Day At The Track

January 20, 2019 - The veteran harness racing mare Trendy OK (7f Varenne-Annette Hanover-Sierra Kosmos) took Sunday’s Gran Premio Mario Locatelli (purse 40,040€, 1650 meters autostart) for trainer/driver Alessandro Gocciadoro clocked in 1.11.9kr. She raced on the outer throughout with no cover until surging past the pacesetter Panteira del Pino to gain the lead. Trendy Ok, now with earnings of 383,939€, then held off Tina Turner (7f Daguet Rapide-Gloria Gainor-Cezio Josselyn) and reinsman Andrea Guzzinati for the triumph. Third went to Testimonial OK (7m Varenne-Miss Possessed-Self Possessed-Ms Vic) handled by Fed. Esposito. Trendy OK is entered right back on Saturday at Paris-Vincennes in that day’s featured Prix de Luxembourg, a Gr. III event that is always a great race with starters (44 entered) that are among the best European trotteurs, perhaps a notch below the Amerique field. C4 - PRIX DU LUXEMBOURG 100 000€ Thomas H. Hicks  

January 20, 2019 - An outstanding Sunday Prix de Cornulier day Paris-Vincennes harness racing card began with the monte Prix Roxane Griff (purse 63,000€, 2700 meters, 10 starters). 3.8/1 odds Daida de Vandel (6f Real de Lou-Gallia de Vandel) scored timed in 1.14kr with Alexandre Abrivard in the irons. This winner recorded her seventh career victory in 32 outings for trainer L.Cl. Abrivard and owner Ch. Germain. The 9/10 favorite Dorgali (6g Real de Lou-La Spezia) was second for jockey Benjamin Rochard and trainer Thierry Duvaldestin. Third was 34/1 Daniel Bon (6g Severino) with Guillaume Martin up. Daida de Vandel The afternoon’s first Groupe test was the Gr. II Bellino II (purse 80,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 11 starters) that went to 1.13kr timed and 93/1 odds Fleo Lila (4g Timoko-Sally de Neulliac). Franck Anne reined the winner, he also the breeder/owner/trainer of this now three-time career winner in 24 starts. Anne was flying off the gate and settled along the pegs where he emerged in late stretch for the win. 4.4/1 Fuego de Houelle (4g Rieussec-Pin Up de Houelle) was second with Adrien Lamy up for breeder/trainer Franck Leblanc. Third was the 2.8/1 second favorite Fubria (4f Password-Sanawa) that Yoann Lebourgeois teamed for trainer Philippe Allaire. The 2.2/1 favorite Fun Quick was fourth for pilot Bjorn Goop. Fleo Lila The Prix de l’Argentine (purse 45,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 13 starters) welcomed a visiting contingent from Argentina (Mr. Leonardo Agusti and his son, President of the Argentine Association of Breeders of American Trotter and leading breeder Claudio Canepa, who will visit FR breeding farms on January 21-23) that also participated in a festival of food, music and entertainment for the audience. The named race went to 13/1 Coalinga City (7f Coktail Jet-Mamoora) timed in 1.12.2 in victory for pilot Jean Michel Bazire (who was presented with an Authentic Panama Hat), breeder/owner Michele Stihl and trainer Frederic Senet. Coalinga City won for the sixth time in a 60 race career.  The 1.4/1 favorite Capella de Vrie (7f Prince d’Espace was second for Franck Nivard and breeder/owner/trainer Roger Baudron, and third was 23/1 Ballina d’Ourville (8g Quaker Jet) with trainer Matthieu Abrivard up for Ecurie Elite. Coalinga City The Gr. III Prix de L’Amerique Latine (“de Mirande”, purse 80,000€, 2700 meters, 12 starters) followed the Prix de Cornulier and honored Argentina and its robust breeding industry. Claudio Canepa, a leading breeder in Argentina, was on hand to present the trophy to the winner, that included an Authentic Panama Hat to Franck Nivard. In this race, victory went to 1.9/1 odds Elvis Madrik (5g Overtrick-Tequila Dara) in rein to Nivard for owner/trainer Jean Michel Baudouin. This 1.14.2kr timed winner scored for the seventh time in 22 career starts for increased earnings of 277,420€. 16/1 Transcendence (5g Maharajah-Full Authority) was second driven by Gabriele Gelormini for trainer Robert Bergh. Third was 28/1 Calle Crown (5m Great Challenger-Hillary Crown) reined by Bjorn Goop for trainer Tomas Malmqvist. Elvis Madrik Claudio Canepa Group III action continued with the Prix Michel Marcel Gougeon (purse 90,000€, 2850 meters, 12 starters) that saw 9/1 odds Dandy de Godrel (6m Timoko-Nigelle Witt) score for owner/trainer/driver Bjorn Goop timed in 1.14.9kr. Dandy won for the fifth time in 26 career appearances. 75/1 Diademe Atoot (6m Timoko-La Lagune) was second with Christophe Martens aboard and third went to 15/1 Danseur Baroque (6g Royal Dream-Joie Baroque) handled by Eric Raffin. Dandy du Godrel The Gr. III monte Prix Camille de Wazieres (purse 100,000€, 2175 meters, eight starters) saw18/1 Fado du Chene (4m Singalo-Star du Chene) crush his competition by countless lengths, timed in 1.12.1kr (fractions 1.10.1kr at the 1500; 1.09.7kr at the 1000 mark; 1.11kr with 500 meters remaining) with P.Ph. Ploquin up for trainer Julien LeMer and breeder/owner Claude Guedj. Fado scored his eighth career victory in 13 starts now for 452,700€ earned. 24/1 File Gin (4m Repeat Love-Toscara Pellois) was second with Matthieu Abrivard in the irons and 9/1 Fangio du Nord (4m Rubis de Pass) was third, handled by P-Y Verva. The 8/10 favorite Feeling Cash (4m Ready Cash) was a distant fourth. Fado du Chene turned in perhaps the most impressive performance of the day, second to Bilibili’s victory in the Cornulier. Fado du Chene Two year olds finalized the Cornulier festivities this day in the Prix de Maisons-Laffitte (purse 46,000€, 2200 meters, eight starters). The 7/10 odds favorite Gracieuse Light (3f Redlight Jet-Sentence) scored impressively for trainer/driver Franck Nivard and owner Ecurie d’Embeli. Gold Girl (3f Ready Cash-Private Love) was second at 13/1 for pilot J.Ph. Monclin ahead of 6.5/1 Gaya de Bellouet (3f Aladin d’Ecajeul) and 5.3/1 Gallipoli (3f Very Nice Marceaux) Gracieuse Light Thomas H. Hicks

January 20, 2019 - Today’s Prix de Cornulier (Gr. I International, the World Championship of Trot Monte, purse 650,000€, 2700 meters, 15 starters, Quinte+ race of the day at Vincennes) went to fast closing Bilibili (8m Niky-Quetty du Donjon) with Alexandre Abrivard in the irons for harness racing trainer Laurent Claude Abrivard and breeder/owner Jean Pierre Barjon.  Bilibili was off at 2.4/1 odds, the second choice, and he recorded victory 12 in 41 career starts now for 1,452,100€ earned (292,500€ today). Bilibili raced back and on the outer throughout before engaging Traders in the lane and surging past to victory. Race time was a quick, record 1.11.2kr off fast steady fractions (1.10.9kr at the 1500 to go post; 1.10.5 at the 1000; 1.10.9kr with 500 meters remaining) set by the leading and then second finishing Traders (7m Ready Cash-Graziella) with Yoann Lebourgeois up for owner/trainer Philippe Allaire. Traders won this classic a year ago in a then race record 1.11.3kr. The 12/1 odds Dexter Fromentro (6m Qwerty) was third with Camille Levesque in the irons for Ecurie Pierre Levesque and trainer Thomas Levesque. A pair of outsiders completed the top five with 32/1 Carla du Chatelet (7f Jag de Bellouet) fourth for Francois Lagadeuc and 59/1 Elladora de Forgan fifth with Anthony Barrier up. Etonnant and Alpha Saltor earned the last two checks. Bilibili Laurent Claude Abrivard and Jean Pierre Barjon Prix de Cornulier reception for Bilibili Alexandre Abrivard, trainer Laurent Claude Abrivard and breeder/owner Jean Pierre Barjon. The recent previous Cornulier winners are listed below: 2018 Traders 1.11.3kr 2017 Bellissima France 1.13kr 2016 Scarlet Turgot 1.12.9kr 2015 Roxane Griff 1.13.3kr 2014 Roxane Griff 1.12.3kr 2013 Singalo 1.12.4kr 2012 Quif de Villeneuve 1.12kr 2011 Olga du Biwetz 1.12.7kr Today’s race was magnificent and Bilibili proved to be a great champion. By the way the Q+ payoff was 3,512.20€ to each of the 461 winning 2€ ticket holders. Thomas H. Hicks

January 19, 2019 - Today’s featured harness racing Gr. II Prix de Pardieu at Vincennes (monte, purse 100,000€, 2175 meters, 15 starters) produced a nose victory for fast closing Ferreteria (4f Goetmals Wood-Avenue Victoria) with jockey Matthieu Abrivard up. The now seven time career winner in 21 starts increased her life earnings to 429,090€ for trainer Yves Boireau and owner Jean Pierre Dubois. The fine mare, off at 5/2 odds, was bred by SARL Haras de Villepelee. The 4.4/1 Flicka de Blary (4f Sam Bourbon-Kalankaya) took second with Camille Levesque in the irons for owner/trainer Thomas Levesque. Third was 3.8/1 odds Flore de Janeiro (4f Vanishing Point-Ozie de Janeiro) with Anthony Barrier up for trainer/owner Franck Blandin. Race time was 1.12.6kr with a blistering final stretch battle (fractions 1.10.7kr at 1500 to go; 1.12.1kr at the 1000; 1.13.5kr with 500 remaining). The winning Ferreteria was eighth early, slipped inside and then outside to just nip pacesetting Flicka de Blary on the line. Ferreteria The co-featured  Gr. III Quinte+ Prix de Brest (purse 90,000€, 2850 meters 15 starters) went to the 22/1 outside Abydos du Vivier reined by Nicolas Bazire for trainer Jean Michel Bazire, owner Claudine Minier and the breeder was Jean Yves Lecuyer. Race time was 1.13.4kr as the winner record his 15th career win in 63 starts now for 441,280€ earned. 6.1/1 Calin de Morge (g Ozio Royal) took second for Franck Nivard ahead of 2.9/1 Vertige de Chenu (10g Lynx de Bellouet) and reinsman Eric Raffin. 5.7/1 Coach Franbleu (7g Prince d’Espace) and 19/1 Alamo du Goutier (9g Quido du Goutier) completed the top five with the Q+ exact order payoff reaching 3,437.20€ for the 145 winning ticket holders. Abydos du Vivier Nicolas Bazire Reminder that tomorrow is the Gr. I monte Prix de Cornulier where Traders will try for a repeat of his 2018 victory in this classic against rival Bilibili, with the participants listed below. PRIX DE CORNULIER 650 000€ Groupe I - Monté - 2700m - Grande piste Thomas H. Hicks

January 17, 2019 - The Quinte+ event of this day was the Prix de Douvres (purse 45,000€, 2700 meters, 17 starters) at Vincennes with victory to the 2.9/1 second choice Darling Berry (6f Prince Gede-Osaka Berry) reined by Alexandre Abrivard for harness racing owner/trainer Jean Michel Bazire. The winner was timed in 1.13kr and secured career victory seven in 28 starts now for 160,490€ earned. 7.5/1 Douceur du Chene (6f Quif de Villeneuve) with Jean Robert Declercq up on the Julien LeMer trainee that Claude Guedj owns. 18/1 Diva du Granit (6g Prodigious) was third for pilot Anthony Barrier. The exact order top five was completed by 2.2/1 favorite Dentella Bella and 16/1 Dascalia. The exact order payoff was 6,468.40€ to the 81 winning ticket holders. Darling Berry Today also trotting action was at Cagnes sur Mer with the feature being the Prix Jag de Bellouet (purse 36,000€, 2700 meters autostart, 16 starters). The 17/1 outsider American Dollar (9m Rocklyn-Netchka d’Orgeres) scored for owner Ecurie du Vieux Chene, trainer Romuald Maurice and teamster Laurent Guy Richard. Race time was 1.15.7kr by this now 13 time career winner in 98 starts for 276,060 earned. Second was 5.3/1 Brasil de Bailly (8g Baccarat du Pont) and driver Yannick Alain Briand with third to 1.9/1 favorite Beerscott (8m General du Pommeau) handled by Arnaud A. Chavatte. American Dollar On the weekend there are numerous groupe level featured events including Sunday’s 650,000€ Prix de Cornulier. 15 top monte performers will be at the start including Bilibili and Traders. January 20, 2019 C4 - PRIX DE CORNULIER 650 000€ Groupe I - Monté - 2700m - Grande piste Course Internationale There are four other Gr. II and Gr. III contests on Sunday following two on Saturday. Some of the recent exceptional performers on display in the Sunday races are Fubria, Eclipse Danica, Direct Way and Feeling Cash. Thomas H. Hicks

Afternoon trotting action at Paris-Vincennes saw the Gr. III monte Prix de Roubaix (purse 80,000€, 2175meters, 10 starters) contested with the red-hot 5/10 favorite Daytona Jet scoring clocked in 1.12kr.   The six-year old daughter of Goetmals Wood-Run For Jet won the fourth time in her last six outings, those victories all in monte events, and all with Mlle. Mathilde Collet in the irons.   Stephane Meunier trains the winner for owner Ecurie du Londel and she was bred by Jean Etienne Dubois.   Daytona Jet recorded her eighth career win in 43 starts now for 305,210€ earned. 6.1/1 Cash du Rib (7g Ready Cash-Quille Castelets) took second for Mlle. Clara Dersoir and trainer J.L.Cl. Dersoir. Third went to 11/1 Barry de Courtison (8g Quirky Jet) with Louis Jublot up. LeTrot photo   LeTrot photo   The card also included the day’s Quinte+ Prix de Brionne (purse 45,000€, 2700 meters, 18 European starters) and that produced an exact order Q+ payoff of 68,019.20€ to the four holders of winning tickets.   The winner was 1.12.7kr timed and 6.5/1 odds Calou Renardiere (7g Lets Go Along-Rosee Renardiere) handled by Eric Raffin for owner/trainer J.M. Baudouin, his 12 th career victory in 40 career trotting starts, now for 177,730€ earned. Second was the 29/1 outside Angle Of Attack (7g Scarlet Knight-Magyare Turgot) with Dominik Locqueneux at the lines for trainer Robert Bergh and owner Roland Wiksten. 7.9/1 Champion Dore (7g Prince Gede) took the third check for his owner/trainer/driver Matthieu Abrivard.   The final pair to the finish were 10/1 Canolar (7g Jet Fortuna) with Franck Nivard up and 2.4/1 Tellmeastory (7g Zola Boko) reined by Bjorn Goop.   LeTrot photo   A nice group of five-year old monte performers contested the Prix de Charbourg (purse 35,000€, 2175 meters, 16 starters). In that one the 4/1 Eole du Phenix (5m Qwerty-Velanda du Rabutin) came from nearly last to first along the pegs to win for jockey Mme. Camille Levesque, trainer Thomas Levesque and owner Ecurie Pierre Levesque timed in 1.12.9kr.   Eole du Phenix won for the third time in his career and increased life earnings to 65,340€. The 3/1 Evening Quick (5g Magnificent Rodney) finished second for Adrien Lamy and Ecurie Quick Star, with 16/1 Éclair Desbois taking the third check with jockey Benjamin Rochard aboard.   As the Prix d’Amerique is now less than two weeks away there are 11 horses that earned automatic invites from their performances in the six qualifying races. Those invitees are Bird Parker, Bahia Quesnot, Carat Williams,   Looking Superb, Eridan, Bold Eagle, Readly Express, Uza Josselyn, Delia du Pommereux, Belina Josselyn, and Davidson du Pont. Recent training news indicates that Propulsion is back to training well following an illness and Italy’s Timone EK, after a weak performance in SWE, will not seek the Amerique.   Thomas H. Hicks

Tuesday’s Quinte+ was at Paris-Vincennes in the Prix du Limousin (purse 54,000€, 2850 meters, 18 starters) with victory earned by the 11/1 outsider Cerenzo Turbo (7m Ganymede-Poesie de Vigne) handled by Franck Nivard for breeder/owner Ecurie Turbo and trainer Philippe Billard. Race time was 1.13.8kr for the now nine-time career winner in 43 starts. The 9/10 favorite Cetus de Tilou (7g Pagalor) was second for driver Eric Raffin and trainer J-M Baudouin. Third was 32/1 odds Ce Retour d’Oscar (7g Le Retour) for driver J.Ph. Monclin. The top five was completed by 18/1 Cuba Libre (7g Nahar de bevel) and 9/1 Cash du Rib (7g Ready Cash), with the exact order Q+ payoff being 8,538€ for the 2€ wager. The previous day the Q+ was also at Vincennes in the Prix de L’Aveyron (purse 54,000€, 2850 meters, 17 starters). Comete Leman (7f Neptune Leman-Cellboum Leman) scored timed in 1.14.4kr with Franck Nivard up for owner/trainer Y.L. LeBezvuet, the winner’s seventh life victory in 44 starts. 33/1 Ballina d’Ourville (8f Quaker Jet-Orsina) took second for Matthieu Abrivard. 94/1 Chira Julry (7f Roc Meslois) was next for Adrien Lamy, ahead of 40/1 Bayahibe des Vents (8f Queso Manchego) and 23/1 Coral Sea (7f Niky) that completed the top five and this collection of longshots created an exact order payoff of 75,424€. Comete Leman On the same card 1.7/1 favorite Foxtrot Sea (4m Olitro-Vezia) took the Prix de Croissanville (purse 56,000€, 2850 meters, 10 starters) clocked in 1.15.2kr for his sixth career win in only 10 starts. 8.6/1 Free Rider (4m Love You) was second for Benoit Robin and third was 2.8/1 second choice Flambeau Royal (4m Look de Star) reined by J-M Bazire. Foxtrot Sea At Mons Ghlin on Tuesday a group of veteran classmasters battled in the Prix Eurotierce BE (purse 7,200€, 2850 meters, 13 starters) with victory to 3.1/1 Ustinof de Vivier (11g Look de Star-Melba du Vivier) timed in 1.14.2kr and reined by Piet Van Pollaert for Union Stable. This top trotteur, bred by Jean Yves Lecuyer, won for the 45th time in a 117 race career now for 1,125,670€ earned. 8.5/1 Vivo Perlei (10g Olimede) was second ahead of 27/1 Truman Dairpet (12g Biesolo), a winner of over 687,000€. The 4/5 favorite Titty Jepson (7f Varenne) and 44/1 Ultimate du Rib (11g Dahir de Prelong), a winner of over 547,000€, completed the top five. Ustinof de Vivier Thomas H. Hicks    

Saturday at Jagersro was the V75 Gold Arvid Stjernswards (200,000SEK to the winner, 1640 meters autostart, 11 starters) with victory to the 2.8/1 Dante Boko (9g Going Kronos-Margherita Rosa-Abo Volo) timed in 1.12.1kr and reined by harness racing trainer Adrian Kolgjini. 17/1 Shadow Gar (8f Pine Chip-Lady Killer Gar) took second with Christoffer Eriksson up for trainer Jerry Riordan and owner Pietro Gubellini. Third was 59/1 Art On Line (12g Rite On Line-Lass Fleur-Backstreet Guy) for pilot Carl Johan Jepson Thomas H. Hicks  

January 13, 2019 - Bird Parker was placed first in today’s harness racing Quinte+ Grand Prix de Belgique (Gr. II International, 110,000€, 2850 meters, 14 starters) at Vincennes, the last of the “B” qualification races leading to the Prix d’Amerique in two weeks. After two false starts and several lead changes the 1.1/1 favorite Belina Josselyn (8f Love You-Lezira Josselyn) and pilot J-M Bazire surged past 9/1 Bird Parker (8m Ready Cash-Belisha) with J.Ph. Monclin up to be first on the line with 48/1 Bahia Quesnot (8g Scipion du Goutier-Queen Ines) third handled by Junior Guelpa. However, Guelpa filed an objection against Bazire for interference near top stretch as Belina Josselyn escaped the pocket. That objection with upheld by the judges and Belina was disqualified moving Bird Parker to first (his 21st victory in 79 outings for 2,079,705€ earned) for owner Elisabeth Allaire, trainer Philippe Allaire and the winning breeder was Christophe Toulorge. Bahia Quesnot was placed second and earned an auto-invite to Amerique. Carat Williams was placed third ahead of Eridan. Readly Express raced at the back before ending sixth placed fifth with Uza Josselyn and Billie de Montfort were placed sixth and seventh. Favorite Belina Josselyn was on the lead before yielding to Bird Parker and this was blocked until Bazire caused the escaping interference. The Amerique invites so far based on qualification races are: Bold Eagle, Bird Parker, Bahia Quesnot, Belina Josselyn, Carat Williams, Eridan, Readly Express, Uza Josselyn, Looking Superb, and Delia du Pommereux. Interference Belina Josselyn dq’d for interference against Bahia Quesnot Belina Josselyn Happy connections of Bird Parker Green Grass Wins Prix Gelinotte at Vincennes Green Grass (3f Bold Eagle-Tootsie Smiling) won today’s Prix Gelinotte (Gr. II, purse 100,000€, 2700 meters, 10 three year old filly starters) at Paris-Vincennes, leading throughout for Gabriele Gelormini, trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Sebastien DeWulf. Bred by Frederic Brouilloux, this filly  won for the fourth time in eight career starts now for 117,400€ earned. 1.9/1 Greenpeace (3f Memphis du Rib-Quelle Aventure) stayed close on the outer all the way but could not get by in the lane, falling two lengths short with Matthieu Abrivard up for trainer Yves Boireau and owner Jean Pierre Dubois. His Ecurie D bred this one. Third was 16/1 Graine de Crack (3f Booster Winner-Pearl Mip) that Yoann Lebourgeois handled for owner/trainer Philippe Allaire. Race time was 1.15.6kr off modest fractions (1.16.kr at the 1500 to go mark; 1.16kr at the 1000 and 1.16.7kr with 500 meters remaining). Green Grass Fubria Wins Prix de Riberac at Vincennes Today’s Paris-Vincennes card was filled with groupe contests, this the Prix de Riberac (Gr. III, purse 70,000€, 2700 meters, 13 starters four year olds). The blanket finish victory went to head-winner and 3.9/1 Fubria (4f Password-Sanawa) with Yoann Lebourgeois up for owner/trainer Philippe Allaire. J-P Guay bred this winner now of six in 10 career outings, for 142,000€ earned. Race time was 1.14.2kr off even fractions, with a fast final 500 meters. 9/1 Fun Quick (4m Carpe  Diem) was second for Bjorn Goop and Ecurie Quick Star, with 32/1 Fairy White (4f Ouragon de Celland) third with Anthony Barrier up for breeder/owner/trainer Christophe Gallier. Fast finishing fourth was 40/1 Fame And Fortune (4f Sam Bourbon-Ma Crown) that Matthieu Abrivard teamed for Yves Boireau, trainer for owner Jean Pierre Dubois and breeder Ecurie D. Fubria Thomas H. Hicks  

January 12, 2019 - Three year old fillies began the Paris-Vincennes day in the monte Prix de Montreuil but the real harness racing action came in the Prix Maurice de Gheest. The featured Prix Maurice de Gheest (Gr. II, purse 100,000€, 200 meters, 12 starters) went to the 1.3/1 favorite Gotland (3m Ready Cash-Sanawa) that remained unbeaten now in six starts and with earnings of 206,100€. Eric Raffin teamed the Philippe Allaire trainee that he also owns. J-P Guay bred this fine colt that scored on the front in 1.15.7kr off comfortable fractions. 4.6/1 General du Parc (3m Lejacque d’Houlbec-Amazone du Parc) rallied strongly got second with Alexandre Abrivard up for trainer Frederic Prat. Third was 4.9/1 and another Allaire trainee, Gatsby Perrine (3m Bird Parker-Unabella Perrine), that was bred and is owned by J-F Mary and reined today by Anthony Barrier. Fourth was 21/1 Get Happy (3m Bird Parker-Rasta Perrine) that was also bred by J-F Mary, now owned by Elisabeth Allaire, trained by Philippe Allaire and with J.Ph. Monclin aboard. Another Allaire trainee, the well-regarded Granon Vedaquais, was a miscue dq. Gotland Gotland Gotland This Prix Maurice de Gheest         The Gr. III Prix du Forez (purse 80,000€, 2700 meters, eight starters) brought out some salty trotteurs and trainer Jean Michel Bazire secured the top two checks, first with the 1/5 odds favorite Cleangame (7g Ouragon de Celland-Red Bell) that he reined for owner J.M. Rancoule. Cleangame won for the 20th time in 34 career starts, now for 636,470€ earned. Stablemate and 4/1 odds Ble du Gers (8g Quinoa du Gers-Moorea) was second driven by Alexandre Abrivard for the Bazire/Rancoule team. 25/1 Cobra Bleu (7m Fortuna Fant-Nuit Irisee) rallied strongly for third with trainer Pierre Vercruysse teaming for breeder/owner Nathalie Chapdelaine. Cleangame Cleangame The Gr. II Prix de Croix (purse 100,000€, 2850 meters distance handicap, 12 European starters) was another great race for upper lever performers. Victory went to 8.3/1 Vainqueur RP (5m Infinitif-Global Affair) timed in 1.14kr with Eric Raffin aboard. The Frode Hamre trainee is owned by Richard Pedersen of Norway and he scored in his second start in France and raised his career earnings to 330,865€. The 25 meter handicapped Erming d’Oliverie (5f Scipion du Goutier-Theze d’Oliverie) was second for teamster Franck Nivard, trainer Franck Leblanc and owner Ecurie de l’Oliverie and this one was timed in 1.13.5kr, and off at 3.9/1 despite the distance penalty. 10/1 Express Jet (5m Goetmals Wood-Run For Jet) was a game third after setting the pace for trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse. The 7/10 favorite Enino du Pommereux (5m Coktail Jet) was fourth with J-M Bazire driving for trainer Sylvain Roger and owner Noel Lolic. Vainqueur RP Vainqueur RP Vainqueur RP Three year old fillies began the Paris-Vincennes day in the monte Prix de Montreuil (purse 38,000€, 2700 meters 11 starters). Making her first start for money a winning one was the 1.7/1 favorite Guerilla de Simm (3f Brillantissime-Poupee Charmeuse) with Yoann Lebourgeois in the irons for owner/trainer Philippe Allaire. Race time was 1.17.1kr. 4.8/1 Guerleq Seven (3f Gazouillis) was second for Eric Raffin, the jockey for J-M Baudouin. Third was 36/1 Grandissima (3f Viking de Val) with Mlle. Mathilde Collet up for breeder/owner Jean Pierre Dubois and trainer Stephane Meunier. Guerilla de Simm Guerilla de Simm The Quinte+ this day was the Prix de Joinville (purse 39,000€, 2700 meters, 16 starters) with longshots at the top timed in 1.14.6kr. 7.2/1 Desir du Bois (6g Neoh Jiel) scored for Eric Raffin, his second life win in 48 starts. 86/1 Diabolo Criscani (6m Nahar de Beval) held second for Francois Lagadeuc and 16/1 Danube Meslois (6g Timoko) took third for driver Franck Nivard. 13/1 Djohn and 14/1 Disco d’Occagnes completed the top five and the exact order Q+ payoff was 477,910.40€ for the 2€ wager and there was a single winning ticket. Desir du Bois Thomas H. Hicks

January 11, 2019 - Harness racing three year old fillies contested today’s Prix de Vic-Bigorre (purse 33,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 16 starters) with victory going to 7/2 odds Gold Mary (3f Ready Cash-Bloody Mary-Coktail Jet). Matthieu Abrivard teamed the Yves Boireau trainee that was bred by Jean Pierre Dubois and is owned by him. This filly was clocked in 1.15.3kr as she recorded her first victory in five starts along with three other top three finishes. The winner’s dam is a daughter of Mara Bourbon (And Arifant-Etta Extra). 5.1/1 Gamma du Chene (3f Milord du Chene) was second for Frank Nivard and 16/1 Glorious Storm (3f Quaker Jet-Terrific Storm) was a close third for Pierre Vercruysse. Gold Mary The Prix d’Evian (purse 47,000€, 200 meters, 15 starters) went to 1.15.1kr timed and 7/2 odds Flora Quick (4f Prodigious-Star Quick) handled by Gabriele Gelormini for Ecurie Quick Star, the breeder/owner, and trainer Marc Esper. Flora Quick won for the fourth time in 12 life starts. 11/1 Falling in Love (4f The Best Madrik) was second with Adrien Lamy up. Flora Quick The Prix de Ranes (purse 45,000€, 2700 meters, 15 European starters) saw the top three finishers all trained by Bjorn Goop. The winner was 112/1 outsider Evening Prayer (8f Conway Hall-American Tribute) with P-Y Verva up for owner Stall Irma. 11/1 Caresse (7f Ready Cash-Stefani Hanover) was second for David Thomain and third went to 7.9/1 Mamassan (6f Maharajah-Epicurienne) with Franck Nivard the driver. Race time was 1.13.3kr. Evening Prayer The Prix de Sartilly (monte, purse 52,000€, 2850 meters, 11 starters) produced an action finish with the victory to 1.7/1 Dorgali (6g Real de Lou-La Spazia) with Benjamin Rochard up for trainer Thierry Duvaldestin. Race time was 1.12.6kr as the winner recorded his 11th career victory in 28 starts now for 184,670€ earned. The 1.4/1 favorite Doc du Lupin (6g Jasmin du Lupin-Rose du Lupin) was a close second with Antoine Wiels in the irons for breeder/owner/trainer Jean Paul Marmion. Delicieux du Cebe finished third. Dongali Today at Ippodromo Milano La Maura was the Premio Napoleon Bar (purse 13,200€, 2700 meters turning start distance handicap) saw the 20 meter handicapped Zlatan (4m Napoleon Bar-Nastassia Bi-Toss Out) score timed in 1.14.1kr for trainer/driver Alessandro Gocciadoro. The winner caught the field early and moved toward the front in the final lap, gaining the lead late on the backstretch. He drew off in the lane under urging for the victory to increase his life earning to 409,906€. Zilath (4m Maharajah-Only LB-Conway Hall) was a game second for Andrea Guzzinati and Zermatt Key (4m Adrian Chip-Margareth-Kick Tail) took the third check. Zlatan Thomas H. Hicks  

January 11, 2019 - Today’s Paris-Vincennes afternoon harness racing card featured the Quinte+ Prix de Mauriac (purse 56,000€, 2850 meters, 18 European starters) and the winner was a stretch rallying 1.6/1 favorite The Bucket List F (5m Raja Mirchi-Global Keepsake) clocked in 1.13.6kr off steady fractions. Franck Ouvrie teamed the Mme. Helena Burman trainee for owner Stall Falkbalagen AB. This one scored for the second time in just three starts in France and now has career earnings of 180,206€. A group of longshots followed the winner starting with second finishing 17/1 Epic Julry (5m Nice Love) with breeder/trainer Jean Paul Gauvin aboard, with third to 17/1 Elena de Piencourt (5f Opium) and trainer/driver Matthieu Abrivard. The 104/1 outsider Eternelle Delo (5f Saxo de Vandel) with Adrien Lamy up and 16/1 Extra Light (5f Village Mystic) for David Thomain completed the top five and drive an exact order Q+ payoff to 56,897.40€ for the 2€ play (there were 15 winning tickets). The Bucket List F Happy connections of The Bucket List F On Sunday is the last “B” race that generates auto-invites to the Prix d’Amerique. The Gr. II Prix de Belgique (purse 110,000€, 2850 meters, 14 International starters) is led by probable favorite Readly Express, already an Amerique qualifier by finishing second in the Bourgogne. The other qualifiers so far, many in Sunday’s race, are Davidson du Pont (the Bretagne winner), Delia du Pommereux (Bourbonnais winner, Bird Parker, Belina Josselyn, Eridan (Criterium Continental winner), Looking Superb (Tenor de Baune winner), Bold Eagle (Bourgogne winner) and Uza Josselyn. The Belgique lineup is shown below. Look for Belina Josselyn to be a factor, with her trainer J-M Bazire aboard. Thomas H. Hicks

January 10, 2018 - Jean Michel Bazire teamed his trainee Bel Avis (8g Ganymede-Gloria Maris), off as the 2.2/1 favorite, to a rallying victory in today’s harness racing Quinte+ Gr. III Prix de la Cote d’Azur (purse 120,000€, 2900 meters distance handicap, 16 starters after Coktail Fortuna was scratched) at Gagnes. The 50 meter handicapped veteran score his 17th career win now for 636,390€ earned. Race time was a quick 1.12.5kr over the extended distance, for owner New Blue 1 LLC (USA). Comte de Bellaigue bred the winner that defeated 36/1 Bolt (8m Prince Gede-Souvola) handled by trainer Junior Guelpa for breeder/owner Christophe Gallier and that was penalized 25 meters at the start. Third went to 10/1 and 50 meter handicapped Balbir (8g Ganymede-Manzir) with trainer Mickael Cormy aboard. Comte de Bellaigue also bred this one. 9/1 Voltaire Gifont (5m Quaker Jet) with Pietro Gubellini up and 18/1 Deimos Racing (6g Quite Easy) handled by Matthieu Abrivard completed the top five, this pair handicapped 25 and 50 meters respectively. Bel Avis winning the Prix de la Cote d’Azur at Cagnes The Q+ exact order payoff was 95,259.40€ for a 2€ wager. Thomas H. Hicks

January 9, 2019 - Today the Quinte+ race of the day was at Cagnes sur Mer in the Prix de la Cote d’Or (purse 32,000€, 2925 meters, 18 starters) and a host of harness racing longshots in the top five created a single Q+ exact order payoff of 233,441€ for the 2€ wager. The race timed 1.15.2kr nose winner was 10/1 Beguin d’Afi (8g Little Crack-New Star de Foot) with Pierre Vercruysse aboard for trainer Yvan Teerlinck and owner Guido Van Helleputte. The Bequin/Vercruysse team won for the second time at Cagnes sur Mer in 2019 (January 4 and 9) to increase career earnings to 115,380€. 3.2/1 Diga de Cahot (8f Uniclove) was second for trainer/driver Nicolas Ensch and 8.1/1 Concerto des Dunes (7g Hulk des Champs) was third with Matthieu Abrivard up. 58/1 Darwin Maza and 225/1 Arginio des Godins (9m Norginio) completed the top five and set up the big exact order payoff. There were several accidents coming off the final bend. Beguin d’Afi On the CSM card was also the Prix des Cotes d’Armor (purse 26,000€, 2825 meters, 15 starters, five year olds) with that victory to 1.6/1 Eden de Thyl (5g Power Jet-Queridette) clocked in 1.15.6kr and reined by trainer Y-A Briand. Eden scored for the eighth time in 24 career starts for 85,630€ in life earnings. The 3/10 favorite Express Way (5m Love You-Queen Flore) was second for Eric Raffin, trainer Ch.A. Mary and breeder/owner Jacques Pauc. 31/1 Endian de Banville (5f Niky) and 20/1 Electra Wind (5f Offshore Dream) completed the top four. Eden de Thyl There is super racing in France over the next several days starting with tomorrow’s Prix de la Cote d’Azur at CSM with 17 upper class competitors. That lineup follows. Cagnes sur Mer 1-10-19 Prix de la Cote d’Azur (120,000€ purse, Gr. III International, 2900 meters, 17 starters) On January 12 at Paris-Vincennes there are three groupe contests including the Prix Maurice de Gheest for the newly minted three year old colts. Gotland leads that field; perhaps the best of Philippe Allaire’s best of his four trainees. Prix du Forez (Gr. III, purse 80,000€, 2700 meters) Prix de Croix (Gr. II, purse 100,000€, 2850 meters) Prix Maurice de Gheest (purse 100,000€, Gr. II, 2700 meters, three year old males) On January 13th there are four more groupe level races led by the GP de Belgique that features Readly Express and several others that are already Prix d’Amerique invitees. January 13 at Paris-Vincennes Prix Gelinotte (Gr. II, purse 100,000€, 2700 meters) Prix de Riberac (Gr. III, purse 70,000€, 2700 meters) Prix Djerid (Gr. III monte, purse 90,000€, 2200 meters)   GRAND PRIX DE BELGIQUE 110 000€ Thomas H. Hicks

January 6, 2019 - The last weekend (Sunday) featured trot in Italy was at Bologna (harness racing half mile track) in the GP Della Vittoria (purse 40,040€, 2460 meters turning start). Victory went to the 1.14.9kr timed Talisker Horse (7f Pine Chip-Iri Horse-Varenne) with Roberto Vecchione up. The winner rallied late in the late to narrowly score over Stella di Azzurra (8f Supergill-Genny di Azzurra) with Fed. Esposito at the lines. Virginia Grif (5f Varenne-Francy Capar) was third and the distance handicapped Urlo dei Venti (6m Mago d’Amore) landed fourth, timed in 1.14.5kr. This coming Saturday at Jagersro is the V75 Gold Arvid Stjernswards Minne (200,000SEK to the winner, 1640 meters autostart) that will be the first start in Sweden by the well-regarded Italian trotteur Timone EK, now trained by Jerry Riordan and will be handled by Thomas Uhrberg. The good field, shown below, will likely have Dante Boko and Takethem among the wagering favorites. STL Gold 1-12-19 Jagersro (200,000SEK to the winner, 1640 meters autostart) Thomas H. Hicks

Every horse has the dream of writing their name in the history books, and some accomplish just that. But in recent years, there was one special Australasian pacer who was so captivating on the track and also captivated the hearts of so many off the track that he was simply too memorable for a place in just the history books. The only fitting testament to his greatness was for him to have his very own book. So, his co-owner Marcus Kirkwood, a Hunter Valley resident in Australia, set out to do just that. Gathering some of Smolda’s best mates who were all eager to tell their stories of the champion, who to them was a friend more than a horse, a book quickly began to take shape. Marcus’s dream of having a book about Smolda was becoming a reality.  In the end, this book has not one author, but many; making it truly one of a kind. You are probably wondering how I fit into this story about a story. Well, I became friends with Marcus through social media. After many messages via Twitter, Marcus and I met in person when I attended the prestigious Miracle Mile in 2016, in which Smolda was a contender, as a part of my trip to Australia. It was nice to finally be able to put a face to the name.  After that, we remained connected through social media. When he told me about the idea for a book about Smolda I thought it was a great idea. When he told me how it was going to be written by people who were friends of Smolda,  I thought it was an even better idea. Who better to tell the story of a champion than the best friends of the champion.  One day I received a message from Marcus giving me an update on his horses and how the idea of writing a book about Smolda was getting lots of positive feedback from industry participants he had been talking to. Reading this message, I was very happy for him. This is when the message took a surprising turn, which had me at a loss for words. Marcus asked me if I would be interested in contributing to Smolda’s story. As my fingers hovered over my keyboard  I tried to find the right words to say. I felt so honoured to be asked that I was not sure what words to use that would fully convey how honoured I truly felt.     I wrote back to Marcus expressing how grateful I felt that he asked me, but I mentioned that I was concerned about how much I would be able to contribute as I had only had the pleasure of watching Smolda race in person on one occasion. Nevertheless, I got to work as I waited for a response. Thinking back to my time of meeting Marcus and the night of the Miracle Mile.  Soon Marcus responded to my concern and told me told not to worry. That is when I had a realization, which had a profound effect on me, and the piece I was working on. I realized that when it comes to Smolda and me, like in many friendships the length of time you have known one another is not always the most important aspect, it is about how close you become in a short amount of time.  With this in mind, I had a new source of inspiration. I was a friend of Smolda and Smolda gave me Marcus as a friend. Smolda touched my life in more ways than I previously realized. His greatness touched my life beyond watching him race; without him, Marcus and I would not have the friendship we do. Soon, a short chapter lay before me. Writing the chapter provided me with great joy and a chance to reflect on what Smolda and Marcus meant to me. As I typed the last words, I was filled with a greater sense of appreciation of not only of the champion racehorse Smolda was but what he meant to me on a personal level and the true friend I gained through him.  Marcus kept me updated on how the book was progressing. Then one day I got a message saying that it was complete! I was so happy for Marcus and Smolda, and I felt truly honoured to have been included.  Marcus kindly put a copy in the post for me. It arrived at my home address while I was away at university. My mom sent me a message to say it had arrived and tucked the precious package away until I came home for Christmas break a few weeks later. With a slit to the envelope, I pulled out the special contents. On the front cover in a stunning colour photo was Smolda,  and in a charming font, it read Our Mate Smolda and I was in awe. I opened the front cover to heartwarming surprise. On the first page, Marcus had inscribed it to me. This made an already cherished gift even more of a treasure.  I delicately turn the pages, stopping to admire the photos which were woven throughout the book. Then my eyes fell on the page that had my name on it. Seeing my name in print, as a part of a  unique collection was truly surreal. I knew what I had written just a few months prior, but seeing those same words as a chapter, complete with photographs made it more overwhelming, real and, it ‘hit home for me’.  Even after a minute or so, a part of me remained in disbelief. Here is my writing in with some of the greatest people in the sport of harness racing. They were names I look up to, and most of them I only by association or through social media, or I met them once or twice. But, one horse… one common friend brought us all together, and his name was Smolda. But my story is not about me. It is about Smolda and his everlasting legacy. To an outsider who does not know who Smolda is, this story, which in a way is his biography, offers a window back in time to experience his greatness. To those who knew him best and worked with him every day, this serves as a reminder of the unforgettable times and accomplishments they shared over the years. To those who were there in the grandstands when he raced, it acts as an opportunity to reminisce about memories made not so long ago. No matter who you are or how you are connected to Smolda, this collection of anecdotes can mean something to you. That is why it so precious, everyone can still be a part of his legacy if they are not already. The unique multi-perspective biography which tells the life of Smolda ensures everyone can be a part of his journey to greatness and beyond. Just how they say many hands make light work, it takes many hands, and hearts to write a wonderful book about a remarkable pacer. This story is one that everyone who loves harness racing should read, at least once. To learn more about Smolda and his book, or to purchase a copy and become a part of his legacy, please visit: https://www.ourmatesmolda.com.au/product/our-mate-smolda/   By Sydney Weaver, for Harnesslink