One of the great training careers of the modern era will officially come to an end on 31 December when Alain de Royer-Dupre heads into retirement, the winner of more than 90 G1s around the world, including 19 French Classics.
The man who will be forever identified with the careers of a stellar trio in Dalakhani, Pride and Zarkava, will send out Ebaiyra on Sunday (12 December) in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m).
All three of the aforementioned champions signed off with a valedictory success – Pride herself at Sha Tin in December, 2006 – and should Ebaiyra do the same then there could be no more fitting end for Royer-Dupre’s own journey, 49 years after he saddled his first winner.
“We have the older Japanese horse Glory Vase who is obviously pretty good and I don’t know how we measure up, but if Ebaiyra runs well it will be very satisfying,” says Royer-Dupre, who turned 77 in September. “It will put a full stop on my career and it’s a great way to go out. It’s possible she could be my final runner.”
For the last four decades Royer-Dupre has served as principal trainer to H H the Aga Khan and it is those famous emerald green silks that Christophe Soumillon will carry aboard Ebaiyra, who her handler hopes has rebounded from a mid-season blip and whose best form puts her right in the mix with Glory Vase, Pyledriver and Mogul among the international challengers for the HK$20 million LONGINES Hong Kong Vase.