The injury of Prix d'Amerique favourite Texas Charm has dominated the headlines for the world's greatest trot in recent days, but there is still business aplenty for prospective participants with the two last chances for entry being held on a fantastic day of racing on Sunday.
The Prix de Belgique, the last of the B races and the Prix Tenor Baune for six-year-olds, both offer a ticket to the big dance as well as UET Masters Series points to the first five home in each race - so there is plenty of offer besides the 120,000 euros, which like all races in France, is divided up among the first seven to cross the line.
The earlier of the two is the Prix de Belgique, race four on the card and missing injured Texas Charm and the already qualifiedand Triode de Felliere -the first three home in the third B race, the Prix de Bourgogne at the end of December.
The latter two will be keeping their powder dry, although Triode de Felliere is better over the shorter distance, which of course casts doubt over his Prix d'Amerique credentials.
The Prix de Belgique is a tough final test for the Prix d'Amerique's aged candidates, being over the staying distance of 2850m and the early favouritism has gone to Univers de Pan,'s tough campaigner who has yet to win a group one race, but is the richest of the U generation.
Criterium Continental winner Victoire comes into this race after three wins in a row against her own five-year-old crop and this is a big step up for Danielle Mottier's daughter ofbut French handicappers are confident she can.
Being the last of the B races, handicappers also know there is a dividing line between the likes of, Save The Quick and The Best Madrik, who are superior horses and start of 25m but don't need the win to make the Prix d'Amerique - and the rest that do.
So horses like Italian Marielles and Norway's Yarrah Boko - who won this race last year - will be at shorter odds than normal against the backmarkers. Soleil du Fosse and Talicia Bella, who would not normally figure highly in the market are also horses who come into this category.
Theis race six on the card and features a super lineup of six-year-olds, headed by Uhlan du Val, the winner of the Prix de Bretagne, the first of the B races of the Winter Meeting.
Second in that race was Criterium des 5 Ans winner Up and Quick from's powerful Ecurie Quick Star barn and this pair will be fighting out more than just the favouritism here.
Cyril Raimbaud's Une Fille d'Amour beat most of these home in the group two Prix Doynel de Saint-Quentin at the end of December and is the deserved third favourite in early markets.
Sweden and Italy are represented by five horses, Vincennes, Disco A.E. and Rocky Winner from the Scandinavian powerhouse and Oropuro Bar and Orient Horse from the southern stronghold.
The winner of last year'swas a Swede, Raja Mirchi, who was withdrawn from Prix d'Amerique contention late last month.
A third group two of the day is race seven, the 120,000 euro Prix Gelinotte over 2700m which features the top three-year-old fillies who are preparing for next month's Criterium des Jeunes.
The first two home in last month's Prid Une de Mai,'s Billie de Montfort and 's Be My Girl are vying for the early favouritism with French handicappers picking the daughter of to reverse the order here.
Most of the field competed in the first of their generation's big races last start, with the first five home appearing here, with the only notable absentee being the beaten favourite Brindille de Mai, althoughis represented by outsider Balade de Blary.
Bergame Madrik, Beauty Turgot, Bassana de Marlau and Biguglia also have solid support on the market.
Finally Rapide du Digeon and Rubis Daipet head a talented monte lineup in race 8, the Prix Djerid, a 2200m group III for six-year-olds and over which includes Prix de Cornullier hopefuls Sakura Jiel and Quarlos.
The two favourites Rapide du Digeon and Rubis Daipet are ineligible for the world's richest under saddle event next weekend, because they are geldings, but both have been in great form this winter meeting.
Rapide du Digeon was second behind rising star Ulysse in the rich Prix du Calvados last weekend and won the Prix August Francois in mid November, beating most of this field.
Rubis Dairpet was third in that race, but a week earlier had beaten Rapide du Digeon into second in the Group II Prix Paul Buquet, the first big monte of the Winter Meeting.
PRIX DE BELGIQUE Group II Int 2850m 4-10 â‚¬120 000
1 Talicia Bella (7m General du Pommeau - Illicia Bella) Dr: Anthony Barrier Tr: Jean Paul Marmion
2 Victoire (5m- Juventa Blue) Dr: Tr: Danielle Mottier
3 Soleil du Fosse (8h- Fortune du Fosse) Dr: Tr:
4 Marielles (8m Kick Tail - Egida Play) Dr: Mathieu Abrivard Tr:
5 Renommee d'Obret (9m- Dixie L'Aventure) Dr: Tr: Philippe Emmanuel Trible
6 Univers de Pan (8h Kenya du Pont - Gypsilore) Dr:Tr:
7 Roxana de Barbray (9m- Iriane des Enclos) Dr: Tr: Roberto Donati
8 Severino (8h Gobernador - Katia de Tillard) Dr: Christian Bigeon Tr: Roger Coueffin
9 Vanika du Ruel (5m- Jacarandine) Dr: Tr:
10 Quinoa du Gers (10h- Targa du Chalange) Dr: Tr:
11 Yarrah Boko (9h- Big Blue Kitten) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Trond Anderssen
12 Reve de Beylev (9h Fortuna Fant - Heloise Poterie) Dr:Tr:
13 The Best Madrik (7h- Lady Madrik) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois 25
14 Save the Quick (8m- Heureuse Duchesse) Dr: Tr: 25
15(9h - Ida Bourbon) Dr: Tr: 25
PRIXGroup II Int 2 700m 6YO â‚¬120,000
1 Ultimo Vingt (6h Hasting - Korinella) Dr: Philippe Ternisien Tr: Philippe Ternisien
2 Orient Horse (6h- Irma Del Rio) Dr: Mathieu Abrivard Tr:
3 Disco A.E. (6h- Queen A.E. ) Dr: Tr:
4 Rocky Winner (6h- Level Fortytwo) Dr: Tr: JÃ¶rgen Westholm
5 Unabella Perrine (6m- Minnie Perrine) Dr: Tr: Jean Francois Mary
6 Oropuro Bar (6h- Ubatuba Oaks) Dr: Marco Smorgon Tr: Marco Smorgon
7 Vincennes (6m Spotlite Lobell - Lina Trot) Dr: Johanna Lindqvist Tr: SÃ¶ren Lennartsson
8 Une Fille d'Amour (6m Infant du Bossis - Never So Great) Dr: David Thomain Tr: Cyril Raimbaud
9 Uhlan du Val (6h Islero de Bellouet - Indiana Beautiful) Dr: Cedric Megissier Tr: Cedric Megissier
10 Up And Quick (6h- Fichtre) Dr: Jean-Michel Bazire Tr:
PRIX GELINOTTE Group II Vincennes 2700m 3F 120 000
1 Bonnie Cadence (Qualypso Jiel - Potuna Saint Andre) Dr: Emmanuel Allard Emmanuel Allard
2 Bliss Nevele (- Quick Nevele) Dr: Jerome Ruaults Tr:
3 Baileyse (Opus Viervil - Lance de Fourches) Dr: Matthieu Verva Tr: Christian Douillet
4 Barbalala (Qwerty - Pardinia) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois
5 Biguglia (- La Faisanderie) Dr: Tr: Frederic Prat 2700
6 Balade de Blary (Qualmio de Vandel - Garine d'Occagnes) Dr:Tr:
7 Bassana de Marlau (- Jessie de Vonnas) Dr: Tr: Patrick Chevrier
8 Beauty Turgot (Hand du Vivier - Quouragane) Dr: Mathieu Abrivard Tr:
9 Bergame Madrik (- Houlba de Pouline) Dr: Tr: Jean Michel Baudouin
10 Billie de Montfort (- Quismy de Montfort) Dr: Tr:
11 Be My Girl (- Ornella Rainbow) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr:
PRIX DJERID Group III monte 2200m 6-10 â‚¬ 110 000
1 Quel Chef (10g Chef du Chatelet - Herveyer) Rd: Fabien Gence Tr: Fabien Michel Andrieu
2 Saphir du Cebe (8g Kepler - Irma Saint Jean) Rd: Marie Bacsich Tr:
3 Saphir de Morge (8h Guenor - Folie de Morge) Rd: Pierre Yves Verva Tr: Franck Terry
4 Quassia du Bon Air (10g- Io de Courson) Rd: Adrien Lamy Tr: Bruno Marie
5 Raison Jenilou (9g Hermes de Pericard - Jolly Jenil) Rd: Alexis Garandeau. Tr:
6 Sakura Jiel (8m- Milady Jiel) Rd: Tr: Jean Luc Dersoir
7 Rapide du Digeon (9g Urfist des Pres - Gerveine Barbes) Rd: Damien Bonne Tr: Thierry Raffegeau
8 Quarlos (10h L'As de Viretaute - Cette Angevine) Rd:Tr: Michel Dabouis
9 Rubis Dairpet (9g- Betty de la Noe) Rd: Tr:
by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com