Gontaut-Biron History: A Summer encore

Gontaut-Biron History: A Summer encore

Prix Gontaut-Biron Hong Kong Jockey Club


Group 3, 4-year-olds and up, 2,000m/1m2f, €56,000

Created in 1919

Last winner: Olmedo (c4, FRA by Declaration of War ex Super Pie, by Pivotal), owned by Antonio Caro & Gérard Augustin-Normand, bred by Dream With Me Stable, trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, ridden by Cristian Demuro.

The race is run in 2020 for the 101st time

The 2019 edition

The third major event on this holiday Thursday’s program in Deauville, the Prix Gontaut-Biron Hong Kong Jockey Club (Gr3) is open to aged horses over 1m2f. Leading performers such as Vision d’État, Cirrus des Aigles, New Bay and Talismanic who won the event recently. The race conditions allow former top performers to run at level weight as long as they didn’t win or placed at Group-level this year.

This is exactly the profile of Olmedo (Declaration of War), the best rating in the race. Owned by Antonio Caro and Gerard Augustin-Normand, The Emirates Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas, Gr1) winner in 2018 has repeatedly failed afterwards. Kept aside a few months, he has placed twice over the mile this season but finished almost last in the Queen Anne Stakes (Gr1) at Royal Ascot.

This new test over a longer distance is a lifesaver. A colourful coalition faces him with horses from the South of France, the South West, England, Czech Republic and Denmark.

The first three home in the Grand Prix de Vichy (Gr3), over on the same distance, meet again. At the end of a tactical race and a “steal” from his rider Christophe Soumillon, the Marseilles-trained Diamond Vendome (Style Vendome) beat Soleil Marin (Kendargent) and Royal Julius (Royal Applause) that evening. The first two give three pounds to the filed this time because of this performance. Second yo Impulsif in the Prix Messidor (Gr3) over the mile, Trais Fluors (Dansili) returns over 1m2f, but he is one of the safest bets in this open race.

Note also the presence of the Czech 7yo Subway Dancer (Shamardal), fifth at Vichy and overall disappointing this season, and the Danish-trained King David (Elusive City), a recent winner of the Grand Prix of Hamburg (Gr3), owing him a 3lbs penalty here. Conversely, the English raider Mountain Angel (Dark Angel) receives 2lbs for not having finished in the three first home in a Group race this season. According to Timeform, even with this allowance, he still has three pounds to find to beat Trais Fluors. The only female of the lot, Tresorière (Intello), owned by Ecurie Vivaldi, has just won her first Listed-event at Le Lion d’Angers on this distance. She is trying her luck at a higher level in this but this opportunity is too good to be missed.

History

This race was first run in 1919 to honour the memory of an eminent member of the committee of the Société d’Encouragement. Originally open to 3-year-olds and their elders, it was restricted to 4 year-olds and over from 1958. The distance, which was a mile in 1919, was increased to a mile and a half between 1920 and 1954 and extended to a mile 5 furlongs in 1955. Reduced to 10 furlongs in 1956 and 1957, it was put back to a mile and a half from 1958 to 1963 before being restored to 10 furlongs from 1964. Not run in 1940 due to war, the race was transferred to Maisons-Laffitte during Deauville’s closure in 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1945, and to Auteuil in 1944. The race has been associated with the Hong Kong Jockey Club since 2009.

The Prix Gontaut-Biron’s honours list features some very good horses, such as Grillemont (1922), Cerfeuil (1925), Aethelstan (1926), Hotweed (1930), Astronomer (1934), Ping Pong (1935), Kilette (1950), Lacaduv (1951), Vamos (1952), Montaval (1956), Etwild (1959), Sheshoon (1960), Hautain (1961), Frontin (1964), Sigebert (1966), Caldarello (1967), Frontal (1968), Grandier (1969), Iron Duke (1977), Gairloch (1978), Rusticaro (1979), General Holme (1983), Urban Sea (1993), Hernando (1994, 1995), Carling (1996), Lord of Men (1997), Dream Well (1999), Vision d’Etat (2010) and Cirrus des Aigles (2011).

Numerous foreign horses have come to take part in the Prix Gontaut-Biron. And as the following list shows, their efforts have often born fruit: Liberty Truck (1962), Shoemaker (1970), Boreen (1972), Ksar (1974), Record Run (1975), Gairloch (1978), Bedtime (1984), Arc (1987), Emmson (1989), Corrupt (1992), Lord of Men (1997), Running Stag (1998), Carnival Dancer (2003) and Echo of Light (2007).

Antoine de Gontaut-Biron (deceased in 1917)

The descendant of an old family that owned the Château de Biron (near Monpazier in the Dordogne), Antoine de Gontaut-Biron occupied a key place in the world of racing. He raced several horses under his own colours (yellow jersey & sleeves and black cap) and was appointed to the Société d’Encouragement committee in 1884. He was also a race steward from 1890 to 1896, accomplishing the same duties from 1885 within the Deauville Société des Courses, of which he was also a committee member, as he was of the Société de Sport de France. In Deauville, there is a street named after him.

The Prix Gontaut-Biron’s honours list features some very good horses, such as Grillemont (1922), Cerfeuil (1925), Aethelstan (1926), Hotweed (1930), Astronomer (1934), Ping Pong (1935), Kilette (1950), Lacaduv (1951), Vamos (1952), Montaval (1956), Etwild (1959), Sheshoon (1960), Hautain (1961), Frontin (1964), Sigebert (1966), Caldarello (1967), Frontal (1968), Grandier (1969), Iron Duke (1977), Gairloch (1978), Rusticaro (1979), General Holme (1983), Urban Sea (1993), Hernando (1994, 1995), Carling (1996), Lord of Men (1997), Dream Well (1999), Vision d’Etat (2010), Cirrus des Aigles (2011), New Bay (2016), Talismanic (2018) and Olmedo (2019).

Numerous foreign horses have come to take part in the Prix Gontaut-Biron. And as the following list shows, their efforts have often born fruit 16 times already thanks to Liberty Truck (1962), Shoemaker (1970), Boreen (1972), Ksar (1974), Record Run (1975), Gairloch (1978), Bedtime (1984), Arc (1987), Emmson (1989), Corrupt (1992), Lord of Men (1997), Running Stag (1998), Carnival Dancer (2003), Echo of Light (2007), Petit Chevalier (2013) & First Sitting (2017).


Owners

  • Ralph-Beaver Strassburger (3 wins): Berthe (1948), Montaval (1956), Rumesnil (1957) ;
  • Mahmoud Fustok (3 wins): Nemr (1981), Great Substence (1982), Over the Ocean (1986).
  • Niarchos Family (3 wins): Hernando (1994, 1995) for Stavros and Dream Well (1999) for Niarchos Family.
  • Khaled Abdullah (3 wins): General Holme (1983), Cross Harbour (2009), New Bay (2016).
  • Époux Stern (2 wins): Saint Souplet (1919), Hautain (1961) for Jean, Frontin (1964), Sigebert (1966) for his widow, Claude.
  • Edouard de Rothschild (2 wins): Nephthys (1921), Paix des Dames (1937).
  • Alexandre Aumont (2 wins): Cerfeuil (1925), Minestrone (1933).
  • Georges Wildenstein (2 wins): Grock (1929), Bièvres (1932).
  • Henri Coulon (2 wins): Folio (1931), Samovar (1936).
  • Mrs Léon Volterra (2 wins): Vamos (1952), Cariellor (1985).
  • Sir Robin McAlpine (2 wins): Jefferson (1971), Ruffle (1988).
  • Godolphin (2 wins): Echo of Light (2007), Talismanic (2018).


Trainers

  • André Fabre (6 wins): Cariellor (1985), Agol Lack (2000), Slew the Red (2001), Cross Harbour (2009), New Bay (2016), Talismanic (2018).
  • Alec Head (4 wins): Kilette (1950), Frère Georges II (1953), Sheshhoon (1960), Folkestone (1973).
  • Max Bonaventure (3 wins): Hautain (1961), Frontin (1964), Sigebert (1966).


Riders

  • Roger Brethès (4 wins): Rabican (1927), Ping Pong (1935), Samovar (1936), Morosini (1941).
  • Alfred Gibert (4 wins): Jefferson (1971), Nemr (1981), Great Substence (1982), Arc (1987).
  • Olivier Peslier (4 wins): Agol Lack (2000), Slew the Red (2001), Carnival Dancer (2003), Vision d’Etat (2010).
  • Albert Sharpe (3 wins): Saint Souplet (1919), Almaviva (1924), Cerfeuil (1925).
  • Guy Duforez (3 wins): Folio (1931), Minestrone (1933), Chateauroux (1943).
  • Jean Laumain (3 wins): Palais Cardinal (1939), Capielluca (1947), Fleury (1949).
  • Léon Flavien (3 wins): Hautain (1961), Frontin (1964), Sigebert (1966).
  • Maurice Philipperon (3 wins): Caldarello (1967), Grandier (1969), Ruffle (1988).
  • Bryan Taylor (3 wins): Record Run (1975), Gairloch (1978), Bedtime (1984).
  • Yves Saint-Martin (3 wins): Larkhill (1976), Rusticaro (1979), Armistice Day (1980).
  • Cash Asmussen (3 wins): Urban Sea (1993), Hernando (1994, 1995).
  • Thierry Thulliez (3 wins): Carling (1996), Wellbeing (2002), Atlantic Air (2006).
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