While Roxane Griff looks well placed to add the group two Prix Theophile Lallouet at Vincennes on tomorrow, to her wonderful CV, following the traditional path through age group racing to the top of her spot, sometimes it is the path less travelled which also pays off in France.
Take Bruno Marie's charge Torre Crepin, agelding, now seven years old, who has taken a journeyman's long route to foot it with the big boys at the Temple du Trot.
It is an understatement to say he has taken a long time to reach the top level,and one wonders how he would have fared in any other country where patience is not so fully rewarded .
Torre Crepin took no fewer than 64 starts to reach the prizemoney level to get a start in a group two race just six months ago.
Indeed he didn't win his first race until his 34th start- which was remarkably his 30th attempt under saddle.
Remember they pay down to seventh placing in France, and so fourth place in 100,000 euro events can pay the bills, and some, and Torre Crepin has had four fourth placings and a win in the seven starts since he raced in his first group two in October last year.
From a slow start, over the past couple of years he has been a gradual improver and he has now won eight races and as a consistent placegetter as he made his way through the intermediate events at Vincennes has now amassed the not insignificant sum of 470,330 euros.
Still Roxane Griff will be a short-priced favourite tomorrow. The Prix du Cornulier winner's last start was a courageous third in the Grand Prix de Paris, the gruelign 4.1km marathon and the third leg of the French triple crown. She had run fourth in the first leg, the Prix d'Amerique.
But it has been under saddle that's 9YO daughter of , who has earned 2.25 million euros from 17 career victories, has found a new lease of life recently, winning three of her four monte races in the recently completed Winter Meeting including the 700,000 euro world championship (Prix du Cornulier) in late January in the hands of regular rider .
She will face her stiffest opposition from the likes ofgrand old campaigner Quarry Bay, who won his last start, the 120,000 euro Prix Henri Desmontils, at the start of the month, defeating Rapide du Digeon, Torre Crepin and Utoky who he meets again here. The 10YO son of is the second favourite on the early tote
Former age group star Utoky is also well supported. The winner of both monte group ones for 3 and 4YOs (Prix de Vincennes and Prix du President de la Republic) is trained byin the famous light blue colours of Comte Pierre de Montesson, who will be remembered by older US harness racing folk as the owner of Une de Mai.
The son ofalso mixes racing with stud duties at the Lebanc's Haras d'Avireau establishment.
Thierry Raffegeau's Rapide du Digeon is also well supported while the next in the market is the Italian bred gelding Nene'Degli Ulivi from the stable of Vincent Lacroix.
by David Sanders, for Harnesslink.com