Andre Le Lievre’s memory lives on through Le Vado

By Duane Ranger

The five Canterbury-based Le Lievre siblings will never forget their late brother Andre; and every time the progeny of their 9-year-old mare, Le Vado  runs, it brings brothers, Nick and Justin,  even closer together.

The late Andrew Le Lievre

The trio raced the two-win daughter of the daughter of Gotta Go Cullen and Arconite (Art Major) in 2013 – that was six years prior to Andre passing away on July 21, 2019, in Christchurch Hospital. He was 57.

“Andre is sorely missed. He was the middle brother between me, and then Justin. Andre was such a bright light in our lives. It’s just so pleasing that his memory lives on in many ways, including through this mare. She left  (Le Vado) left three foals. Justin

“Sadly Milou, the second one was born in November 2019 – just four months after we lost Andre,” Nick, the second eldest of the five Le Lievre siblings (Maria, Nick, Justin, Dominic and Marcel), said.

He said Justin bred Le Vado solely. and bought her for us to train and race together.

Milou, a 3-year-old Sweet Lou filly, went into her debut race at Addington Raceway on June 18, with three wins and three seconds from six trials and workouts since January,

The Le Lievre family

At the end of race two on June 18 at Addington Raceway – the Emerge Fillies & Mares Mobile, Milou, had notched up an emphatic debut win by one-and-a-quarter lengths as the $2.80 favourite. Nick Le Lievre does the training at Russley.

The bay filly is owned by Le Lievre, Mrs J I Le Lievre, Est A F Le Lievre, S W King, Miss C A Gray, H A Scott, Dr K M Lawson, M Le Lievre, L Le Lievre, J G Le Lievre. She was by the three Le Lievre brothers and their mate, Paul Sutton.

“We really like her (Milou). I think she will make a lovely mare one day. There’s plenty of size about her. She’s a big rangy filly, who like all young horses will get stronger and better with time and racing.

“When we put Le Vado to Sweet Lou we didn’t expect such a tall and leggy colt or filly. Milou is a very natural filly. She can get a bit hot around the stables at times, but it the track it’s a different story. She means business,” Le Lievre (Nick) said.

“There was no way she would have made a 2-year-old. Her size decided that,” he added.

Le Lievre said Le Vado was a precocious filly, who placed at two and then won twice when she was three.

“Her form tailed off due to a bleeding incident, which she wasn’t able to overcome, so she retired early.”

On November 16, 2011, Le Vado left her first foal – an American Ideal gelding named Americano.

“He Americano continues to race, and will get a win soon. He was also a family favourite and raced in Andre’s colours, so it was sad he never made it on the racetrack,” trainer Le Lievre said.”

He said Milou was La Vado’s next foal (November 2019), and she also boasts a 2-year-old Terror To Love filly named Phar Lume. The mare is currently in foal to Bettor’s Wish.

“The first two foals out of the mare were big, so I put her to Terror To Love wanting more ‘body’ you could say. Pah Lume is a nice horse, more of a ‘pocket-rocket’ than the other two

“She’s had two workouts this month (fifth and sixth). Phar Lume has improved with workouts and will qualify as a late 2-year-old,” Le Lievre said.

He said his family got into the Le Vado breed through Justin when he was working for Wai Eyre Farm Stud.

“Justin had a service to Gotta Go Cullen and then after consultation with Brian West at Studholme Stud), he was able to breed from his 2008 unraced Art Major – Absolute Obsession (Falcon Seelster) mare, Arconite. She was unraced at the time and in 2013 she left her only New Zealand foal – Le Vado.

Arconite was then exported to Australia in December 2014, but never raced and has since left six more foals – the best of them, the 2016 seven-win ($70,925) Rich And Spoilt gelding, Adda Spoilt Major (1:55.8).

Le Lievre is married to Joy and works three afternoons a week at Foodstuffs. He said he never works any more than five horses at a time.

“It takes me about an hour for each horse, and that’s seven days a week, so there’s just not enough hours in my day to do more. I like the small team I have.

“I really enjoy the breeding side of the industry. My family has been involved in this sport for several generations. I just want to keep upgrading my mares and stallions, and Milou will make a nice broodmare one day.

“But for now, she is developing into a nice pacer, but I think the best horse I’ve bred would be Enchantee,” Le Lievre said.

Enchantee, Bettor’s Delight – Amelie (Julius Caesar) mare, who won 10 of her 79 starts between 2017 and 2021. Enchantee (1:55.2) also placed 19 times and banked $129,940 in purses.

She placed in the 2019 New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes and the Group One New Zealand Breeders Stakes. Both Group Ones were at Addington Raceway.

Le Lievre said that brown mare had left an Art Major filly named Gisette and she was served by Always B Miki on November 1.