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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 March, 2003, 17:05 GMT
Francois Doumen
Francois Doumen
Date of birth: 11 June 1940
Started training: 1977
Base: Bouce, Normandy
Festival wins: 3
2002 wins: 11 (Fra)
2001 wins: 11 (Fra)
2000 wins: 22 (Fra)
Main jockey: Thierry Doumen
Stable stars: Baracouda
Doumen arrived in racing late despite coming from a family with a rich tradition in the sport.

His father, Jean, was a jockey and trainer at Maisons-Laffitte for more than 50 years, and his older brother Christophe was also a trainer at Maisons-Laffitte before emigrating to America.

Doumen, a successful amateur jockey on the Flat, opted to study veterinary science before managing an import-export clothing business in South Africa.

But the lure of racing, and France, proved too much.

He assisted his father before obtaining his own training licence, making an immediate impact with some of the best horses of recent times.

Doumen has made a speciality of crossing the Channel to beat the best of British on their own soil, saddling nine winners in each of the last two years in Britain.

In 1986, Nupsala became the first French horse to win the King George VI Chase, a race Doumen has now secured five times with four different horses.

The Fellow followed suit with back-to-back wins in 1991 and 1992 before landing the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1994.

And Doumen would almost have definitely repeated that double in 2000 but for the intervention of foot-and-mouth disease.

First Gold had stormed to victory at Kempton Park on Boxing Day but missed out on the Cheltenham Festival.

Doumen's most recent high-profile winner has been Baracouda, who clinched the Stayers' Hurdle in 2002 and 2003.




CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL 2003

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CORNELIUS LYSAGHT

BIG-RACE ACTION
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