Colleville Still Mining Kendargent's Gold

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France's champion breeder Guy Pariente | Scoop Dyga

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Guy Pariente is a happy man as we meet in his office, just 10 days ahead of the Arqana August Yearling Sale. He has just been delivered the golden horse statue that symbolises his first title as champion breeder in France, earned in 2020. The award came as a landmark achievement, yet by no means as a surprise to the 65-year-old. 

“It's been ten years since I set myself the goal of topping the breeders' rankings. Everyone thought I was joking, but I wasn't. In 2019 I came third, so it was kind of a logical outcome to finally win the trophy in 2020. The owners' title was never an objective to me, that's why I kept bringing my best yearlings to the sales and only raced the ones that didn't sell. It has worked, and there is more to come. I am aiming to be in the top three for the next five years– fingers crossed.” 

The plan is certainly off to a good start as Pariente stands as leading breeder so far in 2021 with only 67 individual runners, while the second and third have been represented by 94 and 91 respectively. He also boasts the best average earnings per runner. Three horses have contributed more than any others to this rousing success, and it is fitting that their breeding exemplifies the key ingredients of the Haras de Colleville recipe: the 3-year-old Sealiway (Fr), winner of the G1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère and runner-up in the G1 Qatar Prix du Jockey Club, has Colleville bloodlines top and bottom, being by resident sire Galiway (GB) and out of a Kendargent (Fr) mare; as for Skalleti (Fr), a dual Group 1 winner this year and now rated 121, he is by stalwart Kendargent out of a mare whom Pariente claimed for €42,100 and who went on to win at Listed level. This mare, named Skallet (Fr) (Muhaymin), also happens to be the dam of Pariente's third-richest horse, the dual Group winner Skazino (Fr), a full-brother to Skalleti. “Her first foal, another full-brother, was also black type so she has been faultless so far. I reckon she could become one of the best broodmares in Europe,” says Pariente.

Kendargent is a name that pops up in many Colleville pedigrees, and the man at the helm isn't short of superlatives when it comes to discussing the son of Kendor. “I believe that in 20 years, we will realise that Kendargent was the best stallion of the past half-century. He is attracting better mares every year, mares from all over the world, and he is also starting to make his mark as an outstanding broodmare sire. The broodmare sire aspect is something I really hadn't thought about when I started, as I was completely new to breeding. But his results are exceptional.”

It is fair to say that few people would have backed Kendargent to become a leading sire when he took up covering duties at €500, back in 2008. Yet Pariente was determined to give him his chance, to an extent that makes him worthy of Mark Twain's maxim: “They didn't know it was impossible, so they did it”. 

“One could say that the key to my success has been to do the contrary of everyone else,” he admits. “I was very stubborn and invested heavily in the farm, in broodmares to support Kendargent. And I owned 100% of him. It would have been a severe backlash if I had been proved wrong, but he was incredibly lucky for me. He did everything. Having said that, you could argue that with Linamix and Kendor in his pedigree, I had some assets in the game. He is consistently improving his mares and his success as a broodmare sire is not going unnoticed.”

What started as a labour of love gradually became a business when the rise of Kendargent led to his syndication and to the growth of Haras de Colleville. 

“In the beginning, breeding was only a passion, but it has worked so well that I now operate it as a business,” Pariente explains. “I implement rules that I have used successfully in my companies. All the money generated by the horses goes back to the horses. I am always looking for innovations, new matings, new bloodlines. And I have kept expanding the farm, from 62 to 200 hectares. I now own 90 broodmares, which is too much. I will be selling several from my best families in December, in order to keep our numbers down.”

Kendargent is enjoying another fruitful year, currently topping the charts by number of wins for the fourth year running. And he still holds the French record for both number of wins and number of individual winners in one season. He is now sharing the stallion barn at Colleville with a pair of young stallions who already look to have the Colleville 'magic touch'. 

Galiway was champion first-season sire in France in 2019 and a Group 1 producer through Sealiway. Goken (Fr) emulated the feat last year and has sired the Group-winning juveniles Go Athletico (Fr) and Livachope (Fr). How did lightning strike not twice, but thrice? 

“I trust my gut feeling when it comes to selecting stallions,” says Pariente. “Galiway is bred on the same cross as Frankel and looks like a supermodel. Goken is a son of Kendargent and should have won a Group 1, so he was pretty obvious to me. Only afterwards do I look up bloodlines, whether they will match with my type of mares, etc. You must remember that when I started, I didn't know much about breeding. I learned on the job, which is a great learning process: you take hits, and you carry on. I always supported my stallions from the outset. And now that they are syndicated, it means that a lot more people are backing them. Our three stallions are now owned by very solid syndicates, which gives them a bright future.” 

Far from resting on the laurels he has conquered as a breeder and stallion-owner, Guy Pariente is also aiming to make his mark as a vendor at public sales. 

“In the beginning, it wasn't really an objective,” he says. “But I have grown to enjoy doing business in this industry. Sometimes I like to keep a share in the yearlings I sell. Partnerships are a great way of enjoying racing.”

In 2020, Haras de Colleville was among the 10 leading vendors at the top-tier Arqana yearling sale. Its elite draft of seven notably included a Goken filly out of the stakes winner Ice Love (Fr), who was hammered down to MAB Agency for €105,000. Named Lovamour (Fr), she races in the colours of Alain Jathière, with Guy Pariente retaining a 50% share. Sent into training with Pascal Bary, she won the coveted Prix de la Reine Blanche on debut and is being aimed at the G3 Prix du Calvados.

Her full-sister is lot 23 at the upcoming Arqana August Yearling Sale and will open the 11-strong Colleville draft. Eight are by the farm's resident sires. Galiway is represented by five yearlings, headed by a full-sister to the aforementioned Champion juvenile Sealiway (lot 31) and another full-sister to the Group-winning juvenile Kenway (Fr) (lot 30). Of the outside stallions, Kingman (GB) is responsible for lot 84, a filly out of the very fast Restiadargent (Fr) (Kendargent {Fr}), a dual Group-winning juvenile in France who was third in the G1 Diamond Jubilee S. Young sire Territories (Ire) is represented by a pair of colts, including lot 266, who is out of Restiadargent's own sister Restiana (Fr), and for whom Pariente confesses a soft spot.

“We have sold horses to buyers from all over the world,” he notes. “To America, Japan, the Middle East and all around Europe. I never had France as my sole horizon. I want my business to continue having an international scope. I would like to keep some mares in America. Right now, I only have one horse in training there but I am planning to have more and also to buy a property or partner with a farm to keep a dozen mares. I was very impressed by the facilities when I visited some of the leading stud farms in Kentucky.”

There is no shortage of ambition at Haras de Colleville, and with the finances to match its objectives, the farm is set to be in the game for the long run.   

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