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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


Updated: Jan 27, 2022

TUESDAY: January 25, 2022: IT’S a long way from the finest Normandy paddocks of the Aga Khan’s studs in France to Tyers Park racecourse at Bathurst.

Expatriate Frenchman Marc Chevalier has taken that journey and at the latter track today trained his first winner since setting up shop at Hawkesbury last year.

But he had quite an anxious wait before the judge confirmed his breakthrough success – ironically at the expense of leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup.

Chevalier’s Tri Nations ($8) and Widdup’s Narumi ($5.50) hit the line locked together in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1400m), and it must have seemed an eternity for Chevalier before Tri Nations’s number (2) went into the frame.

Tri Nations (Grant Buckley) burst through a gap in the straight and, after hitting the front, just edged out a gallant Narumi – but it was oh so close!

“It’s a great thrill to get that first win, but I wasn’t sure we had won when it took so long to decide the result,” Chevalier said before leaving the track to head home.

“Hopefully, it’s the start of good things to come this year.

“I have 12 horses in work, and things are slowly building up.

“I got a couple of yearlings from the Magic Millions sale at the Gold Coast this month, and will trial two unraced two-year-olds (a gelding by Invader named Inca Empire and filly by Artie Schiller who will race as Criminal Art) at Hawkesbury next Tuesday.”

Chevalier is unsure whether he is related to the legendary debonair French musical comedy star and entertainer Maurice Chevalier (who died in 1972 at 83 years of age), but has done the hard yards to succeed in his chosen profession.

He worked for the Aga Khan in his homeland and at Shadwell Stud in the UK before emigrating to Australia just over a decade back.

Chevalier said he had always wanted to train, and credited the Aga Khan’s right hand man George Rimaud for pushing him in the right direction to head to Australia.

“He stressed I should go to all the right places to learn as much as I could,” he said.

Chevalier worked at Arrowfield Stud in the Hunter Valley, and then with trainers Gary Moore (at Rosehill Gardens) and Danny O’Brien (at Flemington).

During his time with Moore, he was a finalist for the 2015-16 Sydney Strapper Of The Year award.

Chevalier and his wife Charlotte relocated from Victoria to Hawkesbury in May last year, and purchased Tri Nations (who was previously with fellow Hawkesbury trainer Edward Cummings) online through the Inglis digital sale in early July for $27,500.

The now five-year-old gelding was his first starter and almost gave him a dream result, going under narrowly over 1200m at Scone on August 12 at $26.

“I intended to run Tri Nations first-up this time at Orange on January 7 in a Benchmark 58 Handicap (1280m), and had booked Grant (Buckley) to ride him,” Chevalier said.

“But I scratched him on race morning when the track was wet (the meeting was subsequently called off without a race being run).

“I have been looking for a good track for him, and had given him enough work to have a crack at the 1400m first-up at Bathurst today.

“Grant gave him a great ride, and thanks to him for getting me my first winner.”

. Chevalier became the 20th Hawkesbury trainer to taste success in the first half of the 2021-22 season, and Tri Nations was the track’s 81st winner.

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