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Rouget finds quality to match quantity in France

France: Jean-Claude Rouget has long since dominated the French lists in terms ofraces won but 2009 was a breakthrough year as he won his first trainers' championship ‘proper' after adding quality to match the quantity.

Rouget, 56, has always been quickly into action from his base at Pau, where the milder southern weather means that he is particularly strong in the early months of the season.

But he has gradually acquired bigger owners, including the Aga Khan, and strengthened his team to the extent that his 188 winners last year included 14 in Group races.

Jean-Claude Rouget

Jean-Claude Rouget: champion

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham  

He had the championship virtually sewn up by halfway, with five of his six Group 1 victories gained by early June - among them three of the first four French Classics courtesy of Elusive Wave (Pouliches), Stacelita (Diane) and Le Havre, who won the Prix du Jockey Club.

Indeed, such was Rouget's Classic dominance that he saddled one-twos in both the Pouliches and Diane, while Le Havre was runner-up in the Poulains.

Rouget's prize-money total of approximately €6.1million put him well clear of Alain de Royer-Dupre, who broke Andre Fabre's long reign as champion in 2008. Fabre took third last year.

Rouget concentrates more on quality these days but still leads on number of winners as well. His career total is now 4,405 wins on the Flat plus the 257 successes which he gained over jumps in his early years.

Ioritz Mendizabal - Jockey

Ioritz Mendizabal: third title

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

While he may have lost the services of Christophe Lemaire, who rode all six Group 1 winnersbefore joining the Aga Khan, he has gained Christophe Soumillon as his stable jockey for 2010 at the Paris tracks.

However, Roget will still have plenty of winning mounts - especially in the provinces - for champion jockey Ioritz Mendizabal, who continues to live in his Basque homeland.

Mendizabal took the jockeys'title for the third time with 180 victories, while David Cottin led the jump title with 87.

Guillaume Macaire was champion trainer over jumps with €4.3m in prize-money from 229 winners.

Top five jockeys 2009
1. Ioritz Mendizabal 180 wins (from 1168 rides)
2. Stephane Pasquier 128 (916)
3. Maxime Guyon 113 (949)
4. Christophe Soumillon 105 (612)
5. Franck Blondel 102 (922)

Top five trainers 2009
1. Jean-Claude Rouget €6.1m (188 wins from 685 runs)
2. Alain de Royer-Dupre €3.8m (99 from 380)
3. Andre Fabre €3.6m (82 from 365)
4. Henri-Alex Pantall €2.6m (134 from 214)
5. John Oxx €2.4m (2 from 3)

Statistics: France-Galop

 
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