Village Mystic heads an even field of nine 4YO stallions in the harness racing Group two Prix Octave Douesnel over 2700m at Vincennes on Sunday.
's son of is a group one winner having prevailed in the Prix de Selection, the inter-generational classic held annually around the beginning of March each year.
He won the Prix Jules Thibault (Group II) in August and ran sixth in his first start back from a spell in the Prix Marcel Laurent a month back when he was sent out third favourite behind the winner Victoire.
Village Mystic was the well-beaten favourite in the Criterium des 4 Ans, and is currently fourth in the V-generation earnings behind precocious mare Vanika de Ruel and monte stars Vanishing Point and Vision Intense.
Also in the Prix Marcel Laurent field was's Vaux le Vicomte who was second favourite, and ran fourth but is something of a perennial groomsman - although in pretty esteemed company.
The son of Nahar de Beval was a credible third in the European Derby or Grand Prix De l'Uet (Gr1) in Sweden two starts back in October and was also second in the Criterium des 3 Ans held at this very meeting 12 months ago.
Vaux le Vicomte won four of his first six starts but has only won once in his last 20, which says a lot about the calibre of the opposition. Still French trotting amply rewards its higher class horses with decent stake money down to seventh place (and a 10 per cent bonus to the breeder) and has earned a respectable 333,000 euros - which places him 12th in the V-generation rankings.
Roberto Donati's Voltigeur de Myrt was a somewhat surprising winner of the Criterium des 4 Ans - it was just his fifth win in what at that point been 25 starts and he started at 16-1 odds in a pretty open field.
The son of Opus Viervil has not won since and went into a "grand galop" in the Prix Marcel Laurent, the second time in a row he had broken stride.
Vigove is another five-win trotter, and being by Gazouillis, is probably bred more to the saddle than the bike, although he has only started in one monte and showed little aptitude for it.
But's stallion is a very useful performer with two group two wins and a third in the group one Criterium des 4 Ans, after finishing in the same position in the leadup race, the Prix Phaeton. However he has not placed higher than sixth in three starts back from a five month break although he does possess the fastest record in this field (1.10.9 or 1.54MR).
Ecurie Victoria Dreams has two sons of Password entered, the first of which, Volcan d'Urzy is the only one in the field who commenced stud duties this season and is a half-brother to Leader Chip who finished second in both the Danish Travkriterium and Travderby.
The Criterium des 4 Ans runner up has won five of just 19 starts including the group two Prix Kalmia and was also runner-up in two group one Prix Albert Vie and will be driven by. Coincidentally his sire Password, a son of out of a mare by US Champion 2YO , also won the Prix Kalmia and was runner up in the Prix Albert Viel.
The other Password progeny is Voyage de Reve, who has six wins including the group two Prix Jacques De Vauloge. But that was 12 months ago and he has struggled in this higher grade so far, with just two more placings.is his driver.
PRIX OCTAVE DOUESNEL
08/12/13 Group two 4M 2700m â‚¬120 000
1 Vulcain de Vandel (4h- Ophelia de Vandel) Dr: Tr:
2 Valentin du Gite (4h Iton du Gite - Oh Biche Jolie) Dr: Bernard Piton Tr: Jean Lelievre
3 Viking de Val (4h Baccarat du Pont - La Forge de Val) Dr: Eric Lambertz Tr: Eric Lambertz
4 Voyage de Reve (4h Password - Kiocalba) Dr:Tr:
5 Volcan d'Urzy (4h Password - Jabotte d'Urzy) Dr:Tr:
6 Vigove (4h Gazouillis - Govive) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr:
7 Vaux le Vicomte (4h Nahar de Beval - Nina du Beauvoisin) Dr:Tr:
8 Voltigeur de Myrt (4h Opus Viervil - Myrtille des Bois) Dr:Tr: Roberto Donati
9 Village Mystic (4h- Netchka d'Orgeres) Dr: Tr: