A race from the "heart" of French racing

10:52 AM 25 Apr 2014 NZST
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Harness racing Harness racing Coktail Jet, harness racing
Fabrice Souloy's team early morning training at Haras de Ginai
Thierry Duvaldestin pair training at Le Ferte-Frenel
Coktail Jet at home in his paddock at Haras de la Perriere
Argentan is in the heart of the Normandie breeding industry, and the red dust track which holds Saturday's UET Masters Series, the 100,000 euro Group Two Criterium de Vitesse de Basse Normandie, is near the centre of town.

It is fitting then, that so many of the names which have become synonymous with the booming French breeding industry are located near the town.

Take Coktail Jet, the sire who is credited as starting the Franco-American revolution, who won this race in 1995, resides not 25 minutes away at Jean-Etienne Dubois' luxurious establishment, which spreads between two former properties at Haras de la Perriere near the village of Belfonds.

When Coktail Jet won the race, it was just the second time it had been raced over the imperial mile distance (increasing from 1600m) and he showed his credentials by lowering the from 1.12.8 to 1.11.8 (1.57.1 to 1.55.3MR).

Six years later Coktail Jet sired the mare Ivory Pearl for Jean Luc Bigeon to win in 2001 before Jean-Etienne himself captured this race with a son of Coktail Jet, Jam Pridem in 2002.

His father, France's greatest modern breeder, Jean Pierre Dubois, whose Haras de la Brosse is 20 minutes north at Nonant Le Pin, captured the race with another son of Coktail Jet, a certain Love You in 2005, who then himself sired another winner Quaker Jet (2012) - owned by Jean Etienne (who also owned and trained 1999 winner Giesolo de Lou).

Jean-Etienne will be back again with Turbo Jet, who despite his name is a son of Joyau d'Amour and no relation to his namesake.

The other prominent member of the Dubois clan Jean Philippe, who resides 15 minutes away from both at Fresneaux to the south-east owned last year's winner Texas Charm, who was driven that day by his son, Julien and stands there at stud at Haras de Fresneaux, which as is usual, has a full training facility.

The pair again combine in this race, with trainer Philippe Moulin with Valse Darling while Jean-Philippe's other son Etienne will be behind Voyage de Reve while Jean-Philippe himself will be partner Volcan d'Urzy in a three-way assault on the race.

To carry on the family connections, Louis Baudron, who is the grandson of both Jean Pierre Dubois and Roger Baudron, who won the race in 1986 with Navigo, is represented by Vive Majyc, and will be keen to carry on the strong family tradition.

None of the other trainers have succeeded in capturing the race although some of the real heavyweights of the game are from this region and have horses entered.

Thierry Duvaldesin is also in the "arrondiseement of Argentan" at Le Ferte-Frenel and he fronts with one of the favourites Swedishman, a well accomplished journeyman gelding as is Fabrice Souloy, who has Quinoa du Gers which he trains at his base at Ginai, 30 minutes away in the same region.

And leading trainer Sebastien Guarato, originally from Bordeaux, but who learned his trade mostly at Haras de Ginai, and trains at nearby Clopin is represented by Reve de Beylev.

And trainer Jean Paul Marmion, who briefly trained with Roger Baudron but trains in Maupertuis in central France, has two runners in one of the favoured runners Roi du Lupin and Talicia Bella.

A race so close to home, for so many of the participants will surely provide one of the highlights of the weekend.

CRITERIUM DE VITESSE DE BASSE NORMANDIE, Argentan

26/04/14 FR UET MASTERS SERIES Group II Int 1609m (1 mile) 4-10 100 000e

1 Swedishman (g Gogo - Volgana) Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin

2 Quinoa du Gers (h Ganymede - Targa du Chalange) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy

3 Valse Darling (m Prodigious - Fly Darling) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin

4 Roi du Lupin (g Fleuron Perrine - Helia de Saint Pol) Dr: Anthony Barrier Tr: Jean Paul Marmion

5 Talicia Bella (m General du Pommeau - Illicia Bella) Dr: Antoine Wiels Tr: Jean Paul Marmion

6 Quarry Bay (m Cygnus d'Odyssee - Barcarolle) Dr: Pierre Levesque Tr: Mike Lenders

7 Une Fille d'Amour (m Infant du Bossis - Never So Great) Dr: David Thomain Tr: Cyril Raimbaud

8 Reve de Beylev (h Fortuna Fant - Heloise Poterie) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato

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

10 Quel Chef (g Chef du Chatelet - Herveyer) Dr: Fabien Michel Andrieu Tr: Fabien Michel Andrieu

11 Turbo Jet (h Joyau d'Amour - Elite d'Atout) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois

12 Spirit Beji (h Kiwi - Galaxie Cosmos) Dr: Christopher Corbineau Tr: Stephane Provoost

13 Safari Dream (g Gai Brillant - La Memoria) Dr: Loic Peschet Tr: Loic Peschet

14 Seduisant Fouteau (h Gazouillis - Elisalde) Dr: Charles Dreux Tr: Andre Dreux

15 Vive Majyc (m Baccarat du Pont - Mammy Blue) Dr: Louis Baudron Tr: Louis Baudron

16 Voyage de Reve (h Password - Kiocalba) Dr: Etienne Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin

by David Sanders, for Harnesslink.com

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