The European summer season is in full swing and there were several races in the elite UET Masters Series last week – as the grand final looms next month with races in France and Sweden on Saturday (Sunday morning NZT).
At Bergsaker (Sweden), rising star 5-year-old Quid Pro Quo (Yankee Glide) benefitted from a patient drive from Erik Adielsson and was too strong in the straight for his elder counterparts in the 205,000 euro Group 1 Sundsvall Open Trot over 2,140 metres.
He eventually won in 1’11’’2 km rate with Oasis Bi (Toss Out) taking second spot from Canada B.F (Jobie Tempest). Quid Pro Quo is now 9th in the UET Masters Series, with 1450 points.
At Vincennes, top jockey Franck Nivard took 8-year-old gelding Sourire de Voutré (Gazouillis ) to the lead straight from the starting shute in the Prix Camille Lepecq, a Group 2 monte worth 120,000 euros.
By the time he reached the top of the hill, his opponents were struggling and he accelerated on the downhill turn into the straight to leave champion mare Roxane Griff (Tenor de Baune )and Uppercut de Manche (Neutron du Cebe) behind.
This was a 2700m race and the winner covered the distance in 1’12’’4 km rate (1.56.5MR).
On the same card was one of the glamour events on the French calendar, the Criterium des 5 Ans, where the cream of the 5YO crop did battle over 3000m for a purse of 240,000 euros.
It was Raffin again, who showed the same winning touch in the bike when he guided outsider Vabellino (5h Ouragan de Celland) to a stunning victory over Vulcain de Vandel (5h Jag de Bellouet) and Viking de Val (5h Baccarat du Pont) with favourite Very Nice Marceaux (5h Jag de Bellouet) fourth.
This is a race just 200m short of the the NZ Cup distance and includes two uphill climbs (the 3000m start is the toughest at Vincennes) and was still completed in a 1’12”7kr or a mile rate of 1.57.
The record set last year by Up And Quick is an unbelievable 1’11”5 or a 1.55 mile rate.
The following day there were two major races in Denmark at the Charlottenlund racetrack near Copenhagen with the UET Masters Series’ the Rex The Great Lopp (Group 2, 2,000 metres) was raced for 50,000 euros.
It was won by the locally trained 8-year-old O’Grady (S J's Photo) who, on a slow track, was skillfully driven from the front by his trainer Flemming Jensen who stacked up the field and held off Politiken (Ens Snapshot) Obi-Wan (Ganymede), Neo Holmsminde (Valley Sentry) and US import Fawkes (SJ’s Caviar).
The winner trotted slow 1’14’’5 km rate.
On the same programme was the Group 1 Danish Trotting Derby worth 180,000 euros , which was won a few years ago by New Zealand-resident Peak, and this year’s renewal saw one of Sweden’s top reinsman Björn Goop guide Tumble Dust (4h, Crazed ) to victory for Tomas Malmqvist from Tano Bork (4h, Great Challenger ) and Tango Vang 4g (Lindy Lane).
The slow track did not prevent a new record for the race, with the time of 1.14,7a for the 3000m journey or just over a 2 minute mile rate.
Criterium des 5 Ans
Prix Camille Lepecq
Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand