Grand Steeple weekend on its way !

17 May 2017

photo scoopdyga.com

The top French jumpers meet up over the weekend at Auteuil with the French Gold Cup and 15 other top contests on the agenda...

Fifteen horses have been declared for the Grand Steeple-chase de Paris (French Gold Cup-Gr1), Wednesday morning at France Galop, ahead of a splendid 16 races double card over the weekend at Auteuil.

On the Saturday, the Prix La Barka Hurdle (Gr2) is a final test towards the Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil (French Champion Hurdle-Gr1, on June 11). Traditionally, the best English and Irish raiders dip their toes in Auteuil ground before the big one. Thirteen were still in on Wednesday, including five foreign horses, three for Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins, who saddled three of the last five winners of the race (the other two came from England). The leader of the French team is Device (Poliglote), who made a strong impression during his two victories of the season for owner Magalen Bryant and trainer Guillaume Macaire. Blue Dragon (Califet), however, has left the race on Wednesday.

On the same card, the best 4yo hurdlers meet in the Prix Questarabad Hurdle (Gr3) in the absence of the generation's leader in France, the filly De Bon Cœur (Vision d'État), yet  with the only "Mullins" left in contention, Merie Devie (Spirit One), third in Group 1 recently in Punchestown, should keep the French team busy enough.

On Sunday, 15 horses are expected to depart from the Grand Steeple-Chase of Paris (Gr1), all trained in France to try to lift the €382,500 first prize. The likely favorite will be So French (Poliglote), winner of the previous "Grand Steeple" and of the main prep race, the Prix Murat Chase (Gr2). On the ratings, he's eight above his main rivals... 

Another Grand Steeple is on the agenda on Sunday as the best 4yo chasers clash again in the Prix Ferdinand Dufaure Chase (Gr1) with 14 keen contenders since the only forfeit received on Wednesday, Edward d'Argent (Martaline), was the hot favourite avec six consecutive wins.