The breeders of Epatante didn’t make it to the 2020 Festival, and they did not see their mare win the Champion Hurdle for J P McManus. It’s not that they were not willing to go, only that they are a bit superstitious. They had made the trip a year before, and their darling Epatante had flopped as the beaten favourite in the Mares’ Novices Hurdle (Gr2). She’d completely recovered and won again at Kempton Park in the Christmas Hurdle, but they did not want to jinx her “again”.
So they saw her win on Equidia, but two of their daughters had defied the racing gods and were indeed at Prestbury park last year. They cheered louder than the whole stands and welcomed home Epatante at the end of a memorable, last-minute journey.
Based in the Sarthe, about two hours west of Paris on the road to Brittany, the Lefeuvres all live with horses. They raised their five children amongst the horses bred by their dad -he was also involved in breeding draft horses-while mom was training and riding them. As a result, the Lefeuvres are all somehow involved in horse racing today.
Whatever Epatante (which could translate into both “amazing” or “swell”) is up to on Tuesday against the mighty Honeysuckle, they no longer fear to jinx her and will surely sneak past the Covid patrol to live the event as a family.
Photo – crédits DR
Légende : Bérengère, François-Xavier & Anne Doulce Lefeuvre at home last Winter with Virfolette, a Denham Red sister to 2020 Champion Hurdle winner Epatante.