Qemah achieves a lifelong dream for Talvard
Qemah: was bred by Talvard out of the Rainbow Quest mare Kartica
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Queen Qemah achieves life's dream for Talvard
By Isabel Mathew 11:38AM 14 AUG 2016
AS QEMAH walked into the winner's circle after the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot there were tears in the eyes of her breeder Pierre Talvard.
It was the case once more after the Prix Rothschild last month as the filly had achieved a dream that had been 35 years in the making at Haras du Cadran in Normandy.
The daughter of Danehill Dancer is not Talvard's first Group 1-winning homebred, having previously raised Prix du Jockey Club scorer The Grey Gatsby for Malcolm Parrish and dual Group 1-winning stayer Gentoo for long-time client Jean-Claude Seroul. However, Qemah's is definitely the most special.
Despite having been raised in a family with a limited interest in horses, it is clear the quietly spoken Talvard is a man passionate about his job, with time for little else. He had a spell herding Camargue horses as a youngster before moving to Normandy to follow his passion. It was ten years later in 1981 that he bought Le Cadran.
Today the stud stretches to around 300 acres between two separate plots, one for the yearlings and the other 12 kilometres away for the mares and foals. Several breeding establishments are in the area, and Talvard's nearest neighbour is Hubert Honore of Haras d'Ommeel, where Toronado was raised.
Final preparations for Arqana's August Yearling Sale are under way for Talvard but he professes not to feel too much pressure despite consigning one of the highlights of the catalogue, a half-brother by Lawman to Qemah (lot 37).
"The most important thing for me is that I breed good racehorses," he explains. "As long as they cover their costs at the sales and a bit more, I'm not looking for huge prices. All the yearlings I consign are raised on the farm, something I think is extremely important. This has become my trademark, and my clients know this when they buy our horses."
It was back in 2011 when Talvard purchased Qemah's dam Kartica as a maiden from her trainer and old friend Philippe Demercastel. He says: "She was going through the ring at Arqana's December Sale as a four-year-old and I was interested in her profile.
"I rang Philippe to find out a bit more and he told me that if she didn't have such bad fetlocks, as she was very upright, then she would have been a Group 1 filly. It's this kind of information that was key to me buying her, as she also had a nice black-type pedigree and was stakes placed."
Third in the Group 3 Prix Fille de l'Air and in two Listed races, Kartica is from the family of I'm Supposin and was sent to Danehill Dancer after Talvard purchased the daughter of Rainbow Quest privately after the sale for €120,000.
Interestingly, until this year Talvard had sent more than 70 per cent of his broodmare band of 80 to be covered abroad. This was reduced to half this season with the continuing emergence of a number of promising young French sires.
As a youngster Talvard describes Qemah as very independent with her own character.
"Even as a yearling she wasn't beautiful, but there were a few people who loved her. One of those was Chris Richardson, and of course Nicolas de Watrigant of Mandore, who went on to buy her for €200,000.
"Jean-Claude Rouget was also crazy about Qemah. After Al Shaqab had bought her he asked me to see if they would send her to him as he didn't have any links with them at the time. He's very superstitious and would never tell me how good she was, but now we know!" he laughs.
After Qemah's victory in the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte in April, Talvard sold Kartica to Teruya Yoshida. She had given birth to her fourth foal, a colt by Charm Spirit, a month earlier. Now in foal to Gleneagles, the nine-year-old will be exported to Japan at the end of next year.
"I still have some of the family as I bought Kartica's Compton Place half-sister Lady Gorgeous at Goffs last year for €70,000 from Darley. She's now had her first foal, a colt by Toronado," says Talvard, who also regularly buys mares at Keeneland during his "annual holiday".
He adds: "We've also retained Qemah's half-sister Niedziela, by Henrythenavigator, who didn't sell last August for €80,000. She's in training with Carlos and Yann Lerner and should make her debut in the next few months."
Talvard is philosophical about the prospects of his 20 yearlings who are set to go through the ring at Arqana over the next four days, including two at the V2 Sale.
"I have some very nice horses I hope will go to good trainers. I'm not expecting fireworks for Qemah's half-brother, as you never know what the market will bring. I'd be happy if he made €300,000, without being greedy," he says.
Aside from the sales, Talvard is looking forward to visiting Leopardstown for the first time to see a possible match between Qemah and Minding in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes next month.
"The Grey Gatsby beat Australia [at the meeting two years ago], so maybe lightning could strike twice," he adds, his eyes lighting up at the thought.