Jean Stern Chase History: Last step to the 4yo chasers' crown

21 April 2024

Jean Stern Chase History: Last step to the 4yo chasers' crown


The Jean Stern 4yo Chase was run for a long time under the name of Auteuil Chase. It is a tribute to one of the greatest breeders-owners of all time. It is the last preparation race for the best 4yo chase of the French program, the Ferdinand Dufaure 4yo Chase (Gr1).

April, Auteuil

Jean Stern Chase


Group 2, 4-year-olds, Steeple-Chase, 4,400m/2m6f, €235,000

Created in 1879, renamed Prix Jean Stern in 1964

Last winner: Kentucky Wood (g4, FRA by Balko ex Carriériste, by Laveron), owned by Alain Jathière, Haras de Saint-Voir, Franck Délibéros, bred by Bertwood Stables, Nicolas de Lageneste, trained by François Nicolle, ridden by Angelo Zuliani.

The race is run in 2025 for the 141st time

The 2024 edition


Sunday, 21 April 2024, Auteuil Racecourse (Paris) – After consistently tracking the leaders, namely Même Pas Kap (Kapgarde), until his mishap at the grand open ditch, the AQPS Kentucky Wood (Balko) found himself leading somewhat inadvertently as they turned for home in the €235,000 Jean Stern 4yo Chase (Gr2). He then battled to hold off Kador de Ciergues (Masterstroke), another AQPS, who finished four lengths behind the winner, with Chanteur du Bourg (Chœur du Nord) ten lengths further back, having also travelled near the front throughout the race.

Runner-up to Karre d’As in the Fleuret 4yo Chase (Gr3) last time out, Kentucky Wood appeared finely tuned for his seventh race, his third over fences. In his last hurdle outing last autumn, he clinched victory in the Prix Chalet Hurdle (L) ahead of Kandy Park, who has also won this season at Compiègne in the same discipline.

Bred by Bertwood and Nicolas de Lageneste, Kentucky Wood is the second foal out of Carrieriste (Laveron), a three-time winner at Moulins and Cluny for Haras de Saint-Voir. His older sibling, Imac Wood (Karaktar), was a claimer purchased in France and has notched wins in Great Britain. The mare has since produced a three-year-old son of Ivanhowe.

The next major appointment for this class will be the Prix Ferdinand Dufaure (Gr1) on 19 May at Auteuil.




Previously called the Prix d'Auteuil, this race was given its current name in 1964 to honour the memory of Jean Stern (who died in December 1962), a Société des Steeple-Chases de France committee member. The Prix d'Auteuil was one of the oldest events on the racecourse programme, having been first run in 1879, six years after the venue opened. It was aimed at 4-year-olds who, until 1942, were permitted to take on their elders in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris.

The race was not held in 1895 or from 1915 to 1919. It produced a dead heat twice: in 1903 between Violon II and Vaillant III and in 1948 between Santiago and She Devil.

Jean Stern (1875-1962)

Jean Stern was one of French racing’s most eminent personalities. When he passed away on December 15, 1962, at eighty-eight, the title of one of the press articles on his career was "Sixty-four Years of Sport". When he died, he "was not only the doyen of French breeders and owners lost but also the most sporting, in every sense of the word."

Elected to the Société des Steeples committee board in December 1909, he also sat on the administrative committee from 1933 to 1940. In 1930, he joined the Société d'Encouragement and chaired the Dieppe Racing Society from 1934 to 1962.

Jean Stern discovered horses when he graduated from Saint-Cyr military academy in 1897 and did a stint in the cavalry as lieutenant de chasseurs. And it was with the filly I Love You that he recorded his first win as an owner on 14 May 1899, in a hurdles race at Angoulême. That same year, his tasteful colours (white jersey with light blue stars and black cap) first took the honours on the flat when the 2-year-old Uhlan clinched the Prix de Cheffreville at Deauville. After leaving the army, Jean Stern gave increasing importance to his stable, which was already geared towards jumps racing, and, in 1905, he bagged the discipline’s biggest prize of all, the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, courtesy of his 4-year-old Canard.

Having continually acquired broodmares, Jean Stern found himself the proprietor of stables which, after the First World War, gradually established themselves among the crème de la crème. First based at Clairfeuille and then at the la Chaussée stud farm (an outbuilding of Jean Couturié’s Mesnil stud), Jean Stern set up base in the Calvados region after the Second World War, at the Saint-Pair-du-Mont and Cheffreville studs.

Jean Stern’s breeding operation was essentially based on two stallions: Alcantara II (Prix du Jockey Club 1911), purchased after his racing career and Rialto (seventeen wins, 2nd in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 1928), acquired as a yearling; and three broodmares, Fanager (1908), Saperlipopette (1909) and Hornet's Law (1926).

The first two great horses bred by Jean Stern did not sport his colours: Biribi (1923), a winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe whom he had, unfortunately, let go as a yearling due to a club foot, and Pantalon (1930), sold in a claiming race before going on to win the Grand Critérium and come third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Between the wars, the most dazzling representatives of the star-studded white silks were Scaramouche (1921, Prix de la Forêt), Arpette (1930, Prix Jacques Le Marois), Fantastic (1933, Prix Royal Oak, Prix du Cadran), Sanguinetto (1933, Prix d'Ispahan, Prix du Conseil Municipal) and Saint Preux (1934, Grand Prix de Deauville).

The Second World War proved highly damaging to Jean Stern’s stables. His breeding operation was decimated, with only a few horses able to take refuge with Jean Couturié and Gabriel Brun. Under the latter’s colours, Hern the Hunter (1939, Prix du Cadran) and La Belle du Canet (1940, Prix Vermeille) both distinguished themselves during the years of conflict.

After the Liberation, the reconstituted stud farm first produced some excellent jumps horses (see below) before, in 1948, turning up the kind of champion all breeders pray for, Sicambre, who suffered only one defeat in nine outings (a second place in the Prix Morny) during 1951, notching up successes in the Grand Critérium, Prix du Jockey Club and Grand Prix de Paris that at last offered some reward for fifty years of effort. The same year was also marked by a general resurgence in the fortunes of Jean Stern’s stud, as his top-level performers became increasingly numerous: Free Man (1948, Poule d'Essai des Poulains), Soleil Levant (1951, Prix Maurice de Nieuil), Franc Luron (1954, 2nd in Poule d'Essai), Pépin le Bref (1955, 2nd in Grand Prix de Paris), Hautain (1957, 2nd in Arc de Triomphe), Night and Day (1957, 2nd in Prix du Jockey Club), Star (1958, Prix Eugène Adam) and Snob (1959, Prix de la Forêt)

Meanwhile, In jumps racing, Jean Stern’s silks retained their prominence. After Canard (1905), Lindor brought him a brace of victories in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris (1946, 1947), followed later by a fourth success thanks to Cousin Pons (1961). Jean Stern’s other top jumps horses included Fierabras (1932, Prix Murat), Houdon (1941, Grand Prix des Trois Ans, Grand Prix d'Automne), La Palice (1941, Grande Course de Haies d'Enghien), Le Radar (1946, Grand Steeple-Chase d'Enghien, Prix Maurice Gillois, Gran Premio di Merano), Fifrelet (1947, Prix La Haye Jousselin, Prix du Président de la République), Florianet (1954, Prix Maurice Gillois), Milord l'Arsouille (1957, Prix Cambacérès) and Furibard (1961, Prix Cambacérès).

Jean Stern was, therefore, one of a rare handful of owners to reach the highest level in both flat (1951) and jumps racing (1960, 1961). Blessed with a sharp and erudite mind, Jean Stern published seven books, including two about racing: in 1913, Les Courses de Chantilly sous la Monarchie de Juillet (telling of the creation of the Société d'Encouragement and describing this pioneering period in French racing’s history); in 1954, Lord Seymour, dit Milord l'Arsouille (recounting the fascinating life of the first chairman of the Société d'Encouragement).



  • Arthur Veil Picard (4 wins): Jumelle (1909), Cheshire Cat (1911), Prince Christian (1914), Gunpowder (1926);
  • Magalen Bryant (4 wins): Saint Realise (2001), Saint du Chênet (2010), Laterano (2014), Whetstone (2018).
  • Jules Finot (3 wins): Grinchue (1884), Baryton (1885), Le Lys (1898). 


  • Guillaume Macaire (7 wins): Pasquane (1996), French Kankan (1997), Santa Bamba (2008), Tout Rouge (2011), Edward d'Argent (2017), Whetstone (2018), Goliath du Berlais (2019).
  • Georges Pelat (6 wins): Point Bleu (1947), Tréport (1949), Bonosnap (1955), Trouville II (1957), Tonofranc (1971), Yoritoma (1973) ;
  • Jean-Paul Gallorini (5 wins): Lapo d’Or (1979), Soliburn (1992), Le Navire (1994), Silver Top (1999), Kotkikova (2015). 
  • John Harper (4 wins): Grinchue (1884), Baryton (1885), Le Lys (1898), Chevilly (1899). 
  • Wallace Davis (4 wins): Jumelle (1909), Cheshire Cat (1911), Prince Christian (1914), Gunpowder (1926). 
  • Charles Bariller (4 wins): Hydravion (1920), Come Again (1923), L’Isly (1927), Fandango IV (1936). 
  • Maurice d’Okhuysen (4 wins): Citron (1930), Vague à l’Ame (1938), Chamerops (1939), Gommeux (1941). 
  • André Adèle (4 wins): Siklos (1937), Carcajou (1953), Pirate IV (1958), Blaps (1962). 
  • François Nicolle (4 victoires) : Le Listrac (2021), La Manigance (2022), Goliath du Rheu (2023), Kentucky Wood (2024).


  • Denis Leblond (4 wins): Lapo d’Or (1979), Marathon Dancer (1982), Brise Rose (1983), Mosca (1989) ;
  • Philippe Sourzac (4 wins): Pasquane (1996), French Kankan (1997), Karly Flight (2002), Cyrlight (2004).
  • Jacques Ricou (3 wins): Santa Bamba (2008), Tout Rouge (2011), Kotkikova (2015), Paulougas (2016).

One female jockey, Béatrice Marie, won with Le Navire in 1994.