As stables prepare for new Flat Turf season there is one trainer across the Channel who is getting his horses ready in a much calmer climate. The man in Jean Claude Rouget… Superman French Trainer.
This man is one of the Aga Khan’s trainers who is another French Genius alongside the household names of Andre Fabre and Alain Du Roy Dupres.
Jean Claude Rouget was born in 1953 and at the age of 25 took out a trainers licence based in Pau. In his early years Jean Claude was a dual purpose trainer which means he trained flat horses and national hunt horses. Like in all fairy stories he trained a winner with his first runner and gradually became a dominant force in the southwest of France.
From 1993 Jean Claude decided to concentrate solely on Flat horses in an effort to rise up the rankings aiming to be the best around. This was not as easy as it sounds though because the top trainers had the facilities and were based in and around Chantilly.
Very quickly Jean Claude set a record which still stands of 242 winners in a season and won Group1 races courtesy of a horse called Millkom who won six times in the southwest before taking Group1 honours in the Prix Jean Prat and Grand Prix de Paris. Millkom lost in the Arc but bounced back to win the Group1 Man O’War Stakes. Jean Claude was moving up the ladder… very quickly.
As the years progressed Jean Claude was leading winner trainer in France and by the turn of the century the sky was his limit as Group race winners were coming along on a very regular basis. Then in 2007 Literato won the Champion Stakes at Newmarket as Jean Claude made his mark in Great Britain. That same year saw the Aga Khan starting relations with this progressive trainer to add him to their list of trainers was indeed recognition.
By 2010 Jean Claude had trained 5,000 winners… what a great achievement? Success sometimes interrupted by disaster such as when Valyra was tragically killed in an accident. She was a superb filly destined for the very top. Jean Claude continues to train winners and bounced back with Ervedya in 2015 to win three Group1 races including the Coronation Stakes.
It’s obvious to us all by now this man, Jean Claude Rouget, is a genius who is heading towards 6,000 winners and any horses he runs must be feared. Jean Claude is heading towards ‘Legend’ status amongst the great trainers. Any man who gives Aidan O’Brien a challenge Must indeed be pretty good and that has happened over recent seasons.
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