Myriam Bollack-Badel, I caused quite the scandal

6 July 2024

Myriam Bollack-Badel and Christophe Soumillon at Longchamp after Pentaour's success

Just last month, Myriam Bollack-Badel ended her distinguished career on a high note, sending out Pentaour to victory at Longchamp. As co-breeder of the 5yo, her 695th success tasted even sweeter.

In 1975, at the age of 22, she set up as a private trainer, becoming the first woman to be issued a licence in France. It was not until three years later that she started to take in outside horses, the same year that Christiane Head embarked on her own adventure.

Bollack-Badel’s career highlights include a trio of Gr.1s. Run on 20 May 1990, Air De Rien secured the Prix Saint-Alary, under husband Alain Badel. This was followed five years later with Always Earnest’s Prix du Cadran success, before winning a second Saint-Alary in 2000, this time with Rêve d’Oscar.

Assistant to no-one (unlike Head who was schooled under her father, Alec), Myriam used the knowledge she had gleaned from sport horses, and the support of her parents. Confronted with numerous unflattering comments in the racing press after starting to train for her father, she recalled how “I caused quite the scandal at the time getting my trainer’s licence.”

On she went and, six years later, she met Badel. They were unable to marry however, since at the time, the spouse of a jockey was denied the right to become an owner or breeder. In 1984, she moved her operation to Lamorlaye, a few years later purchasing Air De Rien for 5,000 Guineas as a yearling at Newmarket. The horse’s breeder, Jeff Smith, would subsequently become a long-time owner. One of the wiser buys of her career, Cardmania was bought out of a claimer, won a Gr.3 for her before being moved to the US where he clinched the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in 1993.

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