Grand Du Nord
There can be no denying the prevalence of the French bred horse in British and Irish National Hunt racing. Ever since the turn of the millennium, more and more of our top races are being dominated by the French bred horse.
The real beauties of the French bred horse are their precocity and their agility. French horses are tutored from a very early stage, often from being yearlings and 2yo’s to canter, gallop and jump adroitly. This horse is a perfect case in point; he’s been broken in, schooled and prepped to be a racehorse already, even though he is only a 3yo. Most Irish store horses are wrapped up in cotton wool until the time of their sale, through the ring, as a 3yo. Combine the active preparation of the typical French horse with the precocious and active French gene pool, and it pretty much explains why French bred horses, tend to come to hand, much sooner than their GB or Irish bred counterparts.
Our Montmartre 3yo gelding stands at a substantial 16.3 hands high. He’s already big enough to jump a fence and has been schooled over numerous obstacles at home, both loose schooling (without a jockey) and with a jockey on board too (see two videos of him in the gallery.)
We purchased him in June, for €23,000, from the Arqana Lumet Show Sale and we’ve brought him across to Micky Hammond's Middleham yard, to summer and strengthen, and then to prep for junior bumpers (National Hunt Flat races.) Our gelding hails from the Grade 1 and Grade 2 French winning family of LOUPING D’AINAY and SIRENE D’AINAY, and being by Montmartre, the sire of Labaik, Bigmartre, Petite Parisienne and Capitaine, no less, he is very much bred to excel over hurdles and fences; we can’t wait to see his schooling and tutelage being used, as he matures and progresses, through the variety of disciplines that National Hunt Racing has to offer. Read about his sire here: https://www.agakhanstuds.com/Horse/200500303/en
This 3yo gelding affords his owners a long-term project, but offers almost immediate NH action and therefore sits as a great opportunity for the first time National Hunt owner, to “jump aboard!”
Trainer update (8th December): We saw him this morning at our owners' stable visit. Micky couldn’t be more pleased with him. For a 3yo gelding who stands at 16.3hh, he’s taking everything in his stride. He says that the jockeys who have been riding him in his work, report that he is a straight forward ride with a lovely attitude. He already looks like a chaser, with a long stride on him, so as the saying goes, “anything he does in bumpers, or over hurdles, is a bonus.” What’s a real revelation, is that Micky, is actually having to rein him back, in terms of his preparations. Grand Du Nord (affectionately known in the yard as “Grandad”) could be ready to run anytime we wanted, is Micky’s sentiments, but the Middleham maestro, is keen to wait until January for a racecourse debut - we can’t wait!