Tribute to the inimitable Deauville restaurateur from Racing Post | Bloodstock News


Patrick McCann (

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Desmond Stoneham (centre), pictured with Alex Summerfield and Eric Hoyeau from Arqana in Deauville, was the man in the know about the restaurant and bar scene

Patrick McCann (

UPDATED AUGUST 9, 2022 AT 10:52 AM

Hello Bloodstock is the daily morning email from Martin Stevens and presented online as an example.

Here he reminisces about the amusing but priceless thoughts of the late Desmond Stoneham on Deauville. subscribers can get more information from Martin Monday through Friday.

All you have to do is click on the link above, sign up and then read to your heart’s content each weekday morning starting at 7am.

I really don’t regret my old role editing the Racing Post’s blood pages at this time of year. It was still there now as the summer yearling sales supplement was put together in a tumult of researching, writing, producing pinhooking charts and catalog updates, and then proofreading the batch .

I much prefer to just be a contributor to the post these days, and have had a look at the first generation bulls and spoken to some of the key auction figures Arqana August, Goffs UK Premier and BBAG for the edit of this year, which comes out on Thursday.

One thing I miss in the process, however, was looking forward to Desmond Stoneham sending in his legendary thoughts on the Deauville food scene, which he kindly continued to provide after his retirement from his regular French racing reporting .

His articles were always informative, often quite colorful and sometimes downright eccentric. But the one thing you can guarantee is that they have been thoroughly researched.

Since Desmond passed away in the spring, I thought I’d pay homage to the man known as “Mr French Racing” by revisiting some of the best lines from his reviews. His inimitable words should whet the appetites of readers heading to Deauville this week and inspire the next trip to this special seaside town for those who aren’t.

Desmond was a good friend of Hervé Van Colen, who owned several restaurants and watering holes around Deauville and nearby Trouville, including his much-missed eponymous restaurant near the Deauville market square.

Big news in 2008. “The ‘boss’ is back in the kitchen, accompanied by his long-suffering wife, Babette”, writes Desmond impatiently, before quoting Hervé: “It was impossible for me to find a chef, so I’m doing the job I was trained to do.

“I make the best mint sauce in France to accompany the rack of lamb. It would go well with my new Chinon, Domaine de la Noblaie.

Only God knows what happened in the kitchen between Hervé and Babette, but in the following year’s review, the restaurateur told Desmond: “We have a new chef called Mehdi. Veal liver and kidneys seem popular at the moment.

Four years later, Hervé seems tired of catering to the unsophisticated palates of his foreign customers, as Desmond records him as desperate to serve his Norman rack of lamb “with a lamentable mint sauce for the British”.

Patrick McCann

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Arqana August yearling sale kicks off this week in Deauville

Arqana August yearling sale kicks off this week in Deauville

Patrick McCann

The formidable height of the French restaurateur was once again displayed in 2008, as Desmond wrote: “The main gastronomic news in Deauville is that Jacques [Aviegne] is back at Chez Miocque. For 27 years, he managed this famous establishment before deciding to put an end to it.

“Unfortunately the place went downhill under new ownership, so popular demand forced Jacques out of retirement. decided to come back. So many people are happy that I’m back.

Anyone who has been to Chez Miocque’s neighbour, Le Drakkar, the popular meeting point for British and Irish visitors, while its bar and exterior are still packed with drinkers at 4am, must have had a thought for poor staff at one point, and Desmond had reassuring words on that point in 2011.

He writes: “One of the managers, Cyril Tribhou, told me that ‘the servers are fully prepared, which is important because we plan to stay open all night during the sales. Our staff work just over 35 hours during this week, but they make time back later.

Desmond questioned the relative merits of Deauville and Trouville in 2010.

“The former is a smart extension of Paris and often referred to as the 21st arrondissement, while Trouville is a port that operates all year round and not just during long French holidays,” he wrote. The Deauvillais consider Trouville as a working class and the Trouvillais consider Deauville as a bourgeois and dormitory town.

It is not difficult to guess which was our scribe’s favorite of the two stations separated by the Touques, as he continues: “Trouville has a lot of charm and the only drawbacks are the lack of parking and the Notre Dame church victories. have the loudest bells in Europe and they ring before every mass and before and after every funeral.

That same year, he got a scoop from the racetrack.

“On August 1, the first race at the Hippodrome de la Touques was won by a Toyota driven by a mysterious lady,” he wrote. “She was looking for the polo field but took a wrong turn and ended up on the all-weather track and started doing a circuit. The stewards are said to be looking for the pilot and tossing him the settlement.

No one could ever have accused Desmond of not following cultural trends either. In 1998, he heard about a stiff new drink being served at Philip Ciavatta’s Brok Café.

“Philip has always been an expert with a shaker and his bar has a long list of rum boosters,” he documents. “Never one to miss a trick, he invented the Viagra Punch, which is guaranteed to energize.

Patrick McCann

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Desmond with Scott Burton (left), who took on his role for the Racing Post, Bruce Millington, now director of sports at Spotlight Sports Group, and former director of business operations and special projects for Racing Post Keeley Chalk

Desmond with Scott Burton (left), who took on his role for the Racing Post, Bruce Millington, now director of sports at Spotlight Sports Group, and former director of business operations and special projects for Racing Post Keeley Chalk

Patrick McCann

Fourteen years later, our intrepid scribe joined the crowd as he ventured along the coast to the Ammonites at Benerville-sur-Mer, to see what it was all about.

“This place is really ‘hip’, or trendy, and the cocktails are very trendy,” he wrote. “One evening when the sun slowly slips into the sea, the place is filled with glamorous, tanned young women and strange cougars.

“One of the most popular drinks is the ‘Pool’, tall glasses filled with ice and topped with champagne, rosé or even pastis.”

I must say that all this talk of the culinary delights of Deauville makes me regret missing out on the industry’s annual pilgrimage to Normandy this year. I’m scheduled to be elsewhere in Europe on an exciting assignment for Good Morning Bloodstock – more of that soon.

Hopefully those lucky enough to be in Deauville this week and fondly remember Desmond’s unique restaurant reviews – not to mention his kindness, warmth and scrupulous reporting on all things French shopping – will raise a glass of rosé, his favorite drink, in his memory.

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“I’ve been coming to Deauville since I was a teenager, so coming to have a Group 1 winner here on a great day with this crowd and all, what more could you ask for? says former Channel 4 Racing boss John Fairley as he celebrates the breeding and ownership of Sunday’s Prix Maurice de Gheest heroine, Highfield Princess.

Martini Nights, a newcomer to the six furlong fillies maiden at Carlisle on Tuesday (5.40), has a lot going for her on the pedigree.

She is out of the quintessential sire of two-year-olds No Nay Never – source of this season’s black-type juvenile winners Blackbeard, Little Big Bear, Meditate and Trillium – and is Broderie Anglaise’s first foal, a Galileo brother to the markers of Dirgam, Fermion, Hearthstead Maison, Rave Reviews, and Spin stakes, plus 1,000 Third Moth Guineas.

Martini Nights is trained by James Horton for John and Jess Dance, having been bought for 140,000 gns from Book 1 of Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.


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