Italian champ seeks to reverse French dominance

09:46 AM 21 Dec 2013 NZDT
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Voltigeur de Myrt
Voltigeur de Myrt
Paris-Turf photo

The Criterium Continental is the season finale for Europe's top entires and mares, a group one over 2100m and for a purse of 240,000 euros.

French horses have dominated this event for the past 12 years, with the winners all coming from the Republic in that period including super young sires Prodigious and Love You, who both have progeny in the race.

Criterium des 4 Ans winner Voltigeur de Myrt heads a field which includes no less than nine horses who competed in the French classic including second placed Volcan d'Urzy and third placed Vigove and which also includes six of the first seven home which speaks volumes for the quality of this field.

Furthermore Vaux le Vicomte, who was third in the Grand Prix de l'UET is also in the field as is Prix de Selection (Group I) winner Village Mystic who won the Prix Octave Douesnel earlier in the meeting, with Voyage de Reve and Vigove, who are also both entered here, following him home.

The there is former Criterium 3 Ans winner Vanika du Ruel, who has not won in more than 12 months, and seems to have gone off the boil after sweeping all before her as a juvenile and 3YO, winning four group ones.

The favourite though will be Danielle Mottier's mare Victoire, who is starting to live up to the promise she showed when third in the Criterium des 3 Ans, this time last year.

She beat much of this field, including the internationals, in the Prix Marcel Laurent at the beginning of the winter meeting, and then followed it up next start with a win in the Prix Ariste Hemard.

The last non-French horse to win this event was the German superstar Abano As, and this year there is another German-bred entry Indigious (German Breeders Crown winner), who is a son of previous winner Prodigious.

Coincidentally, he is trained in Sweden by Stig Johansson, who also trained Abano As for a time in his career, although he won the Criterium Continental from the stable of Gerd Holtermann.

Sweden is also well represented by Dreams Take Time (Grosser Preis Von Deutschland, Group I), and the well performed System Performance (E3, Group I winner) and Porthos Amok (Swedish Travderby runner-up).

Italian Derby winner Pascia' Lest who is now trained in France by Thierry Duvaldestin is another who is hoping to make the switch from 1000m sprint racing to success on the unique test which is Vincennes, and this shorter distance will suit his breeding.

A son of Italian former Prix d'Amerique winner Varenne, and very talented, he is one of the early favourites for the race although it remains to be seen whether he can reverse the perception that horses with predominantly US bloodlines struggle to cope with the undulating test which is Vincennes with two downhill and one testing uphill sections.

Another international runner with claims is Italian group one winner, Princess Grif, who was a brave third to Save The Quick in the European Mares Championship at Solvalla, which was won in World Record time. She is also now in a French stable, that of Fabrice Souloy.

CRITERIUM CONTINENTAL

Vincennes

22/12/13 Group I Euro 2100m 4YO €240 000

1 Princess Grif (4m Varenne - Fauve Grif) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy

2 Village Mystic (4h Love You - Netchka d'Orgeres) Dr: Louis Baudron Tr: Louis Baudron

3 Vanika du Ruel (4m Jardy - Jacarandine) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne

4 Victoire (4m Kitko - Juventa Blue) Dr: Mathieu Mottier Tr: Danielle Mottier

5 Pascia' Lest (4h Varenne - Superiors Sun) Dr: Enrico Bellei Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin

6 Voltigeur de Myrt (4h Opus Viervil - Myrtille des Bois) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Roberto Donati

7 Vera Pierji (4m Otello Pierji - Odyssee Pierji) Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin

8 Vaux le Vicomte (4h Nahar de Beval - Nina du Beauvoisin) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Jean Michel Bazire

9 Dreams Take Time (4h Andover Andover - B.My Honey) Dr: Johnny Takter Tr: Lars I. Nilsson

10 Porthos Amok( 4h Orlando Vici - Baroness Amok) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Stefan Melander

11 Indigious (4h Prodigious - Indication) Dr: Erik Adielsson Tr: Stig H. Johansson

12 Votka Bleue (4m Jasmin de Flore - Joyeuse Bleue) Dr: Anthony Barrier Tr: Emmanuel Ruault

13 Voyage de Reve (4h Password - Kiocalba) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin

14 Volcan d'Urzy (4h Password - Jabotte d'Urzy) Dr: Jean Philippe Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin

15 Viking de Val (4h Baccarat du Pont - La Forge de Val) Dr: Eric Lambertz Tr: Eric Lambertz

16 System Performance (4m Scarlet Knight - Hermit Lady) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Stefan Melander

17 Vigove (4h Gazouillis - Govive) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Franck Leblanc

18 Viva Island* (4m Goetmals Wood - Island Dream) Dr: Jean Pierre Dubois Tr: Jean Pierre Dubois

by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com 

 

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