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Too many french imports in NH racing?

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  • #4993
    mdwillis
    Member
    • Total Posts 82

    One thing that has been noticable in the last few years over the jumps is the ever-increasing numbers of french-bred jumpers at uk yards in the last 5 years. As an avid NH follower, I dont mind a few french imports being trained in the uk but I think its getting silly now and I think there are too many french trained horses in these shores. Its a sad state of affairs that Paul Nicholls or Alan King can buy up an endless supply of racehorses from the other side if the channel. Where are all the uk-bred jumpers they seems to be very little very good british-bred hurdlers or chasers who can challenge for top races at Cheltenham or Aintree? Well Desert Orchid never came from france he was bred in this country. Why cannot French owners and trainers keep hold of their horses and take them to big grade one races in this country or Ireland during the winter rather than looking for a quick buck? You dont see any top flat owners or coolmore buying up countless horses from france to race. They own horses bred in their home country. Why cannot people in jump racing do the same? I just think its getting ridiculous that likes of Nicholls are looking for a quick fix with his dozens of french-bred jumpers. I wonder how many uk-bred jumpers does he train. Rant over!

    #113459
    Grasshopper
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2316

    Isn’t this a bit like British Leyland complaining about the importing of Japenese cars in the 1970’s – conveniently ignoring the fact that the foreign product was better?

    French jumpers start their careers early, which means a top UK/Irish-based owner can go out and buy himself a young chaser that is experienced and immediately ready to compete, rather than shell out for a store that isn’t going to see a racetrack for six years. Therein lies the attraction, imo.

    Said owners are prepared to pay a premium for such ready-made talent, and the French are only too willing to accept the vast sums of money being offered.

    The (FR) horses are proving to be comparatively successful, so the approach continues to retain a certain logic. I believe that this is called ‘market forces’.

    Agree though that it would be good to see a few more owned/trained in France, prepared to tackle the big races over here and in Ireland.

    #113466
    Friggo
    Member
    • Total Posts 1593

    Have to agree with GH- at the moment French horses seem better bred for NH, thus it’s pretty sound business sense to plunder this market and bring them to the biggest jumps circuit in the world. The only slight gripe I have is that many of them peak earlier and eventually fade earlier as a result.

    #113469
    moehat
    Participant
    • Total Posts 7853

    may be wrong about this, but a few years ago – something to do with the Irish economy – more of the good Irish horses were being kept there instead of being sold to England and people started looking elsewhere, wasn’t it to do with not paying some kind of tax …..

    #113475
    Venusian
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1665

    There were plenty of French imports running under NH rules in the UK in the 20 years after the war, notably Festival winners Fortina, Mont Tremblant, Mandarin, Sir Ken, Clair Soleil and Vulgan – that’s 3 Gold Cups, 2 Champion Hurdles and a Gloucester Hurdle.

    So, it’s by no means a new phenomenon, and of course there have always been far more Irish imports than French ones.

    Races are there to be won, and it’s up to British breeders to produce the horses to win them.

    #113486
    moehat
    Participant
    • Total Posts 7853

    re Vulgan – wasn’t he a leading sire in the 1960’s as well; seem to remember him being the sire of Team Spirit and quite a few others….

    #113504
    Tony25
    Member
    • Total Posts 327

    It`s a matter of economics,everything is overpriced in the UK especially if you take a reality check ie:-

    Purchase price + training fees+ other associated costs – potential prize money= Sure loss

    Knowbody is saying owning horses should be profitable,however,like with everything the consumer as the right to seek “value for money“.

    #113507
    robnorth
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4712

    re Vulgan – wasn’t he a leading sire in the 1960’s as well; seem to remember him being the sire of Team Spirit and quite a few others….

    Remember one of my favourites from years ago was a hunter chaser called Vulgan’s Trout (around the Credit Call era), who was presumably by Vulgan.

    Rob

    #113512
    Drone
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5123

    One thing that has been noticable in the last few years over the jumps is the ever-increasing numbers of french-bred jumpers at uk yards in the last 5 years. As an avid NH follower, I dont mind a few french imports being trained in the uk but I think its getting silly now and I think there are too many french trained horses in these shores.

    Do those who moan about French-breds being imported into the UK also disapprove of the progeny of such as Roselier(FR) and Un Desperado(FR)?

    As Venusian points out the French influence has long been part and parcel of the NH scene; the only obvious difference now being that Nicholls etc buy directly out of France hence the horses tend to have ‘funny’ latino names.

    And personally I’d rather have the existing NH bloodlines mixed with a bit of robust Selle Francais/Warmblood than by ‘off the Flat’ speed and fragility.

    #113515
    highflyer1
    Participant
    • Total Posts 211

    The booming Irish economy has meant that most of the best Irish-bred jumpers are staying in Ireland. So in the absence of a consistently reliable British product, more French-breds are being bought to race here. This in turn has forced the price up to the extent that only the mega-rich owners such as Stewart, Hales, Johnson and Ogden can afford the good ones, leaving the dross for the rest of us.

    They do mature earlier, have usually been racing as 3-y-os, so you are buying a ready-made racehorse with form in the book rather than a "store". In the main the French-breds seem to stand up to the rigours of jump racing better than the Irish and British-bred horses. This may have something to do with the fact that most of the mares are non-thoroughbred, but not being a breeding expert I can’t be certain about that.

    #113517
    underscore
    Member
    • Total Posts 537

    Simple reason why they are popular. They are better and cheaper than the Brit bred equiv. Irish & Brit are well over-priced at auction etc. Esp when Whylie etc are paying way over the odds.

    #113522
    TheCheekster
    Member
    • Total Posts 329

    I hope that the French continue to see where our breeding went wrong, and are still producing these above average, robust atheletes when they have caught up 20 yrs down the line.

    #113524
    the welsh wizard
    Member
    • Total Posts 352

    Simple reason why they are popular. They are better and cheaper than the Brit bred equiv. Irish & Brit are well over-priced at auction etc. Esp when Whylie etc are paying way over the odds.

    Garde Champetre – great value at 590,000 gns

    #113527
    the welsh wizard
    Member
    • Total Posts 352

    What is so annoying about the French imports is the WFA allowances they get – how annoying for the owners of a slow maturing British or Irish bred to continually have to compete on such an uneven playing field. They come over as 4yo novice chasers, being very phyiscally and mentally mature having been in full training since 2yo’s, and so are at a big advantage anyway without the huge weight imbalance.
    Consequently as a result of intense training from such an early age they tend to go wrong/sour much quicker than the average British/Irish bred and often at the age of 7-8 (sometimes as old as 10) are sent novice hurdling to freshen them up (or handicapping if they’ve got a good mark to exploit).
    So how about this for a scene – you buy a British or Irish bred traditional slow-maturing NH type. You run him in novice hurdles at 4-5 and come up against a top FR-bred chaser who went straight chasing when he came to this country and is therefore still able to run as a novice over hurdles. When you go handicapping you come up against an ex-grade One FR-bred chaser exploiting a sexy mark back hurdling. When you go novice chasing you come up against FR-bred 4-y-o’s expoliting the massive WFA allowance.
    Thus the traditional pattern of the NH horse, and the NH season, is attacked and slowly destroyed.

    #113531
    highflyer1
    Participant
    • Total Posts 211

    TWW, I take it you didn’t back Taranis at Sandown? :wink:

    I believe the WFA allowance for 5-y-os in novice chases has now been scrapped.

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