The Secret of Berlais – Jour de Galop

Magazine / May 27, 2022

The Secrets of Berlais

A double Ferdinaud Dufaure – Alain du Breil this year, another Wild Monarch – Finot last year: Haras du Berlais has achieved what no other breeder can achieve! A great tour, especially when you knowIt number of brood mares owned by Jean-Marc Lucas. We tried to unravel the secrets of this success, heading to Vienna…

By Adeline Gombaud

Ceaux-en-Couhé, about thirty kilometers from Poitiers, has only nearly five hundred inhabitants. And the local celebrities are the horses. It was in this village that Jean-Marc Lucas tirelessly for more than thirty years turned his father’s grain fields into pasture, and built a modern livestock farm. Of course, we know the Berlais who jumped over, but Jean-Marc Lucas and his team also produced classic winners on the plane and Gr1 winners among purebred Arabs.

Compulsory news, it is the obstacle that leads us to discover the lands on which have grown Your Highness and Hawaii, the last two heroines of Berlais. And the owner’s 4×4 is not something of a luxury, because the garden spans over 200ha! “Earth goes from steeple to steeple! Each plot is from 350m to 500m long. There are plots for mares, plots for birds of prey, plots for Arabs, on more calcareous soils… Soil analysis is done every year. In general, I do a lot of following the owner, which facilitates visits. »

Farmers above all

The highlight of the show is the huge water reserve that Jean-Marc Lucas built a few years ago. Extremely safe, this real 12m deep man-made lake allows irrigation, with a capacity of 125,000m all kinds of grass. “Water shortage is a problem that will only grow. I understood fairly early on that drilling would have its limits and I agreed to make a substantial investment in this reserve. » Jean-Marc Lucas has a good farming sense and consistency in ideas. Its mining operations operate “normally”, with an almost military rigor. Ten employees knew their duties well and it was difficult to find a single straw. From his father, agronomist and grain grower, Jean-Marc Lucas has kept this taste to work in the soil. The subsistence foal farm and garage where tractors, rakes, lawn mowers and other presses are stored is Ali Baba’s cave for mechanics.

Chica Bonita, Matron

For genetics enthusiasts, those are the pastures you have to go, and Jean-Marc Lucas introduces us to some of the stars of his crossbreeding, followed by capital ponies. was very sociable. We realize Athensena du Berlaisfollowed by a male Goliath (“Little Macarius”, as breeders call it!), Gazelle and his female Great Pretender, or even Panther and a very nice product from Ectot. Jean-Marc Lucas has always prioritized quality over quantity and it’s surprising to know that he only has “fifteen jumping mares”. “I will still have to increase the workforce a bit because I am having a hard time keeping up with demand. » As far as impediment is concerned, it all starts with buying Chica Bonita (Badayoun), winner of the Wild Monarch Award for Jean-Paul Gallorini’s coaching and colors. “It was Hervé Bunel who introduced me to Jean-Paul Gallorini and through whom I was able to purchase this mare. »

She donated eleven ponies to Berlais and we find her today in the pedigree of nine active parental families at the school. Through his daughter Chica du Berlais (Cadoudal), who only raced once, but their sister, Isis du Berlaiswon the Wild Monarch Award, we owe him Nikita du Berlais (Polilgote), winner of the Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil (Gr1), Bonito du Berlais (Trempolino), winner of the Prix Cambacérès (Gr1), Carlita du Berlais (Soldier of Fortune), currently nurturing the herd after winning the Prix Sagan (L), and Bonita du Berlais (King’s Theatre), List Winners, Placed Groups, and notably Byzantium of Berlais (Martaline), second in the Prix d’Indy (Gr3) and third in Renaud du Vivier (Gr1).

Chica Bonita’s sister, Shinca (Port Lyautey) also passes the Berlais fortress it has provided Berlais Chimera (Martaline), winner of the Cambacérès competition (Gr1), Berlais Shinco (Indus River), the winner of the Prix La Barka (Gr2) or even Lucky du Berlais (Luck in the end) who won the Prix Jean Stern (Gr2).

Robert Collet, like a brother

Another great Berlais family built on the purchase of a champion from the Gallots The Athenian Royal Family (Royal Guard), winner of the Prix Renaud du Vivier (Gr1). “We bought her full Poliglote for €300,000 with Robert Collet! Lots but good blood can’t lie… She took a little time to create her image and I only have one female among her, Ermine du Berlais (Holy of Holies), mother of the Princess, of Colbert du Berlais (Poliglote) and promise The Star of Berlais (The great pretender). Robert, he taught me everything! He’s like a brother to me. He taught me about racing, competition, the hobby of challenge… He allowed me to be a Cheval d’Or with only ten roosters! »

Competition, the basis of selection

All mares are competitively tested, and as is the case with Altesse and Hawaii, they are often rented out to service their racing careers at 3 and 4 years old before returning to the racecourse. “Selection through competition is essential. I can keep women who haven’t really shown great things in the race, if their coach finds something in them, a big mind, a big heart… I wouldn’t have it. There’s no way to get them all to race for my colors, and this rental system is a good thing. It allows me to meet new people: I want to allow nice people to join the team. This is what happened to Guillaume Luyckx, whom I met at Clairefontaine, Gilles Barbarin and Gianni Caggiula. »

The selection of stallions originates from the selection of mares. The “Berlais” were all really gifted in dancing, and Jean-Marc Lucas’s interest was in bringing speed. By crossing them with stallions tested on obstacles, there is a danger of creating tractors. I used Muhtathir, Trempolino a lot… Now I trust young stallions like Zarak, Ectot, Born to Sea… and Nathaniel! Do not hesitate to travel in search of happiness. Five mares are left to show on the Channel this year. »

From father to son

Last Sunday, Jean-Marc Lucas was not at Auteuil. He commissioned one of his sons, Marc-Antoine, to represent him. Streaming: “Marc-Antoine was in the squad, especially he went to Mali. He’s back at school and it’s a perfect second for me. He will take over. He has the very strict side of the military, and he knows how to associate around him. He just needs to find his place when he’s with me, and that’s why I send him to the races, on the front lines! Berlais, he too! Édouard, my other son, is more passionate about training. He has stayed for two years with Guillaume Macaire and he is going abroad to see something else. »

At first, the characteristics of the multicore Poitevin!

Jean-Marc Lucas’s grandfather was a rancher in these lands. “He had about fifty mares, Poitevin Mulassier draft horses, which he sold all over Europe for transport and field work. My father was trained as an agricultural engineer, and he had to take over the farm very early, when my grandfather died. He kept a few cattle to please my mother, but turned the business into a grain farm. I, I love horses, I have participated in many contests looking for models and gait… Jean de Laurière mentored me and promised to make me a good breeder, even if he didn’t. capable of becoming a good rider! At the Poitiers sales, which is equivalent to the sales of Fences today, I met Philippe Augier and Bernard Salvat, who convinced me to switch to racehorses. The first to trust me was Baron Guy de Rothschild, who sent me a stallion Galant Vert and about fifteen mares. He loves the challenge and knows the area! Then, Alec Head assigned me with Saint Cyrien, Berend Van Dalfsen Dyhim Diamond, Robert Collet Simon du Désert… Thanks to Guillaume Macaire, the school also welcomed Saint Preuil and Indian River. We have up to five stallions and crossbred 250 mares. It has become a real business, but I have the impression of abandoning customers who have trusted me year round. I sold an annex, Haras de la Barelière, and I turned my father’s grain land into pasture, from 20ha to 200ha! »

Purebred Arab, his first love story

Purebred Arabs also got their place at Haras du Berlais and Jean-Marc Lucas bred Gr1 winners in the breed. The Royal Stables of Oman and Al Shaqab Racing in particular deliver him mares year round. Back to basics since the first mare bought by the very young Jean-Marc Lucas was an Arab! “I was an intern with André Mage and I find this makes me hungry. I asked my father if we could buy it. That’s Nafta. She produced stallions Nuit St Georges and Njewman, in addition Jaffa du Berlais, hence Pom du Berlais… I trained with my friend Martial Boisseuil, who is a connoisseur of the art. This dog breed! »

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