“Gex ticks all the boxes to win a Grand Steeple”
19 May 2023
Gex and Bertrand Lestrade over the rail-ditch-and-fence at Auteuil
With Bertrand Lestrade’s faithful charge, Docteur De Ballon, now enjoying his well-earned retirement, it is Gex that the three-times Grand Steeple-winning jockey will be riding in the big race on Sunday. Trained by Emmanuel Clayeux, the seven year-old gelding is expected to be sent off clear favourite.
How did it feel when you learned of Docteur De Ballon’s retirement?
It was a great piece of news. It is good for the image of racing to show how we love and respect horses. I am fortunate to have crossed his path and to have had the chance to enjoy some fantastic moments with him.
You announced that you would be riding Gex
I won the Prix Murat prep with him. You know, when you’re offered the ride on the Grand Steeple favourite, you don’t hesitate too long!
You have also been associated with Poly Grandchamp for a long time
I have had some great moments with him. He’s a very easy horse, jumps tremendously, and stays well. He has everything, but on paper he can’t win. At his age, he doesn’t have Gex’s future.
What are Gex’s main qualities?
He’s an easy horse that jumps very well and can adapt to any pace. This year, with so many runners, it’s important to have such a profile. He ran extremely well in last year’s Grand Steeple given how little experience he had. This could well be his year. He appears to have had the ideal preparation, a comeback over hurdles, then the Murat. Right now, he looks the horse to beat.
Which horse concerns you the most?
At the start, anyone can win. You have to be concerned by every horse, beginning with your own! Both what’s at stake and the distance must be taken into account, and Gex ticks these boxes.
French Royal Ascot hopefuls
Francis Graffard's The Fixer appears to be the main French hope for Royal Ascot