Gabriel Leenders and the ‘Good Time’ brigade

18 November 2023

A very enthusiastic team surrounding Amy Du Kiff after last Sunday's Grade 1 success at Auteuil

In the nation’s capital last Sunday, Amy Du Kiff ran out a 4-lengths winner of the prestigious G.1 Prix Maurice Gillois. Trainer Gabriel Leenders relives the occasion with us, on a day he and his owner-friends created a rarely-seen party atmosphere at the Auteuil scales.

Gabriel, you have just won your second Grade 1, your first at Auteuil and on the occasion of the 48 heures de l’obstacle. How does it feel?

The first Grade 1, I enjoyed from the couch as we were in the middle off the pandemic. On Sunday, we lived the experience together, some of the group never having gone racing before. After she won, we let go a bit! This race wasn’t stolen; she has been solid all year and is not a horse to be underestimated.

Kiff being a suburban slang word for having a good time, you spoke of the ‘Kiff Brigade’. Can you tell us more?

It’s an expression that comes from a French film. There’s such a high when we win that it made me think of it, and the name has stuck. The owners had dipped their toes in the trotting sphere, but of this world, their only previous experience had been a trip with me to Argentan. We’ve bought four horses. Two are alright, one has won a claimer, and the fourth is Amy Du Kiff.

Her name is a homage to the gang?

Absolutely. We were at the Arqana sales and my Kiff Brigade story had the guys laughing, so when considering a name, we had Tonton Kiffeur as a thought but, given it was the day Amy Winehouse died, we settled on Amy Du Kiff instead.

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