|Our yearling colt by Youmzain ex Minnie's Mystery|
With John having been declared a non-runner on veterinary grounds and William Huntingdon a late scratching, it was left to Liam Norris to navigate our way to France (and moan about how cold my car was thanks to a broken heater). Liam is, however, a good wingman when it comes to enjoying a little of the local hospitality and we made sure that Normandy's wine supplies were somewhat depleted by the time we left for the ferry on Sunday.
|Liam, Alix and Coralie with Hubert Honoré at Haras du Logis|
Liam was keen to see Tin Horse, whose first foals are about to be born, as he and William bought a nice mare in foal to him at Arqana's December Sale. Even though they usually don't end up being the most fashionable, I've a particular soft spot for stallions who have been in training for a number of seasons and have proved to be very tough and very sound racehorses. For this reason, I really enjoyed seeing Vision d'Etat, the winner of seven stakes races, including three Group 1s, during his honourable career, and who is about to have his first runners on the track.
Youmzain very much fits into this category, too, and the Quesnay stallions also looked in tiptop condition. Youmzain seems to have a wonderful disposition, as well as being a good-looking horse, so hopefully he will impart this trait, along with his talent, to his offspring. He also has his first runners in 2014.
|Haras de Victot|
The organisers of La Route des Etalons have done a great job in attracting visitors from overseas and also put on a party on the Saturday night, which seems to get bigger and bigger. We managed to catch the second half of the rugby in Le Brok before heading to Arqana for the festivities, but this was painful for England fans – of which I seemed to be the only one in the bar. A few of Le Brok's famous mojitos eased the pain a little but also made me rash enough to strike a bet with Liam that England would beat Ireland later in the Six Nations. Here's hopin'.
I had an extra reason to join 'La Route' this year as I'd been asked to write a feature for the TDN. If you'd like to read it, please click here.