Racing has a wonderful way of producing rags-to-riches stories from time to time, and the story of Diablo De Rouhet is certainly a success story for his connections.
Bought “cheap” in 2017 as a failed point-to-pointer by dealer David White, who owns Irish Horse Imports near Reading with his wife Katherine, the son of Great Pretender has gone on to flourish under Rules.
“We came across him in Ireland and I bought him for just £300. He had previously been sold around the £50,000 mark at the Land Rover Sales, ” said David of Diablo De Rouhet — aka Pierre — who had been pulled up on his only two starts pointing for trainer Donnchadh Doyle.
“We got him home and Katherine sweetened him up by taking him hacking around the nearby fields and up the gallops. She also did some dressage, jumping and hunting with him,” added David, who also trains a handful of pointers.
“We then tried to sell him as a riding horse for £600. But we couldn’t sell him because he windsucks, so we thought we’d keep him and train him for racing ourselves.”
After working the gelding on the gallops in Lambourn, David realised he had a special horse on his hands and invited Simon Darvall to come on board as a part-owner.
“He went under Rules in November 2017 and was trained by Jo Hughes,” said David. “During that time he won a hurdle race at Chepstow in January 2018 and went on to run at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
“At the start of 2019, we decided to bring him home for a refresh; I just felt he needed a bit of a break from the game. Katherine did some more dressage with him — he was actually placed in a dressage competition at Hall Place EC just before winning at Uttoxeter in October this year.”
Pumphill Fandango was "underweight, neglected and miserable” when he was rescued by the RSPCA in 2010
Diablo De Rouhet had 105 days off the racecourse before David ran him at Edgcote point-to-point in April. Over the summer, the six-year-old then headed to the outstanding yard of Nicky Henderson in Lambourn and has since been unstoppable; picking up three wins and a second place. All his routes now lead to the 2019 Cheltenham Festival if all goes to plan.
“Nicky’s yard is spot-on and we go over and watch Diablo De Rouhet on the gallops when we can,” added David. “He has been a brilliant horse and so consistent; he’s a real gentleman to deal with.
“After winning his maiden hurdle at Chepstow in 2018 I had offers from people to buy him, which I turned down. Yes, I am a horse dealer and selling horses is what I do, but I have waited many years to own a racehorse as good as this one.”
Would you like to read Horse & Hound’s independent journalism without any adverts? Join Horse & Hound Plus today and you can read all articles on HorseandHound.co.uk completely ad-free