France: Ricou and Thomas Lord it for rare hat-trick
Auteuil: Milord Thomas recorded his fifth Grade 1 win at the track
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Ricou and Thomas Lord it for rare hat-trick By Scott Burton 7:25PM 6 NOV 2016
Auteuil: Prix La Haye Jousselin (Grade 1 Chase) 3m3½f, 5yo+
MILORD THOMAS may have a way to go before equalling the extraordinary feats of seven-time winner Al Capone in this race but Dominique Bressou's classy chaser brought up the hat-trick in thrilling fashion under a determined Jacques Ricou.
Ricou took matters into his own hands down the back on the first circuit after reigning Grand Steeple-Chase hero So French proved unable to sustain his usual frontrunning role.
Ricou looked supremely assured turning for home but Regis Schmidlin threw down a real challenge aboard Alary, while Storm Of Saintly rallied from a serious mistake at the Rail Ditch and Fence to make the finish a proper three-way affair.
A fine jump at the last looked to have given Milord Thomas a decisive advantage but the seven-year-old was forced to dig deep by his pursuers, denying the gallant Alary by half a length.
"He went in front at the last and then had to take back the lead, he is a real fighter," said Bressou, who has sent out Milord Thomas to land five Grade 1s in total, including the 2015 Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris.
"He has the right nerve and mentality for this, which sometimes I don't! The sensations are quite strange and you have to go through them to really understand.
"I told Jacques he was really well and the way he went to the front because So French wouldn't go fast enough, he was almost too well. Today we rediscovered the real Milord Thomas."
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Ricou added: "He is like my Kauto Star, a king of a horse. The difference is that he only runs at Auteuil. That is why you need to look after him in the prep races and make sure he is in top shape for the really big days because he has so few opportunities. He is exceptional and we can still dream of more.
Also on Sunday
Auteuil: Prix Cambaceres (Grade 1 Hurdle) 2m2f, 3yo
James Reveley continued his superb season as De Bon Coeur underlined her superiority over 10 male rivals to score by nine lengths from Invicter, with the same distance again back to the Paul Nicholls-trained Dolos in third.
For trainer Francois Nicolle it was a second career success at the highest level, just 24 hours after breaking his Grade 1 duck in the Grand Prix d'Automne.
Nicolle said simply: "She is a crack. She jumps fast and accurately and the only couple of tiny errors she made were because she wanted to go faster that the rhythm of the race. Fortunately James took his time and once she had cleared the last she soared away. She jumps fences like a queen at home and I think she has more gears than she needed to show here."
De Bon Coeur carries the maroon and grey stripes of owner/breeder Jacques Detre and is by his Prince of Wales's Stakes winner, Vision D'Etat.
"The whole setup is very professional, from Monsieur Detre who raced Vision D'Etat through to Francois Nicolle who prepared her perfectly today and deserves his Group 1 successes this weekend," said Reveley.
"It was very easy and she is a real machine. She is a very natural jumper and she has all the qualities of her mother [the Graded-winning chaser Santa Bamba]."
Dolos and Nick Schofield sat at the head of the main group for much of the race as the Nick Williams-trained Flying Tiger cut out the running before fading on the second circuit.
"He has run a lovely race against probably the best juveniles around at the moment," said Schofield. "The filly had a bit more pace than us going up the straight but mine is a super horse and there is a lot to look forward to."
Auteuil: Prix Maurice Gillois (Grade 1 Chase) 2m6f, 4yo
Carriacou, ridden by Stephane Paillard, got the better of Sainte-Turgeon and Paulougas in a fierce three-way tussle up the Auteuil run-in to record a 30-1 shock.
Paillard was winning for the first time at the top level while trainer Isabelle Pacault bred Carriacou.
"It is fantastic and to have this happen with my whole family here," said Pacault. "Stephane is a great guy while my head lad, Luca, has really done great work with this horse. He has been with me since the start in 1993 and it is him you should be talking to really."
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