A few months ago, the Swiss Romain Duguet settled in Normandy, at the La Chenay stud farm, with his partner Maelle Martin, after spending two years at the edge of the Rambouillet forest in Aras de Bory. With four main horses, the French native started the season with a bang, first at Rouen, then at Villers-Vicomte and finally at Le Mans, where he won two CSI 2* events with Alldream Delacense and Bel Canto de Bogin. An opportunity for the Swiss to train to find his way to a very high level.
On Saturday, you won the main event of the day at Le Mans driven by Bel Canto de Boguin (SF, Grenat de Grez x Arpège Pierreville), two years after your last win together. How do you analyze your work?
I am very happy because Ben Canto is in great shape. He is very consistent at this level of competition and last year he gave me a lot of results in the 1.50m. On Saturday we went to third place and I turned my course around as expected. Of the fifty eight who started, there were only five clean rounds, which clearly shows the level of technicality of the event with a double and a triple, which caused a lot of damage. In view of these various elements, I am all the more pleased with the way the horse jumped.
The 2022 season kicked off with a series of tours including Royan, Villers-Viscount and Le Mans. How do you feel about this start of the year?
I’m glad I won at Le Mans because I knew I could count on competitive horses in great shape. In Rouen, Belcanto and I go out with a penalty point in the Grand Prix (2*, February 17, ed.). I also got a point in the Grand Prix (2*, March 27, ed.) Villers-Viscount with Calder (Canvas, Cazall Ask x Coriano). The Hunger Games at the Champs-du-Bois (SbS, Elvis ter Putte x Mytens), a nine-year-old horse that jumps very well, meanwhile completed its first rounds without error, crediting a place in the world rankings, indicating a good start to the season. I have four good horses, now it just has to happen.
How is your equestrian picket valued?
There is Calder, thirteen years old, who has already taken some very large courses. He is gradually returning to competition after a two-year injury. He started again in the Grand Prix in May. (first time in Nancy CSI 2* with Mael Martin, editor’s note). He looks to be in very good shape, which I hope bodes well for the future. I can also count on Bel Canto doing well in the 1.50m classes and starting his third season with me. I also have Alldream Delacense, a twelve year old gelding running 1.40-1.45m, and Hunger Games, a very good horse that I have high hopes for because he has a lot of money. These are my four lead horses. Then there’s Carthage du Lauzon (SF, Milord Carthage x Quick Star)10 year old who started running 1.40m late last year, Cancio Zimequest (SF, Quick Star x Diamant de Semily)nine year old stallion and Cartol Royal Ps (OS, Catapult 7 x Staccatol), a horse that is valued for performing at the highest level. I also have children five and six years old.
What are your ambitions for the rest of the season?
In my first part of the season, I would say that I was effective in Bourg-en-Bresse. (with CSI 4* from May 18 to May 22, ed.) and St. Gallen (at CSIO 5*, June 3-6, ed.). My goal until the beginning of June is the Grand Prix of Saint Gall, I hope to get a good result there. I would also like to be able to participate in two or three major Nations Cups a year.
“Intelligence is necessary to achieve a very high level”
You have been working for several months in Haras de la Chesnaye, in the Deauville area. What motivated your decision?
Grégoire Auberson, owner of Haras de la Chesnaye, made us an offer to move in with him, which my partner Maelle Martin and I accepted. The environment is truly exceptional and the region is well stocked with competitions, which is great for training horses. The proximity to the beach is a real plus, especially for older horses, as it is a great working tool. Not to mention the quality of life for us!
What is your focus on training young horses? What qualities do you think a horse should have in order to cross the doors of a very high level?
For me, training young horses is central because that’s where it all starts. By training young horses, you can bring out their potential. We also teach them the basics at this time, and usually, when done well, there are no unpleasant surprises in the rest of their course at the age of eight or nine. This is really very important to me.
Energy, respect and mentality are for me the main qualities of a very high level horse. This last point is really the most important. When a horse wants to fight for a clean round and gives all his strength to his rider, then you can say that he has a real competitive spirit.
How would you describe your system?
My system is fairly standard. I am surrounded by four or five people, owners or people who buy horses with me. For example, there are my Swiss clients, the Fasel family, who followed me after I left Switzerland. We either buy horses for sport or for trading and running a shop.
What are your long term ambitions?
I would like to attend the Paris Olympics. Today I have to sell horses to ensure the financial stability of my business, and in order to participate in such a period, you must already have a horse and, above all, be able to maintain it. It’s still the same problem!
Are you going to follow the Longines World Cup final on Thursday?
Since Thursday I don’t know because I have a lot to do (laughs). I will not spend three days in front of the TV, but since I am very fond of sports, I will watch it carefully.
In 2017 you finished the same final in second place with Twentytwo des Biches (SF, Mylord Carthago x Kalor du Bocage), who was seriously injured at the So-Ermes Grand Prix a few days ago, but, fortunately, he managed to successfully operate. Have you heard from him?
Twentytwo is one of my favorite mares, she was the starting point for my career so I have heard from her of course and they are quite reassuring. She has had a successful operation and is already able to walk a few steps a day, which is a good sign. We hope that within two months, when everything is well stabilized, she will be able to return to Switzerland in the park, be sure to foals.
Below is Romain Duguet with the Bel Canto de Boguin at the 2* Grand Prix at Le Mans on April 3rd.