It’s with tremendous sadness that we advise of the passing of Mach Three this morning. Mach Three has become one of the most influential harness racing stallions in the world. The great horse broke his hind leg in the paddock and, in the shocking face of absolutely no alternative, the incredibly difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize him. It was a privilege to be able to care for Mach Three at Alabar NZ and be part of one of the most influential careers in harness racing. He will be greatly missed but we gain solace from the fact that his true legacy is only just starting to unfold through the deeds of his siring sons and grandsons and also his daughters. Our heartfelt condolences and appreciation go out to the Muscara family. Today is a very hard day but the journey has been a pleasure. Respect is earned. Mach Three will always be remembered at Alabar with the utmost respect. Mach Three - As at August 2015 on Stallion Sphere. There will be a detail update over the next few days. Somebeachsomewhere - As at August 2015 on Stallion Sphere. There will be a detail update over the next few days. Somebeachsomewhere - Updated article on Somebeachsomewhere just yeaterday.
The Living Horse Hall of Fame nominating committee of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame has announced the results of recent voting to determine the 2017 inductees into the Harness Racing Living Horse Hall of Fame. Museum members in good standing voted for the two horses they felt best exemplified greatness. Their choices are racehorses Mr Muscleman and Rock N Roll Heaven. The other nominees were Andover Hall, Cantab Hall and Credit Winner. Broodmares Fox Valley Monika and Stienam's Place will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame, having met the qualifications for broodmares. Mr Muscleman, Rock N Roll Heaven, Fox Valley Monika and Stienam's Place will be inducted on Hall of Fame Day, Sunday, July 2nd, 2017. The ceremonies honoring these extraordinary Standardbred horses will take place during the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame's annual dinner. For information on the Hall of Fame weekend and other festivities surrounding this important occasion visit www.harnessmuseum.com from April 2017 onward or call or write the Museum at 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924. Phone: 845-294-6330. Currently, Standardbreds are only eligible for nomination to harness racing's highest accolade if they comply with the following strict criteria: They must be retired from racing for five years and had a drug-free career. In addition, racehorses must have won 75% of their lifetime starts, or gone undefeated in a single season campaign of 12 or more races, or been the winner of $3 million lifetime or named Harness Horse of the Year (US and/or Canada). Stallions must rank among the 10 all-time leading money-winning sires at their gait or have sired at least 100 $200,000 winners or been a leading money-winning sire at his gait in three or more seasons. BROODMARES are automatically elected if they have produced a $1 million winner and two other winners of $500,000 OR produced a Harness Horse of the Year (US and/or Canada) and another $500,000 winner. The 2017 LIVING HORSE HALL OF FAME INDUCTEEs MR MUSCLEMAN (Nominated as Racehorse) 5,1:51.1s ($3,582,823) Bay Gelding, 2000 (Muscles Yankee - Meadowbranch Irene - Meadow Road) Mr Muscleman raced from 2002-2007. At the time of his retirement, he was ranked ninth among the leading moneywinning trotters of all time and is currently ranked fourth among North American trotters. Mr Muscleman recorded 37 wins out of 69 starts, finishing off the board only eight times in six seasons of racing. In eleven starts as a two-year-old in 2002, Mr Muscleman had five wins, including the Bluegrass and Harold Dancer Memorial. The following year, victories in the Breeders Crown, Canadian Trotting Classic and Kentucky Futurity contributed to Mr Muscleman being voted 2003 Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year. His earnings of $1,178,115 were the most ever by a three-year-old trotting gelding. In 2004, winning the Maple Leaf Trot and American-National helped earn Mr Muscleman the title of Older Trotter of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada. In 2005, five-year-old Mr Muscleman's victories included the Breeders Crown, Maple Leaf Trot, Titan Cup and Classic Series, where he set his record 1:51.1s. His season's earnings of $1,364,220 were the most ever by an older Standardbred gelding and made Mr Muscleman the only Standardbred to earn $1 million in two non-consecutive seasons of North American racing. He was voted 2005 Trotter of the Year and Older Trotter of the Year. In 2007, seven-year-old Mr Muscleman finished a close second in Sweden's Elitlopp and won all four of his North American starts. Persistent soundness issues forced his retirement in 2008. Mr Muscleman has been a resident of the Kentucky Horse Park's Hall of Champions since October 2009. ROCK N ROLL HEAVEN (Nominated as Racehorse) p,3,1:47.3 ($2,748,818) Bay Horse, 2007 (Rocknroll Hanover - Artistic Vision - Artsplace) At the time of his retirement from racing, 2010 Horse of the Year and world champion Rock N Roll Heaven was the tenth-leading single-season moneywinning Standardbred of all time, recording 20 wins out of 30 career starts. In 2009, two-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven finished on the board in all of his nine freshman starts, with four wins including the New Jersey Sire Stakes final and the Bluegrass. He earned $592,626 and set a world record 1:50.3 for two-year-old pacing colts on a five-eighths mile track. In 2010, three-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven won sixteen of twenty-one starts, earning $2,156,192, and was that year's leading moneywinning Standardbred. Major victories included the Breeders Crown, Little Brown Jug, Tattersalls Pace, Battle of the Brandywine, Messenger Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes, Matron Stakes final, Berry's Creek final and the New Jersey Sire Stakes final. Rock N Roll Heaven was elected 2010 Dan Patch Horse of the Year, Dan Patch Pacer of the Year, and Dan Patch and O'Brien Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year. In winning the Little Brown Jug in record time (1:49.2h), Rock N Roll Heaven became the first horse to pace two sub-1:50 miles on the same day, while setting the world record for pacing on a half-mile track in a two-heat race and the record for three-year-old pacers on the half-mile. In 2010 he paced a record eleven sub-1:50 race miles (seven consecutive), with victories in 1:49.2 or faster on half-mile, five-eighths mile, seven-eighths and mile tracks. FOX VALLEY MONIKA (Broodmare) p,3,1:53.3 ($64,049) Incredible Finale - Lady Kin - Cam Fella Bred by Fox Valley Standardbreds, broodmare Fox Valley Monika was foaled on April 29, 1998 in Sherman, Illinois. The progeny that qualified Fox Valley Monika for the Hall of Fame are Glass Pack p,4,1:49.4 ($1,002,820), Doubletrouble p,5,1:50 ($702,203) and Our Dragon King p,4,1:49.1 ($523,801). To date, Fox Valley Monika has produced three fillies and six colts, with seven starters and earnings of $2,937,769. STIENAM'S PLACE (Broodmare) p,3,1:50.4 ($1,402,301) Artsplace - Stienam's Girl - Nihilator Bred by James Leadbetter, Richard Stansley and John Powell, Jr., broodmare Stienam's Place was foaled on May 2, 1994 in Lexington, Kentucky. A world champion, Stienam's Place raced for two years, winning the 1996 Sweetheart Pace and the 1997 Breeders Crown and Mistletoe Shalee. She earned over $1,400,000 in her racing career and was voted 1997 Dan Patch Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year. The progeny that qualified Stienam's Place for the Hall of Fame are Put On A Show p,5,1:47.3 ($2,406,628), Showherthemoney p,3,1:49 ($871,161) and Good Day Mate p,3,1:49.3f ($503,349). To date, Stienam's Place has produced seven fillies and four colts, with nine starters and earnings of $4,551,107. (USTA statistics)
WASHINGTON, PA, Jan. 23, 2017 -- Pressured for much of the mile, Atta Boy Dan dug in late and scored a hard-earned harness racing victory in Monday's $20,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Atta Boy Dan fronted the half for Dave Palone in 28/56.4 -- responsible fractions for the sloppy conditions -- before picking up a determined challenge from Believeinthespirit. Although Believeinthespirit poked his head in front, Atta Boy Dan reasserted in the lane and prevailed in 1:52.3. Hawk's Red Chief shot the Lightning Lane for place, a head back, giving trainer Ron Burke the exacta sweep, while Dapper Dude rallied for show. Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC campaign Atta Boy Dan, an 8-year-old Western Terror-Dropitlikeitshot gelding who now boasts $676,742 in career earnings. Palone collected five wins -- including four for Burke -- on the 12-race card while Tony Hall fashioned a triple. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino
January 23, 2017 - Today’s Prix de Saint-Omer (purse €16,000, 4125 meters distance handicap. 16 International starters) drew a full field of Amateur harness racing drivers and the winner was 13.8/1 Univaldi d’Aval (9g Vivaldi de Chenu-Kiss Me d’Aval) reined by Michel Poirier and trained by Daniel Bethouart. 67.3/1 Roccoiamelone (7m Darsko Gar) was second for Michele Bechis ahead of 17.4/1 Un Gamin Danover (9g Land Danover) for driver Benoit Vallette. Cuba Cohiba and Radysin America finished fourth and fifth. Race time was 1.16.6kr off even, modest fractions over the marathon distance that saw the competitive field race double-tiered throughout. The Prix de Cantin (purse €36,000, 2100 meters autostart, 16 starters) went to 3.1/1 Destin d’Harfor (4g Paris Haufor-Une Vie d’Haufor) with Charles J. Bigeon aboard. Christian Bigeon is breeder/owner/trainer. The Bigeon team was been superbly “hot” at the winter meet. 11/1 Driver Cadence (4m Saxo de Vandel-Rose Pourpre) was second for trainer/driver Emmanuel Allard, with 33.5/1 Django de Mongochy (4m Rancho Gede-Odyssee Leader) third for trainer/driver Bruno Marie. Race time was 1.13.3kr. Charles J. Bigeon returned with another winner (this one as jockey) in the Prix de Pontrieux (monte, purse €40,000, 2850 meters, 14 European starters) timed in 1.15.4kr with 27.5/1 Baby Barbes (6g Magnificent Rodney-Jacotte Barbes). A.F. Bigeon owns the Christian Bigeon trainee, a horse Christian Bigeon bred. The winning team rallied from well back in the final bend to score in a close verdict. 3.9/1 Silverado Lux (6g Amigo Hall-Mabelle As) was second for jockey Franck Nivard, trainer H.K. Ehlert and owner Scuderia Fast Horse SRL. 1.9/1 favorite Birdy Match (6g Kool du Caux-Pepite du Beziau) landed third for Guillaume Martin. The featured Prix de Cavaillon (purse €65,000, 2100 ,meters autostart, 10 entrants) went to 1.14.8kr timed 1.7/1 barefoot favorite Danae de la Frette (4f Quaro Queen du Grand Buisson) with Franck Nivard. Franck Leblanc is the trainer for Ecurie du Grand Buisson. 20.4/1 Dalencia (4f Perlando-Olencia) was second for Dominik Locqueneux, trainer Ch. De Groote and owner BVBA Lieven de Groote. 13.5/1 Dynamite du Boulay (4f Defo d’Aunou-Mona Lisa Jet) was third for pilot Anthony Barrier and trainer Thierry Raffegeau. Thomas H. Hicks
Coming up this Sunday, January 29, 2017 is one of the great trotting events in the world, the Prix D'Amerique. Check out the great promo video (in English) by clicking here. Here is another one in French that is super click here.
Pompano Beach, FL...January 22, 2017...Rocky's Z Tam, fresh off a 1:50.4 winning effort in conditioned company a week ago, stepped up to the top Pompano Park Open ranks and promptly won that, as well, stopping the timer in 1:51.1 for harness racing driver Ricky Macomber, Jr. The five year-old gelded son of World of Rocknroll took home the major share of the $12,000 purse in pinning a photo finish defeat measuring a neck over the pacesetting Respectable Dream, handled by Rick Plano. Bluehourpower, also from the Macomber Stable and driven by Corey Braden, finished third, 2½ lengths away while Fritzie Pic Up Man finished fourth. Mystic Desire picked up the nickel in the quintet. It was a "picture perfect" journey for Rocky's Z Tam, who left alertly from the rail, allowing Respectable Dream to take command around the initial turn and on to a quarter in a hot :26.2. At this juncture, Fritzie Pic Up Man was third followed by Bluehourpower and Mystic Desire. On the backside after a half in :55, both Bluehourpower and Mystic Desire tilted to the outside but a :27.3 third panel left those two unable to dent significantly into the leader's margin of 1½ length past that third station in 1:22.3. Turning for home, Macomber left the coziness of his pocket and Rocky's Z Tam began gnawing away at the leader, gaining an ever-so-slight advantage just a couple of strides from the wire. After the race, Macomber said, "well, we sure got a 'picture perfect' journey, didn't we? Those first and third quarters were pretty good and we were just drafting along. Once we straightened away, I tilted him (Rocky's Z Tam) out and he kept grinding until he got it done. "It was a very nice mile for him...and me, too!" Trained by Jamie Macomber for the Z Tam Stables, Rocky's Z Tam won for the second time in four starts this semester, pushing his earnings this young season to $11,570. Lifetime, Rocky's Z Tam has bounty of $116,521. Even money on the tote-board, Rocky's Z Tam paid $4.20 to win. The same Macomber, Macomber, Z Tam Stables tandem also teamed up to score in the $10,000 Open 2 Pace with Uncmprmising Z Tam, as this four year-old altered son of Shadyshark Hanover made a quarter move to the top and, off that :26.2 opener, carded panels of :55.1 and 1:23 in route to a 1:51.3 win. Trained by Jamie Macomber and with Ricky Macomber, Jr. in the bike for the Z Tam Stables, Uncmprmising Z Tam scored by three-parts-of-a-length over the late surging First of Itskind (Tom Jackson). Heart Felt (Bryce Fenn) finished third, just a nostril further back while He's A Lock finished a fast closing (:27.3) fourth. The Optimist picked up the final award in the field of eight. The winner now has nine lifetime wins and $242,563 on his career card. Off at even money, Uncmprmising ZTam paid $4.00 to his multitude of backers. Monday's Pompano program features the ever-popular "Over The Hill Gang" trot with the tough nine year-old gelding My Revenuer after his fifth straight win for owner-trainer Tom Petri. Brad Kramer is expected in the sulky back of My Revenuer, who has been installed as the 2 to 1 morning line favorite. Among the competitors this week is She's All In, the eight year-old mare who has been competitive in Open company over this season. Owner-trainer Rick Plano will be in the sulky back of the gutsy daughter of Revenue S. Monday's card also features a carryover in the track's Pick-6 of $4,412. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park
Talented Tasmanian-owned and bred harness racing seven-year-old pacer Pachacuti confirmed he is back to his best with a resounding win in the $25,000 Devonport Cup over 3020 metres at the Devonport Showground last night. Pachacuti ($5.30) started off the back mark of 30 metres but the Todd Rattray-trained and driven gelding made light of the task to score by six metres from Black Centurian ($21) with Poker Storm ($72) the same margin astern. Rattray settled Pachacuti (Bettor's Delight-Tirols Ziray) near the rear after he stepped away safely from the standing start but after only travelling a lap Rattray eased his charge out three-wide to make what was a wining move. Pachacuti worked hard to face the breeze but soon after he forged to the lead while the other back marker Major Ruler that had worked three-wide on the back of Pachacuti, was left to face the breeze. As the field entered the back straight the last time Rattray upped the tempo and slipped six metres clear while Major Ruler started to wilt and dropped back through the field which led to Rohan Hillier, the driver of Im Barney Rubble, being dislodged from the sulky as a result of a couple of horses trying to avoid Major Ruler. "The way he went I'd say he's back to his best," Rattray said. "He had to do a bit of work early to get outside of the leader and he did a terrific job to finish off like he did. "He was very strong at the finish which was the most pleasing aspect of the win." Pachacuti spent some time in the care of James Rattray's (Todd's older brother) Menangle stable last year but Todd is hoping to keep the horse in his care. "There's a Melbourne campaign in this horse now that he's back to his best so I'm hoping James keeps his eyes off him for the time being." Peter Staples
Talented Hobart-based reinsman Rodney Ashwood is no stranger to driving multiple winners on a harness racing program but at Luxbet Park in Hobart last Friday night he dominated with three winners on the seven-race card. He opened his account with a win aboard the Eric Jacobson-trained Rusty Red Comet that stepped cleanly from the standing start and then enjoyed a cozy run on the leader's back. Ashwood waited until nearing the home turn to push out on the gelded son of Riverboat King and once in clear air the gelding powered home and grabbed victory in the shadows of the post to defeat Pushkin and Be Good Franklin over 2090 metres. Rusty Red Comet recorded a mile rate of 2.04.5 which wasn't too band from the stand. Ashwood again teamed up with Jacobson to score aboard War Chest in the C.U.B Pace over 2090 metres. After facing the breeze to the winning post the last time Ashwood urged his charge forward to assume control and it proved to be the winning move. War Chest booted well clear at the top of the home straight but he had to pull out all stops to withstand a powerful charge from eventual runner-up Falcon Harry that flashed home to miss by a half-head with Gaggle Coordinator a distant third. Ashwood ended a great night in the cart by guiding Remember Joe to victory in the Burger Me Campbell Town Claimer over 2090 metres. Remember Joe was backed in to start the $2.30 favourite and when Ashwood had the gelding settled in the one-out-two-back position punters would have been starting to line up to collect. When Ashwood was able to avoid a scrimmage leaving the bottom turn the last time Remember Joe quickly raced to the leaders and he went on to record an effortless win over Electric Ollie and Aninchofhislife. Peter Staples
With a jaw-dropping pace-setting run Smolda reinforced his standing in the top tier of Australasian harness racing pacers, becoming the first horse to win back-to-back PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cups. Smolda took the sting out of fellow heavyweights stablemate Lazarus and rival Lennytheshark in a breathtaking cup that has only heightened expectations around the forthcoming Summer Of Glory, featuring the Eynesbury Victoria Cup and Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. The reigning Ballarat and Hunter Cup champion and recent Inter Dominion and South Australian Cup winner reasserted his standing as the equal of any, with his victory in a 1:54.8 mile rate smashing the track record set last year. The gelding by Courage Under Fire found the front largely unchallenged from the gate and a gasp went through the considerable crowd as he piled on a 27.5 second quarter and then followed with 27.7 and 27.3 third and fourth quarters in driver Anthony Butt’s hands. “He’s got a high cruising speed and it doesn’t surprise me,” said Smolda's trainer Mark Purdon, who took the reins of second-placed Lazarus. “He runs along, you don’t really know the speed you’re going with him. That suits him the way Anthony drove him and tonight you couldn’t take it away from him with those sectionals.” Smolda took his winnings well past $2.2 million, while Lazarus lost few fans with a mighty run first-up in Australia, and Victoria's favourite Lennytheshark also entered rare air with his third placing, beaten only 5.6m, taking him past $2 million in career earnings. It was a race about the big three and all walked away with reason for optimism, including David Aiken, trainer of Lennytheshark. “We always knew he needed the run (being) first up from a couple of months. I just was really rapt, the quick last mile and he kept coming on the line,” Aiken said. “These are great horses. (Smolda) just keeps doing it. He sometimes seems a little patchy, but at the moment he is just in the zone, he’s going fantastic.” He said Alford’s decision to ease Lennytheshark from the gates, rather than hustle Smolda for the lead, was a simple one. “I think the only way we could have crossed Smolda was if we had have drawn a little bit wider than him, it’s very hard when you are alongside him to lead. Chris was always going to drive him that way. “When they are a little bit underdone to blast them out and bring them undone that way would have been no good for their prep. It was just the run he needed to have. “ Lazarus will also benefit greatly from the run, according to Purdon, who reaffirmed that his gun four-year-old would be pointed towards the January 28 Victoria Cup and then the February 4 Edgell Sidewinders 4YO Bonanza. In the cup, Purdon took Lazarus to the rear of the field from gate seven and entered the throng three-wide the final time down the main straight, taking the breeze position outside Smolda and with Lennytheshark on his tail. “They were rolling all the way,” Purdon said. “(Lazarus) wasn’t travelling on the bridle, he was working probably from when I went with him. “The racing Smolda’s had under his belt stood to him, where as Lazarus is on his way back up again and probably the run he will benefit from it.” And with that, the trots imminent Summer Of Glory grand stage is becoming clearer. Lazarus looks certain to shape off against Aiken’s fleet-footed superstar Hectorjayjay in Saturday night’s $400,000 Victoria Cup. Lennytheshark will be geared towards the following week’s $500,000 Hunter Cup where he will resume his showdown with Smolda, but there is room for a few twists in the tail. Of Smolda, Purdon said he would “probably” skip the Victoria and be geared towards the Hunter, but he hasn’t been ruled out of doing the double. Smolda, Ballarat Cup 2017 Either way, Hectorjayjay will be ready come Saturday night. “If Hector draws good, he’s got that great gate speed and we saw in Perth if he can just get that one reasonable quarter he can run off a really good half,” Aiken said. “That run in the Shep Cup, that really tightened him up for next week. But Lazarus, if you have a look at his sectionals, he’s probably run a 1:51 mile, it was a heck of a race.” And there will be plenty more to come on Hunter Cup night, when Lennytheshark and Smolda face-off. “Two old hard heads,” Aiken said. “I think Smolda would have been a bit more wound up than Lenny (for Ballarat). He went into the Inter final and has gone to Adelaide and we’ve got a bit of confidence that we are probably going to get better than tonight. “I’m really happy, because Lenny’s had a few issues with his foot and he’s come through the run sound. He’s come through the race really good fitness wise and that will really tune him up for the Hunter Cup.” And there could be a further spanner to throw into the works, no less than the horse who produced Australia’s fastest mile, Have Faith In Me. Purdon’s wildcard galloped in scoring up ahead of the night’s PETstock Family Values Loyalty Free For All, missing the start by 100m. His recovery to take the breeze was incredible, but he paid the price and faded in the straight to run fifth. “He was very fractious, didn’t want to really take part and gave them quite a start,” Purdon said. “I wasn’t disappointed with his performance afterwards, but was disappointed with his antics early. “He paced good in running and didn’t put a rough one in, so I’m happy with him that way, I just think maybe he was a little bit fresh for tonight’s assignment.” The poor behaviour means Have Faith In Me will be out of the draw for at least his next two starts at trial or race, and Purdon said he’d likely be entered into Saturday’s The Cougar Bourbon Pure Steel before taking on the Hunter Cup. “I’m not going to worry too much about that, if he’s out of the draw he’s out of the draw,” Purdon said, implying Have Faith In Me may not be trialled to improve his draw for the Hunter Cup. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)
January 22, 2017 - Today’s Cornulier program was excellent and included top flight harness racing events supporting the great monte classic. Today’s opener was the Prix Roxane Griff (monte, purse €85,000, 2700 meters, 11 starters) and victory was earned by 6.4/1 Billy de la Calade (6g Quick Wood-Mania Danover) ridden by Antoine Dabouis for breeder/owner/trainer Serge Yana. Clocked in 1.14.9kr, off modest fractions, the winner defeated 5.5/1 Baladin Hongrois (6g Bon Conseil-Relodie Hongroise) with Guillaume Martin in the irons for trainer SArnaud Desmottes. Third was 9/2 Brut de la Cote (g Kepler-Ombria Maifu) for jockey David Thomain and trainer Sebastien Guarato. Delia du Pommereux (4f Niky-Noune du Pommereux) took the Gr. III Prix Bellino II/Prix Southys (purse €95,000, 2100 meters autostart, 10 starters) timed in 1.12.9kr for Franck Nivard. She raced barefoot for Sylvain Roger and breeder/owner Noel Lolic. She was off at 9/2 odds and prevailed over 1.2/1 Detroit Castelets (4m Neoh Jiel-Rosanna Bonheur) reined by Matthieu Abrivard for Ecurie Luck and owner J.L. Dersoir. 3.2/1 Darling de Reux (4f Prodigious-Queen Jet) took third for Eric Raffin, Ecurie Winner and trainer Sebastien Guarato. The record over this distance for four year-olds was not threatened, that being 1.10.1kr by Traders. Agora du Goutier (7f Jardy-Olympe Pierji) took the Grand Prix Ereel Programme Souffle de Violet (purse €55,000, 2100 meters autostart) timed in 1.12.9kr for teamster Franck Nivard and trainer David Cherbonnel. 13.2/1 Ventura Jiel (8f Neoh Jiel-Oceane Jiel) was second for Matthieu Abrivard, Ecurie Luck and trainer J.L. Dersoir. Third was 6.2/1 Altesse de Chloee (7f Niky-Diva d’Isques) for trainer/driver P-Y Verva. The Gr. III Prix Michel Marcel Gougeon (purse €110,000, 2850 meters, 13 starters) was timed in 1.14.4kr by winner, 45.4/1 odds, Best du Hardy (6g Roc Meslois-Madrema), for owner/trainer/driver Olivier Bizoux. The even-money favorite Brissac (6m Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree-Jannibelle) was second for J-M Bazire and trainer/owner Jean Elgin Eliphe. Third was 52.6/1 Banjo de la Noemie (6g Flambeau des Pins-Prima de la Noemie) for Matthieu Mottier. Today’s Gr. II Prix Camille de Wazieres (monte, purse €120,000, 2175 meters, seven starters) went to 1.12.7kr timed and 3/5 odds Dollar Macker (4m Saxo de Vandel-Salt Lake City) reined by Yoann Lebourgeois for trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Mme. Marie Anne Thomas. 18.4/1 Dominator Blond (4m Kenor de Cosse-Orchidee Blonde) was next for Damien Bonne and third was 7.4/1 Dahlia du Rib (4m Oyonnax-Passiflore du Rib) for J.L.Cl.Dersoir, trainer Joel Hallais and Ecurie Rib. Citizen Kane (5g Orlando Vici-Queen Of Viking) took the Prix Agencie Cosmo/Prix de Mirande (purse €90,000, 2700 meters, 13 European starters) for trainer/driver Thomas Levesque. Pierre Levesque is the owner/breeder of this 8.9/1 odds winner. Race time was 1.14kr off even fractions by the barefoot Citizen Kane. 9.6/1 Clarck Sotho (5g Oiseau de Feux-Mosanda) and Anthony Barrier was second and third was 173/1 Chant des Sirenes (5m Opus Viervil-Nice Quenny) for F.P. Bossuet. The 4/5 favorite Cash Maker finished seventh. The Prix Ecole Esthetique Catherine Sertin (purse €46,000, 250 meters, 16 starters) continued the impressive winter meet at Vincennes for Charles J. Bigeon and that teamster won again with 2/1 odds Costa Haufor (5f Saphir d’Haufor-Santa Haufor), racing barefoot, for breeder/owner/trainer Christian Bigeon. 69/1 Callas du Bouffey (5f Look de Star-Polka du Bouffey) was second for trainer/driver Michel Lenoir, ahead of 6.2/1 Cantate (5f Oiseau de Feux-Petite Fortune) for driver Franck Nivard, trainer Franck Leblanc and owner Mme. Mauricette DeSousa. Yesterday in Sweden the V75 action was at Farjestad. The Gold Division (150,000SEK to winner, 1640 meters autostart) went to 1.10.7kr timed On Track Piraten for driver Johnny Takter at 1.11/1. The Hans R. Stromberg trainee now has 33 wins in 101 starts for 13,799,710SEK earned. The winner, a nine year-old gelded son of Kool du Caux-Monrovia-Rite On Line, now has two 2017 wins in as many starts. Second was 8.7/1 Royal Fighter (9m Varenne-Froken Julie-Supergill) for Jennifer Tillman and trainer Per Eriksson. Third was 50/1 Highspeed Call (9h From Above-Love Call-Alf Palema) driven by Daniel Ohlsson for trainer Nicklas Pettersson. The V75 Silver (125,000SEK to the winner, 2640 meters autostart) went to 1.14.2kr timed and 3.8/1 Thai Navigator from Norway. The six year-old gelded son of Ganymede-Role Model-Angus Hall) was reined by Bjorn Goop for trainer Anette Skarnes. The lightly raced winner scored in his first 2017 start after only three outings in 2016. He now has 10 wins in 20 career starts for 1,281,058SEK earned. Thomas H. Hicks
Inter Dominion champion Smolda will skip Saturday night’s $400,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup (2240m) at Melton. As impressive as the mighty stayer was winning last Saturday night’s Group 1 Ballarat Cup, trainer Mark Purdon said the run took a bit out of Smolda. “He didn’t eat-up that well and still wasn’t quite himself last night (Sunday),” Purdon said. “He’ll bounce back, but we’re sticking with the original plan to miss this week and go to the Hunter Cup.” But Purdon did say Smolda’s fantastic form could see a re-think on the Miracle Mile. “He’s going so well and the owners are keen for him to go on to Sydney,” he said. That means Lazarus, who did all the work when a mighty second to Smolda at Ballarat, will be Purdon’s only Victoria Cup runner. Have Faith In Me will race this week, but it will be a support race, the 2240m Pure Steel. Purdon said Lazarus’ Ballarat run would “bring him on a lot” for the Victoria Cup. “He was beaten down the back straight, but he just kept giving. He definitely needed the run and he’ll improve of it for the next two weeks,” he said. Lazarus goes to the Victoria Cup, 4YO Bonanza at Melton on Hunter Cup night then to the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on February 11. Purdon hopes a lack of recent racing was the reason for Have Faith In Me’s costly gallop before the start of his return race in a free-for-all at Ballarat last Saturday night. “I hope it was because he was too fresh and that it was a one-off. He’s never done that before from the mobile,” he said. “He’ll run again this week and then we’ll make the final decision on the Hunter Cup.” Purdon said he was also pleased with his prepost Victoria Derby favourite Vincent, who tackles his heat of the series at Melton on Saturday night. Adam Hamilton