Nicolas Bridault: Can Fantaisie Maintain Her Winning Streak?
22 January 2022
He’s all about being inconspicuous but Fantaisie has plunged her trainer Nicolas Bridault into the spotlight. How is he approaching his first Prix de Cornulier with a mare recording success after success. There are just a few days to go before the race and she holds a solid mounted record : sixteen wins and five second places from thirty-three mounted races.
France is shaped like a hexagon, and it is at the northern tip that Nicolas Bridault's life began. He is part of a family with a passion for the sport of trotting: “My father is a small breeder in Pas-de-Calais. I started training there in Saint-Omer and ten years ago, I settled in Orne in Normandy where I worked for both external clients and with family horses, owned by my parents, my brother Christophe who is a bloodstock agent and also my cousin who is a racing journalist. Everyone in the family has their own special area of the industry.
I have a 20 hectares property in Beaulieu with a straight of 1000m, a round track of 1000m, fifty boxes and about 25 paddocks.
In the yard, I have increased with quantity but above all in quality because it is in these feature races where there is the greatest prizemoney allocation. When you have horses like Fantaisie, you also increase your adrenaline!”
This daughter of stallion, Un Mec d'Héripré has completely blossomed in mounted company, starting October 2019 with trainer Simon Laloum. After a heavy defeat in a race won by a horse of Nicolas Bridault, Folie du Choquel, Fantaisie joined the stable of the winning yard. Although Un Mec d'Heripré has only run once under saddle, Fantaisie’s dam Quita d'Eronville was a Group One winner in this sphere thanks to her success in the G1 Prix du President de la République (2850m). Funnily enough for Nicolas Bridault, Fantaisie’s skills were not obvious from the start.
“Fantaisie was not precocious. When she was younger, she did great things with her first trainer and with us too, but it would not have been possible to say a year and a half ago that she was going to race in the Prix de Cornulier. When we won the G3 Prix Sans Dire Oui against quality horses like Georgica Gédé and Galliano who had a good form-line having beaten Freeman de Houelle, it seemed logical to us to go to the G2 Prix du Calvados. Fantaisie did not have enough earnings to run the G1 Prix de Cornulier without winning the'Calvados'. Her victory gave us confidence however owner Tanguy de la Bourbonnaye was a little hesitant because Fantaisie is only six years old and she prefers to have three weeks to a month between her races, rather than the fortnight between the Calvados and the Cornulier. We want to keep this winning streak going for as long as possible, but it would have been a shame to refuse this opportunity”.
There are plenty of famous names entered in this the biggest mounted race in France with two past winners : defending champion Bahia Quesnot and Bilibili. There are other potential stars in the entries including: Gladys des Plaines, Hirondelle du Rib and the revelation of the latter weeks Florida Sport.
“I feel serene”, explains Nicolas Bridault. “We are a fourth or fifth chance on paper. We asked Yoann Lebourgeois to ride her and she likes to go in front but she's not the only one who can lead. She also knows how to run midfield or as a backmarker. We haven't really discussed tactics with Yoann yet. Fantaisie is super ready and rather simple to train. She is more in care than in training a few days from the Cornulier”.
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