François-Marie Cottin just missed out on the leading trainer title at Cagnes-sur-Mer in terms of victories last winter, but he did end the meeting as leading trainer in terms of prize-money.
Based in Chantilly, Cottin, whose cousin is David Cottin, the former champion jockey turned trainer, was also the leading breeder at the meeting thanks to homebreds Achour and Côte d’Azur, who respectively won the two feature races of the meeting, the Grand Prix de la Ville de Nice, also known as the Grand Steeple-Chase of Cagnes, and the Grande Course de Haies.
“Since I started training 15 years ago, I have always done well in the meeting at Cagnes-sur-Mer,” explains the French born trainer who speaks English with an Irish accent after spending eight years in Ireland with the likes of Michael Hourigan, Aidan O’Brien and Arthur Moore.
“It is a meeting that has worked well for me. Every year I worry that it might not last, but so far it has and I’m hoping that this year is not going to be the exception.”
Cottin who currently ranks fifth in the French trainers’ table even though he has not even half the number of horses in training champion trainer François Nicolle would have in his yard, has every reason to be optimistic.
Last year’s grade 3 winner Achour, a son of Limnos and Jolie Menthe, is featuring once again on the list of the nearly 30 horses that will travel down from Paris to the Mediterranean and here Cottin talks Liz Price of attheraces.com through those he hopes will be the most competitive.