It’s highly likely Ready Cash will be in the headlines again this weekend with three of his progeny being among the first four favourites of taking out the Group I Prix de l’Etoile at Vincennes.
One of the great classics of French trotting, the Prix de l’Etoile (3-4-5YO sulky) is one of four races in France which, through handicapping, were originally designed to give breeders a chance to compare the crops.
The other races are the Prix des Elites (3-4-5YO monte),the Prix de Selection (4-5-6YO sulky) and Prix des Centaures (4-5-6 YO monte).
The introduction of the modern US bloodlines in the 1980s, where around 20 French mares were exported to the United States and their progeny sent back to France (the book closed again in 1991), has had the effect of making the breed much more precocious and as a result the two sulky races in particular have become dominated by 3YOs.
Having to start off a 50 metre handicap, it' hasn’t been since 1997 since a 5YO has won this race when Elvis de Rossignol (Sancho Panca) beat another from his crop Escartefigue (Steed James), with 4YO Fleuron Perrine (Tenor de Baune) third – and a genuine great of French trotting General du Pommeau (Sebrazac) being the first 3YO home in fourth.
Three of these four stallions were from the Fuschia (Godolphin) line, and the other from the endangered Phaeton (non Hambletonian Darley) bloodlines.
And it won't be a five-year-old this year with the only representative of that crop being Unaka (Joyau d'Amour) who has only had three wins in 55 starts and his having her first start in a major race despite five.
She will be hoping to sneak into a top five finish and add some classic credentials to her pedigree page as will the 4YO mares Vigogne du Boulay and Viscaria, who were two of the top 2YOs in their crop, but never went on to fullfil their early promise. Incidentally it was back in 1993 that a 4YO won this race.
Vigogne du Boulay (Defi d'Aunou) in fact won the biggest 2YO race in France, the Group II Prix Une De Mai, and was fifth in Group I Criterium des Jeunes - the first of the Criteriums and raced in February of the 3YO year - but she has done nothing since.
Viscaria (Gai Brillant) is mainly a monte horse, whose best performance was second in Group I monte, the Prix des Centaures.
But this is now a very coveted race for 3YOs and the top three of the generation (and four of the top five) will be fronting up to claim a Group I and add to their breeding credentials.
The top of the crop is Axelle Dark who has won seven of her 15 starts(€434,400) including the Group II Prix Uranie last start, and also won the Group I Prix Albert Viel in June – and will be the favourite for the race.
Avila downed her paternal half-sister two starts ago and has won six of her 12 starts (€322,000) is trained by Ready Cash’s trainer Thierry Duvaldestin, although is under different ownership to the other pair (Cyril Lelarge). She won the Critierium des Jeunes, the other Group I so far decided by this generation, making it two from two so far for Ready Cash with his first crop.
Ready Cash’s best colt Atlas de Joudes (4 wins) is out of a Love You mare and like Axelle Dark is owned and trained by Philippe Allaire – who of course owns Ready Cash. He has been making mistakes of late and hasn’t won since February, when he claimed the Prix Paul Viel while he was fifth in the Criterium de Jeunes a few weeks later.
Akim du Cap Vert (first de Retz) is likely to be the biggest threat to the Ready Cash trio, indeed is the best colt of the generation, having won France’s top 2YO race, the Group two Prix Emmanuel Margouty in December. He was also second in the Criterium des Jeunes and his trainer/driver Franck Anne won this same race last year with the brilliant filly Vanika de Ruel (Jardy).
The other runner with genuine claims is the Fabrice Solouy’s Goetmals wood filly Anastasia Fella who beat the two Ready Cash fillies home in the top 2YO race for their gender, the Prix Une de Mai, in December. Although that was also her only victory so far, she was second in her last start, when splitting Axelle Dark and Avila in the Prix Uranie so is capable of an upset.
PRIX DE L'ETOILE Vincennes
2150m Group 1, 3-4-5YO € 240,000
1 Ausone du Kastel (3c Gros Grain – Lancee) Tr/Dr: Emmanuel Allard
2 Anastasia Fella (3f Goetmals Wood - Jeanne's Fella) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy
3 Almira Marancourt (3f Lilium Madrik – Elmira) Dr: David Thomain Tr: Sébastien Hervalet
4 Atlas de Joudes (3c Ready Cash - Queschua Love) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Philippe Allaire
5 Avila (3f Ready Cash – Encombevineuse) Tr/Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin
6 Akim du Cap Vert (3c First de Retz - Prima du Cap Vert) Tr/Dr: Franck Anne
7 Axelle Dark (3f Ready Cash - Queen des Charmes) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Philippe Allaire
8 Unaka (5m Joyau d'Amour - Lena) Dr: Baptiste Masseguin Tr: Francisco Criado 50m
9 Vigogne du Boulay (4m Defi d'Aunou - Mona Lisa Jet) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Franck Harel 50m
10 Viscaria (4m Gai Brillant - Lajounie des Cinty) Tr/Dr: Guillaume Gillot Guillaume Gillot 50m
by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com