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..
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.|
|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!
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.
For full details click here
Not to worry, folks – we have other exciting plans in the works. Watch this space!
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.
Hermano Bello will carry the colors of Manuela Groll and is co-owned by Susanne Born and Francis Gourlier. Hermano will eventually be a long-distance horse but he’ll start out running 2,000 meters in Cagnes and working toward a handicap mark. He’s still a colt, and we’re still learning about him, but we expect him to be able to run on both fibersand and turf surfaces. First outing Jan. 18.
Space Ace will carry the silks of Bryan Gusdal and is co-owned by Roger Straus and David Crompton. We have high hopes for this filly, who will debut for us in Cagnes. She is a winner and placed six times from eight starts in England and is an exciting prospect. We will start her at a distance of 1600 meters (1 mile) and for now, we will keep her on the fibersand. First outing on Jan. 18.
A Look Back
Baylagan (above) ran a solid race to finish 2nd in Clairefontaine. He’s turned a page physically and is turning into a nice horse. Pantomime ran her comeback race and finished only 9th, and then got unlucky with her entry in Deauville falling into the first division rather than the second, so she had to settle for 6 h place. She is a very big mare, and it’s taking a little racing to get her going, but she’ll be back in the money soon.
Poor Aborigene had a horrible time in Le Lion d’Angers. It poured rain the entire day and by post time the track was knee-deep in mud. He didn’t care for it at all and came home without any money and desperately needing a shower.
New claim Radja has joined the team. He’s a four-year-old colt with a solid record behind him who should be effective on the soft ground going into fall. He had a few niggles physically, but hopefully, we’re on the right track with him.
Overall, August has been a slow rebuilding month for us, so we plan to start September with a bang!
The Look Ahead
Lots of action coming up in the next week. Baylagan will start us off in Chantilly on Saturday, Aug. 31, in a 1600-meter (one-mile) claimer. He’s been falling nicely in the handicap ratings, so this race should accomplish two purposes: Bring him down to a rating of 30, which opens doors to some favorable handicap entries, and see how he handles the longer distance. If he can stay a mile, we have lots of options.
Dubai Empire is likely to have his comeback race at Longchamp on Sunday, Sept. 1. He’s not quite ready, but we don’t have good entries behind this one so we’ll have to take it and look at it as a race to advance his fitness. We won’t push him but rather see what he will do of his own accord.
On Monday, Sept. 2, we’ll hit the road for Croan, one of our favorite country tracks, with Starstruck and Glorious Emaraty, who will be having his debut for us. Starstruck will hopefully fall into the second division of the Quinte, but that’s not sure yet. We’ll have to take a crack at it even if she’s in the first division because once again, she is in form. If she’s in the second division, she should have a good chance to win. If she’s unlucky to find herself at the bottom of the first division, either she’ll place, or her handicap mark will come down. But she needs to run. Glorious will run a Class 2 conditions race over a distance of 1,350 meters. The objective here is to see how he races; he needs two more races in France to get a handicap mark, and we’d rather not have him too highly rated to start.
Simon’s Smile, our other English acquisition, will debut for us on Thursday, Sept. 4, just up the road at our home track in Maisons-Laffitte. He’ll try a one-mile claimer for jockeys who haven’t won 12 races this year. Aude Duporte will take the ride. We’re looking forward to seeing both of these English horses run.
And Aborigene will be back in action on Thursday, Sept. 5, at Longchamp, where the ground should suit him quite a lot better than the bog at Le Lion d’Angers!
Contact Me For Details
We are going to Tattersalls sale at Newmarket in late October. There we look for horses with French premiums and opportunities to improve. If you or a friend are interested in ownership, please contact me. We offer you the opportunity to buy your own horse or as we say in the yard “take a leg of a horse” which means anywhere from 5% to 50% of the horse. We have owners who like to spread the costs, and new owners are always welcome.
Cagnes-sur-Mer is not that far off. Join us for a day, a week, a fortnight, or the entire six weeks from mid-January to late February on the French Riviera. Many owners and friends are around, and we enjoy days at the races and sightseeing on off days. Cagnes is an American-style racetrack where the horses live at the track so you can hang out in the barn area, meet many owners and other racetrack characters and they have a great restaurant there.