mardi 16 avril 2024
AccueilA la uneThe French PA world is in mourning

The French PA world is in mourning

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The French PA world is in mourning

by Adrien Cugnasse

We have learned of the passing of the renowned breeder of PA horses: Marie-Ange Bourdette. In tandem with her husband Robert, at the Haras de Monlau stud at Montauban, in the Tarn-et-Garonne region, this concern succeeded in breeding a number of top-class PA horses. Al Mamun Monlau (Munjiz), himself a triple Gr1 PA winner, and (already) the sire of seven horses who have achieved podium finishes at the highest level, proved to be the stud’s masterclass.

If the South-West of France has become a reference point regarding the breeding of PA horses, it can be attributed, of course, to the [nature of] the local horse population and the racing calendar available to it. However, it’s also, and we tend to forget this, down to the influx of bloodlines from North Africa. As the South of France acted as magnet for numerous émigrés hailing from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia in the second half of the 20th century. Some of these were to prove highly influential regarding the development of the PA breed, such as Marie-Ange Bourdette. In a way, her horses were also the combination of the influences from both sides of the Mediterranean. By way of example, one of Al Mamun Monlau’s grandams’ is of Tunisian extraction, and his pedigree page represents the fusion of some of the finest French and US bloodlines. So he’s a veritable citizen of the world in pedigree terms – a trait shared by numerous top PA horses which are French-born.

Throughout her career as a breeder and in the company of her husband, Marie-Ange Bourdette occupied a special place in the PA milieu. Never afraid to speak her mind, and a forthright character in her own right, she ploughed on regardless, even in the face of some formidable obstacles which stood in her way, and despite this she succeeded where many have failed. Breeding is a speciality in which not everything can be attributed to theory, and, on numerous occasions, Marie-Ange Bourdette has surprised everyone with her ‘daring’ choices of broodmare prospects and ensuing mating plans [for them]. As Federico Tesio so eloquently put it: the (success of the) racehorse depends on the winning post. The horses bearing the Monlau label, and themselves sometimes the fruit of ‘audacious’ breeding plans by their breeders, did in fact win numerous top races. As Al Mamun Monlau isn’t the tree that hides the forest. As the smart Africa de Monlau (Af Al Buraq) is the latest to explode this notion.

The death of Marie-Ange Bourdette, herself an indefatigable traveller, means French PA breeding has lost both one of its pillars and standard-bearers. Among the ‘Pantheon’ of the greats to have left us in recent years, they have left a considerable void in our sector. As all these illustrious French breeders possessed courage and ambition. They also invariably fought the corner when it came to keeping PA racing alive and kicking. Each of them cherished the breed and the sport of horse racing, and were driven by seeing it survive, and even flourish. May Marie-Ange Bourdette, Sergio Raffaello, Yves Plantin and Guy Barry (a non-exhaustive list) prove to be the inspiration which drives young PA breeders.

The entire PA world mourns the passing of Marie-Ange Bourdette. On behalf of all the editorial staff at JDG Arabians and the AFAC membership, we would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to her husband Robert, her son, and all her family. We will be publishing a special feature on Marie-Ange Bourdette in our next edition.

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