Top French stallion Martaline removed from the roster at Haras de Montaigu
Sire of jumpers including Dynaste will be replaced by son Beaumec De Houelle
Outstanding jumps sire Martaline has been formally retired from duties at Haras de Montaigu as a result of the heart problem he suffered last year.
It was announced last May that the grey son of Linamix had been ruled out of the latter part of the breeding season and was being given plenty of time to recuperate in advance of a potential return in 2019.
However, Montaigu has decided that it would rather not risk any recurrence of any issues in returning him to service and will replace him shortly with his son Beaumec De Houelle.
Martaline had been standing at Montaigu since 2005 and last year was priced at €15,000. His fee status was set at private for this season.
A very fine middle-distance performer on the Flat himself for Andre Fabre and Juddmonte, his most significant victory was a defeat of future Gold Cup winner Westerner - also now a National Hunt stallion - in the Prix Maurice de Nieuil at Maisons-Laffitte.
Martaline’s progeny include Dynaste, the Grade 1-winning novice who locked horns with Cue Card and Silviniaco Conti on so many occasions, as well as Disko, Agrapart, Very Wood and Kotkikova, who joined Nicky Henderson after a prolific campaign in France. Over the weekend, his Henderson-trained son Terrefort was an honourable second in the Denman Chase at Ascot.
Aliette Forien, Montaigu's owner, gave a heartfelt tribute.
"I would say a warm thank you to Martaline for the 15 years of service and success that he has granted us, we are forever grateful," she said.
"The story began back in 2004 when my husband Gilles met Andre Fabre on the gallops at Chantilly one morning and Andre told him that Martaline was for sale. I went to see the horse in Chantilly and it was love at first sight, his outstanding looks and presence really impressed me.
"We were lucky to be able to negotiate his purchase with Juddmonte, and so began our 15 year fairytale. Martaline possesses everything a breeder wants in a stallion; looks, pedigree, and performance, all of which he passes on to his progeny.
"He rates amongst the greatest National Hunt stallions ever, both in France and in Europe, and his impact on both us and on the French National Hunt scene has been huge. I'm very happy that he retires in good health and he'll enjoy the peaceful retirement that he deserves, here at Haras de Montaigu.
"We're also delighted to welcome son Beaumec De Houelle to the stud this year. Like his sire, he is a magnificent grey individual, and has a superb race record."
There can be plenty of hope that Beaumec De Houelle can follow in his father's footsteps, given that Martaline's brother Reefscape provided Grade 1 winner L'Unique from only a handful of foals and his half-brother Coastal Path has sired dual Grade 1 winner Bacardys. Another unraced half-brother, Pillar Coral, stands at Kilbarry Lodge Stud for €1,500.
The replacement looked quite the prospect on the track in France last year and had initially been pencilled in to commence stallion duties at the stud in 2020.
Carrying the colours of JDG Bloodstock services and trained by Arnaud Chaille-Chaille, Beaumec De Houelle won five of his six starts over hurdles, all at Auteuil. The last five were at stakes level, culminating in a Grade 1 triumph in the Prix Cambaceres, a major prize for three-year-olds.
Bred by Franck Leblanc out of the Listed-placed hurdler Zandalee, his fee has been set at €5,000.
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