New contributor trainer Victoria Haigh reports from Longchamp
I am going to be writing for The Steeple Times on French racing and begin by reporting on a great day out at Longchamp. I am a trainer in Maisons-Laffitte, half an hour’s drive away from the track, and it was a big day’s racing on Sunday. Group 3 races included the Prix Saint-Alary for fillies and the Group 1 Prix D’Isphan.
Freddy Head had a very profitable day as he won them both with €142,850 to the winner plus the very lucrative premiums that are on offer in France for the French bred horses. The other Group Race was won by Pia Brandt a Swedish trainer who is doing exceptionally well over here in Chantilly.
After having a chat to Mrs Doumin, the wife of the legend trainer François, I also caught up with the trainer of the phenomenal multiple Group winning horse, Cirrus Des Aigles, He was taking on the incredible Solow in the Group 1 but trailed in last after snapping a front plate in half. Solow, the grey who won, has an incredible engine and it will be interesting to see what his target will be now.
Longchamp has a fantastic area for owners and trainers, with a restaurant with tables outside and in. There is also an outside bar and it is never really packed so one cannot move apart from the Arc meeting in October. The parade ring is opposite and one can drink and eat watching the runners parade without having to move far at all.
Olivier Peslier came and had a chat with me as we have known each other since from long ago when I was a trainer in the UK and he would come over for the big meetings. I rate him as a jockey and hope he will be on one of mine soon.
After living and training in the UK, I have to say I am adapting very well to the French way of life going racing around Paris and not having to trek for hours on end to go to decent race meetings. I was at Auteuil a couple of weeks ago for the Grand Steeplechase De Paris and again it was a 30-minute drive. Driving around Paris can be a little daunting for some, but I don’t mind it at all.
Victoria Haigh is a former jockey who is now a racehorse trainer based in France. She is the first British racehorse trainer to hold a French training license in Maisons-Laffitte, Paris for fifty years. Follow her on Twitter at @HaighVictoria.
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