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News In Brief

13 January 2021

It has been another busy week in the world of French racing and trotting including developments in Lady riders weight allowance, Philippe Demercastel, Mishriff and an interesting renewal of the G1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow (UK).

Philippe Demercastel

68-year-old Philippe Demercastel will not renew his training license following a 50-year career in racing. He learnt his trade with François Boutin and André Fabre, before to setting up on his own accord. The trainer of over 600 winners, he amassed a total of 33 Group race victories handling the likes of: Magic Night, Sauve Dancer, Pistolet Blue, Chichicastenango, Fifth of Sinndar and Spirit One

Lady riders weight allowance

A modification has been decided following a renewed request from the association of jockeys and the association of trainers. The change relates to the accumulation of weight discounted to female apprentices and young jockeys with their male counterparts struggling to gain experience. 

As of March 1, 2021, the weight reduction of female apprentices and young jockeys in flat racing will be capped at: 2.5kg when not riding for their assigned trainer (instead of 4kg) and 3.5kg when riding for their assigned trainer (instead of 4kg). It is noted that regardless of the rider being male or female the assigned trainer will always benefit from a 1kg allowance. The current races where allowances do not apply remain unaltered, whilst there is no change in jump racing.  

Elsa de Belfonds

Elsa de Belfonds will not defend his title next in the G1 Prix of the Côte d'Azur (1600m) next Thursday. He will instead represent owner-breeder Thomas Levesque next Sunday (January 17) in the last qualifying round of the Prix d'Amérique Races, the G2 Prix de Belgique (2850m)

Antoine Wiels 

Winners have continued to flow for Antoine Wiels. The retained drived for the Jean-Paul Marmion yard recorded his 1000th winner at Nantes racecourse at the end of last year and commenced 2021 in continued form with a treble at last Sunday’s card with In Love With Bond, Chance and Equejuelo

Franck Anne

The stable of Franck Anne has been deeply affected by the flu forcing him to withdraw all declared horses last Sunday and Monday. He revealed that his first horses tested positive on Friday, with six others during the day on Saturday following another five Sunday morning. The trainer has suggested all work will be stopped for a week with no runners likely for the next three.  

My Maj

Shortly after My Maj failed to complete in the G3 Grand Prix de la Ville de Nice - Bernard Sécly Steeplechase (4600m) on Sunday at Cagnes-sur-Mer his co-owner and trainer, Yannick Fouin, announced the retirement of the horse, aged 12. 

My Maj achieved a magnificent career winning fourteen hurdle and steeplechase races, including the G3 Prix Général de Saint-Didier (4000m). In total, prizemoney won was €841,175, and this figure is more than 45 times his purchase price in a Pau 1500m flat race on New Years’ Day in 2012. 


Last season’s G1 Prix du Jockey Club (2100m) and G2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano (2000m) winner, Mishriff (Make Believe) is to remain in training as a four-year-old and the Saudi Cup (1800m), on February 20 next month is his likely target. He ran second in the Saudi Derby on the dirt in February last year. 

Dexter Fromentro

Despite only finishing seventh in the G2 Prix du Calvados (2850m) at Vincennes on Sunday Dexter Fromentro’s connections have decided to continue with the current campaign toward the G1 Grand Prix du Cornulier (2700m) to be run at Vincennes on Sunday week, 24 January. Having his third run back following an illness, this was an improved effort. For mounted jockey Camille Levesque she will have the choice of riding either Dexter Fromentro or Blary’s Flicka who is currently twenty-second in order of entry.  

G1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle

It was a clean sweep one/two/three for former French horses in the G1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow (GB) last Saturday. Adajio was claimed out of a race at Clairefontaine in August over 2400m for €25,555 and has since become one of the brightest hurdling prospects. Now trained in the UK by David Pipe, he has won his past two hurdle starts and finished second in a G2 at Cheltenham in November. The second horse Nassalan was second in a hurdle at Clairefontaine on debut in June when trained by Guillaume Macaire. He was subsequently sold to UK interests and is now trained by Gary Moore. Nassalan won his first two British races at Fontwell before finishing second in the G1. Third was Houx Gris who won at Auteuil in October and was having his first start for trainer Paul Nicholls.