Arnaud Evain (left) with this article’s author, Christopher Hector

By Christopher Hector
Photography: Peter Llewellyn and private collection

In our series of sit-downs with world-renowned breeders, Christopher Hector set out to find the greatest showjumping broodmares with the assistance of four of Europe's experts, and in this concluding installment he consults French breeding authority – Arnaud Evain.

My final expert is another old friend and mentor, Arnaud Evain. Arnaud decided early on that he really wasn’t good enough to be a top-line showjumping rider, so turned his attention to breeding and, in particular, selling semen at a time when there was an emerging market not just for chilled semen but also frozen. It offered the potential to spot young talent, and buy semen when it was not so expensive and freeze it until the time was right. Arnaud was also one of the founders of the Fences Auction, and is currently the mover and shaker behind the French breeding group, GFE.
These are Arnaud’s nominations for “five top mares, probably...”

Tanagra (1963/SF – Furioso xx - Déliceuse x Jus de Pomme), dam of Jalisco (Almé), Danoso, Escurial and Geisha (this latte three all by Night and Day xx), all jumping 1m60 and Qanagra (Galoubet A), dam of four 1m60 winners;
Gemini (1972/SF – Tanaël - Il Pleut Bergere x Foudrotyant II xx) dam of Narcos II, Mazarin V, Larry II (all by Fair Play III) and Quat’Sous (Kayack), all jumping 1m60, and many champions in the rest of the family;
Opaline des Pins (Garitchou X AA - Jasmina x Almé) dam of Olympians Jus de Pomme (Primo des Bruyeres), Quintus (Pavarotti van de Helle), and Tresor d’Opaline (Major de la Cour), and the 1m60 Shogoun II (Night and Day xx), and Richebourg (Bayard d’Elle);
Sophie du Château (1984/SF – Galoubet A - Javotte x Cor de Chasse) dam of Itot du Château (Le Tôt de Semilly), Sultan du Chateau (Kannan), Oui M’Sieu du Chateau (Quidam de Revel), all at 1m60, and five more at 1m50;
Fragance de Chalus (1993/SF Jalisco B - Nifrane x Fury de la Cense), dam of Mylord Carthago (Carthago), Norton d’Eole (Cento), Bamako de Muze (Darco), Jolly Mome (Darco), Arc en Ciel de Muze (Rubens du Ri d’Asse), Vodka Orange de Muze (Darco), all at 1m60, and many others from 1m40 to 1m55…
And, as might be expected from the man behind the authoritative work, Encyclopédie des Ligneés Maternelles du Cheval de Sport Français, Arnaud also nominated his top damlines:
“If you want to talk about damlines, including all progeny on six or seven generations, and considering the criterias of: (1) Champions of yesterday and today, and (2) the number of different breeding farms in France using this dam line successfully, my choice would be the damlines 20, 33, 61 ,105 and 106:
• 20 is the line of Flambeau C (1971/SF/g – Un Prince xx - Narcisse x Valet Maitre)
• 33 is the damline of Narcotique (1979/SF/m Fair Play III - Bourrée x Nickel X AA) CSIO GP with Pierre Durand, and all ‘du Plessis’ breeding, amongst many others
• 61 (probabely the largest) is the damline of Quickly de Kreisker (Diamant de Semilly - Briseis d’Helby x Laudanum xx), Baladin du Mesnil (Grand Veneur - Palme du Mesnil x St. Brendan xx), First de Launay (Laudanum xx - Jolie de Thurin x Quastor), and many 1m60 winners
• 105 is the damline of Itot du Château;
• 106 is the damline of Mylord Carthago.

Tanagra (Furioso xx)

Tanagra is by the Thoroughbred Furioso xx – perhaps the most influential Thoroughbred stallion in the history of jumping breeding. She was bred by George Sabras who was a farmer and breeder in the western part of Normandy (where they produce the Percheron horses) and he liked the horses with blood…. That’s why he choose to cross Délicieuse with Furioso to produce Tanagra... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber

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