News Bloodstock Bites: French-breds to the fore

Bloodstock Bites: French-breds to the fore


French-bred horses dominated the majority of the black-type jumps races that took place over the last week with four of the five winners originally hailing from across The Channel.

Chepstow’s Grade One Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle, a race that has so often gone to horses foaled in France with recent winners including Bristol de Mai and Walkon, was won by Paul Nicholls’ four-year-old French-bred gelding Adrien du Pont (Califet), who wore down long-time leader Chic Name (Nickname) to record a two-and-three-quarter-length success under Nick Scholfield.
The first foal and only runner to date produced by the two-time French hurdles-placed mare Santariyka (Saint des Saints), Adrien du Pont hails from the family of the 1993 Grade One Triumph Hurdle and Punchestown Champion 4yo Hurdle winner Shawiya  and 1995 Grade One Punchestown Champion 4yo Hurdle winner Shaihar, as well as European Listed-winning jumpers Shaiykoun and Sheyrann, with the Mrs Johnny de la Hey-owned gelding becoming the third winner at the highest level to be sired by the 2002 Group Two Prix Jean de Chaudenay winner Califet.
A stud mate of Kalanisi, the sire of Newbury’s December Grade One Challow Hurdle winner Barters Hill, at Boardsmill Stud in County Meath, Califet has also been responsible for dual 2015 French Grade One-winning hurdler Blue Dragon and Gordon Elliott’s two-time Grade One-winning chaser Clarcam, with other notable hurdlers including Willie Mullins’ Grade Three-winning hurdler Analifet as well as Nicholls’ Grade One-placed hurdler Calipto.
The Lee family tradition of training the winner of the Grade Three Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase continued last Saturday when Kerry Lee, who only took over the licence this season from her father Richard, a two-time winner of the Chepstow race himself in 2011 and 2013, was claimed for a second time in three renewals by the eleven-year-old gelding Mountainous (Milan) in the hands of a mud-spattered Jamie Moore.
A graduate of both Tattersalls Ireland and DBS, on the last occasion when bought by Highflyer Bloodstock for £50,000 at the latter’s 2011 Newbury Festival Sale, Mountainous is one of two winners produced by Mullaghcloga (Glacial Storm), an unraced half-sister to the 2001 Grade One Tipperkevin Hurdle and three-time Grade Two hurdle winner Bannow Bay (Good Thyne), the 2006 Grade One Galway Plate winner Far from Trouble (Good Thyne) and the 1997 Grade One Royal SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle runner-up and two-time Grade One bumper third Mighty Moss (Moscow Society), from the family of the 2010 Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle winner Berties Dream.
Over in Ireland, the facile nine-and-a-half-length victory of Willie Mullins’ Min (Walk In The Park) in the Grade Two Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown under Ruby Walsh caused bookmakers to take evasive action and shorten the Mrs Susannah Ricci-owned five-year-old gelding into a best-priced 6/4 for the opening race at the Cheltenham Festival, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, a race the same connections have won for the last two years with Vautour (Robin des Champs) and Douvan (Walk In The Park).
Seemingly unremarkable over hurdles for French trainer Yannick Fouin, having finished third and fourth on his two starts as a three-year-old in France after being purchased by bloodstock agent Guy Petit for €6,000 at the 2013 Arqana Deauville Autumn Mixed Sale, Min’s impressive displays on his two starts since being purchased privately and switching to Mullins’ care in Ireland, coupled with the dominance of Douvan since his earlier move to Closutton, looks set to increase the popularity of their sire, the winning miler and 2005 Epsom Derby runner-up Walk In The Park, who will stand the 2016 season at Haras de la Huderie in North-West France for just €3,500.
A half-brother to three other winners including the six-time French flat winner Belamage (Daliapour) and the winning French hurdler Gaone (Sagacity) out of the French ten-furlong winner Phemyka (Saint Estephe), a half-sister to the unraced dam of the dual Italian Listed-winning hurdler Satwa Duke (Munir), Min hails from the family of the dual Grade Three-winning jumper Stormez as well the 2006 Group One Irish 1000 Guineas winner Nightime and 2005 Grade One Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes winner King’s Drama.
Another purchase by Guy Petit at the Arqana Deauville Autumn Mixed Sale, in this case a €110,000 purchase by the agent at the 2014 renewal after twice winning over fences in France, claimed the Listed Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at Kempton Park with the Venetia Williams-trained six-year-old gelding Yala Enki (Nickname) running out a two-length winner under Charlie Deutsch for owners Hills of Ledbury.
From the first crop of Nickname, a triple Grade One jumps winner who stood at Haras de Victot prior to his death in 2011 at the age of twelve and whose other notable offspring include the French Grade One chase winner Royale Flag and Grade Two jumps winners Gwencily Berbas and Le Mercurey, Yala Enki is a half-brother to the five-time French jumps winner Grade A Toi Enki (Agent Bleu) being out of the two-time French jumps-placed mare Cadiane (Cadoudal), meaning he is bred along the same lines as the three-time Listed French chase runner-up Bathilde (Nickname).
Also at Kempton, Nicky Henderson’s 2013 Grade Three Hennessy Gold Cup winner Triolo d’Alene (Epalo) made a victorious return to action, having been off the track for over a year, when ridden by Jeremiah McGrath to a wide-margin success in the Listed Chase for owners Mr and Mrs Sandy Orr.
Bred in France by Louis Couteaudier out of his unraced mare Joliette d’Alene (Garde Royale), the nine-year-old gelding is a half-brother to three other winners including Paul Nicholls’ Grade Two Rising Stars Novices’ Chase runner-up Arpege d’Alene (Dom Alco), with the further family being that of the 1995 Grade Three Racing Post Handicap Chase winner Val d’Alene and the 2015 Prix Rigoletto Chase winner Sarah des Brosses.
Epalo, the winner of the 2005 Group One Singapore Airlines International Cup for trainer Andreas Schutz, died in 2012 at the age of thirteen but his offspring have achieved success under both codes with his best flat performer being the 2012 Group Three Prix de Barbeveille winner Usuelo, who like Triolo d’Alene is out of a Garde Royale-mare, and over jumps his black-type performers include the 2014 Grade Two Prix Amadou Hurdle winner Ambroise and last season’s Grade One Manifesto Novices’ Chase third Val de Law.
Over in Australia, the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale saw six lots change hands for seven figure sums, helping the aggregate increase to A$129,432,000, a 26% improvement on the 2015 renewal, with the average price of A$88,988 and median price of A$60,917 an increase of 10% on the previous year’s sale.
Topping the sale, when purchased by Jadeskye Racing and Gerald Ryan for A$1.6 million, was a bay colt by Snitzel out of the two-time Australian Listed winner Mirror Mirror (Dehere), making him a half-brother to the 2013 Australian Listed winner and 2012 Group One runner-up No Looking Back (Redoute’s Choice). A colt from the first crop of Pierro, the Champion Australian two-year-old in 2011-12, out of the triple Listed runner-up Skates (Danehill), was the sale’s second priciest lot when Coolmore paid A$1.5 million for the yearling half-brother to their 2014-15 Champion Australian two-year-old Vancouver (Medaglia d’Oro), who is set to join Aidan O’Brien this season after winning four of his five races when with Gai Waterhouse, including the 2015 Group One Golden Slipper.
In breeding news, it has been announced that the six-time Group One winner and dual Arc heroine Treve will travel over to England next week to be covered by Darley’s leading sire Dubawi, whilst much will be expected from a recent arrival at Roger Varian’s Newmarket stable as the trainer has taken charge of the first foal of the 2011 Arc winner, Danedream, a Teruya Yoshida-owned filly by the ten-time Group One winner Frankel and named Nothing But Dreams.
Finally, on a sadder note Exchange Rate, the 2001 Grade Two Tom Fool Handicap winner and sire of the 2012 Group One Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes winner Reckless Abandon, who was crowned Champion European three-year-old sprinter the following year, had to be put down at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky at the age of nineteen due to issues relating to treatment for pneumonia.