Magazine: Twirling, master of cross country “sticks”

Races / 24.07.2022

By Christopher Galmiche

The cross moves the crowd. Even in Pertre, at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 17, there were crowds of people who came to see the Great Cross. An event won by Twirling. It is the story of the latter and its owner, Serge Hamon, that we invite you to discover.

Direction Craon!

Serge Hamon is one of the most recognizable experts in the Grand Cross du Pertre. Before his hat-trick with Circular (Della Francesca)he managed the pass of three with Leo’s Ebel (Sarpedon) in the early 2000s. He was a jockey, trainer and owner at the time. Along with Twirling, these were the two best horses he had trained at Bain-de-Bretagne, in Ille-et-Vilaine. But Twirling’s successes are a little different. And it’s not just because the horse’s name shows respect for discipline that Serge and Chantal Hamon’s daughter was crowned champion of France… Serge Hamon explained to us: The taste of this success at Le Pertre is special because Twirling is the horse we bred with my wife, Chantal. Ebel du Lion, who has also won the Grand Cross du Pertre three times for us, is not a breed of us. But we made him a good cross-country horse. He almost won the Grand Cross de Craon (L). With Twirling, we will also try to go directly to Craon. In 2021, he ran this Mayenne Grand Cross but it went badly. He was run over, he injured himself and had to be arrested. He’s not mentally ready to be Craon. The horse is now ripe for it. He was a late horse who didn’t start jumping until he was 5 years old. He started hurdles at this age and in the obstacle course he ran for the first time at the age of 6. Since moving to cross-country, he has really exploded. It is no longer a stallion. He loves that! He immediately became good when we trained him on the cross. But he impressed me less on Sunday than his first two wins at the Grand Cross du Pertre. I find him less developed in his dance moves. Admittedly he dances well but he’s less comfortable this Monday [18 juillet, ndlr], we are waiting for the osteopathic doctor. When you get to Craon, the horse has to be perfect and there are small adjustments that need to be made. »

Coming from a stallion native to America…

Genealogically speaking, it is difficult to tell whether a horse will succeed in the cross-country run. Who thought like that? Yanky Sundown (Until Sundown) will do well in discipline? Twirling’s father, Della Francesca (Danzig), is an American horse with enduring strength (he won his Group over 2,000m at just 3 years old). Compare to Until the sun goes down (Smart Strike), he has a profile that is more likely to produce jumpers, his dam is Confirmed (Eclusive Native), sire of dam or second dam out of five Gr1 winners over jumps… And he spawned some black type jumpers, likeAzucardel, Tourwell, Bonus Crystal or Montpellier. ” Twirling looks a lot like her dad, Della Francesca. The latter brings a bit of class. We must not forget that he is of American origin. We use him because he is in Haras de la Haie Neuve, which is close to our house. I have always liked the offspring of this stallion. They have quality but not necessarily very early. For my taste, they are exploited too young. According to my idea, I want Twirling to grow old and let him come. When he was young, he had a lot of personality. He is very strong, he is an antelope. »

A little class and patience, the key to a good cross-country horse

Serge Hamon has been training for several decades. He saw the evolution of cross-country horses and told us: ” The Twirling is not a true cross-country horse like you might have trained twenty or thirty years ago: strong horses. Rotation is a bit light and lacks force. Cross-country horses can be crafted. But patience is required! And, of course, a small class. It takes a very long time to make one. From now on, the good cross-country horse is nothing more or less the good element from Auteuil is a bit tired. They are converted. They can be hard to beat at times. But we didn’t see them for long. At first, the cross-country horses were mainly large AQPS from La Manche. From now on, AQPS are true hybrids. We build horses that are agile, responsive and light enough to be cross-country runners. Then the work and dress that make the horse will thrive in discipline. About twenty years ago I had horses that didn’t do well with other trainers. I trained them to run cross country and turned them into good ponies in this sport. Not cracks, but they were able to put themselves in great crosses. »

Christophe Dubourg is acting

Christophe Dubourg received the Twirling award this year because Serge Hamon had a health problem that prevented him from riding it to train it properly. He has managed the interim perfectly since Twirling won the Grand Cross in Rostrenen, then Pertre’s. If all goes well, this horse should return to Hamon training at the end of the season. ” Twirling was placed with Christophe Dubourg because I had a back problem and couldn’t ride a horse. I had to find someone to take the horse away from me. Christophe Dubourg went with me as a riding gentleman, he is from my region and that is why I recommend it to him. I told him, “It’s already made, all you have to do is prepare it and enter the races.” I don’t want to put him in a training center. I like it being in a private establishment. I’ll be back on horseback in September. Twirling will be back at the end of the season and if I can keep coaching him, I will! »

A horseman, a real man!

Serge Hamon is a true horseman, in the noble sense of the term. Breeder, owner, trainer and jockey, he did it all! Currently, he has a few horses under his training, often from his own kennel, but has not been a public trainer for four years. He has driven for over thirty years in racing and has built a solid experience. ” I started horse racing in the 1970s. Then I rode like a gentleman for twelve years, then I became a jockey because I won so many races. We were on a farm and at the time my father took care of him while I trained the horses at his side. I was self-taught. Riding for the best coaches in Paris, on flat ground and long jump, for over ten years, allowed me to learn a lot. I stopped driving in 2008 because they didn’t want to issue a license anymore. Also, I have been the victim of several accidents. »


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