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Courageous Balkan wins Prix du Président

23 April 2018

The most valuable handicap chase on the French calendar, the G.III Prix du Président de la République, habitually draws a big field and yesterday’s edition at Auteuil was no exception with a maximum twenty going to post for the 4700m event. 
Author of a solid re-entry race at Compiègne earlier in the month, the François Nicolle-trained 18/1 shot, Balkan Du Pecos, proved the one to beat but it was a very close call. After having spent much of the race in mid-division, he began to make up ground on the second circuit of the back stretch. Taking the lead coming into the final turn, he jumped the second-last superbly and looked on course for a convincing win, but Théo Chevillard had not counted on a challenge from recent cross-country winner Accentus.
After the last hurdle Kilian Dubourg briefly took the advantage on the flat, but was headed in the final stages and went down by just a neck. The well-fancied Borice came in third a further 1¾ lengths away.
A clearly elated Chevillard, who would later secure the G.II Prix Léon Rambaud on Alex De Larredya, said of the winner, “He displayed a lot of courage today. He’s an excellent horse. Halfway down the straight, we were beaten, but he showed himself to be a fighter.”
Picture: Balkan du Pecos edging Accentus in Prix du President