Grand Steeple: Sel Jem wins Macaire's 7th blue riband

22 May 2022

Sel Jem et Johnny Charron remportent le 144ème Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris (Gr1), le 22 mai 2022 sur l'hippodrome d'Auteuil à Paris.


May 22, 2022, Auteuil Racecourse (Paris). – Winner of the €135,000 Troytown Chase (Gr3) and the €210,000 Murat Chase (Gr2), 5-year-old Sel Jem (Masked Marvel) was the favourite at the start of the €820,000 144th Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris (French Gold Cup, Gr1), facing 15 rivals over the race's infamous 3m6f course. Ridden by 42-year-old Johnny Charron, and trained on Royan-La Palmyre racecourse by Hector de Lageneste and Guillaume Macaire, the Papot Family-owned gelding was given a perfect trip and never put a foot wrong. He took over at the second last jump and dominated in the run-in, beating Gex (Khalkevi), who'd made a costly mistake at the big open-ditch first time round, at 8 lengths with Irish raider Franco de Port (Coastal Path), an exported AQPS halfbred exported after his initial Auteuil win, at 5 lengths in third. The race was led all the way by a brave Général en Chef (Martaline), finally sixth, who at first travelled with Glorice (Network), seventh, and Feu Follet (Kapgarde), the other race's favourite, as he had just beat Sel Jem in the €140,000 Ingré Chase (Gr3), but he jumped awkwardly again today ans started to fade in the last turn. Dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo (Buck’s Boum) was never in contention and had to be pulled up.

It is a 7th win in the Auteuil classic for trainer Guillaume Macaire, now the only recordman ahead of Bernard Sécly's 6 wins. It was the third Grand Steeple won by the Papot Family after Bel La Vie (2013) and On the Go (2018), both also trained by Macaire. It was, however, Johnny Charron's first win in the race.

Sel Jem netted his connections (owner, trainer, rider and stable staff) a €150,000 bonus for winning two of the Grand Steeple Masters prep races this season.

It was Sel Jem's 10th race only. He started his career over hurdles at Compiegne with a 2nd place in November 2020 and won next time out, at the Lion d’Angers eight months later. A winner for his chasing debut at Dieppe soon after, he confirmed at Auteuil in a Listed Chase before his 2nd place in the Maurice Gillois behind the filly Let Me Love (entered at the end of the week at Angers). Beaten again by a filly, La Danza, in the Morgex Chase (Gr2) three weeks later, he came back in 22 with a win in the Troytown Chase and the Murat Chase, before finishing 2nd to Feu Follet in the Ingré Chase.

Sel Jem was bred by Florence Lormand in Normandy. His dam Ile des Saintes (Saint des Saints) did not run. Sel Jem is her 3rd foal in 6 years, and her last to date according to France Galop website. She also foaled Jem Bien (Dream Well), who won his first race last January in a Pau claiming Chase, aged 7. He had been unsold at €24,000 at Arqana's Summer sales at 2 in 2017. Ile des Saintes is a sister to Jemykos (Nikos), winner of a Grande Course de Haies de Pau (L), and to the dam of Jemy Baie (Crillon), winner of this same Troytown Chase in 2016.