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Is Native Trail your idea of the 2,000 Guineas winner?

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‘He has strong claims in the Guineas’ The answer to that is yes. As far as trials go, this one must have been a pleasing one for all concerned at the Charlie Appleby yard as Native Trail, last year’s European champion juvenile, stretched his unbeaten record to five with a ready success on this first[…..]

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Francis Graffard team leaning towards 1,000 Guineas with Group 3 winner Malavath

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Ante-post backers of Malavath for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas can take confidence from the latest bulletin from trainer Francis Graffard after he confirmed that he is leaning towards Newmarket with his stable star. A best-priced 14-1 for the Guineas, Malavath lowered the colours of Prix Marcel Boussac heroine Zellie in the Prix Imprudence at Deauville[…..]

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Elimay brings the tally to 9

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It was a clean sweep on Friday for Irish trained horses, but Willie Mullins, crowned Champion Festival trainer for the ninth time, would be the first to admit that French bred horses have played a huge role in his domination of the Cheltenham festival. The Christophe Toulorge bred Elimay by Montmartre out of Hyde was[…..]

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State Man makes it seven for the suffix FR

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State Man, a son of Doctor Dino and Arret Station who was bred by M.L. Bloodstock Ltd was a convincing winner of the Grade 3 Mccoy Contractors Country Handicap Hurdle race. Interestingly, his dam Arret Station, who is Johann Quatz, was a very prolific racehorse. She ran an astounding 42 times over four seasons, first[…..]

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Nicky Bertran de Balanda: “How good was that?”

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French bloodstock agent Nicky Bertran de Balanda could not believe it when A Plus Tard stormed to victory in the Grade 1 Cheltenham Gold Cup. “This is what you dream of when you buy a horse for a client,” he explained. “It’s just extraordinary. When we bought him we obviously didn’t know that he would[.....]
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Vauban sets his sight on the Melbourne Cup

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Hot favourite Vauban delivered in the Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle race where, although not always fluid, he held fellow French bred Fil Dor and Pied Piper with such ease that his owner Rich Ricci declared him a possible runner for this year’s Melbourne Cup. Vauban, who was bred in France by Philippe Decouz and[.....]
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“She was brilliant!”

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Irish-born breeder Antonia Devin had never been to the Cheltenham Festival, but she certainly chose the right year to make the trip to witness history when Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to lift the coveted Cheltenham Gold Cup on A Plus Tard. In fact, not only did she witness history, she played an[.....]
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The one that got away

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Galopin des Champs, who was bred by GAEC des Champs, had the Grade 1 Turners Novices’ Steeple Chase in his bag when he slipped on reception after jumping the last fence way clear from Bob Olinger, his closest pursuer. Together with Paul Townend he came crashing down to the audible gasps of the spectators who[…..]

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Going once more for Gold

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Antonia Devin is currently very busy. It is foaling and covering season at the Haras du Mesnil that she runs with her husband Henri and the pair like to be hands on at all times. But it’s not every day that you have a runner in the Grade 1 Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup, the highlight[.....]
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Chambard makes it five for France!

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The ten-year-old Chambard ensured that the suffix FR went one better than last year (and it’s only day three of the Festival) when he took the honours in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase where he beat fellow French bred Mister Coffey by two and a half lengths. Didero Vallis,[…..]

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Allaho fulfils his promise

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Allaho lit up the Cheltenham racecourse when just like in 2021, he took command of the Ryanair Chase and never let go. It was poetry in motion even though he made a slight mistake at the last, which had everyone in the stands gasping, but he recovered quickly to win the race by fourteen lengths[…..]

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The Allen key

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French breeder Bruno Vagne is no stranger to success at the Cheltenham Festival, thanks to Espoir d’Allen, the winner of the 2019 Champion Hurdle and Envoi Allen, the winner of the Champion Bumper race that same year. Yet, even he admits he is slightly overwhelmed by the thought that no less than four of his[…..]

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Nearly!!!!

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Did you know, the closest finish on Wednesday was in the Grade 3 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle Race where 50/1 outsider Commander of Fleet engaged in a long battle with French bred Fastorslow. A photo finish was called when they crossed the winning-line and after a short wait, it was announced that Commander of Fleet[…..]

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L’homme Presse gives France its first FR victory of the meeting

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“I cannot be more thrilled,” said Venetia Williams as she stood in the winner’s enclosure, completely unperturbed by the teaming rain. But then, when you have just trained the winner of the Grade 1 Brown Advisory Novices’ Steeple Chase and are getting odds of 15/1 for the Gold Cup 2023, that rain probably seemed like[.....]
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Allaho, the banker of the festival?

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Allaho was one of the most impressive winners at last year’s Cheltenham Festival when he produced a flawless performance to beat Fakir d’Oudairies by twelve lengths in the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase. On Thursday, following another recent twelve lengths defeat of old rival Fakir d’Oudairies in the Horse&Jockey Hotel Chase at Thurles in Ireland, Allaho[…..]

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I need more French horses!

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Trainer Nicky Henderson saddled the winner of the first race at Cheltenham on Tuesday when co-favourite Constitution Hill stormed to glory in the Grade 1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. By French stallion Blue Bresil, he beat stable companion Jonbon by an astonishing 22 lengths and his trainer told us: “It’s hard to believe that[.....]
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Epatante is back!

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The Nicky Henderson trained Epatante, who won the Unibet Champion Hurdle in 2020 before loosing her crown to Irish super star Honeysuckle in 2021, showed that she was still more than capable of producing a brilliant performance when she gave the mare a bit of a freight coming to the last in the 2022 edition[.....]
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Did you know?

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The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, the fifth race on tomorrow’s card at Cheltenham, was only introduced in 2005 when a fourth day was added to the Festival. Incredibly popular with spectators who relish the opportunity of getting close to the unusual fences in the middle of the track, Cheltenham remains the only racecourse in England[.....]
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Cheltenham? What’s that?

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When I reach Bernard Camp to talk about L’Homme Presse who runs in the Grade 1 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, he does a double take. Apparently, I am not the first person to contact him about this 7-year-old son of Diamond Boy and Romance Turgot and he doesn’t quite understand why he suddenly has become[…..]

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Cheltenham

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Tomorrow, the Cheltenham racecourse will once more open its doors for a four-day jumping bonanza that has all the thrills and suspense of a blockbuster movie. And for the first time since 2020, it is going to play out again in front of packed-out stands. Following a year of number restrictions due to the Covid[…..]

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Native Trail and Inspiral shoot to the top of the Cartier two-year-old standings

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Native Trail: an impressive winner of the Dewhurst Stakes Mark Cranham Native Trail and Inspiral rose to the top of the two-year-old rankings for the Cartier Racing Awards after landing Group 1s last weekend. Native Trail, who was third in the juvenile colt category after his victory in the National Stakes, moved to joint-top after[…..]

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‘He deserved to prove his talent’ – Barzalona praises Champion scorer Sealiway

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It is a big ask to come from Longchamp on Arc weekend to run on British Champions Day just two weeks later. It is an even bigger challenge to run in the Arc itself, then perform at your optimum in the Qipco Champion Stakes. That was exactly what Sealiway produced to give France a third win[…..]

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French breeder of the day : Haras de Marais, Isabelle and Nicolas Simon

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The Haras des Marais was created in 1994 by Isabelle and Nicolas Simon, who celebrated one of their best victories ever when their grey Vanillier won the Spa Hurdle (Gr1) today at Cheltenham. Trained in Ireland by Gavin Cromwell, he made it up for his first test in a Gr1, last time out in Leopardstown,[…..]

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Bloodstock agent of the day – Pierre Boulard (PB Bloodstock)

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Pierre Boulard is now a familiar figure for many top trainers in Britain and Ireland, and had two runners to cheer in the Gold Cup this season, Al Boum Photo and Kemboy. He’s been a key operator in the success of the French-breds over the Channel for many years. Pierre hails from a family that[…..]

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Le French-bred of the day – Vanillier

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The last two winners of the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle (Gr1), aka Spa Hurdle, are Monkfish and Minella Indo, who won the Broadway Novices’ Chase (Gr1) and the Gold Ciup (Gr1) this meeting. The fact that 6-year-old Vanillier won the hot 3-miler by no less than 11 lengths, that is 9 to eleven more than[…..]

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Le French-bred of the day- Allaho

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 As Rachael Blackmore was steering the French-bred to victory today, Allaho became the 8th consecutive winner of the Ryanair Chase (Gr1). Now 7, the gelding was bred in the Sarthe, 2 hours West of Paris, by Eric Leffray (see below). He ran once in France for Guy Chérel and owner M L Bloodstock. He finished[…..]

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Le French breeder of the day: Eric Leffray

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Eric Leffray and his son Thomas bred Allaho in Mayenne out of a Turgeon unraced mare bred by the Devin family. Allaho is her 4th foal, and three others are born after him, that is, an unraced full sister, a Spanish Moon filly who made €38,000 last November at Arqana (click here for her catalogue[…..]

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Bloodstock agent of the day: Guy Petit

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Born in Lyon, Guy Petit grew up wanting to become a jockey finally became a bloodstock agent based in France specialized in the purchase of flat horses aimed towards jump careers for the British and Irish market. He worked closely with reputed trainers such as Ferdy Murphy, Philip Hobbs, Venetia Williams, Sally and Robert Alner,[…..]

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A French-bred to follow – Royale Pagaille

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His name, which can be translated “Royal Mess”, suggested he was a party crasher, and Royale Pagaille surely lives up to it since he became a last minute addition to this year’s Gold Cup, on Friday at the Festival. Still a novice, he was aimed first at the national Hunt Chase won by Galvin on[…..]

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Tomorrow at Cheltenham

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This is the final call for glory! Three Group 1 races are on the card on day 4, including a Gold Cup that could complete the return to the top of the French regiment after its first two days hiatus. Six of the 12 declared runners come from France, including the two favourites, Al Boum[…..]

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Le French-bred of the day: Sceau Royal

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Sceau Royal was travelling extremely well behind the front-running Rouge Vif after they’d jumped the 3rd last in the Queen Mother, the highlight of the day. However, soon after that, he was « badly squeezed out and nearly brought down” according to the Racing Post comments in running and never quite recovered from that to finish[…..]

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Le French breeder of the day: Nicolas de Lageneste (Haras de Saint-Voir)

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If Nicolas de Lageneste were a horse, he’d probably be one of the best-footed ever. Everything in his career as a breeder, an owner and a trainer, a horseman as a whole, has been a success. Not an overnight success, but the result of a slow maturation, like good wines kindly nurtured and brought into[…..]

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Bloodstock agent of the day: Bertrand Le Métayer (BLM Bloodstock)

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Bertrand Le Métayer’s father Pierre-Charles was a bloodstock agent and sent some of the first French top jumpers in Ireland and Britain, such as Queen Mother victors Klairon and Edredon Bleu. Bertrand followed suit after a Worldwide cursus that took him to Ireland (Tattersalls Ireland), Britain (Tattersalls), South Africa (Summerhil & Varsfontein Stud) and Kentucky[…..]

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Bloodstock agent of the day: Joffret Huet (JH Bloodstock Ltd)

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Joffret Huet started his romance with Britain about 25 years ago, when he joined Martin Pipe’s yard as a morning rider. He stayed around 8 years and rode a few winners for the master trainer, and in France, before a series of accidents convinced him it was time to start over as a bloodstock agent.[…..]

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A French-bred to follow: Dandy Mag

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Every horse whose name ends with “Mag” and is an AQPS is bred by Audoin Maggiar, mostly in his Nievre headquarters, which are situated next to the Cypres brothers. The stud farms in these parts could remind us of the vincinity of Bordeaux, or rather the closer Burgundy top vineyards: you bump on horses related[…..]

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Tomorrow at Cheltenham

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Even though he’s not in one of the major championships of the festival, the unbeaten Envoi Allen drags a lot of interest in this 3rd day at the Festival. The French-bred AQPS already won twice at the meeting, in the bumper two years ago -an exercise tant is not familiar with French horses, and in[…..]

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A French-bred to follow: Botox Has

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5-year-old gelding Botox Has is a son of the French Derby winner Dream Well out of Bournie, a dual winner over Cagnes-sur-Mer’s obstacles, sired by Epsom and Irish Derby winner Kahyasi. Bred by Carlos José de Souza Pedro’s famous Hamel Stud (the “Has” suffix), in Normandy, Botox Has started his career for his breeder at[…..]

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A French-bred to follow: Botox Has

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5-year-old gelding Botox Has is a son of the French Derby winner Dream Well out of Bournie, a dual winner over Cagnes-sur-Mer’s obstacles, sired by Epsom and Irish Derby winner Kahyasi. Bred by Carlos José de Souza Pedro’s famous Hamel Stud (the “Has” suffix), in Normandy, Botox Has started his career for his breeder at[…..]

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French breeder of the day: Bruno Vagne, breeder of Arkle Novices’ Chase 2nd Eldorado Allen

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Any French-bred horse with the suffix “Allen” is bred by Bruno and Michèle Vagne in the Allier. Everybody expects his Envoi Allen to win the Golden Miller Novices’ Chase (Gr1) on Thursday as one of the shortest-priced favourites of the meeting, but on Tuesday, another horse bred by Bruno proved a worthy import when finishing[…..]

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Tomorrow at the Festival

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French jumpers usually fare well in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the highlight of the Festival’s second day. Sprinter Sacré, dual winner in 2013 and 2016, and Politologue, the winner of last edition, are the most recent example of a trend started in 1996 by Klairon Davis and repeated 10 times since. Once again, a[…..]

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