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Griffin reflects on successful French trip

Roi Mage (centre)Roi Mage (centre)
© Photo Healy Racing

Trainer's son and assistant James Griffin has reflected on a recent successful trip to France with Aintree National-seventh Roi Mage, which landed the Grand Steeple-Chase-Cross-Country De Compiegne, bagging E30,000 profit.

The 11 year old gelding, a French Grade 1 winner for previous connections in 2016, joined trainer Patrick Griffin's Oldtown, Co Dublin-based yard in 2022 and, on November 10, registered a 10th career success when scoring at Compiegne.

Carrying the same Pryde/Van Der Hoeven/McGladery/Beaumont colours of 2013 Aintree Grand National winner Auroras Encore, Roi Mage picked up €35,910.00 for winning at Compiegne, a course which is 90km north of Paris.

Regarding the French adventure and transportation costs in general, trainer's son James Griffin reports "it is very straightforward getting to France - we travelled Dublin to Holyhead and got the Eurotunnel train from Dover to Calais. We left the yard on Tuesday, ran Friday and were home Saturday night.

“It cost us E3,000 including everything that we needed which isn't off-putting when you are going somewhere with a chance.

"I read something recently wondering why people couldn't understand why more Irish trainers didn't run in the UK but the costs are off-putting. You can go for only €600 or €800 but the paperwork is an extra 50% due to Brexit, compared to €100 for the French paperwork

"There should be something more officials can do to try another type of agreement which can make things more cost-effective.”

Regarding Roi Mage and another Aintree bid, he added "he ran in the same race (at Compiegne) last year so the plan was to start off in it again as I knew he wouldn't have last year's penalty. It was a nice starting point, he came out of it very well and all roads now lead to Tramore on New Year's Day for the Savilles Chase.

"We are working back from the Aintree National - he has his mark of 147 and won't be running in handicaps as we're hoping to protect that mark. He'll run in Down Royal on St Patrick's Day and that will be his main stepping stone to Aintree."

About Tom Weekes
A lifelong racing fan, Tom began writing point to point reports in 2002 and has reported for irishracing.com since 2003, when he joined Irish Racing Services - since taken over by the Press Association. Has ridden a point to point winner and won the 2018 Irish Field Naps Table.