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Thirty years' work has made Marcel Boussac King of the French Turf
WORLD OF RACING (6)
by NIGEL GEE
THE choice of the outstanding personality iii
French racing is automatic. After 30 years of diligent and scientific work Marcel Boussac stands in a position which no owner-breeder in the world can challenge. In the story of French success on the Turf, the longest chapter
must be his.
His superiority is somewhat analogous to the position in which the Aga Khan found himself after his successes in the thirties, but unlike the Aga Khan, who dispersed the cream of his stallions abroad, M. Boussac guards jealously what he has accrued so patiently.
His first classic success was in the French Derby of 1922 with Ramus. He has won this race nine times in all, a Derby record which may never be surpassed.
Nine years later he had his second French Derby winner, Tourbillon, and it was this horse which was the founda- tion upon which he built his
fortunes as a breeder. At his studs today stand Tourbillon, now a venerable 23 years of age, and his descendants Coa raze, Caracalla II, Djebel, Ar «fcar and Galcador, all big race winners in France or England. His three other stallions in the current list are Marsyas, Pharis and Whirlaway; Pharis is reserved for Boussac mares exclusively, so that it was a surprise when his greatest son, Ardan, was sold to America,
Ardan's place has been taken by the American stallion Whirlaway, who introduces the Blandford male line to the Boussac studs.
M. Marcel Boussac stands
unchallenged as an owner-breeder after 30 years of diligent
and scientific work.
I A stud is only as good as its mares, and amongst his veritable army of brood mares M. Boussac has some of the finest in the world. Queen of them all is Astronomie by As terus, whose offspring include Marsyas, Caracalla, Arbar and the'English Oaks winner As
I Some of the fillies bred by M. Boussac were as successful on the racecourse as his colts, and as mares have been no less fruitful. Corrida by Coronach won big prizes in England, Belgium and Germany as well as in her native France where she won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, in two consecutive years, a feat equalled only by the great Ksar. She was stolen by the Germans and finally killed in the Battle of Nor- mandy, but not before she had given promise of what might have been. Her only colt was the French Derby winner Coa
Adargatis won the French Oaks and produced Ardan at stud. Esmeralda won the French 1,000 Guineas, and her first foal was Coronation V who won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe by five lengths.
Coronation was remarkably in-bred to TourbilHon, who is her paternal and maternal
In-breeding is a danger which must inevitably beset a stud built upon narrow foundations. There is no doubt that M. Boussac is alive to the conse- quences, for in recent years he has turned to the British line of Hyperion, Owen Tudor and Tudor Minstrel for new blood.
]\|. LEON VOLTERRA took
a prominent place in French breeding until 1949. He won the French Derby with Duplex in 1934 and Admiral Drake followed up this success with the Grand Prix.
My Love also won this race in 1948 after winning the Eng- lish Derby, a race in which as a breeder M. Volterra has been luckier than as an owner. He bred My Love, in whom he sold a half-share to the Aga Khan before the Derby, which the colt won in the latter's colours. He bred Bois Roussel, but sold him three weeks be- fore his easy victory at Epsom.
In 1949 he was a sick man when Amour Drake carried his own colours in the English Derby. The colt would have beaten Nimbus, if his rider had
The late M.
Leon Volterra (left) and H.H. the Aga Khan, pictured with the Australian Jockey Rae ("Togo") Johnstone/ at Long champ, after My Love's vic- tory in the 1948 Grand Prix. My Love was bred by M. Vol- terra, but he sold a half in- terest In the horse to the Aga
Khan before the English , Derby and as a result the colt's win in that event (pic- tured at left) was made in the
Aga Khan's colours.
not been compelled to switch]
his course at the last moment as the winner deviated. M. Volterra died the next day and left his stud to his wife, who carries on his work.
JFRENCH jockeyship has not
always been equal to the occasion, and there have been Occasions in important races in England when the judgment has been fatally at fault.
The best rider in France is unquestionably the Australian Rae Johnstone. Of the eight English classics winners who came from France since the war, he rode seven. In 1950 he won four of the five classics.
It has not always been so happy fpr Johnstone in Eng- land. In the Derby of 1934 he was beaten on the hot fav- ourite Colombo. The matter has always been one of con- troversy, but the subsequent career of Colombo at stud strongly supports the conten- tion that Johnstone was not riding a stayer. Nevertheless he received as much public dis- favour as he now receives ac- clamation and he turned his back on England.
He was associated with the Volterra stable in France be- fore joining M. Boussac two
years ago, before which that!
owner's horses were ridden by the English jockey, Charles
The lightweight rider-P. Blanc is currently leading rider, but of the native French joc- keys none can excel Roger Poincelet. His riding of Pan II in the Ascot Gold Cup was
¡a feat of strategy of which no
jockey could be ashamed.
Among the many suggestions advanced for the French suc- cesses in England has been the one that French trainers are superior to their English coun- terparts. The contention is one which I consider unjustifiable, but at the same time the con- dition of French horses sent to race in England is generally above reproach. The leading French trainer is C. Semblât, private trainer to M. Boussac. He has around 100 horses in his care and such is his re- sponsibility that although Eng- lish racegoers know his name well, his face is quite unfami- liar. Even when Galcador won the Derby, his duties at Chan- tilly prevented him from un- saddling the winner.
Boeing in Italy