FRENCH BLOODLINES HAVE A VERY BRIGHT FUTURE
The Coupe d’Europe des Chevaux Arabes, a 2,000 meters race open to four-year-olds and upwards, returns to ParisLongchamp on Sunday, May 13th.
This race was officially inaugurated in 1991. We use that term loosely because in reality there had been two previous editions. They were won by Rubis de Carrère and Dormane prior to the dark years of 1989 and 1990 when the race wasn’t run.
The Coupe d’Europe was therefore the first big international race for Arabian horses to be run in the Parisian region during modern times, a novelty which prompted a negative reaction from the specialised press at the time.
It should be pointed out that breeders even had to take out a bank loan in order to finance this race which was run at Évry until 1996.
After Saint-Cloud (1997) and Maisons-Laffitte (1998-1999), the Coupe d’Europe graced Chantilly from 2000 to 2010, before returning to Saint-Cloud in the 2011-2014 period. In 2015 it was the turn of Longchamp, which hosts the race again on Sunday following a two year spell at Deauville.
The example of the Coupe d’Europe is interesting because it is a good reflection of the evolution of Arabian racing during the last 30 years: both in France and the world. Its roll of honour is also very revealing.
In 1991 the Russian raider Drug (Prizrak ex Karinka, by Aswan) beat the French distaffers Dida Chérie and Vanessa de Carrère. In 1992, the US runner Way to Go (Wiking ex Brusally Orsata, by Orzel) triumphed by beating Danzina et Djouribi. Consequently, the first two editions of France’s most prestigious ‘international’ prize were won by foreign raiders totally devoid of French blood: Rubis de Carrère was a son of the Polish sire Elaborat, and the dams of Dormane and Djelfor were similarly of Polish paternity.
From 1993 onwards there was a French fightback. This was underpinned by a breeding industry which made big strides forward, and impacted positively on the quality of training and the standard of racing.
Bengali d’Albret won it consecutive years before Darike, Dorwan du Cayrou, Kerra, Marwan (the only product of Manganate to have won it), Al Sakbé, Verdoyante, Magic de Piboul, Saklawi Jadrane, Djavius des Landes, Makfoul du Breuil and Nevadour Al Maury all excelled.
From 1993 to 2005, typical French pedigrees were very much in evidence and above all the progeny of Dormane, Kesberoy and Chéri Bibi – without forgetting Tidjani.
From 2006 to 2012 the race was exclusively won by sons of Amer. For the record, he raced in Europe at the age of 12. During a short season, he won practically everything but his lack of pedigree overshadowed somewhat an excellent CV.
However, his progeny were to show real class on the track and it was only in 2013 that this supremacy was contested by a son of Munjiz: Al Mamun Monlau.
From 2014 to 2017 the winners were Djet Taouy (Dahess) – 2014; Prada T (Djendel – 2015; Al Mourtajez (Dahess) – 2016; and Muraaqib (Munjiz) – 2017).
This short snapshot sheds light on the evolution of racing and the way in which breeders adapted. Stallions or mares bred abroad such as Amer, Tiwaiq, Burning Sand, Unchained Melody and Joyzell, have imparted speed and yielded results. French breeding has, though, maintained its own unique character – at the same time benefitting from new bloodlines. The majority of group winners hail from French female lines: a trait shared by some of the most sought after stallions. At the same time, continuously rising standards in French racing prompted breeders to adopt a more selective approach to their mares. Similarly, this evolution has led to the sourcing of different stallions, and we have quite a number in our studs. This alone shows that French bloodlines have a very bright future.
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