Guillaume d’Ornano History: A new road to the Autumn summits

Guillaume d’Ornano History: A new road to the Autumn summits

Prix Guillaume d’Ornano-Haras du Logis Saint-Germain

Group 2, 3-year-olds, 2,000m/1m2f, €280,000

Created in 1952 as the Prix de la Côte Normande

Last winner: Headman (m3, GB by Kingman ex Deliberate, by Rail Link), owned by Khaled Abdullah, bred by Juddmonte Farms, trained by Roger Charlton, ridden by Jason Watson.

Record-time: 2’02’’0, Northern Baby (1979)

The race is run in 2020 for the 69th time

The 2019 edition

The heavy favourite of the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano Haras of Logis Saint-Germain (Gr2), Thursday in Deauville over 10 furlongs, English raider Headman (Kingman) had to work to overcome one of the race’s early leaders, Roman Candle (Le Havre), beaten by a head at the end of a rather slowly run race.

More than six weeks after his triumph in the Prix Eugène Adam (Gr2) at Saint-Cloud, Khalid Abdullah’s colt wins a new race of the same level without penalty thanks to the very open conditions of the “d’Ornano”.

His best rival, Roman Candle, finished fifth in the QIPCO Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby, Gr1), then failed in fourth place in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Gr1). He was back at his best at Deauville.

The French-trained Flop Shot (New Approach), third and beaten by six-and-a-half lengths by Headman in the Eugene Adam, made up no less than six lengths this time but had to settle for third. The difference seems to imply that either Flop Shot made leaps of progress, or Headman wasn’t at his best on a very soft ground … or both!

Headman is a brother to Delivery (Rail Link), a maiden winner with André Fabre and a Prix Chloe (Gr3) second. Their dam Deliberate (King’s Best), also a winner in France, is a sister to international champion Flintshire (Dansili), a big good ground fan.

Headman began with a win in November last year, then was defeated by Zakouski, a Godolphin hopeful who spent the winter with a champion’s reputation. Sixth for his return over 1m2f on soft ground, Headman won a month later on the same distance but on good ground, before being scratched at Ascot due to the soft ground in the Hampton Court Stakes (Gr3).

History

First run in 1952 under the name of the Prix de la Côte Normande, this race reserved for 3 year-olds became the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano in 1987 to honour the memory of an important owner and breeder with a special connection to Deauville. Set at 1 mile 7 furlongs that the first year, the race’s distance was reduced to 1 mile 2 furlongs in 1953. It has remained unchanged since then, with the exception of 1958 and 1959, when it was increased to a mile and a half. In 1994, a dead heat was recorded between Lassigny and Just Happy. The record for the event is held by Northern Baby, who covered the 1 mile 2 furlongs in 2′ 02” in 1979. The race has always been held at the La Touques racecourse.

Few fillies have taken part in this race, with the result that only 5 have obtained victories over the years: Chutney (1963), La Bamba (1964), La Troublerie (1972), New Bruce (1985), Galikova (2011).

Foreign visitors have enjoyed particular success in this event, accumulating 17 wins, the first in 1970 for Gold Rod ridden by Lester Piggott. Crimson Beau (1978), Broken Hearted (1987), Great Palm (1992), Just Happy (1994, dead-heat), Montjoy (1995), Sasuru (1996), Best of the Bests (2000), Masterful (2001), Highdown (2002), Mister Monet (2004), Multidimensional (2006), Sri Putra (2009), Scalo (2010), Eminent (2017), Knight to Behold (2018) & Headman (2019) are the other foreign winners. The British trainer Paul F. Cole has done particularly well with four wins (see below).

Guillaume d’Ornano (1894-1985)

Great-grandson of Marie Walewska, whom General Ornano wed in 1816, Guillaume d’Ornano was attached to the Warsaw embassy after the First World War. On returning to Paris, he became an advisor to the perfumer François Coty and, on the latter’s death, founded the Lancôme perfume house. In 1946, he and his two sons Michel and Hubert created the Jean d’Albret and Orlane perfumes.

Mayor of Moulins-sur-Céphon and general councillor for the Indre region for twenty-five years, Comte Guillaume d’Ornano declared his racing colours in 1934 (red and yellow-striped jersey, yellow sleeves, red cap). Chairman of the Société des Courses de Chateauroux, he was made a member of the Société d’Encouragement in 1964, sitting on the committee until 1983, when he became an honorary member. In the meantime, from 1971 to 1978, he served as chairman of the Société des Courses du Pays d’Auge, the body which ran Clairefontaine-Deauville racecourse.

Renowned for his courteous manner and the hospitality he offered at his “Mirasol” villa in Deauville, Comte Guillaume d’Ornano had a keen interest in historical books – he collected the memoirs of famous men from the 18th century – and in horses.

It was during the 1960s that the count’s silks enjoyed their heyday, both with horses bought at the Deauville sales and his own produce. In 1957, he had assembled some broodmares at the Manneville stud farm (founded in 1927 by Henri Coulon) in the Calvados, a property he owned from 1969 until 1982.

It was the broodmare Mist (a grey sired by Tornado in 1953), acquired by the owner as a yearling and the dam of seven winners, who provided him with his finest runner, Misti. This son of Méridien was victorious in eight races and was placed fifteen times between the ages of 2 and 5. As a 2-year-old, he triumphed in the Prix des Chênes and came 3rd in the Grand Critérium. At 3, he added the Prix Henry Delamarre to his growing honours list, finished 2nd in the Grand Prix du Centenaire de Deauville (behind Molvedo) and also 3rd in the Arc de Triomphe (behind Molvedo and Right Royal). At 4, further successes came in the Prix Ganay and the Gran Premio del Jockey Club at Milan, as well as a 3rd place in the Grand Prix de Deauville. At 5, he clinched the Prix Henri Foy, was the runner-up in the Prix du Cadran and also the Ascot Gold Cup, as well as finishing 3rd in the Arc de Triomphe for the second time.

Stationed later at the Manneville stud, Misti proved to be a great breeder. Sire of Roselière (Prix de Diane and dam of Rosebowl), Mistigri (Irish St Leger), Toulon and Ambrellita, he excelled at producing jumpers, becoming champion jumps stallion five times (1976, 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1982) and siring in particular two winners of the Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil, Les Roseaux and Roselier (who also had an excellent career as a sire of jumps horses in Ireland).

Guillaume d’Ornano’s other top performers were Crossen (1959), winner of the Prix Lagrange, who was one of the victims of the mass fall involving seven horses in the English Derby at Epsom; Le Vieux Castel (1959), winner of the Prix de la Concorde and 2nd in the Grand Prix du Printemps; Moderne (1959), winner of the Prix de Menneval, 2nd in the Prix de Guiche and Henry Delamarre, 3rd in the Prix Jean Prat and Grand Prix du Printemps; Firstborn (1961), winner of the Prix Maurice de Nieuil as a 3-year-old; Futur (1962), winner of the Prix Finot at Auteuil; Messire (1963), winner of the Prix Fleuret at Auteuil; and Cabhurst (1965) who was considered the best performer of his 2-year-old crop on account of his victories in the Prix Eclipse and de la Forêt but who, as a 3-year-old, had to content himself with five places, including a 2nd spot in the Prix de Seine-and-Oise, 3rd place in the Prix Maurice de Gheest and 4th in the Poule d’Essai.

Initially trained by Sylvain Laforge, d’Ornano’s horses were entrusted to Georges Bridgland, while those destined for a career over the jumps were prepared by Joseph Audon.

Owners

  • Rothschild Family (7 wins): 6 victoires pour Guy avec Marly Knowe (1953), Tropique (1955), Tang (1962), Chutney (1963), La Bamba (1964), Pinson (2005), puis une pour Édouard avec Russian Cross (2008).
  • Mohammed Al Maktoum, Godolphin & Darley (6 wins): Creator (1989), Antisaar (1990), Best of the Bests (2000), Masterful (2001), Saint Baudolino (2012), Vancouvérité (2013).
  • Khalid Abdullah (4 wins): Raft (1984), Kalabar (2003), New Bay (2015), Headman (2019).
  • Paul de Moussac (2 wins): Gairloch (1977), Dernier Empereur (1993).
  • Moufid Dabaghi (2 wins): Al Nasr (1981), Mourjane (1983).


Trainers

  • André Fabre (11 wins): Al Nasr (1981), Mourjane (1983), Creator (1989), Antisaar (1990), Dernier Empereur (1993), Lassigny (1994, dead-heat), Val Royal (1999), Russian Cross (2008), Saint Baudolino (2012), Vancouverite (2013), New Bay (2015).
  • Geoffroy Watson (5 wins): Marly Knowe (1953), Tropique (1955), Tang (1962), Chutney (1963), La Bamba (1964).
  • Paul Cole (4 wins): Crimson Beau (1978), Broken Hearted (1987), Great Palm (1992), Montjoy (1995).
  • Jean-Claude Rouget (3 wins): Pinson (2005), Literato (2007) & Almanzor (2016).


Riders

  • Jean Deforge (4 wins): Tiffauges (1961), Tang (1962), Chutney (1963) & La Bamba (1964)
  • Lanfranco Dettori (4 wins): Kabool (1998), Best of the Bests (2000), Masterful (2001) & Sri Putra (2009).

and also:

  • Gérald Mossé (2 wins): Double Bed (1986) & Rajpoute (1997).
  • Olivier Peslier (2 wins): Val Royal (1999) & Galikova (2011).
  • Christophe-Patrice Lemaire (2 wins): Multidimensional (2006) & Literato (2007).
  • Maxime Guyon (2 wins): Scalo (2010) & Saint Baudolino (2012)
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