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French-breds maintain their Christmas form

Chepstow: Coral Welsh National (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) 3m5½f, 4yo+
Notre Pere (Kadalko - Gloria IV (Video Rock))

Memories of the imperious Arkle were evoked at Chepstow after the running of the long-distance Welsh National as the race was won by the Irish raider Notre Pere trained by Jim Dreaper, son of Tom, the trainer of the three-time Gold Cup winner.

Unlike the Irish-bred Arkle however, Notre Pere, as his name suggests, hails from Gallic roots and his victory maintained the fine Christmas form of French-bred horses which was also upheld by the Wayward Lad Novices Chase winner Original and the Chepstow Champions Juvenile Hurdle winner Walkon.

Bred byYves D'Armaille, Notre Pere is not the first decent jumping performer to come from the family as his dam, Gloria IV, a daughter of the good broodmare sire Video Rock and a 12-time winner herself, is a sister to Osana. He was also bred by D'Armaille and was trained by David Pipe to finish second in the 2008 Grade 1 Champion and Aintree Hurdles.


Original - French Opera - Kempton

Original wins the Wayward Lad Novices Chase. His dam is a sister to
The Fellow, an effective performer around the Kempton track

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Kempton: Stan James Wayward Lad Novices Chase (Grade 2)
2m 4yo+
Original (Robin des Champs - Countess Fellow (Italic))

Original also hails from a top-class French family and his Kempton victory proved that he is doing his best to emulate his forebears. He is out of Countess Fellow, a sister to the brilliant The Fellow winner of the Gold Cup, the King George and the Prix la Haye Jousselin-Gr1, and Al Capone, winner of the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris as well as no less than seven consecutive renewals of the Prix la Haye Jousselin.

Original was bred by Monsieur Couteil and Jacques Cypres. The Fellow himself was born at the Cypres's farm in Bourgogne near to Nevers and there are still many family members at the stud.

Original's sire Robin des Champs was bought by Liam Cashman's  Rathbarry Stud through the autumn and the stallion is due to cover his first Irish-based NH mares in the spring of 2009. He previously stood at Haras de Saint-Voir.

Although Robin des Champs is only an 11-year-old, young by NH sire standards, he currently lies second on the French NH sire's list by prize-money earned behind the great jumping sire Mansonnien.

By Garde Royal, Robin des Champs's best runners to date include Pur de Sivola, the Grade 1 winner Oeil Du Maitre, Flower des Champs and Robin De Sherwood. Pur de Sivola is his most expensive sales horse to date - he cost Highflyer Bloodstock €125,000 at the Arqana December sale in 2006.


Chepstow: Coral Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m110yds 3yo
Walkon (Take Risks - La Tirana (Akjarad))

Walkon's pedigree does not boast the French NH credentials of the above two winners, but he has no need to be embarrassed by his pedigree as it contains top-level Flat credentials.

He is out of La Tirana an Akarad mare who won four races and was placed 14 times, including in Group company. She is the dam of seven winners including Fools Rush In, the winner of five races and a runner-up in a Listed hurdle, and is granddam of Court Cannibal, a son of Montjeu who finished second in the Group 2 Prix Noailles.

Walkon'sgranddam, Arosa, was a Group 3 winner of the Prix Messidor and dam of Arokar, a brother of La Tirana, who won the Prix Greffulhe-Gr2 and was the fourth top-rated two-year-old in France in 1985.

Walkon's third dam, Andrea, was the champion two-year-old filly in Germany in 1957. Her branch of the family stretches to the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac winner Almeira.

»»Horses by Coolmore sires win both Grade 1 races at Leopardstown




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