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Deutsch's summer in France is paying dividends

07-September-2022 13:01
in General
by Peter McNeile

Charlie Deutsch is a name familiar to all who follow Jump racing: a consummate horseman and thinking man's jockey, who enjoyed Grade I winners this year with L'Homme Pressé and Royal Pagaille, the first successful in the Brown Advisory Novices Chase at the Festival - Deutsch's first Festival winner - and the latter in the Peter Marsh. His 48 winners more than doubled his previous prize money earnings, reinforcing his position as a rider in the ascendant.

Yet Venetia Williams is not best known as a trainer of summer jumpers. In fact, I defy you to find a runner of hers when the ground description does not include soft. So Deutsch has been spreading his wings over the summer on the other side of la Manche.

Based with Emanuel Clayeux, the summer to date has produced 29 rides and four winners, the most recent for Jennie Candlish at Dieppe last month, the latest in a steady stream of British trainers foraging in France. On Sunday, he was at Craon, the latest in a series of - by British standards - valuable jumps cards over the summer months. 

Craon is a course that is no stranger to British trainers in the past, whose continuing attraction to them has been somewhat compromised by the costs of travelling horses in our post-Brexit era. Costs of around €5,000 to bring a horse from Britain make this a less appetising choice than hitherto, and perhaps can be on the agenda on our new Culture Secretary as the Truss administration gets to grips with the coiuntry's many issues. 

Less than 10 years ago, Balthazar King enjoyed a memorable victory in the Grand Cross Country de Craon before becoming a specialist in the genre at Cheltenham's equivalent - the Glenfarclas Cross Country. Despite being a fifth place finisher in the Grand National 5 months previously, he was largely ignored by a partisan French crowd and returned a handsome starting price.

There was never a danger that Deutsch's Cross Country mount was going to cause a major upset. On second string Gamine Apple's, he was unable to stay with them as they sprinted for the final bend. A delighted Paul Denis, celebrating a second steeplechase win in as many days at Craon, was aboard the winner Twirling, and punching the air with his fist, illustrated the enduring appeal of this race and racecourse, now in its 175th year. The appreciative crowd applauded both the start and as the runners passed the stands. 

Deutsch meantime will be here until the heavens open back at home. The ability to grow a second group of professional contacts is not lost on him, and despite not beinbg on the best horse, his horsemanship was well showcased across his two mounbts on Sunday. I would be surprised not to see him pick up more rides if he wants them over here, although the allure of riding for WIlliams ensures he is unlikely to join Felix de Giles and James Reveley over here permanently.  

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