Le Festival, by le FRBC - Wednesday

17 March 2021

Le Festival, by le FRBC - Wednesday

Photos by scoopdyga/PA Images/ICON Sport

Tiger Roll won the Festival Cross-Country, beating the French-bred favourite Easysland and two other jumpers originating from France by 18 lengths and more. The Gigginstown House Stud champion and dual Grand National winner would have brought the (other) house down had the place been open to the public.

This win, this year, is something of the stuff made in Hollywood. The fact that for a second day, no French-bred horse has won at Cheltenham, something that hadn't happened before in this Century, instead looks like an oddity. A mere blip.

Racing, as a whole, needs heroes, and Tiger Roll is one of them. More: he's a hero with a story that keeps on giving. His ups and downs and those of his connections make him popular. His longevity makes people side with him and look into horseracing. When Tiger Roll wins, horseracing ends up an even bigger winner, and everybody in racing wins, even the French!

G'wan, Tiger!


Best French-bred on Day Two


1:20 Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle (Gr1) 2m5f

  • 2nd Gaillard du Mesnil (AQPS), owned by Mrs J Donnely

Bred in Mayenne by Écurie Cerdeval

  • 3rd Bravemansgame, owned by John Dance & Bryan Drew

Bred in Ardennes by M Guiot & B Stoffel


3:05 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Gr1) 2m

  • 3rd Chacun pour Soi, owned by Mrs Susan Ricci

Bred in Saône-et-Loire by Didier Berland

  • 4th Greaneteen, owned by Chris Giles

Bred in Orne by Bertrand Compignie


3:40 Glenfarclas Chase (A Cross Country Chase) 3m6f

  • 2nd Easysland (AQPS), owned by J P McManus

Bred in Mayenne by Mrs M Avril & Ms M L Labbe

  • 3rd Some Neck, owned by the Some Neck Partnership

Bred in Sarthe by La Perrigne & Élevage de Courteilles

  • 4th Alpha des Obeaux (AQPS), owned by Gigginstown House Stud

Bred in Maine-et-Loire by Mrs Nicolas Devilder & Mrs S Fasquelle


4:15 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Gr3) 2m

  • 2nd Entoucas (AQPS), owned by J P McManus

Bred in Mayenne by J Hardy

  • 3rd Ibleo, owned by the Bellamy Partnership

Bred in Orne by Hubert Honoré & P di Pietro


Le French-bred of the day: Sceau Royal

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 he never quite recovered from that to finish 5th. Who knows what he would have done otherwise? That's jump racing, and such mishaps are bound to happen. You have to live with it.

Sceau Royal has been excellent at "living with it" since he left France and Guillaume Macaire's yard, six years ago after his first win at Bordeaux, to be transferred to Alan King's by his owners, Simon Munir & Isaac Souede.

Sceau Royal, who was bred by Guy Vimont in Mayenne (200 miles West of Paris) and first owned-trained by Daniel Allard, won three races in a row the following Winter and finished 12th at 8/1 in the Triumph just after that. Since then, he went hurdling and chasing alike, tackling the likes of Buveur d'Air, Apple's Jade, Défi du Seuil, Altior, Epatante and more recently Champ. Yet, apart from the odd off race, Sceau Royal has always been reliable for his British connections, winning 13 races since he crossed the Channel for good, racing 33 times in 6 seasons. He's gently approaching the £500,000 bar nowadays.

All this, only to be bossed around by "young" guns down the hill at Prestbury!


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

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 full bloom by masters of their craft and trade.

The breeder of Gauloise, who is running on Thursday in the Dawn Run mares' Hurdle (Gr2), has already celebrated five wins at the Festival thanks to Vautour, Aux P'tits Soins and Dame de Compagnie. He also "made" popular sires such as Saint des Saints, whom he bred.

His Haras de Saint-Voir was crowned French best jumps breeder in 2020. It is his 5th title since 2009. Based in the Allier, in the Centre of France, Nicolas trains his own horses as a licence-holder and won the 2019 Grand Cross-Country at Craon in 2019 with A Dieu Vat.

Of course, at Craon, Nicolas was also driving the horsebox, along with his wife Pascaline, née Vagne (another great family of AQPS breeders in the area)...

The name Lageneste was also recently quoted as Nicolas' nephew Hector started a partnership with the famous French trainer Guillaume Macaire.

More than a craft or a trade, the whole family sees horseracing as a way of life …


Our Bloodstock agents of the day...


Joffret Huet (JH Bloodstock Ltd)

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 eight 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. Formerly associated with the ow retired Racing TV's pundit Claude Charlet, he found in France some outstanding jumpers such as dual Tingle Creek and Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Sire de Grugy, followed by Cyrname, Greaneteen, Solo, Pic d'Orhy, Song for Someone, Hitman, etc. Joffret is working with Paul Nicholls and Tom Symonds amongst others, and advises Lynne et Angus Maclennan in France …

Joffret Huet is based near Senonnes in Mayenne and is a member of the French Bloodstock Agents Association (AFC): https://www.courtiersafc.com/joffret-huet

Bertrand Le Métayer (BLM Bloodstock)

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 (Keeneland). A Tattersalls French representative since 2000, Bertrand has always kept a keen interest in jumps racing.

Bertrand Le Métayer is based near Paris and is a member of the French Bloodstock Agents Association (AFC): https://www.courtiersafc.com/blm



Tomorrow at Cheltenham

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 the Baring Bingham Nocives' Hurdle last season, on the same distance. Now unbeaten in 11 races, including his first show in a point-to-point, he will, however, experience something new here as he's changed trainer earlier this month, having left Gordon Elliott's care to join Henry de Bromhead, who now trains him for Cheveley Park Stud.

Otherwise, the French brigade is not out of contention in the two main races on Thursday, mainly relying on Allaho and Min, both trained by Willie Mullins, in the Ryanair Chase (Gr1), while JP's Sire du Berlais will try to keep favourite Paisley Park to win a 2nd Stayers' Hurdle (Gr1).


The "French" Brigade on Thursday

27 (37 last year) / 123 runners (21%, 127 in 2020).

Details below


A French-bred to follow: Dandy Mag

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 vicinity of Bordeaux, or rather the closer Burgundy top vineyards: you bump on horses related to royalty at every corner!

Dandy Mag is a younger brother to the dual Gr1-winner Vroum Vroum Mag, who won Mares' Hurdle in 2019 at the Festival. He's not reached that sort of level yet but he's doing good and looks well-handicapped in this Dawn Run Novice Mares' Hurdle.

Trained by Willie Mullins for Grant Mercer & Caren Walsh, Dandy Mag won on soft ground in late December at Leopardstown and used to run against better rivals.


Thursday Frenchbred entries at the Festival (on ITV)


1:20 Golden Miller Novices' Chase (Gr1) 2m4f

  • 4/6 Envoi Allen (AQPS), owned by Cheveley Park Stud

Bred in Allier by Bruno Vagne

  • 12/1 Asterion Forlonge, owned by Mrs J Donnelly

Bred in Yonne by EARL de la Forlonge

  • 16/1 Fusil Raffles (AQPS), owned by Simon Munir & Isaac Souede

Bred in Calvados by Simon Munir & Isaac Souede


1:55 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Gr3) 3m

  • 11/1 Brinkley, owned by Brocade Racing

Bred in Orne by Haras de l’Hôtellerie

  • 16/1 Dandy Mag (AQPS), owned by Grant Mercer & Mrs Caren Walsh

Bred in Nièvre by Count Audoin Maggiar, Ms A. Maggiar, A Maggiar & A Maggiar

  • 40/1 Poker Play, owned by the Angove Family

Bred in Calvados by Guy Pariente Holding

  • 50/1 First Lord de Cuet, owned by Potter, Pipe & Pete

Bred in Ain by Serge Bourounoff


2:30 Ryanair Chase (Gr1) (GBB Race) 2m4½f

  • 5/1 Allaho, owned by Cheveley Park Stud

Bred in Sarthe by E Leffray

  • 5/1 Min, owned by Mrs Susan Ricci

Bred in Calvados by Mrs M T Mimouni

  • 11/1 Saint Calvados, owned by Kate & Andrew Brooks

Bred by J Buez

  • 16/1 Real Steel, owned by Mrs Kathy Stuart & Sullivan Bloodstock Ltd

Bred in Pyrénées-Atlantiques by Haras de Plasence & Mrs V Saint-Palais

  • 50/1 Fanion d’Estruval (AQPS), owned by David Wilson

Bred in Pas-de-Calais by Mrs Bernard Le Gentil


3:05 Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle (Gr1) 3m

  • 9/2 Sire du Berlais, owned by J P McManus

Bred in Vienne by Jean-Marc Lucas

  • 66/1 Bacardys (AQPS), owned by Shanakiel Racing Syndicate

Bred in Allier by Eric Vagne & J L da Silva


3:40 Paddy Power Plate Handicap Chase (Gr3) 2m4½f

  • 13/2 Farclas, owned by Gigginstown House Stud

Bred in Orne by R Giger, H U Fruh & E Enz

  • 7/1 Fils d’Oudairies (AQPS), owned by Claudio Michael Grech

Bred in Côtes-d’Armor by Count Michel de Gigou

  • 10/1 Caribean Boy, owned by Simon Munir & Isaac Souede

Bred in Vienne by Mrs S Guittard & G Guittard

  • 14/1 Sully d'Oc (AA), owned by J P McManu

Bred in Vienne by J M Charmes

  • 33/1 Laskalin, owned by David & Carol Shaw

Bred in Dordogne by Mrs C Cheyrou


4:15 The Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Gr2) 2m1f

  • 6/1 Hook Up, owned by Mrs Susan Ricci

Bred in Indre by M Moczulski

  • 6/1 Gauloise (AQPS), owned by Kenneth Alexander

Bred in Allier by Haras de Saint-Voir

  • 25/1 Pont Aval, owned by N G King

Bred in Calvados by P Hilger

  • 50/1 Will Victory, owned by David's Partnership

Bred in Yonne by G Chabod, D Ciurleo & Ms J Ferrand


4:50 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase 3m2f

  • 25/1 Didero Vallis (AQPS), owned by Normans, Ramsay, Tufnell & Bishop

Bred in Mayenne by Anré-Noël Dutertre

  • 33/1 Beau Bay, owned by Peter Green & Dr R D P Newland

Bred in Orne by Mrs L Gagneux

  • 33/1 Cobolobo (AQPS), owned by Anne, Harriet & Lucinda Bond

Bred in Maine-et-Loire by M Lecoq

  • 40/1 Almazhar Garde, owned by Kate & Andrew Brooks

Bred in Orne by F Simon