The Group one Prix des Centaures over 2750m at Vincennes Sunday, is the first of the inter-generational classiques to be raced under the readjusted handicaps designed to address the advantage the younger horses have had in recent years.
So great was this advantage seen that few older horses had bothered to sign up for the French trotting equivalent of thoroughbred racing's Weight-For-Age , which is designed to compare the credentials of different crops of horses for breeding purposes.
Indeed last year's Prix des Centaures contained a field that was entirely made up of four-year-olds but this time nine of the 15 runners are representatives of the two older crops, making it a highly anticipated race of the ages bringing together the respective stars of Anastasia Fella, Vision Intense and Ulysse.
The last time these crops met, in the Prix des Elites last year, Anastasia Fella, aided by the generous 50m advantage was untroubled to win but the next four home were all members of the U-crop including Ulysse in fifth and Ultissimo, who finished second, and in a stunning rate of 1.11.6 (1.55.1MR) for the 2200m.
Fabrice Solouy's Ulysse was a disappointing eighth in the Prix de Cornulier after setting the pace, but he does not have to contend with the likes of Roxane Griff or Tiego d'Etang in this, although the son ofwill have to work very hard to get to his favoured front running role.
The third member of the U-crop entered is Utoky, in the famous colours of Comte Pierre de Montesson - of Une de Mai fame - and a not too shabby monte horse himself having won the group one Prix De Vincennes and Prix du President de la Republique.
Last year's winner Vision Intense was not in that field, the only V-generation entrants were lesser mares hoping to pick up a classique placing to enhance their breeding value.
The Phiippe Moulin-trained daughter ofwas a brilliant winner of the group two Prix Camille Blaisot last start and will start a very warm favourite here, despite the class of the opposition.
Valse Castelets was second that day, and is a dual group two monte winner and is one who may also figure in the finish.
The other horse who is receiving early handicapping support is Jean-Pierre Dubois beautifully-bred A Nous Deux who is making her first start in a group race after a couple of impressive outings after being switched to saddle recently.
The daughter ofis from Nina Madrik, who was second in the Prix de Jeunes and Prix de l'Etoile and third in the Prix de Selection - the latter two inter-generational races as this one is. She is also from the family of The Best Madrik and several other classique performers. She is trained by Ronny Kuiper and will be ridden by Mathieu Abrivard.
PRIX DES CENTAURES
09/02/14 FR Group I monte 2175m 4-6 â‚¬ 240 000
1 Aston Fly (h Hermes de Montfort - Quie Daidou) Jk: Jonathan Carre Tr: Michael Jean Ruault
2 A Nous Deux (s- Nina Madrik) Jk: Mathieu Abrivard Tr: Ronny Kuiper
3 Aquarelle de Fael (s- Nadia Pierji) Jk: Anthony Barrier Tr:
4 Alberic (h- Oublies Moi) Jk: David Thomain Tr:
5 Atwood Griff (h- Qualane Griff) Jk: Tr:
6 Anastasia Fella (s- Jeanne's Fella) Jk: Tr:
7 Ultissimo (h Gobernador - Altissima) Jk:Tr: Max Izaac 25m
8 Vaillant Cash (h- Kara du Redon) Jk: Camille Levesque Tr: Yoann Letellier 25m
9 Ugenie du Citrus (s- Onna Lisa) Jk: Alexandre Abrivard Tr: Laurent Claude Abrivard 25m
10 Valdice de Mars (s Lynx de Bellouet - Tiphanie) Jk: Yoann Lebourgeois Tr: Loic Groussard 25m
11 Ultima Queen (s- Maya Day) Jk: Pierre Yves Verva Tr: Virginie Moquet 25m
12 Valse Castelets (s Memphis du Rib - Elide) Jk: Jean Loic Claude Dersoir Tr: Joel Hallais 25m
13 Utoky (h- Epopee) Jk: Damien Bonne Tr: 25m
14 Ulysse (h- Loctudy) Jk: Tr: 25m
15 Vision Intense (s- Intense Action) Jk: Nathalie Henry Tr: 25m