‘I Do The Matings As If I Were Rich’: Cadran’s Pierre Talvard on Plans for 2023

One of the most passionate horsemen in France, Pierre Talvard began breeding over four decades ago from a caravan on a handful of acres. Today, his Haras du Cadran stretches over 400 hectares on the rolling Orne hills in Normandy, with 117 mares stationed on the farm. Over the last decade Cadran has been a regular name in the leading breeder lists in France, with graduates including French Derby winner and sire The Grey Gatsby (Fr), and Group 1 winners Gentoo (Fr) (Loup Solitaire {USA}), Qemah (Ire) (Danehill Dancer (Ire}), and Pretty Gorgeous (Fr) (Lawman {Fr}). 

Last year was an outstanding one for Cadran, with stakes performances from Wally (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}), Sippinsoda (Fr) (War Front), Anna Karenine (Fr) (Toronado {Ire}), and Kyrov (Fr) (Dark Angel {Ire}), as well as Jean-Claude Seroul’s Marianachic (Fr) (Authorized{Ire}), Wootton City (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) and Marianafoot (Footstepsinthesand {GB}). Talvard came agonisingly close to enjoying a second Classic victory at Chantilly when La Parisienne (Fr) (Zarak {Fr}) went down by a short head to Nashwa (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in the G1 Prix de Diane. 

Talvard, always a passionate supporter of his protégées at the races, was in tears of joy at the finish exclaiming that it felt as if they had won the race. La Parisienne stays in training for 2023, with the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe her objective, having been balloted out of the race last year. 

“She spent two months here after Arc weekend and is now back in training” says Talvard, who lights up at the mention of the filly trained by his great friends and frequent business partners Carlos and Yann Lerner for Peter Bradley and associates. “And she is magnificent. She has put on topline, she looks stronger than last year. We just have to hope she gets in the race this time. But it should help pass the year. Her dam, Skysweeper (Fr) (Hurricane Run {Ire}), will return to Zarak. He has really impressed me this year, his statistics are fantastic. I also like the cross of Dubawi and Hurricane Run.” 

Skysweeper is out of the Lomitas (GB) mare Varsity (GB), and had already produced a group winner in GM Hopkins (Fr) (Dubawi {Ire}). She was bred by Talvard and bought back by her breeder alongside Carlos Lerner for €44,000 as a yearling, and then again for €12,000 as a broodmare carrying to Makfi (GB). The resulting filly foal, Scripturale (Fr), was Listed and Group 3-placed; La Parisienne is her first group winner. Her New Bay (GB) yearling colt sold for €90,000 at the Arqana August Yearling Sale in 2022, with the Lerner father-and-son training duo reinvesting in this family. 

The 104-rated Queen Trezy (Fr) was bought by Talvard and his associates at the most recent Arqana December Sale for €800,000 from her breeder Haras d’Etreham. Queen Trezy is from the first crop of Etreham’s Almanzor (Fr) and out of Elodie (GB) (Dansili {GB}), a full-sister to Group 1 winners We Are (GB) and With You (GB). She finished second in the competitive juvenile G3 Prix des Reservoirs, before placing four times at stakes level at three including third in the G1 Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary. 

“She will be covered by Lope de Vega (Ire), which suits my partners as Ballylinch Stud is one of them,” explains Talvard, “She is by Almanzor and out of a Dansili mare. The resulting foal will be an outcross, which is essential for me. She’s a mid-sized mare, which I prefer over big mares as you never know what they will produce and how to cross them. Lope De Vega puts size and scope in to first foals, so I like him for maiden mares. I have had success with the sire; we bred Trixia De Vega (Fr) for Jean-Claude Seroul who went on to be a Listed winner, and I sold a Lope De Vega colt very well last year [for €575,000 to Godolphin].” 

That colt was out of Golden Lilas (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), the full-sister to G1 Prix de Diane victrix Golden Lilac (Ire), who returns to the Ballylinch flagship sire this year. Talvard elaborates, “She unfortunately lost her foal this year. She had already been to Lope De Vega once before, and she will return to him. She produced a colt who was perfect in every way. We sold him at Arqana last year, where he was bought by Godolphin. She is already in foal.” 

Another recent purchase by Talvard is the multiple group performer Flighty Lady (Ire) (Sir Percy {GB}). “I was delighted to have bought this mare this year in partnership with three others,” he says. “She is a maiden by a good broodmare sire in Sir Percy and was a Group 1 performer. Her dam is by Dansili, another very good damsire. She’s a very attractive mare, average-sized and from the close family of Early March. She finished third in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac and placed several times at group level in the States. She has already been covered by Wootton Bassett and she is in foal. He should suit her.” 

Sir Percy is continuing to grow his reputation as a broodmare sire, with 95 winners from his daughters and 30 2-year-old winners, including the G2 City Of York S. winner Shine So Bright (GB).

Like Zarak, for example, he produces horses that want to race. Last year, he was already impressive, but this year has been exceptional.

Ecurie Melanie is Talvard’s biggest partner, and they own a number of mares together including Night Music (Ger) (Sea the Stars {Ire}), Happy Approach (Fr) (New Approach ({Ire}), Mint Julep (Fr) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}), Golden Lilas and Tickle Me Green (Ger). 

“A Talvard special,” laughs the breeder, “Tickle Me Green is a daughter of Sea The Moon who was quite a good racemare. She comes from a nice Cheveley Park family. She has a nice Oasis Dream yearling colt and is unfortunately not in foal this year to Lope De Vega. She has been covered by Siyouni.  She’s a very attractive mare, and so I hope that this mating will produce a lovely foal.” 

The Gorlsdorf-bred and raced mare was a Listed winner in France and multiple Group-placed, including second in the G2 Prix de la Nonette. She was bought for €800,000 by Talvard, Ecurie Melanie and Gandharvi Racing at the Arqana December Sale in 2021 in foal to Oasis Dream (GB).

Bred and raced by Talvard’s longtime associate, Ecurie Melanie, quadruple laureate Sippinsoda (Fr) (War Front {Ire}) returned to Cadran at the end of 2022 to begin her second career. She is another that will head up the road to visit the French champion sire Siyouni. 

“We sold her dam, Let’s Misbehave (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}), at Arqana last December [for €920,000 to BBA Ireland], and so we have brought the daughter home,” says Talvard. “She deserves to go to Siyouni as she was a good performer on the track; she was a Listed winner and finished fourth in the G1 Prix Saint Alary just a short-head from Queen Trezy, and a length from Place du Carrousel (Ire), who went on to win the G1 Prix de l’Opera. She also finished second in the G3 Prix Chloe.”

Another Cadran/Melanie homebred, Roman Candle (GB) (Le Havre {Fr}), now stands at Haras de l’Hetraie after a promising career came prematurely to an end–but not before he made five appearances at group level, always in the first five home, including a win in the G2 Prix Greffuhle. He was the second foal and first runner for his dam, Holy Dazzle (GB) [Sunday Break {Jpn}]. 

Talvard continues, “Holy Dazzle has a lovely foal by St Mark’s Basilica (Fr), and she will go to Saxon Warrior (Jpn) this year. He has had a great start, although it is too early to really be able to judge him, as is the case for all sons of Deep Impact (Jpn). However, Deep Impact has such influence in Japan and across the world, that his sons merit our interest. She’s a small mare but she produces good-sized foals. She has a nice Siyouni colt, who was a June foal, in training with Carlos and Yann [named Wapi], that we retained in a partnership. I like him a lot.”

He continues, “One that I really like is Kerila (Fr). She’s a daughter of Makfi, and her first three foals are very nice horses; Darkness (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}), who is a 2-year-old Listed winner and group-placed, and Shaikha (Fr) (Ribchester {GB}), who won the Prix de Lisieux in a record time. She has a very nice Wootton Bassett 2-year-old in training with Andre Fabre for Al Shaqab Racing. She is in foal to Wootton Bassett, and she will return to him this year. She’s a small mare and he will give her a bit of size and quality. I really liked her first foal by the sire, and now that he has gone into training with André Fabre, I am dreaming. We bought her in foal for the first time to Siyouni from the Aga Khan, and that foal was Darkness.” 

Talvard continues, “I bought back Silver Lining (Fr), the half-sister to Wally (Fr), at the end of last year. She is by Caravaggio and she finished fourth in the Prix d’Aumale. A maiden, she will go to Blue Point (Ire) to give her a bit of size, and to keep the speed. Another son of Shamardal, but all our mares have Galileo in their pedigree and as I don’t like inbreeding the choices are limited. Sons of Shamardal, sons of Dubawi, sons of Deep Impact or Kodiac and Siyouni are lines that we use. But if you don’t want to inbreed to Danehill or Galileo you are restricted in your choice. I need to use stallions who regularly produce good-looking stock, as they all go to the sales, like Wootton Bassett, who is nearly certain to give you an attractive yearling.” 

I do all the foaling, and all the mares foal here. I want to take pleasure in each arrival.

Wootton Bassett left Haras d’Etreham for Coolmore in 2020, where he now commands a fee of €150,000, having begun his career at a modest €4,000 in 2012. Now sire of six Group 1 winners, his best-bred crops are still to come. 

Talvard adds, “Due to foal to Wootton Bassett this year is Chuppy (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}), on her maiden cover. She is the full-sister to Wonderful Tonight (Fr), and she will visit Mehmas (Ire) this year. Marianabaa (Fr) (Anabaa {USA}), the dam of G1 Maurice de Gheest winner Marianafoot, and dual Listed winner Marianachic (Fr) (Authorized {Ire}), will be covered by Zarak.

“In France, I mostly use Zarak, Siyouni, and the three Haras d’Etreham sires: Almanzor, Persian King (Ire) and Hello Youmzain (Fr), and I still support The Grey Gatsby as he is our homebred.  I have a share in him, but in general I try not to take shares in stallions as you are then obliged to use them, which is also the reason I don’t have stallions on the stud. I prefer to be free to make my choice of mating based on the mare and send her to the best possible sire.”

With such elite breeding stock in his paddocks, Talvard takes his mating planning seriously, working on it from the start of September through to the end of the year. 

“I do a couple every night,” he says. “I have a few rules; there is not to be any inbreeding, and the bloodlines need to work. I follow the race results of every race in the world throughout the year, and see what sires are succeeding and how their progeny race. Like Zarak, for example, he produces horses that want to race. Last year, he was already impressive, but this year has been exceptional. Even in smaller races, if there is one by Zarak in the race, it will be in the first three. They love their racing. He has such a pedigree as well, even if he is expensive I will use him. I have four going to him this year. 

“Another stallion who impressed me last year was Cracksman (GB), who I am sending two or three mares. We were really not expecting him to produce 2-year-olds, but he did. Jean-Claude Rouget has two for this year that look very good. John Gosden has several very well-bred 3-year-olds by him that haven’t debuted yet. Another that I really like is Earthlight (Ire). I have a lovely filly by him, and I think he is at reasonable price. I have to balance with some of the very expensive sires that we are using, as we also need to think of our budget.”

Talvard adds, “I don’t add up the nominations bill. I do the matings as if I were rich, and if the mare deserves the cover she will go to the stallion. I do this job because I want to breed beautiful foals; I do all the foaling, and all the mares foal here. I want to take pleasure in each arrival.”

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