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The star stallions and picturesque studs on French stallion trail this weekend

The trail takes place for the first time since 2020 on Saturday and Sunday

Siyouni: French champion sire is on show this weekend
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The Route des Etalons receives a warm welcome back this year, having last taken place in its usual physical format in 2020. Breeders and the public can look forward to seeing some of Europe's finest stallions and most charming studs on Saturday and Sunday, a selection of which are below.

Almanzor

9 b Wootton Bassett - Darkova (Maria’s Mon)
Haras d'Etreham

The best son of a rising power in Coolmore’s Wootton Bassett, Almanzor has plenty going for him after a promising season with his first two-year-olds. 

The imposing sort was crowned European champion after a stellar three-year-old campaign that saw him sweep up with victories in the French Derby, Irish Champion Stakes and Champion Stakes, but he was also precocious enough to win three times at two, including in a Listed event. 

Almanzor's notable winners include the New Zealand Group 2-placed Andalus and French Group or Listed performers Queen Trezy and Saving Grace, while his first crop will undoubtedly come into their own as three-year-olds. 

Flintshire

12 b Dansili - Dance Routine (Sadler’s Wells)
Haras de Montaigu

Flintshire will be a familiar face to French racegoers having proven a top-class middle-distance performer for Andre Fabre and Juddmonte during his racing career, which included winning the Grand Prix de Paris and finishing second to Golden Horn in the Arc. 

An attractive physical, the 12-year-old is standing his first season at Haras de Montaigu having previously resided at Hill 'n’ Dale Farms in Kentucky, where he was represented by the likes of Group or Grade 3 winners Verbal and Cheshire Academy in addition to Listed winner Runaway Rumour. 

Flintshire: back home in France

Flintshire hails from a typically outstanding Juddmonte family, being out of Prix de Royallieu scorer Dance Routine, a Sadler’s Wells full-sister to Concentric, the dam of the brilliant Enable, among four black-type performers. 

Galiway

11 b Galileo - Danzigaway (Danehill)
Haras de Colleville

Galiway has had his fee more than doubled to €30,000 for the upcoming season as a result of the likes of Sealiway, the emphatic winner of the 2020 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere who progressed to win last season’s Champion Stakes. 

Another product of the famed Galileo - Danehill cross, Galiway rates one of France’s leading young sires, having also produced Prix de Lutece and Prix la Rochette winners Esope and Kenway from nine stakes performers from his first three crops.

Having covered the largest book in France last year at 169 mares, the momentum is only just getting going with the Wertheimer-bred, who is a half-brother to dual Grade 2 winner and Grade 1-placed Silent Name and Criterium International runner-up Salto. 

Further back in the page is Prix du Muguet winner and multiple Group 1-placed miler Gold Away, a half-brother to Galiway’s dam.

Le Havre

16 b Noverre - Marie Rheinberg (Surako)
Montfort et Preaux 

A stalwart of the French stallion scene, Le Havre can always be counted upon to be right up among the best sires in Europe. 

The son of Noverre is responsible for 79 stakes performers, including 20 Group winners, of which five have been at the highest level. 

Those include dual Group 1 winner Wonderful Tonight, who struck in the Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot and Prix de Royallieu, and Prix de Diane and Poule d'Essai des Pouliches héroïne La Cressonniere. 

Himself a winner of the Prix du Jockey Club, Le Havre is a half-brother to Aston Park Stakes scorer Astronereus and is out of an unraced half-sister to the influential Polar Falcon. 

No Risk At All

15 ch My Risk - Newness (Simply Great)
Haras de Montaigu

Haras de Montaigu has found a genuine top-notcher to replace their much-missed Martaline in No Risk At All, with the Group 3-winning son of My Risk taking his record to new heights in recent seasons. 

Now commanding a fee of €12,000, No Risk At All is responsible for multiple Grade 1-winning Champion Hurdle heroine Epatante, as well as last season’s impressive Ryanair Chase winner Allaho and Grade 1-winning novice chaser Esprit Du Large. 

Having started at just €2,500 for his first season in 2013, the 15-year-old has also produced useful sorts in Gumball, Papa Tango Charly and Hook Up, and there is no reason why his flag cannot continue to fly high for the Montaigu team for years to come. 

Persian King

6 b Kingman - Pretty Please (Dylan Thomas)
Haras d'Etreham

Officially rated the second best son of Kingman behind Palace Pier, Persian King enters his second season at Etreham with superb credentials. 

Winner of three starts at two, the last a neck defeat of subsequent 2,000 Guineas hero Magna Grecia in the Autumn Stakes, he followed up with French Guineas glory and a second to Sottsass in the French Derby.

His fruitful four-year-old campaign saw him win the Prix d’Ispahan and Prix du Moulin before a fine effort when third in the Arc behind Sottsass, trying a mile and a half for the first time, and on heavy ground. 

Persian King is the second foal out of the winning Dylan Thomas mare Pretty Please, a close relation to Prix Ganay winner and Group 1 sire Planteur, while further back are the likes of Grand Prix de Deauville scorer Policy Maker and Lancashire Oaks winner Place Rouge. 

He has his first crop of foals this year after proving unsurprisingly popular in his debut season. 

Romanised

7 b Holy Roman Emperor - Romantic Venture (Indian Ridge)
Haras de Bouquetot

Haras de Bouquetot’s roster goes from strength to strength and Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Romanised was reportedly well received in his first season at the Normandy stud. 

The son of Holy Roman Emperor was a talented performer as an older horse, but he also won in the April of his two-year-old career and finished second to subsequent Derby hero Masar in the Solario Stakes. 

He won the Irish Classic from US Navy Flag, and went on to add the Prix Jacques le Marois and two Minstrel Stakes to his name, while he was very unlucky when interfered with in the Prix du Moulin and beaten a nose by Circus Maximus. 

Now seven, Romanised is closely related or a half-brother to two stakes winners in Rock Of Romance and Fictional Account, while his dam is a winning half-sister to multiple Hong Kong Group 1 scorer Designs On Rome and Grade 2 American Derby winner Simple Exchange. 

Siyouni

15 b Pivotal - Sichilla (Danehill)
Haras de Bonneval

The mainstay of the Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval and a dual champion sire in France, Siyouni is undoubtedly top dog when it comes to French-based stallions. 

The son of the late Pivotal is responsible for 28 individual Group winners from 113 stakes performers, including five at the highest level. 

Last year he was represented by the outstanding St Mark’s Basilica, who lit up the season with spellbinding wins in the French 2,000 Guineas and Derby, the Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes. 

He is the second son of Siyouni to retire to the Coolmore ranks after Arc and French Derby hero Sottsass, who beat the likes of In Swoop, Persian King, Enable and Stradivarius when bowing out in the Longchamp showpiece. 

Also responsible for Laurens, the popular multiple Group 1 winner whose haul included the Prix de Diane, as well as the likes of Dream And Do, Etoile and Ervedya, the 15-year-old now commands a fee of €140,000, having started from just €7,000 in 2011. 

Victor Ludorum

5 b Shamardal - Antiquities (Kaldounevees)
Haras du Logis

The newest recruit to Darley’s Haras du Logis, Victor Ludorum looks an exciting addition to the French ranks, not least because he is a top-class son of the much-missed Shamardal. 

Victor Ludorum: Classic winner and new sire to Haras du Logis

He was one of three unbeaten juveniles for Shamardal and Godolphin in 2019 - alongside Pinatubo and Earthlight - with his season culminating in success in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. 

Victor Ludorum went on to win the French 2,000 Guineas before a decent third in the French Derby behind Mishriff. He also won the Prix Messidor last year and was third to Baaeed in the Prix de Moulin. 

The fifth foal out of the Listed-placed Kaldounevees mare Antiquities, Victor Ludorum, who at €15,000 is France’s priciest new sire, is a half-brother to the stakes-winning Irish Oaks third Mary Tudor and from the family of Street Cry. 

Zarak

9 b Dubawi - Zarkava (Zamindar)
Haras de Bonneval 

Zarak is an exciting second-season sire for the Aga Khan Studs, the son of Dubawi and unbeaten champion racemare Zarkava having made a fine start to his second career, so much so that his fee has more than doubled to €25,000.

The nine-year-old was a top-class performer himself, winning the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and finishing second to Almanzor and Cloth Of Stars in the Prix du Jockey Club and Prix Ganay respectively, and it is apparent he has passed on plenty of his ability to his offspring. 

Zarak has sired 18 individual winners, including German Group 3 winner Lizaid, German stakes scorer Parnac, and Times Square and Purplepay, who were second and third respectively in the Prix Marcel Boussac and Criterium International last autumn. 

The best is yet to come from Zarak, who flourished as an older performer and will benefit from bigger and better books. 

FIVE STUDS TO FIND
Tom Peacock

Haras du Quesnay 

Home of the Head family, this famous stud is just a stone’s throw from Deauville and typifies the Pays d'Auge architecture found in much of the area, with striped barns, stallion boxes and a beautiful quadrant of stables.

Criquette Head's Treve was raised at the famous Haras du Quesnay

It was actually built by an American, William K Vanderbilt, at the turn of the 20th century. A member of what was once the country’s wealthiest family, he was a huge racing enthusiast and owned four Prix du Jockey Club winners. The Head family bought it in 1958 and have sustained it through generations, standing countless stallions including Riverman, Bering and Anabaa, while Criquette Head’s incredible Treve was among those raised in its paddocks.

Haras du Logis Saint Germain 

Although created only in 1946 by Baroness de Rance, there is a real old-world feel about this 200-hectare establishment. An imposing shuttered manor house is the centrepiece, complete with gardens and topiary, with 100 stables based around the outside. Oliver Carli took over the place in 2008 and it became the base of Soldier Of Fortune for six years. Nowadays it is home to two Group 1 stars for Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani in French Fifteen and Charm Spirit.

Haras du Logis Saint Germain: old-world feel

Haras d’Etreham 

The furthest north-west of the Route des Etalons itinerary, Etreham is in an area where many people would have visited for other reasons. Just a couple of miles away is Omaha Beach, a critical point of D-day and the Normandy landings, while it is just a little way north of the historic town which is home to the Bayeux Tapestry.

Dating back to the 19th century, the stud was used as a storage facility during German occupation and was spared damage. Its avenues of trees and pretty, slated buildings have been home to the De Chambure family since the 1940s and it has become a major consignor in recent decades. The site where champions from Urban Sea to Almanzor were raised, its profile with stallions continues to grow too.

Haras d'Etreham: dates from the 19th century

Haras de Bonneval 

Most visitors to the Aga Khan’s headquarters will be there to see France’s premier stallion, Siyouni, and rising star Zarak, but there is much to admire beyond the horses. Purpose-built in the 1970s, it has an unusual semi-circular main yard, constructed so horses would receive the maximum sunlight.

Siyouni on parade at Haras de Bonneval

While obviously lacking much in the way of history, it is more a place to admire the tasteful design and landscaping, much of it in the Aga Khan’s green livery. As Bonneval is built on a hill, it allows breathtaking views towards the valley below.

Haras du Logis 

There is much in the way of entertainment at the base for Darley’s French arm, particularly when proprietor Julian Ince sets about his commentary of the resident stallions. Part of the furniture for more than 20 years, he took it over from former owner Ulrich Fricker in 2007 and has enjoyed great success standing the likes of Manduro and Authorized.

Haras du Logis: in keeping with rural idyll

A little further south and just inside the Orne department, near the town of Argentan, it is the sort of countryside where time stands still, with tree-lined lanes and sleepy villages. With its low-rise features, Logis is very much in keeping with such a rural idyll.


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The Head family bought it in 1958 and have sustained it through generations, standing countless stallions
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