Outsider Carriacou (Califet) and Irish jockey Davy Russel won the Zeturf Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris (Gr1) on Sunday at Auteuil after an eventful race. Nineteen horses were starting after Bob and Co (Dom Alco) was declared a non-runner as his gentleman-rider and owner David Maxwell had fallen in the first race of the day and was unable to ride again. Two of the favourites in the race, Crystal Beach (Network) and Doctor de Ballon(Doctor Dino), unseated their rider at the rail-ditch-and-fence, in the back straight, where Eludy (Saddler Maker), riding free, caused a bit of a hiccup.
In the final turn of this 6,000-metre/30 furlongs course, the gray Bipolaire (Fragrant Mix) and Roxinela (Muhtathir) were still in the forefront, trailed by Irish raider Burrows Saint(Saint des Saints), Roi Mage (Poliglote), Sainte Turgeon (Turgeon) and Nathalie Desoutter by the rail, Le Costaud (Forestier) and Carriacou, ridden very patiently until then by Davy Russel. Bipolaire seemed to take over between the last two jumps but Carriacou had moved freely by his side and he outclassed him in the run-in, passing the post nine lengths ahead of Bipolaire. Roi Mage, who had just won the Prix Romati Chase (Gr3) at Compiègne, finished third, catching Roxinela, with Burrows Saint finishing fifth.
It was a 23rd race of the 7-year-old Carriacou, and his ninth win. Bred in Normandy at the Haras de Mirande managed by the Evains, his trainer Isabelle Pacault’s maiden name, the first woman to saddle the winner of the race after 141 renewals. Third in the Grand Steeple in 2017, and then out of racing for almost two years, Carriacou returned to competition last January alone, over Pau’s hurdles. Twice second at Auteuil, he had just won the Prix William Head Chase (L).
Carriacou had already won a Group 1 race since he won the Prix Maurice Gillois 4yo Chase (Gr1) in November 2016, beating amongst others Roi Mage, third this time. He has now passed the €1m mark.