Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris celebrates its 150th anniversary!

16 May 2024

Mele 23



The jumping of 23 fences over a distance of 6000 metres - covered in around seven minutes – ensures that the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris is THE superlative race. Since its inception in May 1874, this race has crowned great champions at Auteuil racecourse - the temple of French jump racing. It’s one of the few races which requires the ‘Rivière des Tribunes’ (the water jump) to be negotiated twice: a formidable obstacle with its emphasis on length rather than height– some 8 metres to be precise. Another legendary obstacle is the Rail Ditch and Fence, also known locally as the ‘Juge de Paix’ (Justice of the Peace), because it’s often at this fence, of record dimensions, that the battle is either won or lost. To be effective in this Group 1 race (the pinnacle of excellence in horse racing), an exceptional partnership between horse and rider is called for, and the affinity between the pair must be perfect. As without this blend there can be no victory!

The Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris is the final leg of the Grand Steeple-Chase Masters Series, which is now in its third season. It’s under this banner that France Galop has showcased the four main prep races - the Prix Robert de Clermont-Tonnerre (run on 24/02), the Prix Troytown (17/03), the Prix Murat (06/04) and the Prix Ingré (27/04) – which are all stepping stones to Sunday's mythical race at Auteuil. The Grand Steeple-Chase Masters Series affords owners the possibility of securing an exceptional bonus of €150,000, offered by France Galop, if a horse wins two of the above prep races plus this year’s Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris. As the four prep races produced as many different winners, the connections of this year’s Grand Steeple Chase de Paris winner are ineligible for this lucrative bonus. 

Heading towards ground which is forecast to ride from very soft to sticky

The penetrometer scale at Auteuil track measured 4.3 (sticky ground) on Wednesday. Thirteen millimetres of rain fell on Tuesday, and two further millimetres are forecast overnight on Wednesday night/in the early hours of Thursday morning. As things stand, the forecast is for less rain this weekend. The ground should rate between very soft and sticky.

A race in which women tend to do very well

Four of the last five trainers to have saddled the winner of the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris have been women! Isabelle Pacault (who set the ball rolling in 2019), Louisa Carberry (2020 and 2021) and Daniela Mele (2023), have all added their names to the roll of honour in this epic race. This year, four members of the fairer sex are afforded the opportunity of saddling the winner. Both Louisa Carberry (Gran Diose) and Daniela Mele (Youtwo Glass) will be looking to secure further success in this race. In partnership with Noel George, Amanda Zetterholm is double handed via Général en Chef and Gallipoli, whereas the daughter and father team, Camille and Philippe Peltier, will rely on Grand Oncle. The latter 


mentioned duo may be even be in with a chance of winning the race for the first time.


Daniela Mele after her success in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris 2023


Chantilly runners out in force (Oise – 60)

Chantilly is France's largest training centre for horse racing. Managed by France Galop, it is already renowned for its flat race champions. The scenic background also features extensive facilities designed explicitly for jump horse training, located in Lamorlaye, Coye-la-Forêt, and Avilly-Saint-Léonard (pictures below). Over 400 jumpers are trained daily at the Chantilly Centre, which is growing in numbers.


Chantilly-trained horses will be particularly prominent at this edition of the Grand Steeple with five starters on the line: Hugo Mérienne will saddle In Love, Général en Chef and Gallipoli represent the duo formed by Noel George & Amanda Zetterholm, while David Cottin sends Jojo Lapin and Juntos Ganamos, the latter being the favourite for the race.

Une image contenant plein air, herbe, arbre, cheval

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