On The Go at top of Grand Steeple ladder
21 May 2018
With three Grade 1’s on Auteuil’s Sunday card, Guillaume Macaire was always going to be represented by a host of top jumpers, and the Royan-based trainer did not disappoint. The first victory came when four year-old Whetstone trounced a quality field to win the Prix Ferdinand Dufaure by a majestic 16 lengths. Just a half-hour later, dual Grand Steeple-chase de Paris winner, So French was unable to win the €820,000 for a third year in succession, but Macaire had a worthy back-up in On The Go who secured the afternoon’s highlight by the smallest of margins.
The race got off to an inauspicious start with second-favourite Bipolaire falling early and taking with him So French and Roi Mage. With a brace of serious prospects out of the way, the race quickly became a considerably more open contest but race-favourite, Perfect Impulse, was still very much in the game.
True to form, Arnaud Chaillé-Chaillé’s mare led the way, in the company of 2015 Grand Steeple winner, Milord Thomas, who was to take over at the head of affairs and soon be joined by On The Go. Heading into the final turn, Milord Thomas began to weaken, leaving the way open for On The Go and Perfect Impulse to fight out a protracted battle on the flat, with the former prevailing by just a head. Edward D’Argent finished third, seven lengths back, with a further five to Milord Thomas.
After winning the Grand Steeple in 1996, Macaire had to wait until 2013 to win it again, and has now secured the race five times in the last six years. He was unable to complete the Grade 1 grand slam as he was unrepresented in the Grand Course de Haies. The race was won in imperious fashion by the François Nicolle-trained De Bon Coeur, making up in no uncertain terms for her marginally below-par Prix Léon Rambaud performance last month.
Picture: On The Go edging Perfect Impulse in the final strides of the Grand Steeple
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