THERE were plenty of highlights over Christmas for French-breds, but few garnered as much attention as Frodon did. Coincidentally, the nine-year-old’s victory in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes King George VI Chase comes in the same week that the new Looking Back column (page 26) in this paper celebrates the winning chase debut of his sire Nickname.
Nickname was a household name over jumps in France and Ireland, winning at Grade 1 level in both countries. In Ireland he was trained by Martin Brassil and the son of Lost World (Last Tycoon) was unusual in that he was a full horse. He was retired to stud in France but sadly died after three seasons. What a loss he was.
Frodon’s victory caught the public’s imagination as he was partnered by Bryony Frost, recording her 175th victory in the saddle and setting a new high for a female under National Hunt rules. It was her third Grade 1 success. Frodon was a remarkable 12th win in the Kempton feature in the last 23 years for trainer Paul Nicholls.
Frodon is the first foal of his dam Miss Country (Country Reel), a winner over jumps in France and now the dam of four winners with her first four foals. The others include Sao (Great Pretender), winner of his two most recent starts over fences for Rebecca Menzies, having failed to win a race for Nicholls. Miss Country has a three-year-old filly by Kapgarde (Garde Royale) and a two-year-old colt by Kayf Tara (Sadler’s Wells).
This is a family that is producing more and more good National Hunt performers. Miss Country’s half-brother Medermit (Medaaly) won the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase and was runner-up in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and third in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham. His seven victories brought with them earnings of more than £330,000.
A winning half-sister to Miss Country is Miss Pistol (Pistolet Bleu), and she is the dam of Saint Pistol (Saint Des Saints), a Grade 3 winner over fences in France and placed in the Grade 1 Grand Steeplechase de Paris. He earned more than €520,000.
SOMETIMES it feels that Sharjah doesn’t quite get the recognition he deserves. He has gone from winning the Galway Hurdle in 2018 to landing the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle and, for three years in succession, the Grade 1 December Hurdle at Leopardstown which now carries the name of its sponsor Matheson.
In the process he has won well over €600,000, more than 20 times the purchase price of €30,000 which he cost William Huntingdon and Liam Norris as a yearling at Arqana. He was bred at Philippe Michenot’s Haras de Beauvoir.
Sharjah is by some way the best of four winners from his dam Saaryeh (Royal Academy), though his half-brother Sahawar (Dark Angel) won four times and was in the frame many times on the flat in listed races. A winner over a mile in France, Saaryeh is out of the stakes winner Belle Argentine (Fijar Tango) who was third in the Group 1 French 1000 Guineas, the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches.
Belle Argentine is the dam of five winners, easily the best of them being Alzerra (Pivotal). She was a dual stakes-winning juvenile, including the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes, and she in turn is dam of the stakes-winning juvenile Majeyda (Street Cry).
Through her unraced daughter Shobobb (Shamardal), Belle Argentine is also grandam of Gifted Master (Kodiac). This 11-time winners’ triumphs include the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket and the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes at Ascot.
Sharjah is one of five top-level winners over jumps sired by Doctor Dino (Muhtathir), joining Sceau Royal, Master Dino, La Bague Au Roi and Docteur De Ballon, while he just failed to get a classic winner on the flat in France when Physiocrate was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix de Diane. An international traveller, Doctor Dino won the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase twice and the Grade 1 Man O’War Stakes. He stands this year at Haras du Mesnil for €18,000.
BRED in France by Didier Berland, Chacun Pour Soi was part of the Willie Mullins’ bandwagon that roared into the Christmas period and left the trainer with a car boot full of trophies. They included one for the nine-year-old’s success in the Grade 1 Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase, the third win at this level for the best runner by his Irish-based sire.
Policy Maker (Sadler’s Wells) was a four-time Group 2 winner, including the Grand Prix de Chantilly twice, and twice runner-up in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, to Gamut and then to Alkaased. In all he won seven times and seemed to improve with age. He originally stood in France but then was brought to Peter Maher’s Blackrath Stud – a successful path trodden by Peter’s grandfather Frank Latham.
Chacun Pour Soi is one of a quartet of blacktype winners to date for his sire who is also responsible for the Grade 1 hurdle winner Roll On Has, while another son, Velvet Maker, was Grade 1-placed over fences in Ireland.
The dam of Chacun Pour Soi is the Ultimately Lucky (Kris) mare Kruscyna who won a Grade 3 hurdle at Auteuil among five victories over jumps at the age of three. She was sold carrying Chacun Pour Soi for just €12,000 at Arqana, and she is also dam of the English bumper winner Diva Reconce (Kap Rock).
The next two dams bred a single winner each, while Chacun Pour Soi’s fourth dam, three-time winner Arbelskaia (Tiepoletto), produced two stakes winners on the flat among her five successful offspring, and she was also grandam of a useful, dual listed-winning Auteuil hurdler in Kragero (Blue Courtier).
Nothing tardy about Savills winner
KAPGARDE (Garde Royale) is one of the best National Hunt sires in France and the Haras de le Hetraie resident, who has just turned 22, will stand again this season for €15,000.
The multiple Grade 1 winner Milord Thomas is among many who have flown the flag for him in France, while dual Grade 1 King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux, Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase winner Fakir D’Oudaireies and A Plus Tard are among his best in Ireland and Britain.
A Plus Tard was bred by Antonia Devin and purchased privately by Alex Elliott for Cheveley Park Stud. He carried the colours of Antonia (nee Feeney) when he was a listed winner over hurdles in France, where he won or was placed on all his starts. He was then transferred to Henry de Bromhead in 2018.
Since he moved A Plus Tard has maintained his record of never finishing out of the first three and, having beaten Chacun Pour Soi to capture last December’s Grade 1 Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase, he returned last month to the same meeting and added a star-studded Grade 1 Savills Chase to his roll of honour.
A Plus Tard is the best runner from his dam Turboka (Kahyasi) who was placed a few times, and she is also the grandam of a listed flat winner, Style Icon (Doctor Dino).
The Savills Chase winner’s grandam Turbotiere (Turgeon) was a multiple listed winner in France and group-placed, and she is the dam of eight winners, including a pair of blacktype winners over jumps in Turbotin (Passing Sale) and Dottore (Doctor Dino).