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.
We purchased him 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
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. 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 gelding has been schooled over numerous obstacles at home, both loose schooling (without a jockey) and with a jockey on board too. At 17hh, he is a big, imposing, chasing type, who is destined for fences. This young gelding affords his owners a long-term project, but offers immediate NH action and therefore sits as a great opportunity for the first time National Hunt owner, to “jump aboard!”
Racing Update: A lovely, strapping sort of a horse. He has chaser written all over him, so to be 4th on debut in a bumper, over a distance too short, was a real feather in his cap, staying on really strongly from 2f out. He was the Racing Post Eyecatcher on the card: "Grand Du Nord (3.40) did a lot wrong but still ran respectably on debut and he's sure to improve." Subsequently didn’t really handle the AW surface in a jumpers’ bumper, however, we can’t wait to see him over hurdles next season and then chasing the following year. He looks destined to be a high class, staying handicap chaser in time. He’s a long-term project, but we’ll have a lot of fun along the way.
See videos of him in the gallery.
Here he is enjoying himself at home!