VINCENNES, Paris - The French harness racing governing body, Le Trot, played host to representatives from numerous countries involved in the purchase and breeding of Trotteur Francais at Vincennes over the course of the weekend of December 2nd - 4th, where each country's Horse of the Year was celebrated and 15 drivers from the member countries participated in the Prix des Recontres Internationales.
Alan Richardson and Ricky Hanson from Ireland and John Foy from Great Britain attended to collect their awards on Friday evening for Vichy Du Moem (World Record Holder over 2 miles) and Sulky Du Blequin respectively, with John competing in the race on Saturday afternoon along with Sean Kane from Ireland, who is currently working at Grosbois Training Centre in France.
The celebratory weekend began with an awards dinner for the TF voted as the Horse of the Year in each of the member countries, held at Hippodrome de Vincennes (Vincennes Racecourse). Ireland's winner, Vichy Du Moem and Great Britain's Sulky Du Blequin were both celebrated.
The weekend culminated with the Prix des Recontres Internationales on Saturday afternoon, which featured drivers from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the Ukraine.
Sean Kane (Ireland), found himself at the reins of the betting favourite, Tornado De L'Ocean, and although the duo looked threatening throughout, the competition proved to be too strong in the stretch, with Sean finishing a respectable fifth. John Foy (Great Britain), drew an outsider who raced in midfield throughout, before galloping on the final bend which resulted in automatic disqualification.
The race was won by the French driver, Franck Nivard, driving Service Secret, with Balazs Juhasz from Hungary and Sire De La Creuse finishing second and Rick Wester from Holland and Tonio Du Vivier finishing third.
Both drivers were grateful for the opportunity to drive at Vincennes and to represent their countries on an international stage, and it is hoped that this event will continue to include British and Irish drivers for many more years to come.
A full replay of the race can be seen here - http://www.letrot.com/en/races/replays/2016-12-03/7500/7
by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink