Open Forum, Francois Nicole

horse racing / 04/12/2022

“Dear Pascal,

I read the open forum posted on April 9th ​​at gallop day and I wanted to answer you, because when you talk about big numbers in jumps, it is logical that I feel anxiety.

The first-class gentleman racer you were knows, like all of us racing enthusiasts, that racing is based on two pillars: competition and selection. You were more gifted than me as a rider and it makes sense that trainers and owners wanted Pascal on their horses and not François!

What does the owner want from his horse? The best coach, the best jockey and the best hippodrome. It has been this way since the races existed. Why do owners trust me with their horses? Not because I went to “take” a colleague’s horse (I never did), but because they want us to work together.

When I had thirty provincial horses and Guillaume Macaire or others trained over a hundred, I questioned myself and watched the best. They were my models, my sources of inspiration and pushed me to improve myself. If they could do something better, then why not me?

Now I have 160 boxes. Yes, I am a breeder and I leave the pre-training of these horses to the people whose job it is. But I also really enjoy sharing horses with others, working with people whose method I appreciate, trusting some of my horses to colleagues.

In a JDG radio conversation, Mayeol Kare explained the concentration phenomenon by saying that in jumping, the most experienced coaches have prices very close to those of the less experienced coaches. It’s right. But if I double my prices, will that limit my concentration? I’m not sure. The obstacle is not a plane. The price of the best foals, the rotation associated with the effort required, and the repeatability of racing, to take just three examples, are incomparable. Owner’s funds too. So yeah, I don’t earn in retirement. I even lose some. And I always urge owners of less gifted horses who can never win a race to give them up. First, because honesty is part of my values. Then because it’s not in my interest to keep horses to fill boxes. Maybe they are upset at the time? Then they will probably understand that I did not lie to them. My shop is open if horses go to races and perform. Does my name intimidate my colleagues in the race, does it help to reduce the number of runners? I hope not. Look at Murat! I had five starts out of seven, and I could not do better than the third and fourth. I can’t believe there wasn’t a horse in one of my colleagues’ stalls that could come between Dream Wish and Happy Monarch. Congratulations to Matthias Soller and Team Mustang on their quest to win the Prix Pépinvast with Ine Anjou. We thought Hawaii du Berlais were unbeatable and they won! This is racing. To win, you must first run. Another example: I don’t think I can win the Grand Steeplechase this year; so I’m not going to run it? Of course not, and without wishing any misfortune to Sel Jam, the horse I adore, I say to myself… what the hell is not joking, especially in jumping!

To attract owners, young and old must roll up their sleeves, as did Guillaume Macher, Jean Dask and others. Because the work pays. Enough room for everyone… And I’m already looking forward to the challenge. Because I love competition. As are you, I’m sure. »


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