With South Africa televising French racing on a frequent basis, many of our country’s racegoers are familiar with the name MAXIME GUYON. The 23-year old Frenchman is the stable jockey to legendary French trainer Andre Fabre. Guyon has finished runner-up in the last two domestic championships in France. He has been chosen as an ambassador for French Racing and visits South African shores over the next two weeks with the primary objective of stimulating French interest in South African horseracing. He rides in PE at Fairview on 30 January and 1February, Clairwood Park in KZN on 31 January and completes his tour at Kenilworth on Met day i.e. 2 February 2013. The youngster has ridden 693 winners in his career, back home, and has ridden in Japan, Mauritius, Germany, Italy, Spain, Dubai and the USA.
What is your name and age? MAXIME GUYON and I am 23 years old.
What is your star sign and birthdate? I am a Taurus, born 7 May 1989.
Where were you born? In Laval (Mayenne), West of France.
Where do you live? I live in Lamorlaye, near Chantilly.
Tell us about your family? I am married with a baby.
Do you have a ‘nickname’? Not that I know of.
Favourite food? All kinds of pasta.
Favourite drink? Coca Cola.
Favourite music? R’n B.
Favourite book? Paris-Turf.
Favourite sport? Football.
Favourite holiday destination? Mauritius.
What book are you reading at the moment? Paris-Turf.
What is the characteristic you like most about yourself? Simplicity.
Where did you do your schooling? Moulin A Vent in Chantilly / AFASEC.
As a young man were you always interested in horses and horseracing and how did this interest come about? My interest started with the pony races.
When and where did you start your apprenticeship and who were the trainers that gave you most chances? In 2004 when I arrived at Mr. Fabre’s stable.
You gained your senior licence in January 2008. How soon after that did you ride your first Gr1 winner? In 2009 with Calvalryman for Mr. Fabre in Longchamp. It was the Grand Prix de Paris.
Who had the most influence on you becoming a jockey? My family and my boss who helps me a lot.
Where did you have your first ride and tell us about it? I forget the day exactly but it was at a provincial track. It was very exciting but was too short for a first time.
How thrilling was it for you to compete in a race against seasoned jockeys? It was amazing at the beginning and very fast. I was excited to fight it out with them.
How did your family feel about you becoming a jockey? They are very happy for me. They come frequently to the track.
Is any of your family involved in racing in any way? No,not at all.
Where did you ride your first winner and for which trainer? At a provincial track, “Cluni-Macon”, for my boss Mr. Fabre.
As a young jockey coming into the game did you have to go to the stables and work with horses? Of course. I had to work every morning with pleasure. I still continue to do this. I keep my condition by riding gallops often in the morning.
Which of the top jockeys were your role models? Olivier Peslier.
Trainer Andre Fabre is a legend of French racing. What would you say are the most important lessons you have learnt from him either as a jockey or as a young man in life? It’s very simple; he has taught me everything from the beginning to the end since I arrived in the stable.
You have finished runner up in the last three French Jockey Championships and each time improved on your number of winners for the season. You are obviously aiming to go one better this season and what number of wins will you be targeting? We will work very hard for that. I am always trying to do better.
You, Christophe Soumillon and Loritz Mendizabal have dominated the French racing scene over the past three seasons. Is there any tension between you’ll in the jockey room before major race? No, never.
Which jockeys are you friends with? Mickael Barzalona, Olivier Peslier and Flavien Prat.
You are trainer Andre Fabre’s first call jockey. Mention some of the top horses that you have been associated with in the yard? Cavalryman / Golden Lilac / Meandre / Mandaean / Lope De Vega and Byword.
How did you come to the attention of trainer Fabre at such a young age? The Afasec put me in the stable.
When does the French racing season officially start and how is the season divided up? The season never stops. Now we have the winter meetings at Deauville and Cagnes Sur Mer.
Last year you rode in 1104 races. This is a large number of races. Who is your agent and aside from your stable’s rides, how do you’ll go about getting other rides? My agent is Alexis Doussot. He has worked with me for a long time and he tries to catch the best rides when my boss has nothing in the race.
Mention some of the major races you have won?
2009 / Qatar Prix de l’Opera (Longchamp) on SHALANAYA.
2009 / Grand Prix de Paris (Longchamp) on CAVALRYMAN.
2010 / Prix Poule d’Essai des Poulains (Longchamp) on LOPE DE VEGA.
2010 / Prix du Jockey Club (Chantilly) on LOPE DE VEGA.
2010 / Prix Ganay (Longchamp) on CUTLASS BAY.
2010 / Prince of Wales Stakes (Ascot) on BYWORD.
2011 / Hong Kong Derby (Sha Tin) on AMBITIOUS DRAGON.
2011 / Hong Kong Queen Elizabeth II (Sha Tin) on AMBITIOUS DRAGON.
2011 / Prix de Diane (Chantilly) on GOLDEN LILAC.
2011 / Grand Prix de Paris (Longchamp) on MEANDRE.
2011 / Prix Jean Prat (Chantilly) on MUTUAL TRUST.
2011 / Prix Jean Romanet (Deauville) on ANNOUNCE.
2011 / Prix Royal-Oak (Longchamp) on BE FABULOUS.
2011 / Criterium de St-Cloud (St-Cloud) on MANDAEAN.
2012 / Grand Prix de St-Cloud (St-Cloud) on MEANDRE.
2012 / Grosser Preis von Berlin (Hoppegarten) on MEANDRE.
2012 / Prix Jean Prat (Chantilly) on AESOP’S FABLES.
2012 / Prix d’Ispahan (Longchamp) on GOLDEN LILAC.
2012 / Criterium de St-Cloud (St-Cloud) on MORANDI.
The most prestigious French race is the Arc De Triomphe. How many times have you ridden in this race and what has been your best finishing position? Describe the atmosphere on the big day? I have ridden in the Arc 2 times. It’s not a normal day. There is a huge crowd present and it’s a different atmosphere. Many people come that day to see the sport not just horse racing.
Do you have a sponsor? Not yet.
You have ridden 15 winners in Hong Kong including the Grade 1 Hong Kong Derby on the South African trained Ambitious Dragon for Tony Millard. Tell us about your experience in Hong Kong and the class of Ambitious Dragon? It was fantastic to be in Hong Kong and to ride so many winners in such a short period. I was really helped by Mr. Tony Millard who gave me some good rides including a ride on Ambitious Dragon who was only a handicap horse at the time. We immediately felt that he was a wonderful horse. I learnt a lot in Hong Kong. It’s a very nice place to visit and to learn the art of being a jockey.
What would you say is the big difference between riding in France to riding in Hong Kong? Running speed.
Mention the different countries that you have ridden in? Japan, Mauritius, Germany, Italy, Spain, Dubai and the USA.
At this early stage of your career, which is the best horse that you have been associated with? Golden Lilac.
What is your minimum riding mass? 52/53 kgs.
How many career wins have you ridden to date? 693 winners in France at this time.
Which is your favourite race you have ridden in anywhere in the world? My last Prix de Diane, with Golden Lilac,12/06/2011.
How many racecourses are there in France and how often do you ride? 5 to 6 days a week. There are so many racecourses that I don’t know the exact number.
Your fellow French jockey Olivier Peslier visited South Africa for the International Jockeys Challenge in 2011. Have you enquired from him with regards to his stay in South Africa? Yes, he gave me some good advice.
How did this trip come about? Who organized it and how was Maxime chosen to be the jockey coming to South Africa? The idea came from John Stuart and Patrick Davis. They asked me to help with our contacts to France Galop. I got the contact-details from Maxime Guyon from France Galop, I called himand found him interested. He will be in Mauritius for a holiday and he is thinking about spending the next European Winter somewhere outside France. South-Africa might be a good choice for such a “Winter-Camp.”
You will soon be riding in four meetings in South Africa at 3 different venues. Have you done any homework on South African racing and what are you expecting? I am working on that now. I would especially like to push myself in a new country with a new atmosphere.
You will be riding in Cape Town which rates as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Will you be taking in all the sights including a ride to the top of Table Mountain and a boat ride to Robben Island? Of course. I want to take time to visit this beautiful town. I will stay a little bit longer after the 4 meetings and then I will have time to enjoy all the amazing sights in your country.
The countryside around Cape Town also has some magnificent wine farms. Coming from a country which boasts great wine will you be wine-tasting in South Africa? I am not a big fan of wine, but I can try to compare.
What do you aim to achieve during your short stint in South Africa? I want the trainers and professionals to be happy with my rides and to ask me to come back to South Africa. Then it will be my aim to come back again next winter, at the same period, and maybe for longer.
How do you like to celebrate a particularly good day at the track? A good dinner with the owners and trainers, that’s the best way to celebrate.
Although you are still young in years what advice would you give to any young man, or woman, about to embark on a career as a jockey? Keep your morale high. This profession is fabulous, so be strong.
You must be considered a good ‘catch’ for any young woman. Are you seriously involved with anybody or are you playing the field? I am married now and I have one child so it’s too late J.