Le Havre Triumphs in French Derby

(From France Galop)

Second in the French 2,000 Guineas on May 10, Le Havre reversed the form in the €1.5m Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby, Fr-I) over a non-staying seventh Silver Frost June 7 at Chantilly.
Le Havre managed to catch the Head family’s Fuisse, who hit the front two out but did not stay either. Aidan O’Brien's Westphalia was third in front of the fast finishing Beheshtam.
Le Havre was bred by Anna Sundstrom and Team Hogdala’s Haras de Coulonces, who sold him to Jean-Claude Rouget for €100,000 at the 2007 Arqana Deauville August sale.
Racing under French owner Gerard Augustin-Normand’s colors and ridden by Christophe Lemaire, he completed a group triple for Jean-Claude Rouget on the day.
It was a first in the French Classic for the leading trainer and the rider Christophe Lemaire. Rouget has now passed the €4m mark in prize money in France in 2009 and leads the table by over €2.5m.
The two other group races on the card also went the way of Jean-Claude Rouget stable courtesy of Quetsche in the Prix de Royaumont (Fr-III) and Oiseau de Feu in the Prix Paul de Moussac (Fr-III).
It was, however, an emotional win for the trainer, based in Pau in the South West of France. The winning owner Gerard Augustin-Normand, a stockbroker, watched the race from his home in Normandy as he is a rather discreet character, but the trainer spoke with him over the phone and declared: “He’s a very sensitive man and I can tell you that at his home today, he’s the happiest man in the world. The pace was fast enough and we had a clear run. I did have doubts about my horse’s staying power and it was his first attempt over this distance.
“But he finished well. I knew he could do it. It is such a hard race to win. It is pretty special to me. I remember the first time I followed the Prix du Jockey Club. It was the 1966 edition, won by Nelcius. I was eating cherries. Since then, I know when cherries are in season.”

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