Last weekend was a busy weekend with the a Group 1 race on each day, one on the flat and one over hurdles. Saturday afternoon saw the last flat Group 1 of the year, the Criterium de Saint Cloud for two-year-old colts and fillies, taking place over 2,000 metres at Saint Cloud.
The Andre Fabre trained Mandeaen had been much hyped after his winning on his debut at Longchamp in mid October by three lengths. On that occasion he carried the Sheikh Mohammed colours but he has since been transferred under the Godolphin SNC banner and so ran on Saturday in the beige colours they use here in France. Despite running very green in the straight and covering a lot more than the intended 2000 metres he still ran out the easy two and a half length winner under jockey Maxime Guyon. Brocottes did the fillies proud when taking second place in the Gerard Augustin-Normand colour’s with the German raider Tai Chi back in third place. Mandaean is certainly one to watch for next year at the highest level.
In the race for the “Cravache d’Or” (French champion jockeys title) Christophe Soumillon has taken the lead from Maxime Guyon and as of today is two winners ahead of the young pilot (153-151). Maxime Guyon is due to take up his licence in Hong Kong on November 20th to ride Ambitious Dragon in a prep race for the Hong Kong Cup. He will then return to Hong Kong in December when he will represent France in the International Jockeys’ Challenge and will not return to France intil the end of February.
I was delighted to hear that Cirrus Des Aigles won the Older Horse category at the Cartier Awards in London last night and also that Dabirsim won the Two-Year-Old Colt Award. Congratulations to all connections on this great achievement for French racing and French trained horses.
Last Sunday it was the turn of the four-year-old hurdlers in the Gr1 Prix Renaud du Vivier at Auteuil. This was won by Grand d’Auteuil who was having his first start in Group company having previously won a Listed hurdle race. Another popular winner on the day was Remember Rose who was successful in a Listed chase for David Cottin and Jean-Paul Gallorini. This was a pleasing return to form the previous winner of the Gr1 Prix la Haye Jousselin who has only finished in the money on one other start this year, falling and pulling up on two other occasions. Remember Rose is the horse that famously unseated Christophe Pieux at the tape start in the 2010 Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris.
Another highlight of Sunday’s card was when former champion jockey Jacques Ricou rode his 1000th winner. Ricou had been stuck on 999 for longer than expected after a very unlucky day the previous weekend which involved numerous falls. He is currently leading the jump jockeys championship with 96 winners from Bertrand Lestrade who has 70 to his name to date.
This weekend sees a return to Auteuil with the Gr2 Prix Leon Olry-Roederer, 4300 metres over hurdles for five year olds and over in which the Tom George trained Tartak currently holds an entry.