks next week in Clairefontaine.
MY SWEET BOY is still a work in progress as well. He took another place in a handicap in Dieppe, but then struggled in St. Cloud, partially because we had to change jockeys at the last minute because Mickael Barzalona was injured. Hopefully Barza gets back on board next time.
After a very long absence, owners and spectators will be allowed back to the racecourse from July 11. We’re happy things are finally opening up. Hopefully it will stay that way.
This move comes just in time for the Vichy festival, which takes place from July 20 to 24 this year. We plan to have runners every day of the festival, and we’re looking forward to getting back together with those of you who can make it down to Vichy.
Arrivals and Departures:
We claimed L’AIDA, a two-year-old Dabirsim filly who was a winner in Dieppe on her third start, for a partnership of Susanne Born, Roger Straus, Kay Minton and David Crompton. She seems to be a lovely little horse and will run in the same category of claimers, starting at the Vichy festival.
DUBAI EMPIRE, meanwhile, was claimed from us and is now with his new connections. We’ll miss him because he was a kind and great-looking horse, but he has been frustrating of late and seems to have lost his taste for racing. Perhaps he’ll find it again in different surroundings.
STARSTRUCK makes her first appearance since quarantine on Tuesday in Clairefontaine.
QUIET ZAIN runs his comeback race on Thursday at Longchamp. The distance of 2,100 meters might prove a little sharp for him, but it should let us see how his fitness is doing.
ASIAN QUEEN runs a claimer at Clairefontaine on Friday.
ABORIGENE and MISTER MARIO are back in action on July 13 at St. Cloud, and SPACE ACE is holding an entry for a comeback race there as well.
We’ll be having a full slate of entries for Vichy as well, so stay tuned!
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.
My Sweet Boy (sitting third on the rail), finishing strong in the stretch to take fourth place in Deauville.
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.
Folle Passion, Myklachi and Aborigene, with their front side stable mates, eagerly anticipating their evening meal.
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!
The front facing side of the Gallop France stable, Maisons-Laffitte.
Beautiful stable on 2000 m², with a main building of 18 boxes and the living area upstairs. It is made up of two large apartments, one recently and nicely renovated. A 3 rd party extension can also be converted into apartments. The equestrian facilities also offer a walker and a large storage area. This stable will be suitable for an owners and sports stable project or a racing stable project.