Sealiway the Centrepiece at Brand New Beaumont

Emilie Alex, Pauline Chehboub, Gregoire Parchantour, Kamel Chehboub and Mathieu Alex with dual Group 1 winner Sealiway | Emma Berry


It is unquestionable that the cessation of the Head family's operation at Haras du Quesnay is a sad development for French breeding but there is at least one phoenix to rise from those ashes in the launch of the Chehboub family's Haras de Beaumont. Set on 100 acres of land formerly owned by Alec and Ghislaine Head on the Quesnay estate, and just across the road from the chateau, the new operation's proximity to Deauville is one major draw, as is the retirement to the French stallion ranks of the dual Group 1 winner Sealiway (Fr) (Galiway {GB}), who carried the Chehboubs' green-and-yellow silks of their Haras de la Gousserie with distinction in France and England.

Kamel Chehboub and his daughter Pauline, who plays a key role in the family's racing and breeding interests, campaigned Sealiway in partnership with his breeder Guy Pariente having bought him as a yearling at the Arqana August Sale in 2019. His subsequent rise to Group 1 star is very much a feather in the cap of Pariente's Haras de Colleville, as not only is Sealiway from the first crop of resident stallion Galiway, a son of Galileo (Ire), but his dam Kensea (Fr) was also bred there and is by the stallion that made the farm's name, Kendargent (Fr). Step back one more generation in the pedigree of Sealiway and we find that his second dam Sea Island (Fr), bought inexpensively by Pariente as a yearling, is by the former Quesnay resident Gold Away (Ire). What goes around, comes around.

The success of this horse on the racecourse has in no small way driven the Chehboubs' desire to make a major impact on the French scene by launching their own stallion operation. Sealiway has been joined at Haras de Beaumont by the 12-year-old Intello (Ger), whose stud career thus far has been split between Quesnay and Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket, and the George Strawbridge-bred Stunning Spirit (GB), a Group 3-winning miler by Invincible Spirit (Ire) in the same colours as Sealiway who started his stud career at Haras de Hoguenet and has his first foals on the ground this year. It is plain, however, that this new venture very much centres on one horse.

“Sealiway, It starts with him,” says Pauline Chehboub. “We have a horse like him, a champion, and we wanted to do the best for him. We are very proud to offer Sealiway in France. He won the Champion S. in the UK and he was the best 2-year-old in France.”

The Chehboubs are certainly not newcomers to the racing scene. Hailing from Marseille, Kamel and his brother Bouzid raced the 2008 GI Arlington Million winner Spirit One (Fr) (Anabaa Blue {GB}) who spent some years at stud in France. They already own Haras de la Gousserie in the Loire region, and they also enjoyed a major victory on Arc weekend last year when Rougir (Fr) (Territories {Ire}) won the G1 Prix de l'Opera. She was subsequently sold for €3 million to Peter Brant and Michael Tabor and went on to win this season's GI EP Taylor S. for Chad Brown.

Running a commercial stallion operation is a new direction, however, and the family has played a masterstroke in appointing Mathieu and Emilie Alex to run Haras de Beaumont. Mathieu Alex, who cut his teeth in the business with a lengthy stint at Coolmore, was a key player in the success of Haras de la Cauviniere, later Montfort et Preaux, and its flagship stallion Le Havre (Ire), who died earlier this year.

Pauline Chehboub adds, “We are very happy to establish this new project in France and to do that with family and with a good team like Mathieu and Emilie. That's super exciting.”

Alex is all too aware of the commercial imperatives key to launching a new stallion when he says, “It's clear [Sealiway had] quite an extraordinary racing career because he won his first race as a 2-year-old in May over six furlongs. He had the speed to win over six. He won the Champion S. over 10. He was second only to St Mark's Basilica (Fr) in the [G1] French Derby, which is a great stallion-making race. He was a champion 2-year-old in France.

“It's the interesting part about him. Because he raced at two, three and four people forget, but he was extremely good as a 2-year-old and had a lot of precocity, and there is a lot of precocity in his pedigree. And that's one of the targets with him, to try to target that 2-year-old market as well.”

Sealiway, who had only arrived at Haras de Beaumont three days in advance of TDN's visit in early December, is certainly playing his part well so far. A relaxed individual who appears to enjoy posing for the camera, he is an easy-moving horse who will surely draw admirers as visitors descend on the new stud through the early months of 2023 and for the Route des Etalons on Jan. 21 and 22.

“Sealiway is obviously a very important horse for the this new operation and this farm,” Alex continues. “The owners want to support the horse. It's so important not only to send good mares to the horse, but also to raise [the offspring] properly and send them to good trainers. It doesn't always work, but this is the formula we like to follow.”

Alex acknowledges that the former inhabitants of the land now known as Haras de Beaumont set a formidable example to follow.

He says, “It's part of the Quesnay, which has been extremely successful. It's going to be very difficult to do as well as the Head family but we'll try hard for sure. And we are very fortunate to have this land. A lot of champions have been bred here. Treve has been raised here. So, you know, it's a dream for us, but we work hard for it. This location as well, when you're standing stallions, we are 10 minutes away from Deauville, so when people are at the sales, they can give us a call, we have a shuttle, they come here, they'll see the horses, and they can be back in town 10 minutes later.”

Sealiway is of course not alone in the new stallion barn. His fellow Galileo-line sire Intello is rising 13 and has the Group/Grade 1 winners Intellogent (Ire) and Adhamo (Ire) to his credit. Stunning Spirit, meanwhile, hails from the Strawbridge family that produced Group 1 winner Rainbow View (Dynaformer), a sister to his dam.

“Intello has got an extraordinary ratio of stakes horses, 11% stakes performers to runners, which is huge,” Alex notes. “And he's a very well-bred, good-looking horse. He was a French Derby winner, and he's a proven sire at a very reasonable fee, so we are very happy to have him, and we are also going to stand Stunning Spirit, who is a group winner by Invincible Spirit and his dam is a full-sister to Group 1 winner.”

As outlined by Alex, the Chehboub family plans to support Sealiway with a number of mares from their own broodmare band as well as some recent purchases, including Key Success (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), the dam of black-type earners Axdavali (Fr) (Goken {Fr}) and Axdaliva (Fr) (Elusive City), bought at Arqana last weekend.

Pauline Chehboub says, “We bought three mares at Goffs especially for him: one by Dubawi (Ire), one by Acclamation (GB) in foal to Sea The Stars (Ire), and another Group 1-placed [mare], so we'll send maybe 25 or 30 mares to him this year.”

Pauline will have her work cut out as she oversees the family's stable in Chantilly, which is the base of trainer Ludovic Rovisse. Their 55 horses in training are also spread between a number of trainers including Jean-Claude Rouget, Francis-Henri Graffard, Yann Barberot and Didier Guillemin.

“I have a lot of trainers to follow and we have maybe 25 2-year-olds, so it is very busy,” she says. “But I love the breeding, it is my passion, so I will help Mathieu and Emilie and spend time in Deauville and Chantilly.”

She adds of Sealiway's recent retirement from the Graffard yard, “It was a special moment when he left the stable at Chantilly for the last time because there was a lot of sentiment for this horse. He has been different class from the beginning, since my father saw him as a yearling. He's a good mover, he could do short distances and Classic distances so, for me, he had everything.”

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