Reveley hat-trick sees the wheel turn full circle as On The Go gets there
Bapaume best of the rest in Grand Course as De Bon Coeur storms home
Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris (Grade 1 chase) | 5yo+ | 3m6f
James Reveley has enjoyed far from smooth sailing in France this year but all was forgotten as he galvanised On The Go on the run-in to deny Perfect Impulse on the line, claiming France's greatest prize for the third straight year.
In an amazing turn of events, his partner for the two previous editions, So French, was one of three horses to come down at the very first fence.
Trainer Guillaume Macaire was winning the race for the fifth time in the last six years and, even as he was being congratulated by his beaten rival, Arnaud Chaille-Chaille, was able to reflect that victory came down to "On The Go having a bigger head" than his rival.
For Reveley, a mixture of injuries and greater rivalry for the best rides at the Macaire academy have made 2018 hard going.
"The wheel has turned a bit this year but I'm delighted it's come back in my favour today," said Reveley.
"I felt I needed to do something because it was a downward spiral, so I had a word with the boss and told him I'd be careful what I rode [for other trainers] and would stop working with my agent for now. It hasn't really picked up so far but today it's worked out perfectly.
"I didn't have the choice between the two and if I had I might well have picked Go French out of loyalty, even though I felt On The Go might be the better right now.
"On The Go is an amazing horse. He's so easy to ride, a good jumper, adapts to any type of ground or pace scenario and is very brave."
Djakadam failed to improve on Willie Mullins' record in the race, running well for a long way before fading into eighth under David Mullins.
The trainer said: "Djakadam is quite lame behind. I think he might have got a kick at the first-fence melee, where he was lucky not to be brought down. He has a nasty cut and swelling in his hock and was very lame pulling up."
Grande Course de Haies (Grade 1 hurdle) 5yo+ | 3m1½f
There was another swift change of fortune as Kevin Nabet came in for a dream winning spare ride on De Bon Coeur, whose regular jockey Thomas Gueguen was injured when falling on Bipolaire in the first-fence pile-up in the Grand Steeple-Chase.
De Bon Coeur suffered her first defeat here at the end of last month but atoned for that in spectacular fashion, sprinting 16 lengths clear of Bapaume, the best of Mullins' four representatives.
Winning trainer Francois Nicolle said: "Kevin rode her perfectly in a situation which wasn't easy for him or me, choosing to switch her wide coming into the straight. Bravo to him."
Mullins was happy with the performance of Bapaume, attempting three miles for only the second time.
Yorkhill led the field for much of the race and stayed on to be sixth, one place better than last year's winner, the Nicky Henderson-trained L'Ami Serge.
"Bapaume ran a cracker," said Mullins. "He stayed on well and Jacques [Ricou] gave him a great ride. I'm delighted with him. Yorkhill ran well but Danny [Mullins] said he was too keen."
The Grande Course was being run on Grand Steep' day for the first time and so consolation could await in three weeks in the Prix La Barka.
Mullins said: "We'll have a look at the Barka. Bapaume might come back, he'd be made for it, but Killultagh Vic won’t as he found the ground too quick."
Daryl Jacob rode a similar race to last year's winning effort on L'Ami Serge but, having made some progress on the second circuit, he flattened out turning for home.
"He's had a long hard season and was maybe a bit flat today, but we're very proud of his campaign and his Aintree win was a day none of us will forget," said Jacob.
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