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Kamchatka, Étienne d’Andigné’s horse of the premieres

Races / 05.05.2022

Tuesday April 19, Étienne d’Andigné won his first race at Auteuil in the Prix Claude Cohen (Hedges). Kamchatka, the colt who brought him this victory, will now take up the challenge of facing the best of his generation in the Prix Alain du Breil (Gr1), on May 22. This will be the young trainer’s first runner in a Group, over jumps.

By Salome Lellouche

Based in Tiercé since 2018, Étienne d’Andigné began his career with only three horses. Four years later, he can not only boast of having won his first Group with the AQPS Irish Point (Joshua Tree) in the coveted Prix Jacques de Vienne (Gr1 AQPS), but also to be at the head of a team of around twenty horses including Kamchatka (Masked Marvel), which he prepares for the Prix Alain du Breil (Gr1). On April 19 at Auteuil, the latter pleasantly opened his record on the occasion of his fourth outing, despite a fault on the last hurdle: “Lately, when he won, we were quite confident before the race because the line of the Prix Ventriloquist (Hedges) repeated well. Winning at Auteuil brings emotions that are quite indescribable. After this success, Kamchatka could also go to the Prix Miror (L) but, as he is very generous, he needs time between his races. Three weeks of recovery seemed too fair to me. My choice therefore fell on the Alain du Breil Prize. Admittedly, it’s a daring bet but the colt has not yet shown everything: he is still very complicated and I think he will be better at each of his outings. In the Prix Alain du Breil, it climbs several stages at once but it has the means to take up a place, especially since it has improved a lot lately. »

A lot noted at the start of the Gr1. Kamchatka will face the best elements of his generation in the Prix Alain du Breil. Starting with the line of the Prix Amadou (Gr2) including the winner, Berlais Hawaii ** (Martaline), West End Girl (Great Pretender), second that day, Norville (Air Chief Marshal), third, You’re the Boss (Karaktar), fourth, or even Kirov (Dark Angel), sixth… to name but a few! Regarding the opposition, Étienne d’Andigné analyzes: “Kamchatka will be more comfortable on a track that isn’t too deep because he can be a bit spirited. Hawaï du Berlais likes heavier tracks but despite that, if she runs, she will be untouchable in my opinion. We are going to run for the places but also with the objective of making it age. The Alain du Breil Prize should be rhythmic. This will allow him to be very relaxed during the course. For me, if we already manage to settle it well over hurdles, it will be able to do the steeplechase and even go the distance as it gets older. After this Gr1, Kamchatka will go on vacation and will be seen again in the fall. In view of the Gr1, I will work a little harder. But in a measured way anyway because it is about a horse which delivers a lot in the morning. I don’t really have horses to go with him in the morning, but in the end he doesn’t need anyone! »

Associated with Angelo Gasnier. Winner of the Prix des Drags (Gr2) with Auspicious (My Risk), Angelo Gasnier had left aside the profession of jockey to become a real estate agent. But the pilot resumed his license this year and he became Étienne d’Andigné’s house jockey in parallel with his other activity: “Angelo Gasnier is a longtime friend. When I increased my capacity this winter, I didn’t have a house jockey and he wanted to get back into competition a little more. I needed a jockey like him, who was able to ride small provincial cross country events as well as the Groupes d’Auteuil. Besides, Angelo lost a lot of weight to come to work at my place. He is a real challenger and he gets along very well with Kamchatka. He comes to jump the horses once a week. Besides Angelo, I’m lucky to have a very good team by my side: the young jockey Thomas Gaulier, my second, my father-in-law but also my wife. I also have new and old owners who have been loyal to me since I started. I want to thank them all. »

A horse with a strong character. Étienne d’Andigné shares joint ownership of Kamchatka with his breeder, Pascal Barthélemy: “His co-owner and breeder had sent me a mare, which could not run. As the feeling had gone well between us, he decided to entrust me with a new one: Kamchatka, his only horse in training. Pascal Barthelemy has only three broodmares in breeding. Besides that, he owns a horse pension not far from Angers. Kamchatka has been in training since the start of the 3-year-old year. He’s a horse with a strong character. Initially, it took us a month and a half before we succeeded in making him jump… even though he had jumped in pre-training! So I decided to advance him in his work by making good canters. I also changed its training jumper. Little by little, by jumping small obstacles, he got caught up in the game. Then, he ended up crossing the hurdles in the carousel. I have always esteemed Kamchatka. He exudes something I had never experienced in a horse before. In the morning, he shows real ease. He just needed to mature. At the start, we had aimed for the Prix Finot but, on the day of the race, he had not eaten well. »

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