Attention, this is not the title of a brand new fable by Jean de la Fontaine. At 28, the young trainer Etienne d’Andigné lines up at the start of his first Gr.1 with Kamchatka, a colt who has come a long way since his early youth with a fiery character. Pascal Barthélémy’s horse will be associated in the Alain du Breil with Angelo Gasnier, a former crack jockey who has stepped up his boots in parallel with his career as a real estate agent. A real beautiful France Sire story, 3 years after the Internship Tour and its beginnings…
It’s as if the loop was complete, or at least in the process of being. 3 years ago we started the now famous “Trainee Tour“, dedicated to young racing professionals. It started with a trainer from the West who had just won his very first race, Etienne d’Andigne. So 3 years and a few successes later, it seemed logical to go back to basics (or almost since his facilities have changed) for his first runner in a Gr.1. It’s been a week since sleep abandoned Etienne, who will present 3 starters at Auteuil on Sunday at the heart of the biggest meeting of the year, and in particular Kamchatka in the Prix Alain du Breil (Gr.1).
Kamchatka surrounded by Angelo Gasnier and Etienne d’Andigné
Kamchatka’s story begins with its breeder/owner Pascal Barthelemy, a colorful man based not far from Angers with a handful of broodmares. He has cultivated the strain for several years, and has kept as a broodmare Katesurfa sister of his good horse Katkeau… We can already see that the guy has a sense of humor. He sends Kamchatka to be broken in by Eric Aubrée, who blows him up, before sending him to Etienne d’Andigné. Since our trainee tour, he had moved to Tiercé au Châtaignier, a historic track in the region where Etienne Leenders trained his first Grand Cross winner from Craon. Things got off to a bad start, it must be said. Kamchatka is boiling, endowed with a damn character, and refuses to jump into the round of havrincourt. We don’t lose patience, and the whole team is doing its part. The first hurdle is finally crossed… what a deal!
The son of Masked Marvel may be temperamental, but has oil, that’s for sure. He quickly appears as the most promising element of the stable, which is nevertheless a few months away from winning its 1st Gr.1 in the Prix Jacques de Vienne… It’s good, but not the same as at Auteuil when same. Auteuil, Kamchatka started there with a promising 4th place in the Pride Of Kildare, before being stopped after a crazy ride in the heavy ground for his next outing. He pulled too much, or his jockey didn’t pull enough, everyone has their own opinion on the matter. But we still have to start from scratch in view of his 4-year-old season. This is where the “lion” and the “young trainer” comes the real estate agent.
Former glory of the platoons of the West which knew the great emotions of the capital, Angelo Gasnier is immensely gifted but has experienced the terrible syndrome of the obstacle jockey. Many falls and injuries, and he no longer has the desire. And when you no longer want to, you have to know how to say stop. The son of Jean-Daniel Gasnier becomes a real estate agent at the Lion d’Angers, and takes life on the bright side. Luckily he has a companion, and a shirt that fits him better, which reminds him that he’s put on some weight. In addition, he misses shopping. Angelo picks up his phone and goes on a diet to work for his longtime friend Etienne d’Andigné, who doesn’t have a house jockey. We repeat ourselves but it’s not so bad: a great deal!
Kamchatka has meanwhile returned from his vacation, still a player, but on the path to sanity… The meeting with Angelo Gasnier is a success, he who built his career as a jockey around a quality that is not lost even when you leave the competition: finesse. Angelo regains a taste for competition, and gets back in the saddle at Auteuil sur Kamchatka in the Prix Ventriloquist. At more than 100/1, he finished 4th in You’re The Boss, Ine Anjou and In Love, as he shot like an asshole all the way. The following race is the consecration, since Kamchatka imposes itself in force in the Prix Claude Cohen, and offers a first at Auteuil to Etienne d’Andigné, and a resounding return to the big leagues for Angelo. The crazy bet of the Prix Alain du Breil is no longer a mirage: Kamchatka has always shown great resources, but they had to be channeled and validated on the track.
Since then, the tension has risen on the side of Tiercé. We must not hide our face, Kamchatka is far from being a favorite, and is running for places. But already to win Gr.1s, you have to line up there, without fear and without complexes. Like a click, his first career victory made the horse more serene, attentive, and gave him confidence. Kamchatka has never been so good since his arrival in the boxes of Etienne d’Andigné. Each prep finish is a moment of intense stress, followed by short-lived relief when things go well. And it went well. The whole team, i.e. Maud d’Andignehis father Patrice Le Bastardthe young jockey Thomas Gaullier and the first boy Maxime Guilleux-Jolyis tight-knit and eagerly awaits the big day.
Now you have to go, and there is more than that to do. You have to go there with a lot of stress, but above all with a smile on your face and the feeling of having already accomplished a duty. Participating in this kind of event is the consecration for a small team, often dependent on the efforts of a small team, but hard at work. On Sunday, in the Kamchatka clan, there will be winners no matter what. So here is the beautiful fable of the lion, the real estate agent and the young trainer… the last page remains to be written this Sunday.