Held on the same weekend as the first classique of the Winter Meeting Criterium des 3 Ans at Vincennes, and from the same age group, the Prix Raoul Balliere has the look and feel of a consolation race, with the very best of the 3YO crop being engaged in the Classique the following day.
So the horses that have won the major monte titles of their age group are missing with Prix Des Elites winner Anastasia Fella, Saint-Leger Des Trotteurs Almira Marancourt and Prix d'Essai (Gr1) winner Arca Des Jacquets all absent as is the runner up in the Prix d'Essai Alexia Du Cherisay.
There are, however, two placegetters in monte group ones entered in this race headed by Anthony Dollion's Asana Trembladaise who was second in the group one Saint-Leger Des Trotteurs and also second in the group two Prix Pierre Gamare. The daughter of Kuadro Wild has three wins from 13 appearances and has a best monte time of 1.14 (1.59.1MR).
Michael Jean Ruault's Aston Fly was third in the Prix d'Essai but has yet to record a win in 23 attempts although he was also third in the Prix Pierre Gamare at group two level. The son of Hermes de Montfort has a best monte time of 1.14.9 (2.00.3MR).
's colt Atwood Griff is a promising type and has the right pedigree to succeed in monte.
He is a winner of two of his twenty starts and one was at group two level in the Prix Edouard Marcillac. He was also second in the group two Prix Hemine and third in the Prix Felicien Gauvreau, and has a best monte time of 1.13.7 (1.58.3MR) the fastest in this group by some margin.
But the one who might top them all comes from the stable ofin Aquarelle de Fael who carries a formline of a win and three seconds in her first four starts under saddle, all at Vincennes and the last outing was a second in the group two Prix Louis Tillaye.
The daughter ofalso won her first start at the centre of French racing in the bike and has a terrific record of five wins out of just 11 starts and might be the one to test these.
Of the rest A Passion of Love has three wins out of just 10 starts, all of them under saddle and is a well bredfilly out of 's strong barn while Adio Josselyn ( ) has been racing in good company under the bike without a placing, and is making his second monte start so might be an outsider to keep an eye on.
PRIX RAOUL BALLIERE
07/12/13 FR Group Two monte for 3YOs 2175m â‚¬120 000
1 Ayrton Griff (3c Fortuna Fant - Ojipsie Griff) Rd: Pierre Yves Verva Tr:
2 A Passion of Love (3f- Passion d'Amour) Rd: Yoann Lebourgeois Tr:
3 Agrippine (3f Hasting - Moqueuse) Rd: Alexandre Abrivard Tr: Laurent Claude Abrivard
4 Anne de Neulliac (3f Magnificent Rodney - Onise de Neulliac) Rd: Bruno Chanonat Tr: Sylvain Roger
5 Aston Fly (3c Hermes de Montfort - Quie Daidou) Rd: Jonathan Carre Tr: Michael Jean Ruault
6 Antara Buissonay (3f Le Retour - Judelle Buissonay) Rd: Pierre Edouard Mary Tr: Joel Van Eeckhaute
7 Adio Josselyn (3c- Queda Josselyn) Rd: Mathieu Abrivard Tr: Hedi Le Bec
8 Aquarelle de Fael (3f- Nadia Pierji) Rd: Tr:
9 Atwood Griff (3c- Qualane Griff) Rd: Tr:
10 Asana Trembladaise (3f Kuadro Wild - Passion d'Alban) Rd: Anthony Dollion Tr: Anthony Dollion
by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com