Valegro’s dam dies aged 26, leaving remarkable legacy

  • Maifleur, the dam to double Olympic champion Valegro, has died aged 26.

    The KWPN chestnut mare, owned by Valegro’s breeders, Joop and Maartje Hanse, was by Voltaire stallion Gershwin, out of Heidelberg mare Weidyfleur.

    Credited with “keur” status by the KWPN in 1997, Maifleur was herself a prolific winner in breed classes, just as her own mother had been ­– both Weidyfleur and Maifleur were crowned champion of the Zeeland breed show.

    The Hanses, based at Burgh Hamstede to the southwest of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, selected the then-upcoming Ferro stallion Negro to complement Maifleur’s jumping bloodlines. The resulting foal, born on 5 July 2002, was Valegro – originally named Vainqueurfleur by the Hanses.

    Valegro was bought as a foal by Gertjan Van Olst, owner of Negro, and admired as a two-year-old by Britain’s Carl Hester at the KWPN stallion show. When Valegro failed to make the grade as a stallion, Carl bought him and after he was gelded, he arrived to live at Carl’s Gloucestershire yard.

    Continues below…

    Maifleur has left behind an impressive legacy. She produced six foals, including three others by Negro, making them full siblings to Valegro. These are chestnut mare Weidyfleur II, now 17, Jalegrofleur, another chestnut mare now aged six, and her final offspring, Lelegro, a liver chestnut KWPN stallion. As a foal, Lelegro fetched €50,000 (£45,000) at the Excellent Dressage Sales, selling to Britain’s Caroline Kemp and Julia Hughes.

    Weidyfleur II, owned by Claire Hester and based in Gloucestershire, has also produced six foals. Among these are nine-year-old Uthopia stallion U-Genius – now competing successfully at advanced medium in the UK with Amy Woodhead – and seven-year-old Dimaggio stallion Integro, now winning at elementary with Jenny Martell.

    Maifleur, who was still being hacked out by Joop up to the age of 25, last appeared in public at the KWPN stallion licensing in
    ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, in February 2017, where a retirement ceremony was held for Valegro, and the two horses met.

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