Born by the side of the road in wartime France, Francois Doumen first came to the attention of the British racing public when Nupsala, a 25/1 outsider, grabbed a shock victory over Desert Orchid in the 1987 King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Doumen has built on that success to land other notable prizes in this country. It is the exploits of The Fellow, winner of two King George VI Chases (1991 & 1992) and the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup (1994), which stand out. The Fellow fell at the Canal Turn on the second circuit in 1994 on his only attempt at the John Smith’s Grand National.
Doumen’s spectacularly successful raids over here have helped boost the popularity of French half-bred horses with British trainers.
Doumen, whose father Jean trained successfully, spent seven years running a fashion business in South Africa before taking out a licence to train in 1977, having ridden more than 100 winners as an amateur between 1956-70.
Other good horses he has handled include King George winner Algan, Ucello II, Ubu III, Djeddah, Bog Frog, Val d’Elene, Moulin Riche, L’Ami, Innox, Kelami, Snow Drop, winner of the 2000 JCB Triumph Hurdle, and the great Baracouda, winner of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle in 2002 and 2003, as well as the 2000 King George VI Chase winner First Gold. Doumen also trained for the late Queen Mother.
His string is now Flat-orientated and has included the globe-trotting star Jim And Tonic, bred by his wife Elizabeth, whose successes included the 1999 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin. His son Thierry was a jockey and is now also a trainer.
In 2015, Sea Calisi was a close third in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks but disappointed at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day in October.
BCS Career statistics
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