Noel George excited for next challenge with 'very special' Il Est Francais set for Auteuil return on Saturday

Il Est Francais: returns this weekend
Il Est Francais: returns this weekendCredit: Edward Whitaker (

Noel George is counting down the days to the return of the "very special" Il Est Francais, who will make his first appearance on Saturday since wowing the Boxing Day crowds at Kempton in the Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices' Chase. 

George is banking on the "intelligence and talent" of Il Est Francais as he switches from a successful first attempt over British fences to the very different jumping test of Auteuil in the Prix Murat, a key trial for next month's Grade 1 Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, France's version of the Gold Cup. 

Il Est Francais is unbeaten in two outings over fences at Auteuil but will be tackling the outer course for the first time, meaning he will have to negotiate the biggest obstacle on the track – the Rail, Ditch and Fence or 'Juge de Paix' – for the first time. 

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Scott BurtonFrance correspondent

Published on 2 April 2024inFrance

Last updated 13:47, 3 April 2024