Ferdinand Dufaure 4yo Chase: Gardons le Sourire wins thriller

13 June 2020

Ferdinand Dufaure 4yo Chase: Gardons le Sourire wins thriller

Photo scoopdyga.com

Saturday, June 13 2020, Compiègne. - The Ferdinand Dufaure 4yo Chase (Gr1) is the top steeple-chase for 4yo in the first semester in France. It's obviously supposed to be run at Auteuil, but this year, the coronavirus outbreak changed everything and so it went in June to Compiegne.

Winner of the last prep race, the Jean Stern Chase (Gr2), Gardons le Sourire (Fame and Glory) was favourite again and he duly won the contest for owner-breeder Nicolas de Lageneste (Haras de Saint-Voir) and an up and coming young trainer, Gabriel Leenders, who scored his first Ger1 success today.

Yet, it was not exactly as smooth and easy as anticipated, if any Gr1 Chase can be. Top challenger King Edward (Martaline) unseated his rider early on and he went lose interfering a few times with the favourite, with his rider Clément Lefebvre showing great horsemanship and cold blood to keep him going at the rear, even though the horse was jumping to his right at every fence...

He still managed to get him to come by between the last two jumps and finally took over a resolute Yeiayel (Protektor), who'd led most of the race and stayed on bravely.

Nanosecond (Doctor Dino), the only mare in the race, finished well in third at 2 1/2 lengths.

Gardons le Sourire first won two of his three hurdle races, then won his first chase at Compiègne in October, three weeks later trying his luck at Auteuil, finishing second to The Revenant. He won the Jean Stern 4yo Chase (Gr2) recently, closing in, before this Compiegne coronation.

He is out of Place au Soleil (Trempolino), winner of four flat races, including a handicap with a 64lbs rating, and dam of jumps winners including Drôle d'Idée (Coastal Path), winner of a Listed Mares Hurdle Race at Auteuil. Place au Soleil also foaled a 3-year-old filly by Network and a gelding by Ectot born in 2019.