British and Irish National Hunt breeders who have contemplated sending a mare to exciting stallion Network in a bid to produce the next Sprinter Sacre will be out of luck as his book is already full for 2013.

Sprinter Sacre’s sire Network is the star of Haras du Cercy’s roster

The 15-year-old son of Monsun, whose best offspring also include Rubi Ball and Saint Are, is the star of the roster at Haras National Cercy La Tour, which next year will be known as Haras du Cercy following its takeover by a co-operative of French breeders – a set-up which could be replicated throughout France’s Haras Nationaux operation as it undergoes a dramatic reorganisation within the next two years.

Eighty breeders in the centre-east region of the country have formed the Société Coopérative Agricole des Eleveurs de Chevaux de Course (SCAECC) in order to save Haras du Cercy – which has been in existence since the 1920s – and its roster of stallions, which includes Voix Du Nord, Policy Maker, Racinger, Kotki Bleu and Verdangeur.

“Two years ago it was decided that the National Studs of France would disappear,” said Andrée Cypres, whose husband Jacques is the President of the SCAECC. “In 2013 we will be working with the National Studs and leasing the stallions in partnership, but after that we’ll be on our own.

“It hasn’t been done before but there was no choice – we had to do something or the stud would have closed. Here in the centre-east it’s important. Up in Normandy people have a choice of more private studs but here in the centre many breeders use the National Studs as there are few private options.”

The exploits of the outstanding AQPS gelding Sprinter Sacre brought the merits of Network to a wider audience in the UK last season when he put together a string of five victories, including the Racing Post Arkle Chase at Cheltenham and the John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree.
In France, Rubi Ball’s back-to-back wins in the Grade 1 Prix La Haye Jousselin at Auteuil have helped to push the seven-year-old’s earnings past the £1 million mark.

With Network restricted to a book of around 80 mares, under the terms of the co-operative, which state that each member has the right of one nomination to each stallion, he is already fully subscribed for the next breeding season. Cypres has high hopes, however, for his 11-year-old stablemate Voix du Nord, sire of the dual Grade 3 hurdle winner Ceasar’s Palace, who is trained by his owner/breeder Jean-Paul Gallorini.

She said: “Network needs to be preserved and he cannot cover lots of mares. We want to look after him. Voix du Nord has made a faster start to his stud career than Network did and I think he’ll be our next star.

“If the nominations are not taken up by the members of the co-operative then the horse is open to everybody.

“I have had emails every day from people saying they want to use Network, but they must understand it’s not protectionism. The co-op is running several stallions and we need people to use all of them, not just the star.

“We have to make this work for the stud and it works better because we are all together. It was important to keep the stud going for small breeders and for those who supported Network from the start.”