• A champion showdown
On Friday the 5-year-old horse (5 being the minimum age to take part in the race) Le Berry posted his claim to the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris when winning Prix Ingré with a stunning performance at Auteuil racecourse! The grey, who remains unbeaten over fences – his specialty – nearly ejected his jockey Kevin Nabet at the second to last fence… however he picked up well after this blunder to win by the smallest of margins on the finish line.
Le Berry carries the colours of Gemini Stud; he is trained by David Cottin and will be the main rival to the current titleholder of the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, Docteur de Ballon (trained by Louisa Carberry). Impossible to say which is the best of the two, as they have still yet to meet on the track!
• A female jockey onboard one of the favourites!
David Cottin, who trains one of the favourites of the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, Ajas, has called upon the services of the Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore for his champion. Rachael Blackmore is a star across the Channel - and with good reason! This year she became the first women to be crowned leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival (United Kingdom), hailed as the Olympic Games of jump racing. In April, she became the first women to win the legendary Grand National, at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool (UK). To have Rachael Blackmore riding in the Grand Steeple, is as if Lionel Messi came to play in Paris, or of Lewis Hamilton signed on with Alpine!
• Did you know?
Amongst the potential runners in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, are the ‘AQPS’ horses, such as Figuero. The acronym AQPS stands for Autre Que de Pur-Sang – Other than Thoroughbred. This is a relatively new breed of racehorse. Despite having existed for many years, AQPS was only recognized as an official breed in 2005 and given its own stud book (a register which groups together all the horses of the same breed, and defines the conditions allowing the designation of the breed, and reproduction within the breed).
The ‘AQ’, as they are known on the track, are bred from a cross between thoroughbreds and other breeds – principally the Selle-Français. The AQPS are generally hardier and have more stamina than the thoroughbreds, and they are bred with one purpose: jump racing.
• Rendezvous on the 14th May
The provisional race entries for the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris are on the 14th May. We will find out on this date which horses have been nominated by their connections to take part in the seasonal showcase.
To find out the definitive list of runners, you will have to wait for the 20th May when the race declarations are made.
On the 18th May, between the entry stage and the race declarations, the trainers, or owners, of an entered horse can withdraw or ‘scratch’ their horse (this is known as the forfeit stage in France), and on the 20th May they will have a 2nd opportunity to withdraw from the race – known as cancelling a likely runner.
A horse can also be entered at the last minute before the race, as a supplementary entry. However, watch out! Whilst the entry stage on the 14th May is free, a supplementary entry on the 19th May will cost €36,900 (4.5% of the total prizemoney, which is €820,000 in this race).
More information and launch of the communication on the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris on
Monday, 10 May 2021