Criterium des 3 Ans harness racing champion Aladin d'Ejaceul can re-affirm the mantle of the best of his generation on Saturday at Vincennes with a win in the 240,000 euro Group one Criterium des 4 Ans.
While the three-year-old season of the crop of 2000, who all bear the first initial A in their name, was dominated by fillies, such as Axelle Dark, Avilla and Anastasia Fella, the boys have woken from a generational slumber since the turn of the new year, with Aladin d'Ejaceul emerging as the risen star with his victory in the Criterium des 3 Ans in December.
Aladin d'Ejaceul is the first of his family to reach such heights, with only the group two winning stallion Phlegyas proving a real stand out.
Phlegyas won the Prix Phaeton, which is the major lead up race to the Criterium des 4 Ans, and was second in the group one Criteirum des Jeunes and Prix Paul VIel in a useful career in which he won 279,600 euros. To date he has sired four 100,000 euro winners.
Aladin d'Ejaceul's sireis perhaps the greater strength in the pedigree, a winner himself of the Prix Phaeton and a second placing in the Prix d'Amerique in a career which saw him top his generation in earnings. Aladin d'Ejaceul is from his first crop of which there are already three 100,000 euros earlyu in the four-year-old careers.
Quaker Jet is the only stallion with two repesentatives in this race with Jean Etienne Dubois' Agneska, a half sister to top five-year-old Villeroi, the other.
It's not surprising when you see that Quaker Jet is bred on a very close cross, similar to many North American standardbreds being by, a son of out of a mare from the same family as , which actually comes from a strong US family.
While his inbreeding co-efficient is still only 8.357%, which is half of most US standardbreds, it is about double the norm in France. He is the almost quintessential Franco-American with 46.65% French blood and 53.35% US bloodlines.
Group one Prix des Vincennes winner Atlessima is second favourite forEcurie Victoria Dreams while 's Aldo des Champs, a dual runner up in Group one events is is also coming in for strong early support. He has won a group two and is lightly raced with 5 wins in 17starts.
The son ofis one of those typically French horses who gets into the serious money places when the big money is on offer, with a third in the Group one Prix des Selection and a third in the Prix Phaeton two starts back.
Fourth favourite is Akim du Cap Vert,'s very good stallion son of who won the Prix Emmanuel Margouty, the top 2YO race for colts in France and was also second in the Criterium des Jeunes. He has won a group two this year and is more than capable of taking this.
Axelle Dark, a group one winningmare who has won more than 530,000 euros is paying 18/1 . She ran second in a very low key race at Kuurne a fortnight ago but handicappers think her best is behind her.
CRITERIUM DES 4 ANS
FR Group I Nat 2850m 4 â‚¬ 240,000
1 Agneska (m Quaker Jet - Pocahontas) Dr: Gregory Simon Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois
2 Aurea Vikland (m Prince de Montfort - Kettina de Monti) Dr: Christophe Thierry Tr: Guillaume Moinon
3 As Dore (h- Dragee d'Or) Dr: Tr: 2850
4 Athena de Vandel (m Prince Gede - Maelia de Vandel) Dr: Cedric Megissier Tr: Cedric Megissier
5 Athos des Elfes (h- Lazio du Bourg) Dr: Joel Van Eeckhaute Tr: Joel Van Eeckhaute
6 Adio Josselyn (h- Queda Josselyn) Dr: Tr: Hedi Le Bec
7 Almira Marancourt (m Lilium Madrik - Elmira) Dr: David Thomain Tr: Sebastien Hervalet
8 Ausone du Kastel (h- Lancee) Dr: Emmanuel Allard Tr: Emmanuel Allard
9 Africain (h Oardo - Kamine) Dr:Tr: Vincent Collard
10 Africaine (m- Italienne) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois
11 Aldo des Champs (h- Noumea des Champs) Dr: Tr:
12 Astor du Quenne (h Opus Viervil - Qualinka du Quenne) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr:
13 Atlessima (m Rocklyn - Noblessima) Dr:Tr:
14 Alesia d'Atout (m Defi d'Aunou - New York Jet) Dr:Tr: Dominique Mottier.
15 Aladin d'Ecajeul (h Quaker Jet - Nancy d'Ecajeul) Dr:Tr:
16 Akim du Cap Vert (h- Prima du Cap Vert) Dr: Tr:
17 Axelle Dark (m- Queen des Charmes) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: