Le Havre Dies Weeks After Being Pensioned

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Le Havre | Sumbe

The Prix du Jockey Club winner and Classic sire Le Havre (Ire) has died at the age of 16. The son of Noverre was euthanised at Sumbe's Haras de Montfort et Preaux in Normandy just three weeks after his retirement from stud duties had been announced.

Le Havre's owner Gerard Augustin-Normand told TDN at that time, “He has been the most important horse of my life. He was the beginning and it's very emotional for me. I wouldn't have been in the breeding business if he had not been there. Everything began with Le Havre and I wouldn't have started breeding horses without him.

“It has not been easy but it is the right thing to do. We love him so much and he has given us the biggest emotions. I hope he will stay with us as long as possible.”

Sadly, Le Havre was not granted a long retirement but in his 12 full seasons at stud he has to date been represented by 20 group winners and 30 listed winners. They are headed by two dual Classic-winning daughters. Avenir Certain (Fr), a member of his first crop bred by Elisabeth Vidal, became Le Havre's first Classic winner in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and swiftly followed up in the Prix de Diane. Two years later the Augustin-Normand-bred La Cressonniere (Fr) completed the same Classic double. Both fillies were campaigned in partnership by Augustin-Normand and Antonio Caro and trained by Le Havre's former trainer Jean-Claude Rouget.

Augustin-Normand said last month, “When Le Havre went to stud I wanted to give him the best chances, everything he needed to succeed. I was so grateful to him for what he had given me, and that has not stopped. To have won two Poules and the Prix de Diane twice [with his daughters] is incredible.”

Le Havre was bred by Jan, Maja and Anna Sundstrom under their Team Hogdala banner and was the first foal of his dam Marie Rheinberg (Ger) (Surako {Ger}), a half-sister to the Group 1-winning sprinter Polar Falcon (Nureyev). Bought by Rouget for €100,000 at Arqana's August Sale, he became the first major winner in Thoroughbred racing for his prolific owner Gerard Augustin-Normand, who had previously been involved with racing trotters.

A dual winner at two, Le Havre won the Listed Prix Djebel on his 3-year-old debut, beating the previous season's G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner Naaqoos (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) into second. He was then runner-up to Silver Frost (Ire) (Verglas {Ire}) in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains before his dominant victory in the  Prix du Jockey Club on what would transpire to be Le Havre's final start.

His retirement to what was then known as Haras de la Cauviniere in 2009 sparked a significant venture into the Thoroughbred breeding world by Augustin-Normand, who invested heavily but shrewdly in broodmares to support his young stallion.

The owner was soon rewarded with the aforementioned Avenir Certain, and Suedois (Fr) later became the second Group/Grade 1 winner from Le Havre's first crop when landing the GI Shadwell Turf Mile. La Cressonniere, Villa Marina (Fr), winner of the G1 Prix de l'Opera, and Wonderful Tonight (Fr), victrix of the G1 British Champions Fillies & Mares S. and the G1 Prix de Royallieu, followed on the roll call of top-level winners.

In a role in which we are likely to see him become more prominent in the years to come, Le Havre is the broodmare sire of G1 Coronation Cup winner Pyledriver (GB) (Harbour Watch {Ire}). A number of his daughters have been exported to Japan, including both his French Classic winners. Avenir Certain, who died after producing just two foals, is the dam of Des Ailes (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), the winner of last year's G2 Hanshin Himba S. as well as the G3 Aichi Hai in February. Le Havre's daughter Sea Front (Fr) is the dam of the Grade 2-winning juvenile Serifos (Jpn) (Daiwa Major {Jpn}).

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