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 siresand , 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, and this year there is another German-bred entry Indigious (German Breeders Crown winner), who is a son of previous winner .
Coincidentally, he is trained in Sweden by, who also trained 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 byis 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, 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.
22/12/13 Group I Euro 2100m 4YO â‚¬240 000
1 Princess Grif (4m- Fauve Grif) Dr: Tr:
2 Village Mystic (4h- Netchka d'Orgeres) Dr: Tr:
3 Vanika du Ruel (4m- Jacarandine) Dr: Tr:
4 Victoire (4m- Juventa Blue) Dr: Tr: Danielle Mottier
5 Pascia' Lest (4h- Superiors Sun) Dr: Tr:
6 Voltigeur de Myrt (4h Opus Viervil - Myrtille des Bois) Dr:Tr: Roberto Donati
7 Vera Pierji (4m Otello Pierji - Odyssee Pierji) Dr:Tr:
8 Vaux le Vicomte (4h Nahar de Beval - Nina du Beauvoisin) Dr:Tr:
9 Dreams Take Time (4h- B.My Honey) Dr: Tr: Lars I. Nilsson
10 Porthos Amok( 4h- Baroness Amok) Dr: Tr:
11 Indigious (4h- Indication) Dr: Tr:
12 Votka Bleue (4m- Joyeuse Bleue) Dr: Anthony Barrier Tr: Emmanuel Ruault
13 Voyage de Reve (4h Password - Kiocalba) Dr:Tr:
14 Volcan d'Urzy (4h Password - Jabotte d'Urzy) Dr:Tr:
15 Viking de Val (4h Baccarat du Pont - La Forge de Val) Dr: Eric Lambertz Tr: Eric Lambertz
16 System Performance (4m- Hermit Lady) Dr: Tr:
17 Vigove (4h Gazouillis - Govive) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr:
18 Viva Island* (4m- Island Dream) Dr: Tr:
by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com