Alec Head, Cattle and Positive Flow

Breed / June 23, 2022

Alec Head, Livestock and Ruissheonly positive

He was a jockey until the age of 23. Coach for almost thirty five five. But beyond that, and above all, the breeder is much longer than these two activities combined. Alec Head, who just left us, has had a rare and lasting influence on French livestock since the late 1950s.

By Adrien Cugnasse

In economics, the trickle-down theory is a hypothesis that the success of the “big” has a positive effect on the “small” through investment and consumption. If you’ve been following political debates today, the least we can say is that the theory is heavily criticized. As far as animal husbandry is concerned, however, I think I can say that it’s an area of ​​activity where this field is really active. Although it may seem contradictory, animal husbandry is a collective activity… driven by individualists. And for good reason, the selection is a matter of population. Every time a person imports a good mare or a good stallion, in France the whole region improves a little. Alec Head was one of those who bought a lot of breeders outside of France. And the impact of these purchases on French production is huge for many of the breeders (small or large) residing in our countryside. Lots of examples. Devil’s Voice (Wootton Bassett) gave Hervé Viallon the first vintage podium. It is a descendant of Sariegail (Hill Gail), imported in the early 1960s by Alec Head. Miss Bio (River Mist) brought two Gr1 winners – Storm River (Rock) and Silverwave (Silver Frost) – for Marie-Laure Collet. Its paternal grandmother was bred by Alec Head and Roland de Chambure from an imported mare… We could go on listing such examples for hours.

Nicolas Clément: “Tesio and O’Brien are geniuses, but so is Alec Head”

Thursday, Coach withantilien told us:

“Alec Head is a role model for all young coaches. He is very close to my father. Also, his wife, Ghislaine, is my godmother. When my father passed away, he took on the role of temporary coach, ensuring that the stables were taken over by Olivier Douieb. We were kids then and he was very generous with us. He is a monument… A great racer and a coach with a great track record. Together with Roland de Chambure, he established a breeding and training structure. That’s the number first in Europe at the level of breeding and training. We’re talking about Federico Tesio and Vincent O’Brien. They are geniuses. But so was Alec Head. He is also a very good ambassador for races around the world. Abroad, he is famous in France… Alec Head is a very wonderful gentleman. »

His stallions made history

Alec Head has bred (for himself or for his clients) three four winners of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, From the right (1963), Detroit (1977) and CHILDRENeFriday (2013 and 2014). Even stronger, three of his four victories came from stallions (Motivator and Riverman). And it’s a unique performance in recent French breeding history. Since Quesnay walked under the Head flag, eleven On occasions, it is a house horse that has been crowned top of the list in France: promoter (two thousand and thirteen), Highest honor (2002, 2000 and 1995), Saint Cyrian (1990), Arctic Swallow (1986), River people (1981 and 1980), Lyphard (1979 and 1978), Green dancer (1991)… Over the past several decades, it has been a resounding success like no other. In the past, other stallions in our country have produced many good stallions. But you have to realize that before the 1960s we used to race “among the French” and in the end quite a few people sent their mares to British and Irish stallions. Also later Quesnay stallions five had to fight with Sadler’s Wells (Northern Dancer), danehill (Danzig) and other leading European breeders. horse like Anabaa (Danzig) and Wonderful (Wild Risk), widely recognized today, did not win the title of supreme in France. This means that the competition is fierce! Before being exported to the US, Le Fabuleux was still at the top of the list of brood mothers in France in the 1980 season. Anabaa has won this title three times.

Genealogy of CHILDRENeFriday (Motivation), certainly the best horse bred by Haras du Quesnay, is in itself a true synthesis of the history of Quesnay. His first four males stood at this stake: promoter (Montjeu), Anabaa, River people (Never bend) and Lyphard (Northern Dancer). Not even Aga Khan makes an Arc winner with such a series of house stallions! This is not to say that all Quesnay sires are good – even among the rulers of our universe, only a fifth are successful – but the sires we have just mentioned have leaving countless good broods on the stud farms. (young and old) of our country. Every time Anabaa’s daughter takes a good horse around the world, it’s a little Quesnay that makes France and its livestock shine.

A field man

Alec Head is a great coach. He did not wait for the British to come and defeat him at Longchamp: he would challenge on their land. Rereading old English shows of the 1960s and 1970s is enough to realize how often the Cantileans of the time, and Alec Head in particular, so often raced in great English races. And this ambition, this international vision had consequences for tricolor hybridization at the time.

Historically, most top breeders have relied on one or more top trainers for success. It’s a matter of addition, analysis, and feedback. When the trainer and the breeder are one and the same, the results can be different. As was the case with Federico Tesio yesterday or Jim Bolger today. Because basically, even if theory is important, livestock is above all a matter of land, “animal” and sensation. Genealogy, affection, and crossbreed enthusiasts sometimes tend to turn this activity into a “crossword puzzle for the rich.” Alec Head, from cOhfalls, basing his success on a solid life as a horseman. I remember very well, on a hot day in May 2017, being invited to have lunch with my boss at Alec Head. He appreciates one of the first livestock articles I’ve published in these columns, the one that traces the history of the Tr family.ehas been around since 1920. Honestly, with hindsight, we have to admit that the article wasn’t very good. However, Alec Head was kind and generous in giving us some of his time. These moments will forever be etched in my memory. Especially the time when we talked about border crossings and specifically Tr’seFriday. Apparently, he was “married” to two individuals who complemented each other based on the criteria of horsemen: temperament, body shape, talent… Alec Head did not practice “crosswords for the rich”. No, he calls for three rare qualities: experience, visual memory and common sense of the people on the ground…


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