Day At The Track

Tour de France des Trotters sur l'herbe begins

01:08 AM 13 Apr 2014 NZST
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Super Berry Chenou, harness racing
J-P Monclin salutes the fans after winning on the grass with Super Berry Chenou
Paris Turf Photo

The grass course trotting circuit "Tour de France des Trotters ser l'herbe" began this week with a win for Super Berry Chenou at Hippodrome de Tours.

The veteran eight year-old gelded son of Jardy-Finaline-Quel Soro scored his tenth career win, now for earnings of £169,460 in this 3500 meter contest for a purse of £45,000. Jean-Philippe Monclin trains and drives the winner that defeated Sire de Janze and Ragtime du Parc. The winner raced unshod for the third time in his racing career and he accelerated quickly in the last lap to score easily. The grass circuit continues next on April 27.

The Tour de France on grass is in its 14th edition. Established in 2001, the "Green Award" is now firmly rooted in the French racing calendar and its success, both in the public's eyes and for professionals, cannot be denied.

The Green Award was created to save and upgrade the grass tracks. Good grass runways have been disappearing one after the other, explains Bernard Desmontils Bernard , vice -president of Cheval-Francais. And this circuit allows racing opportunities for horses that have not won a lot of money, gives them some tough fights to regain morale and a second youth running on the grass.

The media has encouraged local communities, who have put their hands in their pockets, to help companies rebuild their race track or maintain them. The effort reinforces volunteering. The series has evolved and now has three feature races at each meeting that has given a breath of fresh air for grass track organizers.

In sporting terms , the "Green Trophy" also acquired a feeling of nobility and is full of equine participants. Eliminations are now often required and at Tours there were 50 entrants initially and 16 started in the finale. Apprentices and amateurs also have their Green Trophy, and, new this year, the kids too! Green Ponies Trophy has been created and will be held at each venue. It is hoped that this may inspire new vocations for the young participants.

by Thomas H. Hicks, for
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