Situated in the centre of Paris, a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower is the picturesque home of National Hunt racing in France. An Oval track, with the chase course inside the hurdles and a loop through the middle for certain distances, this is the stiffest jumping test in France.
The hurdles track runs around the outside of the course and with such a wide expanse of track, it is very fair and there are few hard luck stories in the main. When the ground becomes testing, many jockeys will often explore all areas of the track, especially by going wide in the back straight. The overhanging trees and the high hedge do offer some protection for that strip of ground from the worst of the winter elements, but this only provides an advantage on Heavy ground, as the extra distance covered is not negated on better going. The home straight is a different proposition all together, where there is a confirmed bias along the stands side rail and most jockeys will head for this “golden highway” in the closing stages if they can get there. As a result of this bias, it can favour horses who are able to race prominently on the hurdles track, as they have the first opportunity to get on to this rail.
The Chase track runs through the inside of the course, as a result the bends are tighter, and it can suit horses who race more prominently as they get a better sight of their fences. There are 3 significant fences that need to be negotiated. The water jump in front of the stands, the large open ditch in the back straight and the double barrier hedge that is the 2nd last, all take a sound jumper and can decide the outcome of a race by themselves. It is worth noting that the 3-year-old chases and some of the lower grade events take a different course through the centre of the track and so bypass 2 of these fences, making it a much easier jumping test.
Feature Races: Grand Steeple de Paris. Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil, Prix La Haye Jousselin, Prix Alain de Breil, Grand prix D’Automne
Leading Trainers: Guillaume Macaire & Hector de Lageneste (21%), Arnaud Chaille-Chaille (18%), Francois Nicolle (16%)
Leading Jockeys: Angelo Zuliani (22%), Bertrand Lestrade (22%), James Reveley (18%)
Betting Pointers: Winning Favs (30.9%), Placed Favs (61.7%), Leading owner – Simon Munir and Isaac Souede (21%), Most profitable trainer – David Cottin (LSP +£8.20), Most profitable Jockey, Kevin Nabet (LSP +£72.80)