Facteur Cheval Triumphs for France in Dubai Turf

March 31, 2024

Facteur Cheval gets the nose on the wire. (Dubai Racing Club)

By Jeremy Greene

MEYDAN—Facteur Cheval sprang something of a surprise victory for France in the Dubai Turf, gaining a short-head verdict from the Japanese challenger Namur

Trained by Jerome Reynier near Marseille, Facteur Cheval carried the colours of the American-based syndicate Team Valor LLC and Gary Barber while Maxime Guyon was in the saddle, winning the race for the second time after Solow in 2015. 

Danon Beluga, runner-up a year ago, finished off well again for third. 

“He’s a great champion. We didn’t know how he would handle the faster ground because he has more used to racing on soft and heavy surfaces, but you can see how well he did,” jockey Guyon said of the winner. 

“He gave me a really great turn of foot and really wanted to fight to the line. I didn’t want to go too early because he’s been running over 1600 metres and was stepping up in trip slightly, for all that I think he’ll stay 2000 metres. 

“I always had this thought at the back of my mind that it was his first run of the year, and it was further than he’s been running over. But I never felt like he would crack,” Guyon added. 

Facteur Cheval settled in midfield under Guyon and was pulled out to lead passing the furlong marker. Namur launched his bid from further back and the pair were locked together for the final 100 metres. Facteur Cheval just got the bob in. 

“It’s just amazing, I have no words. You know 16 years ago we were here with [Darley] Flying Start and that was at Nad Al Sheba. I see a horse here that has been prepared the best way possible by Gregory [Davignon, work rider] and it’s just amazing, I can’t believe it,” trainer Reynier beamed.    

Dubai Turf Trophy presentation. (Dubai Racing Club)
Dubai Turf Trophy presentation. (Dubai Racing Club)

“I said to Maxime I’ve never seen this horse go backwards at the finish, he is always going forward and giving his best. I had no doubts about the distance and Maxime has given him a perfect ride, he had Lord North to follow, and he switched off during the race.

“He switched him to the outside and then waited long enough to save something for the end and that’s just amazing. I am so happy for all my team,” added Reynier.  

“It depends how he recovers but he can stay here and take it easy. He’s adapted very well here and seems very happy so maybe we could try Hong Kong next for the QE II Cup at the end of April.” 

Three times a winner of the race, Lord North presented with every chance as the tempo quickened at the top of the home straight but could only finish eighth. 

The clock stopped at 1 minute 45.91 seconds, making it the third-fastest edition of the race in the last decade. 


Namur (2nd), jockey Cristian Demuro said: “It was very close. We had a good race; it went really fast. We were going to win but just couldn’t get it.”

Danon Beluga (3rd), jockey Joao Moreira said: “Danon Beluga didn’t begin that well, just had to give him a chance from there. Hugged the rail, saving ground. He took a little while to wind up and to hit top speed towards the last furlong and a half. He dashed home like he could have got there, but the finish line just came up too soon. I’m extremely proud of his performance. As I said to the connections, it’s a shame he didn’t come home today as the winner but I’m very proud of him.”

Measured Time (4th), jockey William Buick said: “It was a good run. He is still an inexperienced horse and probably needs a bit further and he is a horse to look forward to over a mile and a quarter.”

Do Deuce (5th), jockey Yutaka Take said: “I got no run on the rail.”

Straight Arron (6th), jockey Brenton Avdulla said: “He ran terrific. He was just a little bit funny going left-handed but he was honest.”

Calif (7th), jockey Adrie de Vries said: “It was a very good run. The horse is on the up. I had a decent moment up the straight. We had a bad draw so I had no choice but to drop him out. He struggled with the early pace and definitely, will be better going up in distance.”

Lord North (8th), jockey Frankie Dettori said: “He had a great spot, great cover. He travelled great into the straight, but he just didn’t have the gears that he had in the past. We are all getting older, right?!”

John Gosden, trainer: “The old boy probably found the ground too lively for him, he’s always been lucky to get a little bit of cut here, a little bit of good ground. That’s very quick. But he’s run a lovely race.”

Nashwa (9th), jockey Hollie Doyle said: “She’s run a huge race. Jumped OK, took my time in coming across. Tried to get a nice breather into her. Held onto her in front as long as I could, and she quickened up so well. Paid the price for the draw.”

John Gosden, trainer: “Nashwa has run great from an impossible draw, you had used your horse to get a position, they came to the furlong pole and she’s still strong. The draw cost her, it’s difficult having to go wide and slot over. It was a super race for the first run of the year.”

San Donato (10th), jockey Pat Dobbs said: “He ran good. Felt like they didn’t go too quick for him. The line came a bit early, and he will be better over a mile.”

Real World (11th), jockey Kevin Stott said: “We’d have liked to make the running, but he was just a little slow out of the stalls. We actually got a nice position but probably just a bit outclassed on the day.”

Luxembourg (14th), jockey Ryan Moore said: “Let’s just hope Christophe’s okay.”

Aidan O’Brien, trainer: “We think we’ll leave that run behind him. It just got a little bit messy; they came around him and it didn’t really suit.”

Matenro Sky (15th), trainer Mikio Matsunaga said: “It was tough for him travelling to Dubai but it has also been a good experience for him.”

Catnip failed to finish, with jockey Christophe Lemaire taken to hospital for further evaluation. 

This is so beautifully written; You bought a horse and took him to a farm moved me. Bless You.

@sandyfprieto View testimonials



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