French jumpers did well again in Britain last weekend, only 4 weeks away from the Cheltenham festival.
The Betfair Ascot Chase (Gr1) went to the 7-year-old AQPS Cyrname (Nickname), formerly trained by Patrice Quinton and bred in the Manche by Stéphane Follain, Eric Lecoiffier, Stephane Guesdon and Xavier Lefeuvre. Undefeated this year in two outings, he won by 17 lengths this time …
According to British newspaper Racing Post, however, Cyrname will not participate in the Cheltenham Festival, from March 12 to 15, because he is more comfortable on right-handed tracks. He is not even enbtered over there. He could go for the Punchestown Festival, in Ireland, between April 30th and May 4th.
Winner of the King George VI Chase (Gr1) on Boxing day at Kempton, Clan des Obeaux (Kapgrade) repeated on Saturday at Ascot in the Betfair Denman Chase (Gr2), beating two other French horses, Terrefort (Martaline) and Ballyhill (Al Namix) by 11 and 36 lengths respectively. Clan des Obeaux is a 7 year-old AQPS trained by Paul Nicholls and bred in France by Nicolas Devilder, who trained him to win his onloy race in France, at La Roche-sur-Yon.
Clan des Obeaux should be aimed at the Cgheltenham Gold Cup (Gr1) next.
Also on Saturday at Ascot, Al Dancer (Al Namix) won the Betfair Hurdle Handicap (Gr3) over 3,100 metres. Bred at Haras de Maulepaire with Marie-Cécile de Saint-Seine and Christian Baron, he was scorting his fourth consecutive victory this season since October. Still a novice -he did not win hurdles before the start of this season- he could go for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Gr1) at Cheltenham. One also notes the success of Calipto (Califet) in a Listed race over hurdles and that of Brio Conti (Dom Alco), also over hurdles, in a handicap. The first was bred by André Priolet, the second by Patrick Joubert. Calipto was second in the Prix Finot 3yo Hurdle (L) won by Laterano for trainer Guy Cherel before leaving France, where Brio Conti did not run.
It was also on Saturday at Haydock that Darasso (Königturf), a 6-year-old AQPS bred in France by Guy and Emmanuel Cherel, won the Red Mills Hurdle Trial (Gr3) for his third trial in the UK. Also note in this meeting the victory of the 4ans Quel Destin (Muhtathir) in the Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle. Bred by Haras des Sablonnets and Lucien Bermond, Quel Destin left Guy Cherel’s yard last summer after winning over hurdles at Auteuil. He has also won the Juvenile Hurdle Final (Gr1) at Chepstow. Saturday was his fifth straight win.
To cap off this memorable day for French jumpers, Grand Sancy (Diamond Boy) took the Kingwell Hurdle (Gr2) at Wincanton, defeating Sceau Royal (Doctor Dino) and Vision des Flos (Balko), two other French imports. He is a native of the Allier, where the osteopath Dr. Brigitte Poulvé bred him, but he never ran in France.