The return of racing in France from Monday comes as a welcome boost to all fans of the sport. For new viewers, here are five of the most prolific jockeys and trainers in the French racing scene . . .
He won his first jockeys’ title last year with 235 wins and his retainer with Wertheimer et Frere ensures regular employment from leading trainers such as Andre Fabre, Carlos Laffon-Parias and Freddy Head. It is worth following him when he is sent to the south west to ride a Wertheimer horse trained by Christophe Ferland or Yan Durepaire.
The jockey capped a stellar 2019 with victory in the Arc aboard Waldgeist for Fabre. He also won a pair of Group 1s for Francis Graffard with Channel and Watch Me. He is unsurprisingly a firm favourite with British trainers such as William Haggas and will be called upon when foreign runners are permitted.
Demuro has won more French Classics than any of his weighing room colleagues in the last five seasons. He primarily rides for Jean-Claude Rouget’s first string Paris horses and has a retainer with major owner Gerard Augustin-Normand. He was fourth in the jockeys’ championship last year.
Fabre has topped the trainers’ championship in 30 of the last 33 seasons. The key to making it pay when following his runners is to avoid horses who are simply overbet. It is also worth looking out for maidens stepping up in grade to Listed company or Group races.
Nicolle broke Guillaume Macaire’s stranglehold on the jumps trainers’ title in the last two years. He has deep reserves of quality and is always a force to be reckoned with, especially in the autumn.