Quart storms home in Presidential thriller
Report: France, Sunday
Auteuil: Prix du President de la Republique (Group 3 chase) 2m7½f
QUART MONDE (Francois Nicolle/Gaetan Olivier) denied the front-running Rubis Sur Ongle in the shadow of the post to gain a famous success in France's version of the Grand National.
The top-weight was only a distant fifth turning for home, but gradually reeled in the leaders after the last to score by three-quarters of a length from Karibiksturm, with Rubis Sur Ongle a head back in third.
Quart Monde was right in the front rank as the field streamed over the first of 18 obstacles, but while Bertrand Thelier and Christophe Pieux began to turn the screw aboard Rubis Sur Ongle and favourite Saint Vivien respectively, Olivier was happy to let his mount bide his time.
Saint Vivien surrendered the lead with a slow jump at the big open ditch midway down the back straight, and entering the home straight Thelier looked to have the race won.
But Rubis Sur Ongle began to falter halfway up the run in, and Olivier was able to force his way into the argument without resort to the whip aboard Quart Monde until the final fifty yards.
"Gaetan has ridden a great race, and he didn't change anything when he saw the two leaders escape," said a hoarse Nicolle, who will now aim his stable star at France's biggest chase. "He'll go for the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris now."
Karibiksturm ran an extraordinary race under Jo Audon, having almost come down at the big water jump in front of the stands, a mistake which left him virtually last with a circuit to run.
Also at Auteuil on Sunday
TRAINER Nick Williams and jockey James Reveley enjoyed mixed fortunes on their latest trip to the Paris venue.
Promising four-year-old Urbain De Sivola finished fourth behind Wonder Charm in a hot-looking conditions hurdle.
Impressed: jockey James ReveleyPICTURE: Martin Lynch
"He got hampered at the first, and it took him most of the race to get his confidence back," said Reveley.
"I'd say he was the best horse in the race, and I've told Nick it's definitely worth coming back for the good four-year-old races here," he continued.
Earlier James De Vassey finished last of those to complete in a Listed hurdle, but even worse was to come in the concluding chase, when Cornas fell at the water jump and the Gary Moore-trained Lord Singer came down in the ensuing melee.
Both Reveley and Josh Moore were quickly on their feet, while both horses galloped away from the incident.
"He'd jumped OK up to that point, but it was all a bit of a blur, and I'd have to see it again to know what happened," said Moore.