Jack O’Boy(Anodin) comes up with the goods at Longchamp – again! Drawn in gate 15, he did what he does: Ran the race he wanted to run. They went off a little too quick for him, so he relaxed an waited for a chance in the stretch. He was second the last two times over this same course, so it’s nice to see him get the win today. Thank you to his owners, our team, and our farrier, who has done wonders for this horse!
Today in Compiegne we came away with excellent results. Six-year-old Crisalsa showed that he could still do it taking the win in his mile handicap for horses four-years-old and older.
Running on holding turf, the gelding came out on top of the 14 runner field. Stephane Pasquier, his long-time jockey came out ahead of the field in the stretch perfectly.
Cruella de Vil was not to be out done, as she came second in her race, The five-year-old mare handled all but one of the field of 18 runners in this mile handicap.
Although he didn’t take a check this day, Ak Ishan(Recorder) continued to show his improvement finishing sixth in his mile-and-a-half handicap for four-year-old horses. We’re looking for good things from him this year.
It’s Magic (Morandi) bested a 15-runner field handicap in Chantilly to win his comeback race after a winter break from a grueling 2022 schedule. This marks his first win on his 20th career start, his 16th start for our yard.
Jockey Pierre Bazire gave Magic a perfect ride in the 1900 meter race on the synthetic track. The gate position of 14 was one of the worst in the race, but Magic broke well and was quickly out in front. Pierre then settled him behind the front runners, one off of the rail, in a perfect position in the peloton.
In the home stretch, Pierre moved to an opening on the rail and with 150 meters left took the lead, fighting off a late challenge by Salies to win by a half a length.
|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!
After a very long two months of quarantine, racing in France is BACK ON as of Monday!
It was touch-and-go for a while, and we almost had a last-minute change of heart from the government, but we are now cleared to start again.
We won’t be wasting any time: We have two runners on opening day at Longchamp. Aborigene and Mister Mario will run in the 9th and 10th races of the day. Aborigene has been banging down the door to race – he’s put just about everyone off in the past couple of weeks, including me! The saying in France is “un chute appel un gagnant, » or « a fall brings a winner,” so we’re due. Mister Mario is having his first race back since he was brought down in Chantilly; he had a short break and might be missing a bit of work, but he’s still looking well and might surprise us.
Both horses will have to contend with the ground, which might be on the soft side after a deluge of rain in the past 24 hours. Hoping for Aborigene’s sake it isn’t a bog, because he hates that. Mario might not care so much.
Our third runner of the week was eliminated for St. Cloud on Tuesday. This is something we’ll have to contend with because there is a severe backlog of horses needing to race, and more are eliminated than get in at the moment. We might end up running some less-than-ideal entries just to get them moving again, but we’ll take it as it comes.
The best news is that while other countries have cut back drastically on prize money, France has managed to maintain a large share of the allocations on offer. An initial plan to cut all prize money by 20 percent sparked a revolution among owners and trainers, and the syndicates representing these groups held France Galop’s feet to the fire, and they came up with a better plan.
Prize money for all races with a value of 19,000 euros or less will remain at 100 percent. Races offering more money than that will be cut back 15 percent, but there will be no Premium races run for less than 19,000 euros total. And the prize money will stay at the first five; they won’t rob Peter to pay Paul down to 150 euros for 10tth place, which had been part of the original plan.
Now we’ll have to hope that everything runs smoothly so that we can keep the racing program going. We have a very strict set of rules for now: No owners or breeders are allowed on the course, and the yard is allowed one lad per horse and the trainer, but no one else. We have to give the names and arrival times of all staff, and everyone must wear masks the entire time. This will not be an easy rule to follow, but we absolutely must so that racing going forward is not jeopardized.
Here’s what our entries look like going forward – keep in mind that entries might not pan out because of eliminations or other circumstances:
- Monday, 18 May, Chantilly: Asian Queen, My Sweet Boy
- Thursday, 21 May, Longchamp: Dubai Empire, My Sweet Boy
- Monday, 25 May, St. Cloud: El Viso, Asian Queen
- Tuesday, 26 May, Dieppe: Space Ace, Minnipa
- Saturday, 30 May, St. Cloud: Dubai Empire
When the quarantine started, we kept just six horses in the yard and sent most out to Kimara (Horsefield Aquacenter) for either a break or for her to keep them ticking along in the country. We brought back five nearly three weeks ago, and we’ll bring back another four this coming week. Some of the horses need a break and some didn’t, really, but we made sure to do what’s best for the horses and what was best to keep training bills down until we knew when racing would start again.
That approach might put us a couple of weeks behind some of the yard that kept the horses moving the entire time, but I think this was a good approach and sets us up well for the coming months.
Other exciting news:
As many of you are aware, we have put our yard in Maisons-Laffitte up for sale and have scouted a property in Lamorlaye we hope to buy. We can’t say too much more yet because the deal isn’t done, but we will update you with more news as soon as we can. We have been in Maisons-Laffitte for more than 20 years and it was a very difficult decision to make, but we believe this decision will allow us to step up to the next level of the game. Stay tuned – exciting times ahead!
A snapshot of our current roster:
Dubai Empire (5 YO gelding) has stayed in training during quarantine and hopefully has put the setback of a stone bruise behind him. He looks great and should be back to racing soon.
El Viso (4 YO gelding) also stayed in training and has entries in a couple of weeks.
Asian Queen (3 YO filly) has stayed in training and is desperate to build on her racing debut which happened right before quarantine. Looking forward to getting her out soon.
Aborigene (4 YO gelding) had a short break and is now more than ready for his comeback race in Longchamp tomorrow. Shame about the turn in the ground!
Mister Mario (4 YO gelding) had a three-week break that he deserved after surviving a horrific fall in Chantilly. He seems to have put that completely behind him and while he might be missing a canter or two, he should run a good race at Longchamp.
Myklachi (4 YO gelding) has come back from a long winter break and is looking very much the better for it. He was found to have some bruising in his knees last fall so never was able to debut for us. He seems definitely in form now and should be about a month away from a race.
My Sweet Boy (3 YO gelding) never got the chance to run for us yet because we claimed him just before quarantine. He was thwarted again when eliminated for a race in St. Cloud this week, but he has backup entries on the horizon. Looking forward to seeing him out!
Ray Jr. (not his official name – 2 YO gelding) has come into full training now and seems to be an absolutely lovely horse, which is not a surprise given his family. He’s a very big boy, though, already measuring 1.58 meters, so he’ll likely need plenty of time.
Miss Mimi (also not her official name! – 2 YO filly) is now back in pre-training with Kimara Hoste, who tells us she’s changing every day for the better. We’ll see if she’s ready to come in for more intense work in a month or two.
Minnipa (3YO filly) had a break during quarantine and is now back up to cantering. Hopefully she’ll be ready to run by the end of the month, but she might need a week or two more.
Space Ace (3 YO filly) is in the same situation as Minnipa, so we’ll have to let her tell us when she’s ready to go. Both fillies came back from vacation in good order, but Minnipa seems more advanced physically than Space Ace, who is missing muscle on her topline after another growth spurt. She now stands 1.60 and is quite a big girl!
Pantomime (8 YO mare) went on break after a slight injury when she “lost” her hind end on a turn in the track. It appeared to be a muscle pull and she seems in good order now. She’s had two weeks on the aquatrainer after her break in the field and should come back to full training next week.
Quiet Zain (6 YO gelding) also had some time on the aquatrainer after a break and is ready to come back to work. He had a nagging foot injury that showed up in Cagnes and we are hoping that’s behind him now. The forced break will have done him good.
Starstruck (4 YO filly) went on a break after tying up during a routine canter. Not sure why this happened because she’s not prone to it, and she seems to be absolutely fine now. She’ll come back this week.
Folle Passion (5 YO gelding) had a break and now is in light work with Kimara. He will come back with Starstruck this week. Both of these horses prefer soft ground, so it’s not an ideal time for a comeback, but they are both in form so we will have to see what the weather brings us.
Hermano Bello and Kaillistos (3 YO geldings) were both colts when the left the yard and will come back as geldings, which means we can get down to more serious work! Both are in light work with Kimara and we’ll bring them back when they are ready for more intense work, probably in two to three weeks.
Shares in Ray Jr., Miss Mimi and Myklachi are still available, so let us know if you’re interested!
We’ve just gotten word that all the video from Equidia is being offered for free. So go to the web site or download the Equidia app on your phone. You might be stuck at home rather than at the track, but you can follow along easier now!
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.
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.
The Prix du Mesnil-le-Roi – Prix Rose Royal was run on the day of the Fete des Courses in Maisons-Laffitte. Several hundred people were on hand to watch the French national soccer team beat the Australians in World Cup play on jumbo screens. But all eyes were on the racing after the match was over.
Michael Barzalona kept his filly away from the rail with his outside draw in this 1100m (5½ furlong) race but eased toward the rail in the later stages, pulling away from the others.
Réponse Exacte went off as an outsider paying 13,10 for a one euro bet at the track and 16,30 online. Place bets were 3,50. The going was considered good to soft at 3.4. The time of the race was 1’05”79.
Réponse Exacte is one of 8 two-year-old horses in the Ecurie Rarick annex from Ireland, managed by Lisa Gautier, running under the colors of Mme Catherine Hassett.
The pheasant that could have ended my life this morning chose not to, for which I was grateful. Far away into my own thoughts, I didn’t see him preening alongside the trail until the last second – Hard Way was nearly on top of him, bowling along toward home in a huge extended trot. Too late to stop, all I could do was crouch lower to the saddle and hope he didn’t choose that second to fly off, which would have resulted in me flying too, probably straight into a stone wall. The pheasant stayed put, and Hard Way coasted past – he probably didn’t see him, either.