A Frenchbreds' 1-2-3 in the King George

26 December 2019

A Frenchbreds' 1-2-3 in the King George

The 7-year-old AQPS Clan des Obeaux (Kapgarde) won the Boxing Day classic at Kempton Park, the King George VI Steeple Chase (Gr1), for the second consecutive year on Thursday. Bred by Nicolas Devilder, who trained him and made him win his only French race over the flat at La Roche-sur-Yon in April 2015, Clan des Obeaux is now owned by a group of owners which includes sir Alex Ferguson, the former Manchester United football team coach. Trained by Paul Nicholls, Clan des Obeaux won his seventh jumps race there since his export to England. It was only his second race this season and his connections now consider a new tilt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup (Gr1).

Ridden patiently, Clan des Obeaux passed by the favourite and leader of the race, Cyrname (Nickname), between the last two jumps after his rival and stablemate had led the 3 miles chase at a good pace. The third-placed Footpad (Creachadoir) completes a Frenchbred trifecta in the race.

Clan des Obeaux is the third and last foal out of the maiden mare Nausicaa des Obeaux (April Night), also bred by Nicolas Devilder. The French France-sire.com website reported last year that Clan des Obeaux’s 4th dam was a trotting mare bred in 1968 and named Cythère, who gave a double winner of the Craon Grand Cross, Ksar SF!

Another French AQPS, the 5-year-old mare Epatante (No Risk At All), won the other Group 1 of Thursday’s program at Kempton, the Christmas Hurdle Race (Gr1). Formerly trained by Armand Lefeuvre, whose parents bred her, she destroyed a field of eight aged horses, winning her 4th race to date since her export to Britain, landing her first Gr1 in the process. She had left France after winning the 2017 Jacques de Vienne (Gr1-AQPS) over the flat, the “AQPS Derby”, run at Saint-Cloud.

Kadjara (Silver Rainbow), dam of Epatante, gave a foal by Doctor Dino named Fanfaron Dino, who left home along with her and just started his career ten days ago with a second place in a bumper at Ffos Las. He also sports the colours of the Irish owner JP McManus.

It is also for “JP” that Fakir d'Oudairies (Kapgarde), bred in Brittany by Michel de Gigou, took a second place on Thursday in the Racing Post Novices Chase (Gr1) at Leopardstown in Ireland behind Notebook (Samum ), whom he had just beaten.

The day had started well for the French breeders since the first race on the card at Kempton, a novices’ Hurdle racer, was won by the 4 years old Frenchbred AQPS Fred (Cokoriko). Twice second at Auteuil under the training of Sylvain Dehez, Fred was bred in the Nièvre by the Trinquet family, who also bred good performers in Britain such as Innox, L’Ami and Kelami, for instance. The youngster dominated Ecco (Maxios) after the last hurdle to win by four and a half lengths.

Now trained by Nicky Henderson, Fred was competing for the third time in the UK. He first finished third over 2m1/2 at Cheltenham in October, then at Ascot last month over 2m3 1/2. He was tested for the first time over 2 miles and was winning his first race on this occasion, on soft ground and in the rain!

Fred is the first foal out of the maiden mare Veribelle (Voix du Nord), who since gave two fillies by Fuissé and Free Port Lux. She is herself out of Décibelle II (Quart de Vin), a steeplechase winner in Vittel who produced no winner but is a full sister to Enessy (Quart de Vin), winner of eight races including six over jumps in the East of France.