Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris de Sel Jem: early youth and great experience

Only 10 months after opening his prize list over hurdles at the Lion d’Angers, Sel Jem (Masked Marvel), the only 5-year-old in the race, puts on a show in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, under the saddle of the oldest jockey in the locker room, Johnny Charron, 42 years old. The new champion of the Papot family offers his 1st Grand Steeple-Chase to his young co-trainer, Hector de Lageneste, and the 7th success to Guillaume Macaire, who thus becomes the most successful trainer in the history of the race.

Guillaume Macaire is a phenomenon. Revolutionary in obstacle racing in France, where he was the leader for twenty years, he has lost none of his ardor at 66, even if he had to leave the head of the list to François Nicolle for 4 years. He who has never done anything like the others, an adventurer capable of going to buy horses in Poland, decided to join forces with a young professional 35 years his junior, Hector de Lageneste. Such a type of association, apart from parent/child cases, is often practiced in Australia but remains extremely rare in the world of racing in the northern hemisphere. The clash of generations, always to be feared, has turned into complementarity and the 2 men have achieved an excellent 1st joint season in 2021.

In the fall, they had come close to a 1st Gr.1 victory in the Prix Maurice Gillois, with Sel Jem under the Papot jacket, finally beaten by the narrowest gap by Let Me Love. This son of Masked Marvel then rose 4 to 4 the steps of notoriety. Absent 8 months after his 2nd place starting at 3 years old in the Prix de Saint-Raphaël between Henry the joker et Rosario Barón, he had returned in July with a victory by 15 lengths with Johnny Charron, on the Lion d’Angers hedgerows. He followed that up with a victory over the steeplechase at Dieppe, then a Listed success at Auteuil, reuniting with the jockey of his debut, which had opened the doors of Maurice Gillois to him. Sel Jem was the big favorite in the Grand Steeplechase: logical for a horse that won 2 of the 3 preparatory races, the Prix Troytown (Gr.3) and Murat (Gr.2). He thus pocketed the bonus of €150,000 offered for the first time this year by France Galop for a winner of 2 preparatory races for the Grand Steeplechase. His entourage can now hope for the Grand Slam with an attempt in the Haye Jousselin which would bring in an additional €75,000!

Salt Jem coasting over the last hurdle.

Sel Jem is a golden horse. An excellent jumper, placid, endowed with both ground and the ability to accelerate, he is a jockey’s delight. His partner Johnny Charron wins his 1st Gr.1 with him in the biggest obstacle course in France. A native of Angers (a sign of quality!…), this very talented rider has climbed the ranks step by step. Winner of his 1st group in 2017, at 35, in the saddle on Gold Filly for Philippe Peltier in the Prix Sagan, then winner of the France Sire Anjou Loire Challenge (Listed) with Amazing Comedy in 2019, he is now sailing in the elite thanks to his arrival in Royan in the stable of Guillaume Macaire. And new opportunities have appeared since the departure of Bertrand Lestrade, 1st jockey of the Macaire house for a long time.

Johnny Charron parades in front of the packed stands of the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris. (photos APRH)

At 66, the latter therefore becomes the most successful trainer of all time in the Grand Steeple-Chase. He walks past Bernard Séclywhich had 6 successes with Mon Filleul, Katko (3 times), Al Capone II et Step III. Guillaume Macaire triumphed for the first time with Arénice in 1996. Although he had to wait 17 long years to regain victory, he won by less than 6 of the last 10 Grand Steeple-Chases of Paris with Beautiful Life (2013), Storm of Saintly (2014), So French (2016&2017), On The Go (2018) and therefore now Sel Jem. We note that Sel Jem joins the 4 previous horses by winning at the age of 5 years. Guillaume Macaire has a reputation for training young horses. He ignores it completely by aligning successes in the marathon for older horses, but at the same time imposes himself there most often with the youngest generation authorized to participate…

Guillaume Macaire with Johnny Charron.

After Bel La Vie and On The Go, the Papot family reunited in full in Auteuil knows a new reward for the efforts made in the racing world for more than 36 years now, and their 1st victory with Star Princess in Loudéac in Brittany on June 1, 1986 at Yannick Fertillet.

Huge emotion from Xavier Papot.

They found Sel Jem at his breeder Florence Lormandwho works with the only strain of Sel Jem, which is also the same as that of Losange Bleu, the winner of the Prix Aguado (Gr.3) at the start of the day, that also of Sweet Virginiawinner of the Prix Maurice Gillois in 1981. The branch of Sel Jem also gave, under the 2nd mother, the excellent We eat Baiewinner of the Prix Troytown (Gr.3), as well as Jemykos and Aroma Baie. SEE SALT JEM’S PEDIGREE.

It is an absolute triumph for the court of the stallions of the Haras d’Etrehamon which depends the father of the Masked Marvel, a son of Montjeu parked at Guillaume Sarda au Haras de la Tuilerie in the Orne, while the mother is a daughter of holy of holiesthe patriarch of the house, one of the most outstanding jumping stallions in racing history.

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