For Wouter (44) and Dieter (41) Balcaen was born and raised from Waregem, the 175th Waregem Koerse had to be one for framing. As co-owners of the eight-year-old Thiago Des Dunes stallion, the two brothers had a great chance of winning a podium or even winning the Rallye Waregem. But in the sixth hurdle, “Rail Ditch & Fence,” things go wrong. However, the Balcaen brothers are already looking forward.
Last year, the story of chivalry began by chance on the terrace of Café De Klauwaert in Waregemse Market. “Because of Corona, there was still a closing hour at 1 am,” says Wouter. “As we were leaving the café, we met Patrice Quinton. Patrice is a household name at Waregem and since 2011 has been the King of Gaverbeek. We talked and invited over 20 Ecurie des Dunes members to our house and party until the wee hours. We met the next day and Quinton scored his 10th victory over Running with Gino de Dunes. It was the beginning of a unique friendship and at the same time the beginning of our involvement in the equestrian sport.”
Sale is closed
This bond has been preserved to this day. “Six weeks before Waregem Koerse, we visited their stables in Normandy, at the foot of Mount Saint-Michel. We were welcomed like royalty. There, the sale of Thiago Des Dunes was completed. We bought the horse in joint ownership with the successful trainer Patrice. The choice of this stallion was The eight-year-old is entirely up to Patrice. He is a home-bred horse surrounded by the best care. In the morning, for example, the horses walk in the salty sea water, which is good for their morale and their muscles.” In addition, he is a horse with the best trainer for the job and the most successful stable since the turn of the century.
“The Monday evening before the Waregem Koerse climax, we organized a garden party in my brother Wouter for the gang now of 32, who together started nine horses in three races.” We then went with the whole group to Café De Klauwaert, where the adventure began a year ago. Due to its French appearance, the café was also called a French Café the name of the thing. The perfect place to meet.”
“During the morning there was training with the horses on the Irish Rim,” Wouter continues. ‘At noon we went fast to greet our horse in the stables, then settled in the iDocta Clubhouse in the central plaza, in accordance with the annual tradition. He was looking forward to the third race where our friends Hyperion De Kerser (1 Ecurie des M) and General Deje (2 Ecurie Haras d’) had started Erable) and Dreammy Love (7 Ecurie des Dunes) at Kleine Steeple for 4 and 5 years older. All horses had Patrice as trainer. It was a race with double passion: Patrice immediately won first prize with Dreammy Love and second place with General Desjy, but Hyperion had a bad fall and broke his arm and was promptly disposed of. Heartbreaking scenes include the owner’s daughter training and grooming and directing the horse for a run. This is a pathetic part of the equestrian sport. There has obviously been a lot of hype on social media. I can understand the reactions. These, but many do not know the real facts.These horses are like children to the owners, trainers and caretakers and enjoy the best treatment.We were able to experience this very clearly during our visit to the stables and training center in July.Over the years, a lot has been done The efforts to make the courses more equine friendly, which we of course commend. But it’s still Staple Chase.”
“Tension rose as the great steeple approached chasing Flanders. With four horses at the start – Premier vert (1 Papot), Calisco de Kerser (4 Ecurie des Dunes), Shawinigan (6 Ecurie des M), and Heclypse Blue (Ecurie Du Haras D) ‘Erable) – it was hoped an 11th victory. In the end it didn’t happen, which was a slight disappointment. But a very good result was achieved with 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th place.”
We want to start over next year with Thiago
“The tension really stopped when Thiago Des Dunes (8 Ecurie des Dunes/Balcaen Family) appeared in the seventh race with fellow stablemate Flavius (3 V. Langenais). The track of The Price Rallye Waregem is nearly identical to that of the Grote Steeple where 25 obstacles were jumped. At an altitude of 4600 metres.The experience and tension was tremendous and completely different from previous years.This was a strong emotion for us as residents of Warjim.We dreamed of getting the Warjim prize and ourselves.The battle plan was to start at the back of the peloton in a wait-and-see attitude and advance down the fairway. Last at the Bloso turn, then the string as close as possible. We had a horse in the top three, but a win was out of the question with a decent 62kg on his back. With Clément Lefebre we also had one of the best riders in the group.”
the end of the dream
With the second listing with bookmakers, Waregem completely believed in the house horse Thiago Des Dunes. It has been widely published. “Everything went according to plan until Ditch & Fence Railroad, seventh hurdle, suddenly ended the dream. Thiago jumped insufficiently and encountered an obstacle. We immediately received information that the horse and its rider were unharmed. When you see this happen, your heart stops for a moment. Then. The feelings you’ve been living for weeks come. First, there are reassurances that there are no injuries, but soon it follows that our dream of Waregem Koerse 2022 is over. The question remains: Where would it have ended had this not happened? Patrice sat next to me and saw my disappointment,” Dieter says. He attributed the words: To win you have to learn to lose, we will come back stronger. But we didn’t let it reach us. Flavius came in second, which is a great achievement for the stable. Then came a small flow (Laugh). The reaction from Wargim’s audience was phenomenal. Before, during and after the run, our cell phones were super hot. We bet on himWe’ve heard that a lot.” But also many encouraging words and Varyjem’s sharing of her pride.
However, plans were made immediately. The next race for Thiago de Dunes is on September 25th in Le Touquet, France, where he can still win in 2020. We would also like to look forward to next year, because our ambition is to start over with Thiago. If that doesn’t work, we’d like to introduce Plan B. “
“For my brother and I this was the 43rd, 41st and Arigem Corsi respectively. We haven’t missed a release in any year of our lives. It’s still totally unique,” concludes Dieter proudly. (ELD)