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.
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.
George left the yard yesterday to start a new life with the aptly-named Ecurie Second Chance. He is sound and could race again, but most likely will be reschooled as a riding horse. He has such a wonderful personality and is very fun to ride, so I’m sure he will do well. He’ll have some turnout time now, too, which he very much needs. We’ll be able to follow his travels to make sure things go well for him.
Strictly Rhythm will be off this week, too, for a bit of much-deserved vacation in Normandy. Coming home will be Hard Way. I had decided to retire him, but I’m now rethinking that decision. He is not very happy standing around in a field and he’ll come back to see how he adjusts to life back at the yard. There will be no pressure; he’ll basically by my stable pony for the moment and we’ll see where it goes. (Although having Hard Way as a stable pony might be a bit optimistic on my part – he can be quite a handful to ride at times, so I may regret my decision.)
Magical Flower, meanwhile, will go to Clairefontaine on Monday for her first handicap and her first try stretching out to 2,900 meters. She seems in fine form, so if she gets the distance, and I think she will, we should have every chance here. King Driver is still on track for his debut on Thursday in Deauville. He’ll have a gallop tomorrow morning and then it’s time to start declare. We’ve been this far once before without quite making it, but I’m hoping this time we can really go ahead.
We had three more places from our runners this week, including a game third by Talawa in Dieppe yesterday. The yard continues to roll along, but I am rolling off to Vegas for a quick vacation. Slightly questionable timing in mid-season, but there are family obligations in Wisconsin involved first, so since we’re that far, we’re zipping away for a few days in the sun. We haven’t had much of that lately in France, but it’s 100 percent guaranteed in Las Vegas in August. I’ll be away just over a week, and the team here will have things well in hand. I’ll still be doing entries and monitoring the racing from across the pond. Next week will start with Comment Dit and Twilight Allure in Clairefontaine. Twilight is coming back from a wind operation, so this will be sort of a test drive. On Tuesday, Panisette and Golden Age have very good entries in claimers in Pornichet. I’m sorry I won’t be here for that, because I’ve heard the new fibertrack there is fantastic. I hope to see it first-hand soon. We’ll have a few more runners in Deauville on Thursday and Hi Shinko makes his comeback on Friday. Vive Las Vegas!
We’ve had three horses in the money over the past week: Hold that Emperor was 4th in Maisons-Laffitte last Wednesday, Justthewayyouare ran a very nice third in Deauville on Thursday, and Talawa was third today in Aix-les-Bains.
Panisette was unplaced last Tuesday at Compiegne, but showed a lot of progress since her last time out and should do well next time, which will be at the end of this week. Layman’s Terms, on the other hand, was disappointing in Maisons-Laffitte, but she doesn’t do herself any favors with her antics in the starting gate. She loads fine, but the minute she’s in she rears. I don’t know how to fix this; putting her in the gate for more training will only wind her up more and is dangerous for everyone. Once she settles down, she will be a very useful horse.
This week, Rose Fleur will run in Deauville on Wednesday. Panisette is likely to go to Clairefontaine on Thursday and there will be two or three runners in the claimer in Deauville on Friday. I’m away in Newmarket at the horses in training sale, so Con will be handling the logistics. The catalog for the sale seems pretty promising, and I’ll be looking for at least two horses for owners here and hopefully bringing back a few new owners who want to make money racing in France.