€140,000 William et Alec Head Chase (Gr3): Imbatable du Seuil through the roof

16 April 2024

Head 24 Imbatable Seuil

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Tuesday, April 16, 2024, Auteuil Racecourse (Paris). – Upgraded to Group 3 this year, the €140,000 William & Alec Head Chase (Gr3) has often been a strategic route towards the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris (Gr1). Time will tell if the brave winner, Imbatable du Seuil (Kamsin), is cut from that cloth. Still, he certainly demonstrated, in only his fourth steeplechase and despite a challenging landing at the River jump, that he was aptly named ("Imbatable" meaning unbeatable with a misspelt double "t") by his breeder Catherine Boudot. Indeed, it took a strong effort to hold off the ambitious Jojo Lapin (Cokoriko), who came at full speed to challenge him between the last two jumps and never gave up. He finished a close second, just a head behind the fiercely tenacious winner, with both finishing three lengths ahead of Heloy Delabarrière (Chœur du Nord), who made several mistakes yet finished strongly. The favourite, Alcyone Rouge (Pastorius), who had recently defeated Imbatable du Seuil, faltered in the final phase.

The winner is out of Sweet Laly (Marchand de Sable), a winner on the flat and once over hurdles and the dam of the excellent Taquin du Seuil (Voix du Nord), a Group 1 winner in a Cheltenham Festival novices' Chase, who was subsequently placed numerous times at the highest level despite several interruptions. She has not produced better since... until Imbatable, her last foal, as she passed away in 2020.

Her filly Antilope du Seuil (Alberto Giacometti), a winner over the flat and then over hurdles in England for Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, was purchased at Arqana in 2018 while in foal to Authorized for €45,000. Since then, she has produced three foals by Authorized, then Kapgarde and Doctor Dino, although none have raced yet.

What connections said

Mickaël Seror (the trainer of Imbatable du Seuil, 1st) – Chantilly (Oise region)

"I had asked his jockey not to ride and keep him away from the leader. We won't always be able to do that, and mentally, he needs to progress and learn to race among horses. Today, even in a field of six runners, he 'ploughed straight into’ his fences when he found himself in the leader's slipstream. He needs to be more relaxed. Perhaps he's a bit lazy too... He tends to watch the other horses a lot. I'd love to run him in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, but I don't think he's 'foot perfect’ enough for such a race yet. We will celebrate this victory in the first instance, and then we'll all sit down together and mull this particular project over."

David Cottin (Trainer of Jojo Lapin, 2nd) - Chantilly (Oise region)

"Jojo Lapin ran very well. We will gently bring him along for the Drags Chase (Gr2) at the beginning of June."

Nicholas Paul Littmoden (Impéril, 4th) – Moulins (Allier region)

"I'm very pleased. Imperial needs a trip, and the Prix William & Alec Head will serve as building blocks for the Grand Steeple, which will obviously be his next race. The pace was too slow for him last time out at Compiègne, and the race turned into a sprint."

Juntos Ganamos limbers up for the Grand Steeple… over hurdles!

About thirty minutes after the Prix William et Alec Head, another contender for the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris came in, but over hurdles [and not fences]. Juntos Ganamos was France's top 4-y-old steeplechaser in 2023, winning the Group 1 Prix Ferdinand Dufaure in the spring. Now aged 5, he is as good as ever, and he won the Prix Arthur Veil-Picard (Class 2) very easily at Auteuil on Tuesday, April 16. He had an instructive time, having relaxed in front, raced with his ears pricked, and measured his jumps well. David Cottin, his trainer, said: "We're right on track. We shouldn't denigrate any of his rivals, but analysing the race beforehand was easy. He finished very well under a hand ride. Felix [de Giles. Editor's note: his rider] didn't ask to have to ask him a serious question. That's perfect! He's going to improve for the run. He needs nothing to go wrong before the Grand Steeple – and then he will be required to show all his quality on the big day. He will stay the [Grand-Steeple] trip. I’m telling you now! He didn't make a single mistake, even if it was only over hurdles. He was very tonic in jumping, and the horse finished his race – just as I like to see him do so!"