Brière tapping into vogue for French blood
Isabel Mathew meets a young consignor making a name for himself
At just 30, Charles Brière represents a new generation of consignors who have started to make their mark on the international bloodstock scene. Next weekend, when the European yearling auction calendar hits top gear at Arqana's elite August Sale, he will be offering a son of Galileo among a draft of seven - with four more to follow in the V2 catalogue.
Brière is the self-described "black sheep" of his family, having been born in Paris to a banker father and an artist mother. His determination to make his way in the racing world, however, is testament to his resolve – as convincing his nearest and dearest was no easy task.
"After school I went to work for Bill Dwan in Ireland for six months where I did all the sales, before going on to spend four years at Coolmore," Brière explains. "While I was there, I gained experience in all the various parts of the stud, including at Ballydoyle, which was a fantastic opportunity.
"During that time I became good friends with people such as Mathieu Alex, who is now at Haras de Montfort & Preaux, and also Guillaume Garcon [of Haras de l'Hotellerie]."
And it is relationships of this kind – including those made during a further three years at Peter O'Callaghan's Woods Edge Farm in Kentucky, an opportunity for which he thanks Aidan O'Brien – that ultimately gave Brière the backing he needed to set up on his own.
Fairway Consignment was born in June 2015, with the Frenchman's first mission to present a single yearling at the big Deauville sale. "He was a son of Kendargent that we had bought as a foal for €55,000, from the family of Flintshire," he remembers. "We then resold him for €105,000, which was a fantastic start."
The following year, Fairway Consignment pinhooked Lily Of The Year to make €130,000 from Powerstown Stud at Arqana's October Yearling Sale. He had been purchased by Brière and his partners for €52,000 the previous December in Deauville. And at the same sale Prime Equestrian gave €200,000 for a Rajsaman filly, the top price of the session. Bred by Franklin Finance and Elisabeth Vidal, she is a half-sister to three stakes performers and - since named Compainville - made a successful debut at La Teste earlier this month for trainer Xavier Thomas-Demeaulte.
The rate of his emergence could already be judged by the fact that he had finished the Osarus yearling sale at La Teste the previous month as the leading consignor. His ten lots there raised €353,000, trumping runner-up Hotellerie, who sold 16 for €288,000, on both aggregate and average.
"Those were great results, and we'd obviously like to continue that way," he says. "I have found the foals bought for smaller prices make less of a profit than those who have been a bit more expensive. All of those we bought for €20,000 to €30,000 have never made much of a margin."
For the moment, Brière does not have his own stud, instead renting 26 hectares a stone's throw from renowned nursery and sales consignor Haras de Monceaux. While he also boards and sells broodmares, this is one of his main priorities in the near future.
"I would really like to develop the breeding element of our operation, but the most important thing for me at the moment is to be able to buy some land and have a firm base for the future," he says.
On his return home from the United States in 2014, everything came together quickly for Brière – more quickly, in fact, than he had ever anticipated. "I wanted to come back and re-establish contact with people here first, and I worked at Haras de Bouquetot in the interim," he says. "But the reality was that I started up sooner than expected."
Brière is hoping to consolidate his promising start with his largest consignment of yearlings to date. Of the three he sells over Part 1 of the August Sale, his only lot on Saturday is a February colt by Galileo out of Kalla, a Group 3 winner by Monsun.
"I'm delighted to be selling him, he comes from a really nice German family of Konigstiger and Karavel," says Brière of a colt bred on the same cross as last year's Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud winner Waldgeist, also runner-up in the Prix du Jockey Club in June.
Another yearling Brière is particularly excited about is a filly from Camelot's second crop of yearlings. Pinhooked for €135,000 by his Fairway Partners, she is out of the unraced Danehill Dancer mare Danish Delight, a three-parts sister to this year's Group 3 winner Sistercharlie. Before Sistercharlie went stateside last month, finishing a neck second in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks, the daughter of Myboycharlie had also taken the same spot in the Prix de Diane a month earlier.
Brière's other Sunday offering is a Toronado filly who received an update following Morando's win in the Listed Midsummer Stakes last month. They share the same granddam, herself a granddaughter of Poule d'Essai des Pouliches winner Silvermine.
Clearly passionate about his calling, Brière hopes to continue increasing the size of his consignment – with the eventual aim of selling around 20 horses at each domestic sale. "If the opportunity is there in the future, I would also definitely be open to selling at other sales in Europe," he says. "I can't see us becoming really big consignors numerically. But we'll see what happens."
Brière, who can also be credited as consignor of the first winners by rookie sires Style Vendome and Pedro The Great, is hoping to ride the tide of what he expects to be a "very strong" sale.
"The French breeding industry has come into its own again in the past few years with the likes of Le Havre, Kendargent and Siyouni as well as horses such as Shalaa retiring to Haras de Bouquetot," he says. "These sires have created a lot of interest from buyers across Europe and beyond. It's an exciting time."
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