The Championship meeting at Auteuil
19 October 2020
Auteuil hosted the rescheduled championship meeting, featuring the Grade One Grande Course de Haies (5100m) and Grade One Grand Steeple-chase De Paris (6000m) on 17 and 18 October. Jumping fans have had to wait since May to see the top chasers and hurdlers compete in the elite races and the action did not disappoint with surprise winners of both championship contests.
Favourite L’autonomie was expected to add a twelfth career success in the Grade One Grande Course de Haies (5100m) on Saturday on her first attempt over 4800m. The five-year-old mare attempted to dominate from the front but jumped right throughout the race and was chased down by outsider Paul’s Saga in the final 200m. Although Paul’s Saga had produced inconsistent performances throughout her career, she had demonstrated potential when placing second in the G1 Grand Prix D'Automne (4800m) in 2019. The grey mare’s victory marked a first Grade One for trainer David Cottin. Grade One winner Galop Marin finished third for jockey Morgan Regairaz.
On Sunday, the chasers took centre stage for the Grade One Grand Steeple-chase De Paris (6000m). It was set to be an exciting contest with 2019 hero Carriacou attempting to complete back-to-back victories. The leading contenders however were defeated by the lightly-campaigned Docteur De Ballon who has been catching the eye when producing a clean round of jumping. Second in the Grade Two Prix Des Drags (4400m), Docteur De Ballon was held up in the early stages of the race, and made considerable headway two out and powered clear to score by five lengths. The success was a career-best result for British born trainer Louisa Carberry, who trains a string of twenty racehorses at her base in Senonnes. The Francois-Nicolle trained favourite Figuero placed second with Feu Follet in third and the 2019 Grand Steeple-chase De Paris (6000m) winner Carriacou finished fourth.
Other notable winners over the week included James Du Berlais (Grade Three Prix Pierre De Lassus -3600m), Theleme (G2 Prix Georges De Talhouet-Roy – 3600m) and Hotesse Du Chenet (Grade Three Prix Magne – 3600m).
Picture: © APHR
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