6,000 m, 23 obstacles, more than 7 minutes of emotion and effort (7′41″59, time achieved last year by
Docteur de Ballon
)… The course of the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris (Gr. I ) is littered with traps and requires dexterity from jumping champions and jockeys.
Triple winner with the legendary
(1988), the "Ourasi" of the obstacle,
(1991), one of the three musketeers of the Marquise de Moratalla, and
(1992), Dominique Vincent, 64 years old , more than 450 successes to his credit and former consultant on Equidia, deciphers the difficulties of this summit in the temple of obstacles.
The tribune river
"This obstacle is 1 m high and 5.5 m wide and allows spectators to gauge the effort of the horses, who leap 8 m to cross it, twice: at the start of the course and one lap from the finish.
It is quite impressive but is not the most difficult.
A mistake during the reception can in any case be very expensive, with a delay of 4 to 5 lengths on the horses having crossed the river well.
This gap can prove decisive at the finish after 6,000 m of racing.
The Rail Ditch and Fence
“It is part of the “myth” of Auteuil, because it is really the most imposing with a width of 4.1 m and a height of 1.60 m and requires a leap of nearly 6 m.
The horses cross it after almost 5,000 m of running, and their legs are starting to feel heavy.
He is nicknamed the "Justice of the Peace", because it is often here that the event takes place.
The slightest negligence on this obstacle is often prohibitive.
The Open-Ditch Way
“The last big difficulty.
This is the twentieth obstacle of the course, located just after the Rail ditch and Fence.
It is less imposing than the previous one, but still measures 1.40 m high and 3.70 m wide and also allows no error.
The penultimate hedge
“Like all hurdles, this obstacle is 1.10 m high and 2.60 m wide.
This last hurdle of the line opposite may seem innocuous, like the six others on the course, but it can be likened to a real trap.
The jockey must imperatively remain concentrated, even if the biggest difficulties have been overcome.
It is located just before the last bend, when the jockey tends to breathe his horse before crossing the last two obstacles of the course.
It is imperative not to be distracted.
It is often on this kind of obstacle that falls are often accident-prone for jockeys.
“Without a high quality jumper, the chances of winning are less.
There must also be a symbiosis between the trainer and the owner in order to put their jockey in the best conditions without putting unnecessary pressure on him.
And the most important thing: to bear the media pressure for whoever will be on the track on D-Day. Riding this event without stress is never easy.
The jockey may panic or make an unusual mistake.
Of my three victories, that of
will remain the finest.
A month before the race, I knew I was going to win.
For a month, I tried to stay calm.