Olivier Trigodet, a trainer on the rise


Olivier Trigodet, a trainer on the rise

Having set up shop in 2017 as a public trainer, Olivier Trigodet has a first class chance of Qatar Arabian World Cup (Gr1) 2021 glory with Soko (Nieshan) in October. Before taking out his licence, he was for a considerable period a well-established jockey in the South-West.

In common with other riders in the region, he honed his riding skills on different breeds, including PA horses. In 2018, he told us: "The first high class PA mare I rode was called Kerra (Kesberoy). She provided me with my first ride abroad. We beat Amer (Wafi) in the Dubai Stakes at Kempton. That's no mean feat. I also rode the crack performer Al Sakbe (Kesberoy), who was later acquired by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. I won a Gr1 PA race aboard this on the Prix du Jockey Club card, the Prix du Président des Émirats Arabes Unis - Challenge Derby, and enjoyed another top-flight win on this horse in the Dubai International Stakes at Newbury. He is one of the best I have ridden. I also had some big wins for trainer Robert Litt during my 15 year association with him. I'm alluding above all to Daffah (Sire d'Albret) and Vitella (Njewman) on whom I won a Gr1 PA prize at Newmarket in the colours of Monsieur Plantin."

Learning the ropes at a good academy. He learnt his training craft alongside the late Jean-François Bernard adding: "He was a very likeable person and was invariably a role model. Moreover, as a jockey, I was always proud to be riding one of his horses because they always looked a picture in the paddock! He really brought his horses to the fore, which is something his wife continues to do, and he was a great connoisseur. I had a working relationship with him. This opened my mind relative to becoming a trainer later on. After his death, I continued to work with his wife for a year before deciding to go my own way. I must admit that, if he hadn't died, I probably wouldn't have passed my trainer’s licence exam, and would still be his assistant."

Six of his horses have gained black type. From 2018 onwards – his first full season as a trainer – Olivier Trigodet 'saddled' Fortuna Al Maury (No Risk Al Maury) to finish third in the Prix Nevada II (Gr3 PA). The latter went on to be the sale topper at the 2020 Arqana PA sale. In 2019, Al Ryma Monlau (Runner) won the Shadwell - Critérium des Pouliches (Gr2 PA), and Joskio (Josco du Cayrou) took third in the Prix Chéri Bibi (Gr3 PA). Concerning the 2020 season, Natalma Al Maury (Dahess) won the AFAC French Arabian Breeders' Challenge Sprint (Gr2 PA). Regarding this season, Zara Star (Azadi) was third in the Sheikh Mansoor Festival - Prix Nefta (Gr2 PA), and Soko (Nieshan) crushed his rivals by five lengths in the Doha Cup - Prix Manganate (Gr1 PA). In the English thoroughbreds’ domain, the 2-year-old Berolijean (Galiway) made a winning debut for the handler before being sold to the US.

His methodology. As far as his way of working is concerned, he told us in 2018: "I don't train them any differently even if, of course, they don't go as fast as English thoroughbreds. The real important thing is to listen to them. They are horses that know how to communicate when things are not going well or when, on the other hand, everything is fine. They like human contact. I think that the PA horse is like the Arabian show horse, as they like to be pampered. If you are in tune with them, you will get the best out of them. If you point them in the right direction, they can develop into fabulous horses." It is often said that you have to train a PA horse by tapping into their mood. The answer to this is an emphatic and his take was: "Yes, that's true. In the morning, you should never ask the maximum from them. They are the ones which tend to tell you what they will do. You have to give them the impression that they are in charge. During serious workouts, the lead horse tends to pull the other horse along. The leader is the one who works the most. The roles can be reversed the following week. This serves to shows that when these horses dominate – they can really give generously of themselves. You have to tap into their moods and be sensitive to their needs. On the other hand, they can be put off if you are aggressive with them."