Edito: the show must go on
Charlie Watts has passed away at the age of 80. Some will remember the public persona, as he was the drummer – namely of the Rolling Stones – a band which sold 200 million records over half a century. Others will recall his other passions: namely jazz and Arabian show horses. It is said that he owned in excess of 200 of them in tandem with his wife.
This particular domain – that of show horses – seems to evolve on a completely different planet from our own – that of racing – and one in which where the sole, subjective verdict of the jury determines victory in the various competitions. After reaching its heyday, the Arabian show world seems to have shrunk considerably. And to such an extent that is has become the sole province of a handful of very wealthy people.
At the same time, it is interesting to note that in 2021, as far as the breeding of top PA horses is concerned, that the racing sphere is not the sole preserve of an elite. In the 4-year-old category, two breeders, and ones which conform to the very small scale category (you can count the number of horses they breed annually on the fingers of one hand), have bred the two best French PA colts. The division leader Hoggar de l'Ardus (Mister Ginoux) was one of three foals born at the stud of Philippe Meunier in 2017. He won the Qatar Derby des 4ans (Gr1). Soko (Nieshan), the brilliant winner of the Doha Cup - Prix Manganate (Gr1 PA), is one of the two horses bred by Jean-Luc Jardel in 2017. Neither should we forget the victory of Terre d'Or (Al Tair), who bears the label of the Haras du Bosquet stud, in the Prix Razzia III (Gr3 PA) – or that of Lady Princess (General), bred by Élodie and Bruno Bellaud, in the Qatar International Stakes (Gr1 PA).
Considering the level of international competition, the French PA racing fraternity have every reason to be proud of these four breeders, as they have proved to be competitive despite not having access to unlimited funds. As far as flat racing is concerned, it’s the winning post that decides the outcome and not a jury: that is the beauty of the sport of racing. The show must go on, but this will only be possible if the pyramid which underpins the breeders' continues to produce the winners of the top races...
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