This year’s Crystal Cup may be concluded, but the calendar of French cross country races is well and truly underway, the latest of the Class 1 chases in the  Trophée National taking place on Sunday at Rostrenen in Brittany.

The €52,000 fifth leg of the 15 race series may not go down as its most memorable as another Papot – owned horse was making rather larger waves for his trainer, Daniela Mele in Auteuil’s Prix Alain de Breuil, the big Spring 4 year olds hurdle. In fact, no conclusions can be made at all from the 6l victory of Gold Allen over Great du Large.

It was clear from the off of the 5,800m chase that nobody was anxious to make the running in the sapping conditions. Runners were still standing at the start nearly 5 seconds after the starter had dropped his flag; any longer and he would have been enjoying an aperitif in the stewards’ room between races. Romain Juilliot eventually opted grudgingly to make it at a pedestrian pace, with Special du Rocher and Gold Allen close up.

And so it continued around this compact course and its twists and turns. Great du Large was running left down his fences, and the pace was modest enough for Esteban Metivier to have to pick up the pace himself on Gold Allen, who last completed at Craon’s Grand Cross in September 2022.

The pace remained very steady until they turned into the back straight for the final time, when the increase in pace caught out a few in the jumping department. A mistake by Barcarolle at the 7th last had him on the floor, whilst Special du Rocher also landed flat-footed.

It had suddenly become a race in Indian file as they disappeared behind the wood after the third last, and when they reappeared, Great du Large was in front, with Gold Allen on his heels, and Elcond’Or Forlonge, a faller in last week’s Anjou-Loire Challenge at Lion d’Angers, behind in third.

Picking off the leader, Gold Allen was able to sprint clear and land the prize for the  Patrice Quinton stable by 6l, Elcond’Or Forlonge a distant 10l further back in third.

Quinton has a rock-solid reputation in this discipline, having already won 4 previous  Trophées Nationals. Don’t bet against him making this year a fifth.