Time called on La Cressonniere's career as back injury resurfaces
La Cressonniere, winner of last season's Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and Prix de Diane, has been retired to stud after the back problem which curtailed her three-year-old season resurfaced.
"It's a recurrence of the back problem she suffered last year," said Sylvain Vidal, racing and breeding manager to Gerard Augustin-Normand, who co-owns La Cressonniere with Antonio Caro. "It's only slight but it's impossible for Jean-Claude [Rouget] to train her."
Rouget campaigned La Cressonniere away from the limelight at two, as the daughter of Le Havre compiled four victories without contesting any of the major end-of-year prizes.
After claiming her third Listed success on her comeback at three, she produced a pair of electric performances to claim the two fillies' Classics.
After easily landing her prep for the Arc at Deauville she suffered what at the time seemed only a minor spine issue during training, which put an end to her campaign.
Her regular jockey, Cristian Demuro, paid tribute on Sunday to a filly whom he first rode just before signing on as Augustin-Normand's retained rider.
Demuro said: "We started out together and she gave me some memorable days. The two Classics stand out but my favourite memory is actually her last race, the Prix de la Nonette, where she was phenomenal. Above all she had a fantastic mind on her, before, during and after a race, and perhaps she can pass that on to her offspring."
"It's obviously a disappointment but she more than did her job, winning the Poule d'Essai and Prix de Diane as well as remaining unbeaten in eight starts," added Vidal. "She has been a fantastic filly who couldn't have brought us more pleasure."
La Cressonniere will return to the Haras de la Cauviniere where she was foaled, and is expected to be covered this breeding season.
Vidal said: "It's a tiny problem with a vertebra but won't affect her ability to become a broodmare. We're only in mid-April now and if she's covered at the beginning of May she would foal at the start of next April, which works fine. The owners haven't yet decided which stallion she'll visit."
The loss of La Cressonniere – who had been as short as 6-1 for the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October – is a further blow to Rouget, who had been looking forward to the return to action of a top-notch crop of older horses this season.
Almanzor and Zelzal, however, are both resident in a barn at his Pau base which has been affected by a deadly outbreak of the EHV-1 virus, and while neither suffered the worst effects it will be some time before Rouget can determine where and when they can make their returns.