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 (see two videos of him in the gallery.)
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!”
Syndicate manager update (13th November 2020): He made his debut in a bumper at Newcastle today and after an eventful start, where he showed his greenness, he ran a great race to be 4th. Joe Colliver, his jockey reported that he showed him that he has gears, as in the finishing straight he took off and said "no doubt he will pick up a bumper." He is huge, as you will have seen if you watched the race and threatens to offer his owners, plenty of enjoyment over seasons to come. So, as the saying goes, “anything he does in bumpers, or over hurdles, is a bonus.”
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."