The French keep on winning at Cheltenham

14 March 2019

Photos Hippodrome Édition & Communication

The jumpers from France keep on winning at the Cheltenham Festival. Thursday, the evening of the third and penultimate day of the meeting, the Frenchbreds count eleven wins including five Gr1s.
Wednesday, the harvest was not as generous as the day of the opening since only Envoi Allen (Muhtathir) has prevailed for French breeders, in this case Bruno Vagne, in the Champion Bumper (Gr1). The breeder had barely had time to celebrate his first success at Group 1 level, acquired the day before with Espoir d'Allen in the Champion Hurdle (Gr1)! The two horses share the same fourth dam, Violeta (Rhapsodien), who ran five times on the flat without success before entering stud.
Envoi Allen had been bought not less than £ 400,000 after his first win in February 2018 in an Irish Point-to-Point. He is now undefeated in four races for trainer Gordon Elliott and owners Cheveley Park Stud. He beat another French jumper, Blue Sari (Saddex), trained in Ireland too, but by Willie Mullins.
Also note the second and third place Wednesday of the Frenchbred Politologue (Poliglote) and Sceau Royal (Dictor Dino) behind the monster Altior, who however seemed in trouble for a moment under the attack of these two rivals.
Trained by Emmanuel Clayeux, Urgent de Grégaine (Truth or Dare) finished third in the cross-country behind defending champion Tiger Roll, winner of the last Grand National at Liverpool. Urgent de Grégaine finished second in this cross country race in 2018.
Thursday, on the other hand, the French meter began to turn from the first race on with the victory of Défi du Seuil (Voix du Nord) in the Golden Miller Novices' Chase (Gr1). Winner in the same meeting of the Triumph Hurdle (Gr1) in 2017, bred by Catherine Boudot, he ran only twice the following season, failing to make an impression, but he now makes up for lost time since he won Thursday his third chase of the season, and his second Group 1 over fences.
Like Bruno Vagne, Mrs. Boudot quickly doubled up with another foal born at her stud farm, the 5yrs Eglantine du Seuil (Saddler Maker), winner of the Dawn Run Novices' Mares Hurdle (Gr2) for her third race in Britain, having started in France by a victory under the training of Mrs. Boudot's son-in-law, Mickael Seror.
Between the two victories of the "Boudot breds", Sire du Berlais (Poliglote), bred by Jean-Marc Lucas, Camille and Louise Collet-Vidal, won the Final Handicap Hurdle (Gr3) for J P McManus. He's out of the champion mare Royale Athenia (Garde Royale), bred by Gilbert Gallot, and won on Thursday his best race to date since he left Nicolas Bertran de Balanda, in 2016.
The fifth Gr1 for team France is the Festival Trophy (Gr1), a chase run over an extended 2 1/2 miles trip and won by Frodon (Nickname) ahead of Aso (Goldneyev), also bred in France. The winner was bred by Philippe Gasdoue and he began his career with trainer Guillaume Macaire for owner Francis Montauban, for which he won for his debut at Auteuil. He was running at Cheltenham for the 4th consecutive time and scored his third victory of the season. Trained by Paul Nicholls, he was ridden by Bryony Frost.
Then, Siruh du Lac (Turgeon) won the Cha3 Plate Handicap (Gr3) over 4,100 meters ahead of the other French Janika (Saddler Maker). Bred in France by Louis Fagalde, Siruh du Lac was sold € 32,000 to his trainer Nick Williams at the Arqana Autumn Sale. He has won six races for John White and Anne Underhill since he is in England. He won Thursday for the fourth time this season, so he remains undefeated this term! Siruh du Lac is 6 years old and he is from the family of the French Champion Hurdle winner Matchou.