Emmanuel Clayeux hasn't always specialised in Cross Country horses, but he is plainly expert with them now for he saddled first and second in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase when the six-year-old Diesel D'Allier led home veteran Urgent De Gregaine in an all-French finish.
Clayeux nurtured the likes of Defi Du Seuil, Apple's Jade and Grand Crus through their early careers, and he also bred Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo, but he has concentrated increasingly on Cross Country since Felix de Giles, who rode the runner-up, established himself in France, reasoning that he is the best Cross-Country jockey in the country.
He hopes to bring both first and second back for the cross-country races next month and at The Festival, and revealed that the latter race is likely to be the last for Urgent De Gregaine, who turns 12 at the end of next month.
He said: "I wasn't sure the younger horse would adapt to the racecourse, but he jumped fluently and was brilliant. He should come back in December and then we'll see about March.
"I hope Urgent De Gregaine will run in March and that's his main objective. He will finish then, and I'd like to retire him after another win here [he is already a Cross Country winner at Cheltenham in January, 2017] and then maybe we will have a statue of him here!"
DEUTSCH WINS THE FRENCH PRIZE
The French-trained grey Diesel D'Allier lit up a dark afternoon by winning the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase by four and a half lengths from his stablemate at Emmanuel Clayeux's yard, Urgent De Gregaine.
Diesel D'Allier was ridden by Charlie Deutsch, who said: "He was brilliant and gave me a great spin. I rode one for Mr Clayeux here two years ago and he jumped brilliantly. I got a phone call off him last week and I just said 'yes! yes! yes!'- I didn't even know what it was. He gave me a great spin and these French horses jump so well.
"I am very grateful for the ride. He has quickened up the hill really well and is a lovely horse. It would be easy to slip up round there and this lad was very clever on his feet, it was just a matter of clinging on. It was tight where the fence was bypassed and I was just trying to get a run through. Luckily, I had plenty of horse under me so you could go for the gaps. I am over the moon.
"It was a great buzz. I probably went a bit overboard, but I was having a good time! You've got to enjoy because you don't know when you'll get a winner round here next, and I had a dream run. The horse travelled everywhere, jumped really well and I was just lucky to be on board, really.
"I was told not to be too far away at the start, and he was a bit slow in some of his races over the first few, but to be fair we've slotted in nicely, taken our time a bit, and then it was just a case of finding our way through, really, and then seeing how much we had left at the end. He had plenty left and his jumping was very fluent. I was jumping past horses all the time, but I was just trying to find a gap to slot into and eventually we got there when they got a bit tired.
"My French is terrible! It's a long time since I went to school."
CHIC IS THE NAME, CROSS COUNTRY IS THE GAME
Jockey James Best was delighted with the performance of the Richard Hobson-trained Chic Name (11/2), who finished a creditable third in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase.
Diesel D'Allier led home a French 1-2 for Emmanuel Clayeux as he defeated stable companion Urgent De Gregaine (5/1) by four and a half-lengths, with Chic Name a further two and three-quarter lengths behind in third.
Chic Name was having just his second start over the Cross Country fences and Best was delighted with the effort.
He said: "That was a good performance from Chic Name. He really took to the fences and travelled strongly throughout.
"He just got tired in the closing stages, but we were delighted with that performance and hopefully there is more to come from him this year."
Felix De Giles partnered the second-placed Urgent De Gregaine and he commented: "That was a lot of weight on this ground - he likes it heavy but that is hard work.
"I cannot wait to come back here in March for the big one off level weights, that will be much more his sport.
"I am really happy for the team to get the one-two, Emmanuel loves this discipline and he has the right facilities at home to produce top cross country chasers."
1:15pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase 3m 6f 37y
1 DIESEL D'ALLIER (Yves Maupoil) Emmanuel Clayeux FR 6-10-04 Charlie Deutsch 13/2
2 Urgent De Gregaine (A Rasquier) Emmanuel Clayeux FR 11-11-12 Felix de Giles 5/1
3 Chic Name (The Boom Syndicate) Richard Hobson 7-10-08 James Best 11/2
9/2 Fav Kingswell Theatre (5th)
Time: 8m 44.77s
Distances: 4½, 2¾
Tote Win: £7.50 Places: £2.40, £2, £2.30 Exacta: £49.50