This race dates back to 1961 when 4 year-olds were excluded from the Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil. They then had a race entitled “Grande Course de Haies des 4 Ans”, run on the same day as the Grand Steeple. In 1986, it became the “Course d’Eté des 4 Ans” (which itself became the Alain du Breil 4yo Hurdle race in 1988), while the name of “Grande Course de Haies des 4 Ans” was made the subtitle of a new race, the Renaud du Vivier 4yo Hurdle race, contested at the end of the autumn meeting. This race, the name of which commemorates one of the leading administrators of the Société des Steeple-Chases de France, is intended to crown the cream of the hurdling crop. Its distance has often varied from 2m3f to 2m5f, and is set at 3 ½ furlongs since 2007.
Renaud du Vivier de Fay-Solignac (1896-1985)
Appointed to the committee of the Société des Steeples on 7 October 1952, he became an executive member on 28 September 1955 before being made chairman on 10 October 1968 after the death of Comte Gérald de Rochefort. He chaired jumps racing’s governing body until 15 November 1977, on which date he retired due to ill health and was succeeded by Alain du Breil.
The main achievements of his nine years in charge were the completion of the long and difficult renovation of Auteuil begun under his predecessor, the fruitful support given to the development of the Pau races and the transformation of the Société des Steeples’s administrative procedures by the introduction of computer technology.
The Marquis du Vivier has been described as follows: “He was from that breed of great noblemen… no doubt the last… who succeeded each other at the end of the 20th century. His courtesy, affability, goodwill and understanding were legendary.. as was his smile and tremendous gentleness. “
The Marquis du Vivier knew about horses in all their forms and uses, a fact that made him a worthy chairman or member of a host of associations. Principal among these was the UNIC (Union Nationale Interprofessionnelle du Cheval). A Bordeaux man by birth and by heart, he was a tireless horseman, a great huntsman and an accomplished breeder and owner. He bred horses in partnership with Paul and René Duboscq, their Labouret stud farm and his Malleret property producing a champion La Sorellina (Prix de Diane, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe) and several other remarkable horses (Silnet, Feu du Diable, Tarquin, Tenarèze…) who shone in the silks of Paul Duboscq.
After taking over the colours (orange and violet-circled jersey, black cap) of Paul Clossmann, founder of the Malleret stud in around 1875, he repeatedly enjoyed success in minor races, but it was the silks of his wife (identical apart from an orange cap) that pulled off the coup of winning the 1962 Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly with a colt chosen as a yearling at Deauville. His name was Val de Loir, and he was destined to become a great stallion.
The best performers
Only 5 horses have won both of the major events for 4 year-olds over the hurdles at Auteuil, i.e. the summer’s Alain du Breil 4yo Hurdle Race and the autumn’s Renaud du Vivier 4yo Hurdle Race. They are Marly River (1987), Silbertal (1995), Le Coudray (1998), Nickname (2003) and Blue Dragon (2015).
Since the Grande Course de Haies des 4 Ans has been run in the autumn under the name of the Prix Renaud du Vivier, only two of its winners have managed to subsequently prevail in the Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil. They are Vaporetto (1997), the hero of the great summer event as a 6-year-old in 1999, and Questarabad, victorious in one in 2008 and the other in 2009.
Two horses have pulled off the unique feat of being the best 4-year-old in both disciplines by recording successive wins in both the Prix Maurice Gillois (steeplechase) and the Prix Renaud du Vivier (hurdles). The first of these jumps specialists was Bayonnet in 1983, owned by Georges Blizniansky, trained by André Fabre and ridden by Alain Chelet. The second, in 2006, was Or Noir de Somoza, who was owned by Sean Mulryan, trained by Arnaud Chaillé-Chaillé and ridden by Christophe Pieux. In 2004, an attempt to emulate Bayonnet had been made by Cyrlight, but in the Prix Renaud du Vivier, he had to content himself with second place behind Maia Eria.
In 2013, Ptit Zig, trained in Great Britain by Paul Nicholls won the race.
Winner in 2017, De Bon Coeur is the first female on the honours’ list since 2007 and the victory of Shekira (2007) while seven of them had succeeded on the highest step of the podium during the previous fifteen years including the champions Force Atlantique (1996), Line Marine (2001), Karly Flight (2002) and Maia Eria (2004). In 2019, L’Autonomie beat two other fillies at the finish of the race.
- Daniel Wildenstein (3 wins): Video Tape (1982), Vaporetto (1997) & Homme du Jour (1999) ;
- Henry de Blonay (2 wins): Seawell (1955) & Le Vermandois (1972) ;
- Jean Séguinotte (2 wins): Le Pont Logis (1978) & Shekira (2007).
- Jean-Paul Gallorini (5 wins): Model Man (1990), Silbertal (1995), Vaporetto (1997), Nickname (2003) & Hippomène (2014) ;
- André Adèle (4 wins): Torero (1963), Seawell (1955), Orvilliers (1967) & Le Vermandois (1972) ;
- Bernard Sécly (3 wins): Tepatitlan (1977), What a Joy (1981) & Caballo Raptor (2000) ;
- Jack-Hubert Barbe (3 wins): Teofilo Otoni (1979), Dazzling Horse (1984) & Petite Fortune (1986) ;
- Marcel Rolland (3 wins): Le Coudray (1998), Questarabad (2008) & Rock Noir (2009) ;
- Arnaud Chaillé-Chaillé (3 wins): Karly Flight (2002), Or Noir de Somoza (2006) & Shekira (2007) ;
- Guillaume Macaire (3 wins): Bel La Vie (2010), Esmondo (2012) & Master Dino (2018).
- Christophe Pieux (3 wins): Line Marine (2001), Maia Eria (2004) & Or Noir de Somoza (2006) ;
- David Cottin (3 wins): Ptit Zig (2013), Hippomène (2014) & Blue Dragon (2015).