Al Capone II
29 November 2020
Trained by Bernard Sécly, Al Capone II is best known for his seven consecutive victories in the Group One Prix La Haye Jousselin (5500m) from 1993 to 1999, however it is his career record that was the most remarkable. Al Capone II achieved twenty-five wins and thirty-two placings from sixty-five starts and all but one of those runs occurred at Auteuil. In addition, he was successful in the Group One Grand Steeplechase De Paris in 1997 and only narrowly missed out on a record eighth successive win in the ‘Jousselin’ when second to First Gold in his final race in 2002.
Although his exploits on the track guaranteed Al Capone II a place in the French Horse Racing Hall of Fame, the gelding has also made a significant impact on the breeding industry. One of the early flagbearers for the AQPS (‘autre que pur-sang’ or ’other than pure blood’) bloodstock industry in France, Al Capone and his full brother The Fellow (1994 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner) were responsible for an increased interest in the breed. By a Selle Francais jumping stallion and out of a Thoroughbred mare, the two siblings were a perfect example of the AQPS purpose – combining Thoroughbred and non-Thoroughbred qualities to create a racehorse with speed, stamina and longevity.
Following retirement from the racetrack, Al Capone II moved to the Chantilly training centre and was used by France Galop for inspections and track tours. Affectionately known as ‘Pompon’, the gelding continued to act as mascot until his death just last month in October 2020 at the age of thirty-two. His memory lives on at Auteuil, with the life-size bronze sculpture of the horse (created by Jean Clagett in 2001) a suitable reminder of Al Capone II’s achievements. On Sunday, Auteuil will pay tribute to Al Capone II where a commemorative video will be shown on-course (and social media). In addition, France Galop has decided to honor the champion by adding his name to the race he dominated – the Prix La Haye Jousselin.
Picture: © APHR
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