Mustafa joined the team last year, and stepped into the role of head lad in September following the sudden and very sad death of Claude Lenoir who had been with us for over 25 years. Mustafa had previously worked for Jonathon Pease during the golden years of Bago, Maxios et al. He is supported by Petula, who manages the yard and has been with John for over 15 years. Christophe, as travelling head lad, is undoubtedly the most photographed member of staff, accompanying the runners both home and abroad throughout the year. Christophe has been a part of the team for nearly ten years.
The horses receive the best possible care from the team of vets notably Flore Campion and Sophie de la Farge of BMC & Mennessier, as well as from the equine physiotherapist, Sarah Pilkington.
In the office we have been fortunate to snap up Benoite Lallié who had also worked for Jonathon Pease for many years following the much deserved retirement of the wonderful Nadine Sudre who had, unbelievably, put up with me for over 25 years.
Lizzy Sainty is in charge of marketing and therefore responsible for this great website, all social media stuff and thus all the errors contained therein! Now being on twitter is like taking possession of a new sports car…..fun, a bit flashy but potentially very dangerous when you’ve had a few. So most of the time it will be Lizzy at the wheel.
For me the most important side to anyone working with horses is that they care, really care. If the staff care, the horses feel it. Happy horses win races.
Xavier Nakkachdji trained for 20 years in Chantilly and I’m delighted that he has joined the team in 2017 to work alongside me. Xavier’s role is to help with race planning and the purchase of new horses. Xavier is an expert in claiming horses, moving them up, being able to pinpoint the interesting horses. His experience and input with be invaluable going forward.
Claiming races are a big part of French racing. Every year there are horses that come out of claiming races to become stakes and then group horses. It’s a very effective way for owners to have a lot of fun and a lot of bang for their buck. It’s different from yearlings where you are “buying the dream” but when you buy a claiming horse, to use a French expression, you are buying a horse with “the keys in your hand”. A horse that is ready to run with a proven track record.
Chemin des Aigles
When our old vet left to work for France Galop there was a young vet who I advised to go into partnership with John Mcveigh of Baker Mcveigh, an excellent veterinary practice with premises in South Africa, Newmarket and France. Our two vets Sophie and Flore now have a partnership with Baker Mcveigh in Chantilly and they are a young, progressive and pro-active outfit. Times have changed in training and although you must not lean too heavily on your vets it’s interesting to have a young team with a modern and international outlook involved in the welfare of our race horses. John Mcveigh is very well known on the international stage. He’s an extremely intelligent man and it’s very rare to have a vet who can run veterinary practices across three different countries, but he seems to do it very successfully. It’s very useful to have him on the team for referrals. He’s vastly experienced and is a great asset when we are looking for a second opinion on illness or lameness in the horses. Modern technology has moved on so much now that if you have a complicated issue with a set of x-rays they can be sent to John for an early diagnosis which can be vital. He brings a lot to the game with his experience and knowledge. He’s also a very witty and amusing man and it’s been fun working with him.