February 24, 2012
words by STEPHEN HOWELL
photography by THE SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP
The first time Stephanie Nigge saw Lindsay Park Euroa she knew she wanted Americain to live there. And why wouldn't she?
Nigge described the 1200-acre (485-hectare) property as a five-star hotel for horses, and Americain, as the 2010 Emirates Melbourne Cup winner and rated the world's best stayer last year, had earned something better than any old bed-and-breakfast farm.
With trainer David Hayes spending some $12 million on the place to give it a value of $18-$20 million, the state-of-the-art training farm 150km north-east of Melbourne passed Nigge's test, and that of owners Gerry and Val Ryan and Kevin and Colleen Bamford.
And taking over as trainer of Americain, who is staying in Australia after racing in Victoria for French trainer Alain de Royer Dupre, Hayes had a headline horse he hoped would give him his 61st Australian Group 1 win and 79th overall.
Frenchwoman Nigge, 24, was part of the deal, happily staying with American after de Royer Dupre had entrusted the stallion to her for his 2010 and 2011 spring campaigns while he supervised by phone from Chantilly before flying in for the Melbourne Cups-Americain was fourth (and perhaps unlucky not to win again) last year.
The horse's first-start target this year is the $1 million Group 1 Dubai Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 10 before heading to Sydney for The BMW ($2.25 million, Group 1, 2400m) at Rosehill on April 7.
Just as Nigge says she and Americain are lucky to be at Lindsay Park, Hayes says he is lucky to have Nigge because she takes away the trial and error that goes with a new horse in the stable.
For more on Americain's new home see the March edition of Inside Racing, out now.
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