Lightning strikes twice for Tunisian breeder

Labaik: his dam Avanguardia was bought for €5,000

PICTURE: Patrick McCann ( Lightning strikes twice for Tunisian breeder By Martin Stevens 2:32PM 22 MAR 2017

WHO says lightning doesn't strike twice? The Tunisian breeder who bought the dam of Douvan for a song when the brilliant chaser was just a yearling also managed to snare the mother of last Tuesday's Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Labaik for small money before the emergence of her star son.

In an extraordinary feat of horsetrading that will turn seasoned jumps breeders green with envy, Lotfi Kohli of Haras Agrolux now owns the dams of two Cheltenham Festival heroes and between them they cost just €7,000.

Both mares were bought with the intention of producing runners in Tunisia but have been returned to Europe to capitalise on their immense value to jumps buyers.

Star Face, a 13-year-old daughter of Saint Des Saints, was picked up for just €2,000 at the Arqana February Sale in 2012 and Avanguardia, a 12-year-old Choisir mare, was bought for €5,000 at the same company's December Sale in 2014, at which point a three-year-old Labaik had finished second in a Deauville maiden.

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Star Face has a yearling colt by Douvan's sire Walk In The Park, was barren to the same sire last year but has been covered by him again in recent weeks. She also has a Tunisian-bred four-year-old filly by Charming Groom sold privately into Willie Mullins' yard.

Avanguardia, a sprint winner from the family of German Group 2 winner Arcadio, has a two-year-old colt by Falco who was in training in Tunisia but is to move to France. She is also returning home to Europe for a repeat visit to Labaik's sire Montmartre at Haras du Hoguenet.

Marc-Antoine Berghgracht signed for both mares on behalf of Kohli through his MAB Agency and he recalled the purchase of Avanguardia from the draft of Labaik's breeder, leading Flat nursery Ecurie des Monceaux.

"Lotfi decided to buy her knowing from me that her first foal – Labaik – had sold well as a yearling [to Shadwell for €130,000] and that German families are excelling over jumps and this mare had plenty of speed," he said.

"And, of course, Avanguardia came with a good recommendation from Monceaux manager Henri Bozo, a good friend of mine."

Berghgracht may have helped Kohli assemble arguably the most exclusive set of jumps broodmares in Europe but he is not resting on his laurels.

"I would say that together, MAB Agency and Lotfi have made two very good, cheap picks. It is a lucky team and we need that luck too.

"Now let's find another one!"

    Read More at Racing Post Bloodstock

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