Russell's French success adds to Mullins joy with brilliant 'Benie'
Davey Russell was the toast of Auteuil last night after guiding the French-trained Carriacou to victory in the prestigious Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris.
Third in the race two years ago, he was then off the track for almost two years before returning in January. Nursed into it in true Russell style, the Isabelle Pacault-trained seven-year-old was the only horse on the bridle approaching the last - and after that he sprinted clear in the style of a fresh horse.
The home favourite Bipolaire fared best of the rest, but in truth it was all about one horse.
Willie Mullins fielded a strong team - including Irish Grand National winner Burrows Saint, but after travelling well for Paul Townend, who must have been fancying his chances of claiming a second feature race of the weekend after the impressive success of Benie Des Dieux on Saturday, the six-year-old faded into fifth.
Rathvinden, ridden by Nico de Boinville in the absence of the injured Rachael Blackmore, was hampered early on and was always on the back foot afterwards.
Pacault becomes the first female trainer to win the French Gold Cup, while Russell joins an elite list to have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Grand National and the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris. "I was pleased just to have a ride in the race, never mind win it," he said.