Twelve chasers line up Sunday at Auteuil for the Prix des Drags Chase (Gr2), some of whom will seek revenge, three weeks after the Zeturf Grand Steeple-Chase of Paris (Gr1).
This is the case of Docteur de Ballon (Doctor Dino), who unseated his rider at the jump of the rail-ditch-and-fence while he was well in the race and was still one of the favourites. Owned by Robert Gasche-Luc and his wife and trained in the West by Louisa Carberry, he had had just won the final preparatory, Prix Ingré (Gr3).
Sixth in the “Grand Steeple”, Sainte Turgeon (Turgeon) also finished fourth in the “Drags” in 2018, ahead notably Vauquoise (Ungaro), whom she will find again at the start on Sunday.
The title holder in the Prix des Drags, the AQPS Baie des Îles (Barastraight), was eliminated from the “Grand Steeple” because her rating was among the lowest of the lot. Trained in Ireland by Ross O’Sullivan, the grey mare fell last time at Down Royal but her form is otherwise well in line with what preceded her success in the 2018 renewal of this race.
The winner of Prix du President de la République (French National, Gr3), Montgeroult(Kapgarde), tries to double up here for owner Robert Ollivier and trainer Marcel Rolland. The Prix Andrea Chase, held in early May at Auteuil, is not particularly designed to lead to this race but the first three in the last edition are at the start: these are Edgeoy (Saddler Maker), Célèbre d’Allen (Network ) and Corazones (Nidor). In 2018, the winner of the Prix AndreaChase, Roxinela (heroic in the “Grand Steeple” this year) had gone on in a handicap, and her second, Vezelay, had fallen in the Drags Chase.
Willie Mullins only lines up two of his horses, namely Total Recall (Westerner), eighth in the Grand Steeple lats time out, and 12-year-old Isleofhopendreams (Flemensfirth), second in the Irish Grand National behind Burrows Saint.
But the most intriguing entry is that of Jubilatoire (Konig Turf), a 6-year-old mare bred by Guy Cherel, Isabelle Pacault (her trainer) and her daughters Magali and Anne-Sophie. Away six months after a series of three wins punctuated by a second place in the Prix André Michel Hurdle (L) behind Raffles Sun, now one of the best female hurdlers in France, Jubilatoire just won on her return chasing, leaving her best rival twelve lengths down the road… Can Carriacou’s trainer Isabelle Pacault do her magic again?
Answer Sunday from 4h25pm …