Waiting in 6th position, Sel Jem, favorite of the race, cleared the 23 obstacles of the six-kilometre course in impeccable style. He flew above the formidable rail ditch and Fence or “justice of the peace” which imposes a leap of five meters and the river of the stands, crossed twice.
He made his effort on the final bend and jumped the last two hurdles in the lead then raced to an easy success on the flat.
“I felt that I had great potential. All the other horses in the Grand Steeplechase are like him. What he has in addition is a bigger brain than the others,” said Johnny Charron, who won his first Grand Steeplechase of Paris at 41 years old.
“He listened to me at all the obstacles and did everything I asked of him. As Mr. Macaire says, the winner is the one who has jumped the best. Look, there is noise and he remains calm. I’ve never ridden a horse like that,” added the jockey, who has more than 400 victories over obstacles.
“He did it without a hitch! I’m really happy, I’m really happy!” Said Guillaume Macaire, the professional from Royan-La-Palmyre.
Second place went to six-year-old Gex, piloted by James Reveley who also waited a long time before placing a jerk to change gears in the final phase.
“Gex made a big mistake in the open ditch, it cut his legs a bit! I don’t think we would have won. Sel Jem is a real crack. Congratulations to the team and to Johnny Charron” , said, fair play, James Reveley, holder of three victories in this legendary marathon race.
Third place went to outsider Franco de Port ridden by Daniel Edward Mullins.
– 360,000 euros for the Papot family –
The owners of Sel Jem, the Papot family, pocketed the 369,000 euros promised to the winner out of the 820,000 euros in total allocation.
Coach François Nicolle, number 1 in France, did not manage to put his name on the race list again this year, but he placed two of his students at the finish. Niko Has ridden by Théo Chevillard finished fourth and Happy Monarch entrusted to Angelo Zuliani took 5th place in the support class of Quinté Plus.
“My horses are good but they are not at 150%. Niko Has run very well. Happy Monarch, I am very happy with his race, he found the time a little long. Eddy de Balme fell but he managed to is mistaken on the open ditch way. In these races, you must not make mistakes!”, estimated François Nicolle. “The best won!”
The only female jockey at the start, the Irish Rachael Blackmore completed her course. She placed 10th with Burrows Saint.
In this extraordinary obstacle course, two horses fell: Eddy de Balme, ridden by David Gallon and Dream Wish, piloted by Jeremy Da Silva.
Al Boum Photo and the dean of the Screaming Colors race, 11, out of breath, were stopped by their respective jockeys: Paul Townend and John Orr Conor. As for Road Mix Tavel, he ejected his jockey Dylan Salmon but did not fall. The men and horses all returned unscathed.
This edition pitted sixteen horses, Thoroughbreds, Anglo or AQPS (other than Thoroughbreds) against each other on very soft ground in front of a crowd of spectators.