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December 23, 2018 - Eridan (4m Ready Cash-Topaze d’Atout), off at 13/1 odds, rallied late to win the Gr. I Criterium Continental (purse 240,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 18 starters all harness racing four-year olds, the Quinte+ race of the day) at Paris-Vincennes, and with the victory came an auto-invite to the Prix d’Amerique. David Thomain teamed the Sebastien Guarato trainee that was off at 13/1 odds and is owned by Philippe Dewulf. Eridan now has eight career wins in 25 starts for 562,950€ earned. Race time was a quick 1.10.3kr (mile rate 1:53.11 over the 1.305 miles distance) off fast fractions (1.05.1kr with 1500 to go; 1.09.2kr at the 1000 meters remaining mark and 1.10.3kr at the 500). The 3.4/1 Italy invader Vitruvio (4m Adrian Chip-Tigre OM) was second for trainer/driver Alessandro Gocciadoro and 4.3/1 Earl Simon (4m Prodigious-Tindrana) was third for Franck Ouvrie and trainer Jarmo Niskanen. 89/1 Estola was fourth for Alexandre Abrivard and 101/1 Eros du Chene was fifth with Gabriele Gelormini aboard. 2/1 favorite Erming d’Oliverie was a dq, as was Vamp Kronos. In the last 14 years there have been three Criterium Continental winners that moved on to win the Prix d’Amerique, two of them, Bold Eagle and Offshore Dream, won the big race twice, Next up for the classics is December 30 when the Grand Prix de Bourgogne will be raced and January 20th is the Prix de Cornulier for the monte stars. Thomas H. Hicks    

December 24, 2017 - Seventeen trotteurs entered by prestigious Criterium Continental today at Paris Vincennes, the harness racing Gr. I Epique contest (2100 meters autostart, total purse €240,000) for four year olds with the winner obtaining an Amerique ticket at end of January. Five mares were entered and they took the top three finishing spots. 16/1 Doria Desbois (4f In Love With You-Ivaniez) scored for Matthieu Abrivard, owner/trainer Christophe Feyte and E.A.R.L. Guitet-Debois bred the winner. Race time was a quick 1.10.7kr with a furious kick home after fast fractions (1.05.3kr at 1500 remaining; 1.08.1kr at the 1000; 1.09.9kr with 500 to go). Doria Desbois now has nine career wins in 22 outings for €325,710 earned. She raced third in the third tier before an explosive late move. 6.9/1 Draft Life (4f Ubriaco-Maflymede) was a solid second for Eric Raffin driving for breeder/owner/trainer Louis Baudron. 18/1 Delia du Pommereux (4f Niky-Nounes du Pommereux) finished third for trainer/driver Sylvain Roger and breeder/owner Noel Lolic. 2.7/1 Django Riff and 30/1 Dragon des Racques were the next pair to the line. Urlo dei Venti was scratched. Readily Express wins Prix Tenor de Baune Many awaited his arrival at Vincennes and a presumed battle with Twister Bi. Readly Express (13) did not disappoint and easily won his ticket to America as the Gr. II Prix Tenor de Baune (total purse €120,000) champion at Paris-Vincennes, after racing on the lead much of the way, using a slow pace directed by Bjorn Goop. Distant in his wake after a perfect pocket journey, Treasure Kronos (8) held second, in front of Charly du Noyer (11). Fractions were as follows over the classic 2700 meter distance (1.12.9kr with 1500 to go; 1.14.1kr at the 1000; 1.14kr with 500 remaining; 1.12.9kr finish). Readly Express (5m Ready Cash-Caddie Dream) was off as 1.3/1 favorite for driver Bjorn Goop, trainer Timo Nurmos and BRO Byggnads AB, the owner. His career earnings are now €1,063,424. 29/1 Treasure Kronos (5f Raja Mirchi-Glide About) was second driven by Gabriele Gelormini for trainer Jerry Riordan and Aeto & Dios AB. 23/1 Charly du Noyer (5m Ready Cash-Ornella Jet) handled by Yoann Lebourgeois was third for trainer Philippe Allaire and Ecurie Normandy Spirit. 4.3/1 Carat Williams (5m Prodigious-Miss Williams) was fourth for David Thomain and 2.6/1 Twister Bi (5m Varenne-Lorraine Bi) rallied late to be fifth for Alexandre Abrivard, trainer Riordan and Pasquale Ciccarelli. Caid Griff and Coup Droit earned the sixth and seventh paychecks. Wild Honey was scratched and Cobra Bleu was a misque dq in the lane. Dexter Fromentro and Eveil du Chatelet win Groupe Monte tests Today’s Paris-Vincennes card was far more than Criterium Continental and Prix Tenor de Baune. Two monte groupe events also highlighted the program. The Gr. II Prix Emile Riotteau (purse €120,000, monte, 2700 meters, nine starters) went to 1.7/1 Dexter Fromentro (4m Qwerty-Princesse d’Ombree) clocked in 1.14.5kr with Camille Levesque in the irons as he increased career earnings to €183,870 with his fourth lifetime victory. Thomas Levesque trains the winner, up in the final strides, for owner Pierre Levesque and he was bred by Francoise Meslin. 10/1 Derby du Dollar (4m Rodrigo Jet-Magalie du Dollar) was second with Matthieu Abrivard up for trainer Sylvain Roger and third was 25/1 Dragon d’Avril (4m Thorens Vedaquais-Sirence d’Avril) for Adrien Lamy and breeder/owner Sebastien  Houyvet. 3.3/1 Dawana was sixth Next up was the €240,000 classic Prix de Vincennes (Gr.I, monte, 2700 meters, 14 starters, three year olds). 73/1 Eveil du Chatelet (3m Very Look-Uranie du Chatelet) scored with J-Y Ricart in the irons. J-M Bazire trains the winner, that recorded his second career win in 11 starts, now for €150,180 earned. Today he more than tripled career bank account. 7/10 favorite Evidence Roc (3f Paris-Haufor-Misfase du Boulay) took second for trainer/jockey Emilie LeBeller and Ecurie d’Embeli, just missing with a game challenge. Third was 5.2/1 Elladora de Forgan (3f Gazouillis-Hamina) with Franck Nivard up for trainer Franck Leblanc. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from France. Thomas H. Hicks  

December 25, 2016 - The Gr. I Criterium Continental (purse €240,000, 2100 meters autostart, 16 European starters) went to 23.5/1 upset winner Treasure Kronos (4f Raja Mirchi-Glide About-Yankee Glide). Christoffer Eriksson teamed the 1.11.8kr clocked mare for harness racing trainer Jerry Riordan and Canada’s David Goodrow, the owner. Eriksson positioned Treasure Kronos perfectly, third in the second tier and then escaped at top stretch to begin her winning rally that ended with a three-quarter length score over 55.2/1 Day Or Night In (4m Muscle Hill-Ellie America) driven by trainer Johan Untersteiner for Stall Invexbro AB. 4.9/1 Charly du Noyer (4m Ready Cash-Ornella Jet) was third driven by Yoann Lebourgeois for trainer Philippe Allaire and proprietor Olivier Henri Thomas. 44.5/1 Cobra Bleu (4m Fortuna Fant) was  fourth for trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse and Timone EK (4m Mr. Vic) finished fifth for J-M Bazire and trainer Fabrice Souloy. The winner earned €108,000 with the victory and now has career earnings of €400,856. Fractions were quick (1.06.9kr at 1500 to go; 1.09.7 at the 1000; 1.12.2kr with 500 meters remaining). The 1.1/1 favorite Traders raced on or near the front throughout and was a dq for a miscue late when under pressure in the drive. Thomas H. Hicks

Athos des Elfes crushed a solid four year-old group in today’s Gr. III Prix du Milan at Enghien-Soisy. Twelve contested the €85,000 European event over 2150 meters autostart and Jean-Pierre Dubois made the pace from post one with his Tast of Bourbon. The Donato Hanover-Qualita Bourbon miss took the field through solid fractions (1.11kr at 1000; 1.10.7 kr at 500) before yielding to favored (odds 7/10) Robert Bi with Dominik Locqueneux up for trainer Paul Hagoort. However, the field closed in and the most powerful finisher was Athos des Elfes (4m Ganymede-Lazio du Bourg) handled by trainer Joel Van Eeckhaute who recorded his 600th driving win, as the pair scored in 1.11.3kr at odds of 3.3/1. The winner secured his sixth career win, now for €229,530.  Alizea du Kastel (4f Quaker Jet-Kaldida Jet) was second for trainer/driver Emmanuel Allard at 32/1. Italian outsider Ruty Grif (4m Varenne-Courer By Pass) was third at 97/1 for Anthony Barrier, teaming for trainer Marco Smorgon. Two other Italians were next across the line with fourth to aforementioned Robert Bi (4m Toss Out-Up Front JM) and fifth to Rue du Bac (4m Infinitif-Ici) for Roberto Andreghetti and trainer Fabrice Souloy. Well respected Akim du Cap Vert finished sixth, Tast Of Bourbon faded to eighth and Rod Stewart was unplaced. The winner’s dam, Lazio du Bourg (Tadzio de la Motte-Fee de Marancourt-Tarass Boulba), was a classic winner of US$1,287,917 and a record of 1:55.1 as she won the Criterium des Ans and was second in the Criterium Continental. Tarass Boulba is a son of Speedy Somolli and he sired the dam (Enfilde) of Prix d’Amerique winner Offshore Dream. Athos des Elfes pedigree is 65% French trotteur and 35% standardbred. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com  

Although classics occurred in Finland and Denmark, action in France was worthy of note beyond the impressive monte victory by Roxane Griff, the “grande dame” of trotting. On Friday evening at Vincennes  the Quinte+ Prix Leo (jackpot €8.5 million) went to favored Tellemont Haufor, a son of Ganymede, with C-J Bigeon aboard, timed in 1.12.9kr over 2100 meters autostart. Global Midnight was second for Christophe Martens, she being a daughter of Ganymede (1994 Buvetier d’Aunou-Udames-Quioco), a multiple classic winner (Oslo Grand Prix and Prix de l’Atlantique) of US$1,029,493, May 9, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix Leo, European €55,000 purse, 2100 meters autostart, Quinte+ jackpot €8.5 million, 1.12.9kr 1st Tellemont Haufor (7f Ganymede-Mamba d’Haufor), C-J Bigeon up for trainer Christian Bigeon, 2/1 2nd Global Midnight (7f Ganymede-Global Business), Christophe Martens up, 6/1, Sweden 3rd Speedy d’Ivray (8g Hermes du Buisson-Gamme d’Ivray), Mathieu Mottier up, 31/1 4th Noir d’ete (7m Ganymede-Ecsenza d’ete), Eric Raffin, 22/1 5th Sancho du Parc (8g Notti Ped d’Ombree-Boucheka), Pierre Levesque, 19/1 The same day at Toulouse produced a victory for Tintin d’Ecouves in their featured Grand Prix Dynavena Maisagri Duran for €32,000 over 2950 meters. The seven year-old son of Lucky d’Hilly covered the marathon-like distance in 1.15.5kr for trainer/driver Vincent Jarry. Favored Freeman T. Porter was fourth for Conrad Lugauer, he being a son of Korean, the sire of Sebastian K. Korean is a 1998 son of Dahir de Prelong from Calmness by Robespierre. Second dam is Pavesca Hanover (Super Bowl-Estovie-Prince des Veys). Korean was a winner of US$705,689 including the prestigious Criterium Continental and Criterium des 4Ans. May 9, 2014 Toulouse, Grand Prix Dynavena Maisagri Duran, European, purse €32,000, 2950 meters, 14 starters, 1.15.5kr 1st Tintin d’Ecouves (7m Lucky d’Hilly-Oasis de la Besle), Vincent Jarry trainer/driver, 5.7/1 2nd Scud Quick (8g And Arifant-Diane d’Aussy), Richard-William Denechere up, 90/1 3rd Uk Medoc (6m Karikal-Organza Haut Gilet), Franck Corbineau up, 11/1 4th Freeman T. Porter (7m Korean-Lion Chica-Somollison), Conrad Lugauer trainer/driver, 1.8/1 Saturday May 10 showcased more top flight action. Vincennes hosted the Gr. III Prix du Gatinais for European contestants over 2700 meters. 17 starters fought for the €85,000 purse. This was the Quinte+ race of the day with a jackpot of €8.55 million. Over €1.4 million was wagered on win and place alone on this race. Italy’s Olmo Holz took the victory with jubilant Belgium reinsman Christophe Martens aboard. The veteran equine campaigner, a son of Uronometro, increased his career earnings to €450,096. Italy’s Oropuro Bar and Sweden’s Global Manhattan trailed the winner across the line. May 10, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix du Gatinais, Gr. III European, purse €85,000, 2700 meters, 17 starters, Quinte+ with jackpot €8.55 million Fractions: 1.13.5kr at 1500; 1.13.5kr at 1000; 1.13.8kr at 500; 1.13.3kr finish 1st Olmo Holz (6m Uronometro-Veuve du Kras-Park Avenue Joe), Christophe Martens for trainer Vincent Martens, owner Frans Delmonte, Italy, 15th career win for €450,096 2nd Oropuro Bar (6m Love You-Ubatuba Oaks-Armbro Goal), Marco Smorgon driver/trainer, 5.3/1, Italy 3rd Global Manhattan (7m Love You-Devilish Yankee-Yankee Glide), Franck Nivard up, Sweden 4th Twist de Caillons (7m Jam Pridem-Hayra des Caillons), Eric Raffin, 13/1 5th Used To Me (6m Nuage de Lait-North Lane), Jean-Etienne Dubois trainer/driver, 11/1 The Prix de Mamers also interested me on the afternoon card, as Blue Grass scored for Jerome Ruaults. The Ready Cash three year-old filly is trained by Philippe Allaire as she defeated an inexperienced but talented group in the €35,000 contest over 2700 meters timed in 1.15.5kr. May 10, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix de Mamers, female three year-olds, €35,000 purse, 2700 meters, 13 starters, 1.15.5kr 1st Blue Grass (3f Ready Cash-Princess Natacha), Jerome Ruaults up for Philippe Allaire, 2.8/1 2nd Bagheera Pride (3f Love You-Genoa’s Pride), Thierry Duvaldestin driver/trainer at 10/1 3rd Braga (3f Oiseau de Feux-Quelle Jole), Dominik Locqueneux driving, 12/1 4th Belle Libertine (3f Sam Bourbon-Libertine Bourbon), trainer Patrick Chevrier up for J-P Dubois, 42/1 Five year-old males contested the €40,000 Prix de Dreux over 2100 meters autostart in the rain. Vintage Dream took this victory in 1.13.4kr for Julien Dubois and owner  Ecurie Victoria Dreams. The gelded son of Passwrod-Ida Bourbon, conditioned by Philippe Moulin, rallied off a fast pace to win by a length over the Love You sired Vivaldi. May 10, 2014, Paris-Vincennes, Prix de Dreux for five year-old males, €40,000 purse, 2100 meters autostart, 14 starters, 1.13.4kr 1st Vintage Dream (5g Password-Isa Bourbon-Buvetier d’Aunou), Julien Dubois up for Ecurie Victoria Dreams and trainer Philippe Moulin, 7.8/1 2nd Vivaldi (5m Love You-Kermesse), Jacques Bruneau up, 12/1 3rd Viborg (5m Mercenaire-Ocanelle), P-Y Verva up, 3.5/1      

The incomparable Mack Grace SM heads a strong field for the 110,000 euro Gran Premio Societa Campo Mirafiori, an Italian national group one for horses 5years and older at Turin on Sunday. It is the champion stallion's first appearance since he made a cameo appearance in the Prix d'Amerique at Vincennes, which was, as expected a good deal too far for the Italian speedster, who is all but invincible at home at distances under 2100m. To date the Antonio Porzio-trained son of unheralded US export CC's Chuckie T and Ambro Grace has amassed 1,286,719 euros following 46 victories from 92 attempts which included an amazing 17 out of 18 prior to his Prix d'Amerique failure. Indeed, he had a stellar 2013, in which he won 11 group races last year including six at group one level including the Grand Slam jewel Lotteria di Agnano final for the second time. But all his major wins have been at home, although with his record over multiple heat races on the same day, you would think a race like Sweden's Elitloppet would be right up his ally. This is a superb field for this year's renewal of the Turin classic, with top French trainers Fabrice Souloy (Marielles) and Thierry Duvaldestin (Pascia' Lest) fronting up with their Italian-bred charges which are now trained from their Normandy bases. Marielles won the group one Gran Premio Nazioni on this track in November, beating French champ Timoko and has been competing in France during the Winter Meeting, where she picked up several decent checks, including one for third in the prestigious Prix de Bourbonnais. She also raced under saddle in the World Championship for monte, the Prix du Cornullier, although she galloped. Pascia' Lest, a former Italian Derby winner, is coming off some super form in France, where he ran second to Univers de Pan in the Grand Criterium Nice-Matin in early March. The son of Varenne also ran third twice in French group twos at Vincennes in the just completed Winter Meeting, which speaks volumes for his potential ability at the very highest level. Napolean Bar is another with more than half a million euros in winnings from 12 wins from 42 starts, including six at group level. This son of Varenne was second in last year's Lotteria final and also has some very credible French form with a group two runners-up and a fifth placing in the Criterium Continental , the year it was won by French superstar Timoko (2011). He has just come back from a brief excursion to France, but was second in his last Italian start, to none other than Mack Grace SM. The other with perhaps a chance in this is Cantab Hall stallion Owen CR, another with French experience, a winner of seven of his 42 start, 4 at group level for 537,219 euros with an uncanny ability to get in the money in the big races. He won the GP Giorgio Jegher last year, which although his only win in 2013 was one of 11 top three placings including eight runners-up checks. GRAN PREMIO SOCIETA CAMPO MIRAFIORI Turin, Italy 2014-04-06 Group 1 Nat 1600m  110 000 euros 1 Owen Cr (h Cantab Hall - Boemia Cr) Dr: Pietro Gubellini Tr: Pietro 2 Marielles (m Kick Tail - Egida Play) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 3 Napoleon Bar (h Varenne - Dalmazia) Dr: Giampaolo Minnucci Tr: Catello Savarese 4 Mack Grace Sm (h CC's Chuckie T - Ambro Grace Sm) Dr: Roberto Andreghetti Tr: Antonio Porzio 1 5 Pascia' Lest (h Varenne - Superiors Sun) Dr: Enrico Bellei Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 6 Orione Degli Dei (g Conway Hall - Elissa Dei) Dr: Mauro Baroncini Tr: Mauro Baroncini 7 Probo Op (h From Above - Elimara) Dr: Edoardo Moni T Tr: eam Moni 8 Oibambam Effe {m Classic Photo - Etna Sec) Dr: Andrea Guzzinati Tr: Salvatore Carro 9 Newyork Newyork (h Supergill - Viola d'Amore) Dr: Lorenzo Baldi Tr: Lorenzo Baldi 10 Pace del Rio (h Varenne - Urbem d'Asolo) Dr: Santo Mollo Tr: Santo Mollo by David Sanders, for Harnesslink.com

Jean Ettiene Dubois' Villeroi seems finally to have found the depths to his stamina needed to compete at the very top level in France. His last start victory was his first in twelve starts at group level and his sixth overall in 34 race attempts. While he has accrued a respectable 309,590 euros, the son of Oisau de Feux and top broodmare Pocahontas was prone to step roughly when the pressure went on, and was we know in France galloping is an instant DQ, while more than a couple of skips from either front or back pairings will have a race taken off the offender. He will face a field of 5YOs in the Prix Robert Auvray, a 120,000 euro group two over 2850m which is absent of the money leaders of the V-generation, the likes of Vanika du Ruel, Victoire and Village Mystic. Indeed Villeroi is only just in the top 20 of his generation's richest although of course a good many of those will be under saddle specialists. The highest earner in the field is Criterium des 4 Ans winner Voltigeur de Myrt who looks to be coming back into form after recording his fastest time ever last start, 1.11.1 (under a 25m handicap) which was the equal fastest in the race but only good enough for sixth in the Prix des Selection, with the front markers from the A-generation taking four of the top places with their advantage. Eric Raffin will be in the bike on Roberto Donati 's son of Opus Viervil, and he is at generous odds (5/1) in the early market on the French PMU. Viking de Val has the early favouritism despite a gallop in the Prix de Selection and a third placing behind Villeroi in the Prix Ovide Moulinet in mid February. Trainer Eric Lambertz will as usual pilot the son of Baccarat du Pont who is a newcomer to group racing, and while he has yet to win a black type race he has been highly competitive with a third placing in the group one Criterium Continental, being his career highlight so far. Jean Michel Bazire is in the bike on Varade d'Hermine which has the daughter of Legs du Clos prominent in the market but although she is a multiple group two winner, she hasn't greeted the judge in nearly a year. Franck Nivard's Vulcan De Vandel and Michael-Jean Ruault's Vicomte Boufarcaux are the others to garne somer early support. Jean-Phillipe Dubois has a trio of runners in Volcan d'Urzy, Voyage de Reve and Visite Royal but all are considered outsiders on form. PRIX ROBERT AUVRAY Vincennes 22/03/14 FR Group 22850 5YO 120,000 euros 1 Victoria du Jouan (m Insert Gede - Jirondelle) Dr: David Thomain Tr: Jean Luc Bigeon 2850 2 Vulcain de Vandel (h Jag de Bellouet - Ophelia de Vandel) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Franck Nivard 2850 3 Visite Royale (m Love You - Imagine d'Odyssee) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 2850 4 Varade d'Hermine (m Legs du Clos - Hotesse des Champs) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Jean Michel Baudouin 2850 5 Vicomte Boufarcaux (h Oh James - Olympe du Boufard) Dr: Yoann Lebourgeois Tr: Michael Jean Ruault 2850 6 Voyage de Reve (h Password - Kiocalba) Dr: Etienne Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 2850 7 Volcan d'Urzy (h Password - Jabotte d'Urzy) Dr: Jean Philippe Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 2850 8 Villeroi (h Oiseau de Feux - Pocahontas) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois 2850 9 Viking de Val (h Baccarat du Pont - La Forge de Val) Dr: Eric Lambertz Tr: Eric Lambertz 2850 10 Voltigeur de Myrt (h Opus Viervil - Myrtille des Bois) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Roberto Donati 2850 by David Sanders, for Harnesslink

Master reinsman Jean Micel Bazire steered race favourite Up And Quick to a record-breaking win in the last race of the Triple Crown, the 400,000 euro Grand Prix de Paris on Sunday at the Hippodrome de Vincennes over the marathon distance of 4150 meters, Bazire made his move at the 1000m mark and Franck Leblanc's champion showed devastating acceleration to put a break on the field to give JMB his first group one win in France since 2009. After the Grand Prix of America and the Grand Prix of France, the Grand Prix de Paris Group I was the last of the winter meeting of Vincennes. Fifteen competitors faced the marathon distance of 4150 meters in an attempt to succeed recently retired Ready Cash . Second in the Grand Prix of America won by Maharajah and unplacedin the Grand Prix of France, Up and Quick was the favorite and has consistently been in form for the winter. During this ultimate staying test over two laps of the track Vincennes, things got serious at the start of the last time up the famous climb about 1000 meters from the finish as Jean-Michel Bazire set Up and Quick alight . At this time, the son of Buvetier Aunou placed a devastating acceleration to propel to the lead and is then easily broke away for an easy win in reducing mileage of 1'13'' 8 f 1.13.8 (1.58.4MR/4150m) a new record for the event. Tiego Etang has as usual finished well forsecond before the courageous Roxane Griff . Taormina d'Em and Son Alezan took fourth and fifth places. Up And Quick has therefore gained his second Group I about six months after capturing the Critérium des 5 years crown. Jean-Michel Bazire took to win for the fourth time in his career this prestigious event, he won the 2005, 2006 and 2007 with Jardy but mostly landed his first Group I in France since December 2009 and his victory in Criterium Continental with Rolling deHéripré. In the other group race of the day, the Prix Paul Bastard was also won easily by the favourite Vision Intense from Valdice de Mars and Valse Castelets. The Philippe Moulin trained daughter of Prodigious won the 120,000 euro monte for 5YOs in a time of 1'14"8 or 2min flat for the 2700m journey. GRAND PRIX DE PARIS Gr 1 4 150m 400 000€ 1 Up And Quick (6h Buvetier d'Aunou - Fichtre) J.M. Bazire 2.8/1 1'13"8 2 Tiego d'Etang (7h Chaillot - Harolene) C. Bigeon 8.1/1 1'14"0 3 Roxane Griff (9m Tenor de Baune - Julia Mesloise) E. Raffin 6.8/1 1'14"0 PRIX PAUL BASTARD Gr2 Monté 2 700m 120 000€ 1 Vision Intense (5m Prodigious - Intense Action) N. Henry 1.4/1 1'14"8 2 Valdice de Mars (5m Lynx de Bellouet - Tiphanie) Y. Lebourgeois 6/1 1'14"9 3 Valse Castelets (5m Memphis du Rib - Elide) J.L.C. Dersoir 9.1/1 1'15"3 By David Sanders  

The Prix Jean Le Gonidec, an international group two sprint race for 5YOs begins a big week of racing at Vincennes with no less than five group races spread over three days of action as the Winter Meeting heads into its final three weeks. Former Italian Derby winner Pascia'Lest heads an international contingent of two Italians and a Swede who will take on the cream of the French V-crop in this 120,000 euro race over 2175m on the grand piste. Varenne, the Italian superstar who was the last horse from Italy to win the Prix d'Amerique, is the sire of both the Italian entrants, Pascia'Lest and Princess Grif and both are trained in France, the former by Ready Cash's trainer Thierry Duvaldestin and the latter by Fabrice Souloy, who has a large international clientele in his superb facilities at Haras de Ginai. Pascia'Lest Italian career included wins in the Group one GP Allevatori, GP Giovanardi, GP Nazionale alongside the Derby and a clutch of group twos including the Fyraaringseliten for 4YOs at Solvalla. But the racing in Vincennes is much tougher, and though he finished third in the Prix Marcel Laurent to Victoire in February, he finished down the track in the Prix du Bourbonnais against the elite older horses and then could only manage seventh against his age-group in the Criterium Continental, won again by Victoire. Princess Grif is a dual group one winner in Italy, with wins in the Prix de Milan and GP d'Europa and she also ran a brave third in Save The Quick's world record setting European Championship for Mares last year. Encouragingly she was fifth last start against most of this field in the Prix de Croix at Vincennes. Sixth in that race was the Swedish horse System Performance, a mare by former-Hambletonian winner Scarlet Knight who is trained by one of Sweden's top trainers Stefan Melander. System Performance was an outstanding 3YO in Sweden, winning the prestigious E3 Langa over a similar distance at Eskilstuna, and was runner-up in the sprint equivalent on the way to a record of six wins and two placings in her first nine starts. She has had only one win in 19 starts since although she has regularly placed and her sixth placing was her best in three starts in during the Winter Meeting. Criterium Continental winner Victoire will be a short odds favourite for this race. Danielle Mottier's daughter of Kitko has won three of four big races this Meeting, her only failure being when she galloped while taking on the older horses in the Prix de Belgique. She will face stiff competition from the two who crossed the line with her in the Criterium Continental, Louis Baudron's son of Love You, Village Mystic, a group one winner and very consistent performer and, one of the generation's big improvers Viking de Val. Eric Lambertz' son of Baccarat du Pont has only recently made group company, and has recorded a sixth, third and second in his three Winter Meeting starts. Also in the field is the once dominant force of this generation, Franck Anne's Vanika du Ruel, a four-time group one winner. She raced without success in the Prix d'Amerique and will appreciate the return to age group company after racing against the world's elite in all the B races and the PDA. But realistically, she has struggled here too, with a second placing in the Prix de Wazieres in April last year, her best effort in 12 months - and she hasn't won since December 2012. PRIX JEAN LE GONIDEC Vincennes 06/02/14 Group II Euro 2175m 5YOs 120 000 euros 1 Vicomte Boufarcaux (5h Oh James - Olympe du Boufard) Dr: Yoann Lebourgeois Tr: Michael Jean Ruault 2 System Performance (5m Scarlet Knight - Hermit Lady) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Stefan Melander 3 Voyage de Reve (5h Password - Kiocalba) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 4 Volcan d'Urzy (5h Password - Jabotte d'Urzy) Dr: Jean Philippe Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 5 Viking de Val (5h Baccarat du Pont - La Forge de Val) Dr: Eric Lambertz Tr: Eric Lambertz 6 Vaux le Vicomte (5h Nahar de Beval - Nina du Beauvoisin) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Jean Michel Bazire 7 Vive Daidou (5m Ouragan de Celland - Orange Douce) Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 8 Princess Grif (5m Varenne - Fauve Grif) Dr: Mathieu Abrivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 9 Vigove (5h Gazouillis - Govive) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Franck Leblanc 10 Vipsie Griff (5m Gros Grain - Ojipsie Griff) Dr: Pierre Yves Verva Tr: Sebastien Guarato 11 Village Mystic (5h Love You - Netchka d'Orgeres) Dr: Louis Baudron Tr: Louis Baudron 12 Victoire (5m Kitko - Juventa Blue) Dr: Mathieu Mottier Tr: Danielle Mottier 13 Pascia' Lest (5h Varenne - Superiors Sun) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 14 Vanika du Ruel (5m Jardy - Jacarandine) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne by David Sanders for Harnesslink..com

Vigove, under a tactical steer from Pierre Vercruysse, nailed his adversaries at the line to win the Gr. II Prix de Croix. Off at 9/1 the winner, trained by Franck Leblanc, scored for the sixth time in his career for earnings of 378,580 euro. Vercruysse placed Vigove in perfect position (second on the inner) before escaping the pocket to score in a close finish over Viking de Val and Voyage de Reve in a very fast final 500 meters. Invaders from Sweden and Italy took spots four and five. Paris-Vincennes - Prix de Croix, Gr. II, UET Masters Series, 120,000 euro purse, 2850 meters 1.16.6kr Fractions: 1.20kr at 1500; 1.19kr at 1000; 1.18,.1kr at 500, 1.16.6kr at finish 1st Vigove (5m Gazouillis-Gouive-Hetre Vert), Pierre Vercruysse up for trainer Franck Leblanc and owner Pierre Deblock at 9/1 odds 2nd Viking de Val (5m Baccarat du Pont-La Forge de Val-Quadrophenio), Eric Lambertz owner/trainer/driver, 2/1 odds 3rd Voyage de Reve (5m Password-Kiocalba-Coktail Jet), Julien Dubois up for Philippe Moulin training for Ecurie Victoria Dreams, 14/1 odds 4th Dreams Take Time - Sweden (5m Andover Andover-B My Honey-Viking Kronos), Jos. Verbeeck up for trainer Lars Nilsson, 8.3/1 5th Princess Grif - Italy (5f Varenne-Fauve Grif-Viking Kronos), Mathieu Abrivard up for Fabrice Souloy training for owner Az. Agr. Biasuzzi Srl., 15/1 As time winds down toward the January 26 Prix d'Amerique the field and favorites appear somewhat unknown. Tomorrow at Vincennes will provide some insights, as Texas Charm is out with a canon bone injury and Maharajah was a disappointment today. Timoko raced poorly in his last start as did Royal Dream (starts tomorrow) and Ready Cash was third in his last but performed reasonably well. Triode de Felliere has raced consistently well in the preliminaries for conditioner Jean-Paul Marmion. It's a horse race and anything can happen. It's been our sense for several months that 2014 might represent a changing of the guard among the best international trotters. Tomorrow will provide additional information from performances in the Prix de Belgique and Prix Tenor de Baune, and in a week from the classic 700,000 euro purse Prix de Cornulier (monte). Previous winners of the 2014 Prix d'Amerique qualifiers were: Prix de Bretagne - Uhlan duVal from Up And Quick Prix de Bourbonnais - Triode de Felliere from Uhlan du Val Prix de Bourgogne - Texas Charm from Triode de Felliere Criterium Continental - Victoire from Village Mystic The 2014 Prix d'Amerique is difficult to predict, but as always it will produce fan excitement, action on the racetrack and performance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4er5ZRTUVA The final field for tomorrow's Prix de Belgique, a Gr. II International 2850 meter test plus a 25 meter distance handicap for three top earners, is shown below. Purse is 120,000 euro with 15 entrants to face the starter. There have a few that won this race and the Prix d'Amerique (Lurabo in 1984, Ourasi three times in 1986-1988, Tenor de Baune in 1991 and Queen L in 1993). Paris-Vincennes - Prix de Belgique - January 12, 2014 Talicia Bella, A. Barrier Victoire, M. Mottier Soleil du Fosse, T. Duvaldestin Marielles, M. Abrivard Renommee d'Obret, F. Ouvrie Univers du Pan, P. Daugeard Roxana de Barbray, E. Raffin Severino, Ch. Bigeon Vanika de Ruel, F. Anne Quinoa de Gers, F. Souloy Yarrah Boko, P. Vercruysse Reve de Beylev, D. Locqueneux The Best Madrik, Jean-Etienne Dubois, 2875 meters Save The Quick, J-M Bazire, 2875 meters Royal Dream, Jean-Philippe Dubois, 2875 meters The Prix Tenor de Baune (UET Masters Series, 2700 meters, purse 120,000 euro) might also reveal Prix d'Amerique entrants. Ten solid performers will be at the start: Paris-Vincennes - Prix Tenor de Baune - January 12, 2014 Ultimo Vingt, P. Ternisien Orient Horse, M. Abrivard Disco AE, E. Raffin Rocky Winner. D. Locqueneux Unabella Perrine, F. Ouvrie Oropuro Bar, M. Smorgon Vincennes, Mlle J. Lindqvist Une Fille d'Amour, D. Thomain Uhlan du Val, C. Megissier Up And Quick, J-M Bazire The great Sunday card also includes the Gr. II Prix Gelinotte for three year-old females. January 12, 2014 - Paris-Vincennes - Prix Gelinotte, Gr. II, 120,000 euro purse, 11 starters Bonnie Cadence, E. Allard Bliss Nevele, J. Ruaults Baileyse, M. Velua Barbalala, Jean-Etienne Dubois Biguglia, F. Ouvrie Balade de Blary, F. Anne Bassana de Marlau, Jean-Pierre Dubois Beauty Turgot, M. Abrivard Bergame Madrik, J-M Bazire Billie de Montfort, E. Raffin Be My Girl, Jos. Verbeeck by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com               

The injury of Prix d'Amerique favourite Texas Charm has dominated the headlines for the world's greatest trot in recent days, but there is still business aplenty for prospective participants with the two last chances for entry being held on a fantastic day of racing on Sunday. The Prix de Belgique, the last of the B races and the Prix Tenor Baune for six-year-olds, both offer a ticket to the big dance as well as UET Masters Series points to the first five home in each race - so there is plenty of offer besides the 120,000 euros, which like all races in France, is divided up among the first seven to cross the line. The earlier of the two is the Prix de Belgique, race four on the card and missing injured Texas Charm and the already qualified Ready Cash and Triode de Felliere -the first three home in the third B race, the Prix de Bourgogne at the end of December. The latter two will be keeping their powder dry, although Triode de Felliere is better over the shorter distance, which of course casts doubt over his Prix d'Amerique credentials. The Prix de Belgique is a tough final test for the Prix d'Amerique's aged candidates, being over the staying distance of 2850m and the early favouritism has gone to Univers de Pan, Philippe Daugeard's tough campaigner who has yet to win a group one race, but is the richest of the U generation. Criterium Continental winner Victoire comes into this race after three wins in a row against her own five-year-old crop and this is a big step up for Danielle Mottier's daughter of Kitko but French handicappers are confident she can. Being the last of the B races, handicappers also know there is a dividing line between the likes of Royal Dream, Save The Quick and The Best Madrik, who are superior horses and start of 25m but don't need the win to make the Prix d'Amerique - and the rest that do. So horses like Italian Marielles and Norway's Yarrah Boko - who won this race last year - will be at shorter odds than normal against the backmarkers. Soleil du Fosse and Talicia Bella, who would not normally figure highly in the market are also horses who come into this category. The Tenor de Baune is race six on the card and features a super lineup of six-year-olds, headed by Uhlan du Val, the winner of the Prix de Bretagne, the first of the B races of the Winter Meeting. Second in that race was Criterium des 5 Ans winner Up and Quick from Franck Leblanc's powerful Ecurie Quick Star barn and this pair will be fighting out more than just the favouritism here. Cyril Raimbaud's Une Fille d'Amour beat most of these home in the group two Prix Doynel de Saint-Quentin at the end of December and is the deserved third favourite in early markets. Sweden and Italy are represented by five horses, Vincennes, Disco A.E. and Rocky Winner from the Scandinavian powerhouse and Oropuro Bar and Orient Horse from the southern stronghold. The winner of last year's Tenor de Baune was a Swede, Raja Mirchi, who was withdrawn from Prix d'Amerique contention late last month. A third group two of the day is race seven, the 120,000 euro Prix Gelinotte over 2700m which features the top three-year-old fillies who are preparing for next month's Criterium des Jeunes. The first two home in last month's Prid Une de Mai, Sebastien Guarato's Billie de Montfort and Philippe Allaire's Be My Girl are vying for the early favouritism with French handicappers picking the daughter of Love You to reverse the order here. Most of the field competed in the first of their generation's big races last start, with the first five home appearing here, with the only notable absentee being the beaten favourite Brindille de Mai, although Franck Anne is represented by outsider Balade de Blary. Bergame Madrik, Beauty Turgot, Bassana de Marlau and Biguglia also have solid support on the market. Finally Rapide du Digeon and Rubis Daipet head a talented monte lineup in race 8, the Prix Djerid, a 2200m group III for six-year-olds and over which includes Prix de Cornullier hopefuls Sakura Jiel and Quarlos. The two favourites Rapide du Digeon and Rubis Daipet are ineligible for the world's richest under saddle event next weekend, because they are geldings, but both have been in great form this winter meeting. Rapide du Digeon was second behind rising star Ulysse in the rich Prix du Calvados last weekend and won the Prix August Francois in mid November, beating most of this field. Rubis Dairpet was third in that race, but a week earlier had beaten Rapide du Digeon into second in the Group II Prix Paul Buquet, the first big monte of the Winter Meeting. 12/01/14 Vincennes PRIX DE BELGIQUE   Group II Int 2850m 4-10 €120 000 1 Talicia Bella (7m General du Pommeau - Illicia Bella) Dr: Anthony Barrier Tr: Jean Paul Marmion 2 Victoire (5m Kitko - Juventa Blue) Dr: Mathieu Mottier Tr: Danielle Mottier 3 Soleil du Fosse (8h Jag de Bellouet - Fortune du Fosse) Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 4 Marielles (8m Kick Tail - Egida Play) Dr: Mathieu Abrivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 5 Renommee d'Obret (9m Buvetier d'Aunou - Dixie L'Aventure) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Philippe Emmanuel Trible 6 Univers de Pan (8h Kenya du Pont - Gypsilore) Dr: Philippe Daugeard Tr: Philippe Daugeard 7 Roxana de Barbray (9m Speed Clayettois - Iriane des Enclos) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Roberto Donati 8 Severino (8h Gobernador - Katia de Tillard) Dr: Christian Bigeon Tr: Roger Coueffin 9 Vanika du Ruel (5m Jardy - Jacarandine) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 10 Quinoa du Gers (10h Ganymede - Targa du Chalange) Dr: Fabrice Souloy Tr: Fabrice Souloy 11 Yarrah Boko (9h Coktail Jet - Big Blue Kitten) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Trond Anderssen 12 Reve de Beylev (9h Fortuna Fant - Heloise Poterie) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Sebastien Guarato 13 The Best Madrik (7h Coktail Jet - Lady Madrik) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois 25 14 Save the Quick (8m Jasmin de Flore - Heureuse Duchesse) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Franck Leblanc 25 15 Royal Dream (9h Love You - Ida Bourbon) Dr: Jean Philippe Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 25   PRIX Tenor de Baune   Group II Int 2 700m 6YO €120,000 1 Ultimo Vingt (6h Hasting - Korinella) Dr: Philippe Ternisien Tr: Philippe Ternisien 2 Orient Horse (6h Abano As - Irma Del Rio) Dr: Mathieu Abrivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 3 Disco A.E. (6h Scarlet Knight - Queen A.E. ) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Stefan Melander 4 Rocky Winner (6h Credit Winner - Level Fortytwo) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Jörgen Westholm 5 Unabella Perrine (6m Diamant Gede - Minnie Perrine) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Jean Francois Mary 6 Oropuro Bar (6h Love You - Ubatuba Oaks) Dr: Marco Smorgon Tr: Marco Smorgon 7 Vincennes (6m Spotlite Lobell - Lina Trot) Dr: Johanna Lindqvist Tr: Sören Lennartsson 8 Une Fille d'Amour (6m Infant du Bossis - Never So Great) Dr: David Thomain Tr: Cyril Raimbaud 9 Uhlan du Val (6h Islero de Bellouet - Indiana Beautiful) Dr: Cedric Megissier Tr: Cedric Megissier 10 Up And Quick (6h Buvetier d'Aunou - Fichtre) Dr: Jean-Michel Bazire Tr: Franck Leblanc PRIX GELINOTTE   Group II Vincennes 2700m 3F 120 000 1 Bonnie Cadence (Qualypso Jiel - Potuna Saint Andre) Dr: Emmanuel Allard Emmanuel Allard 2 Bliss Nevele (Ready Cash - Quick Nevele) Dr: Jerome Ruaults Tr: Philippe Allaire 3 Baileyse (Opus Viervil - Lance de Fourches) Dr: Matthieu Verva Tr: Christian Douillet 4 Barbalala (Qwerty - Pardinia) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois 5 Biguglia (Coktail Jet - La Faisanderie) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Frederic Prat 2700 6 Balade de Blary (Qualmio de Vandel - Garine d'Occagnes) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 7 Bassana de Marlau (Sam Bourbon - Jessie de Vonnas) Dr: Jean Pierre Dubois Tr: Patrick Chevrier 8 Beauty Turgot (Hand du Vivier - Quouragane) Dr: Mathieu Abrivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 9 Bergame Madrik (Prince d'Espace - Houlba de Pouline) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Jean Michel Baudouin 10 Billie de Montfort (Jasmin de Flore - Quismy de Montfort) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato 11 Be My Girl (Love You - Ornella Rainbow) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Philippe Allaire PRIX DJERID  Group III monte 2200m 6-10 € 110 000 1 Quel Chef (10g Chef du Chatelet - Herveyer) Rd: Fabien Gence Tr: Fabien Michel Andrieu 2 Saphir du Cebe (8g Kepler - Irma Saint Jean) Rd: Marie Bacsich Tr: Franck Leblanc 3 Saphir de Morge (8h Guenor - Folie de Morge) Rd: Pierre Yves Verva Tr: Franck Terry 4 Quassia du Bon Air (10g Capriccio - Io de Courson) Rd: Adrien Lamy Tr: Bruno Marie 5 Raison Jenilou (9g Hermes de Pericard - Jolly Jenil) Rd: Alexis Garandeau. Tr: Louis Baudron 6 Sakura Jiel (8m Buvetier d'Aunou - Milady Jiel) Rd: Matthieu Abrivard Tr: Jean Luc Dersoir 7 Rapide du Digeon (9g Urfist des Pres - Gerveine Barbes) Rd: Damien Bonne Tr: Thierry Raffegeau 8 Quarlos (10h L'As de Viretaute - Cette Angevine) Rd: Mathieu Mottier Tr: Michel Dabouis 9 Rubis Dairpet (9g Kaiser Soze - Betty de la Noe) Rd: Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com 

We got four out of seven last week, which was close to a V75 dividend, and at this time of year, it is a pretty good picking result - if not an earner. We only got two of our win picks in for a loss of $3.20 on a $14 spend, and we did no better in France where Aladin d'Ecajuel galloped and Valse Castelets was out of the money in fourth. However if you'd taken a place bet on Vaillant Cash as we suggested you'd have covered your bets, although he is starting to come into favour in France. This week the racing really hots up in Vincennes and we have handicapped four Saturday races to go along with the usual V75 picks. Good luck! Solvalla V75-1 Silver division 2140m: Chapeau (4) had a win in court this week, when he was awarded the 2012 German Derby after initially being disqualified, and should also hand his connections a win on the track in the first leg of the V75. By Air (3) is also in very good form and should be an alternate. Selection 4 (3) V75-2 Fiona Sans Lopp 2140m: Orbackens Cruella (4) has won four Swedish races in a row, her fourth was in Finland two races back. She should get to the front from the gate and dominate. Selection 4 V75-3 Gold division 2140m: Maharajah (8) is peaking for the Prix d'Amerique and should handle this, despite the class of opponents such as On Track Piraten (3). Selection 8 V75-4 Klass II 2140m: This is always a difficult class to handicap, although Lotuscherie (6) looks a good chance to carry on her good form. Star Advisor Joli (1) and Chip Lane (2) are dangers while I've taken Finnish horse Gyllenberg (3) as the outsider. Selection 6-1-2-3 V75-5 Mares race 2140m: After two wins on the trot Desdemona Boko (4) looks a top chance in this while Absolut Newport took (13) was also a good winner last start and is my alternate. Selections 4 (13) V75-6 Bronze Division 1640m: Peaberry (5) should get to the front from this draw and has won two from this position in his last two starts. Disney Tooma (7) made a mistake last start and should be given another chance, while Kricken (1) has a good draw and form to match. Selection 5-7-1 V75-7 Klass I 2640m: If we've got this far, we can take five in the last which I think should include Trailing Edge (11), Mercury Broline (6) Vacqueyras (8), Yes We Can (4) and Maranello (12). Selection 11-6-8-4-12 Vincennes R1 Prix De Lunéville 2175m: This looks to be between two rising monte prospects in Franck Leblanc's Veloce du Banney (6) and Votka Bleu (8) who was second in a stellar field in the Prix Olry Roederer - beating home Vision Intense that day, with the former having the edge. Selection 6 R2 Prix De Croix 2850m: A top line up in this headed by Viking du Val (5), who was third in the Criterium Continental last month ahead of Criterium des 4 Ans winner Voltigeur De Myrt (12) and Stephane Melander's Swedish stallion Porthos Amok (6), the runner up in last year's Swedish TravDerby. Horses for courses though in France, and I think this could be the turn of Voltigeur De Myrt. Selection 12 R4 Prix Du Forez 2850m: Jean Luc Dersoir's recent winner The de Chine (9) is the favoured runner from Jean Michel Bazire's mare Tornade du Digeon (8) while Ru de l'Airou (12) is capable of an upset, as is Swedishman (11). I bet against The de Chine last time, and lost so I will be on him this time. Selection 9 R6 Prix Maurice De Gheest 2700m: These are the precocious stars of the B crop led by the two Ready Cash colts Brillantissime (9) and Bird Parker (6) while Brutus de Bailly (5), and Bolide de Gueron (8) are also very talented. I think though Brillantissime has the edge here. Selection 9 TOTAL COMBINATIONS 60 - Cost $5, +1 alternate $10, + 2 alternate $20 Also here are my win wagers Solvala SINGLE WAGERS $2 Race 5 Chapeau (4) Race 6 Orbackens Cruella (4) Race 7 Maharajah (8) Race 8 Lotuscherie (6) Race 9 Desdemona Boko (4) Race 10 Peaberry (5) Race 11 Trailing Edge (11) Vincennes Race 1 Veloce du Banney (6) Race 2 Voltigeur De Myrt (12) Race 4 The de Chine (9) Race 6 Brillantissime (9)        

It is a rich day of racing on Saturday at Vincennes with a pair of  Group I, Group II and Group III's featuring the Prix Maurice de Gheest , the male preparatory race for the upcoming Criterium des Jeunes, the first group one for the B generation, which takes place on the third Sunday of February. There is a field of nine top colts assembled including the first five home in last month's top two-year-old race in France the Prix Emmanuel Margouty, led by Philippe Allaire's pair of Ready Cash colts Brilliantissime and Bird Parker who provided the quinella. Brillantissime who will be driven again by Jos Verbeeck is the early favourite, from Bruno de Gueron's Brutus de Bailly (Niky), Franck Anne's Bolide de Gueron (Cygnus d'Odyssee) and Bird Parker who are all heavily supported. Sebastien Guarato's Best of Sly (mam Bourbon) and Thierry Duvadestin's Goetmals Wood colt Bosco du Goutier are also colts with a lot of talent. Earlier in the day the Prix de Croix brings the best staying five-year-olds in Europe in a UET Masters Series race over 2850m. Viking du Val, who was third in the Criterium Continental last month is the early favourite ahead of last year's Criterium des 4 Ans winner Voltigeur De Myrt and Stephane Melander's Swedish stallion Porthos Amok, the runner up in last year's Swedish TravDerby. The backmarker is the well performed group one winning Love You stallion Village Mystic, who was runner up in the Criterium Continental but has to concede a 25m start to his 12 rivals. European group one winners Princess Grif (Italy), a Varenne mare now in Fabrice Solouy's care, and Lars I Nilsson's Dreams Take Time (mweden), an Andover Andover stallion, are also receiving heavy early support alongside French stallion Vigove, a group two winner and a Criterium des 4 Ans placegetter. The day kicks off with the Prix de Luneville, a 95,000 euro monte for 5YOs over 2175m which sees Emannuel Ruault's exciting prospect Votka Bleu back under saddle for the third time, and the first since running second in a stellar field in the Prix Olry Roederer - beating home Vision Intense that day. He will face the emerging talent of Veloce du Banney who comes into the race on the back of two group three monte wins and has compiled a very fine record of five wins in just 12 starts for Franck Leblanc, all of them under saddle. She will be ridden by star monte jockey Yoann Lebourgeois. Vermeer Jarzeen and Vraie Blonde are also last start monte winners with claims in this. The fourth group race on the card is the Prix du Forez, one of the wonderful series of rich races for older horses, which demonstrate the French commitment to providing decent racing for the entirety of a horse's racing life, This group three over 2850m is restricted to horses older than for seven-years-old who race for a purse of 110,000 euros. The favourite is Jean Luc Dersoir's recent winner The de Chine (Blue Eyes America) from Jean Michel Bazire's mare Tornade du Digeon (Jag de Bellouet). Third favourite is Ru de l'Airou, one of the lesser lights of the much-vaunted R generation who has still managed to amass 610,000 euro racing in the shadow of Ready Cash, Rapide Lebel, Royal Dream et al. Like several in this race, the son of Cygnus d'Odyssee is a regular on the Tour Europeene as is the well supporterd Swedishman and Ton Reve de Cahot - also talented geldings who are perhaps a little off the pace among the European elite but given their chance to make decent money in the brilliant French system. Having said that, Ru de l'Airou finished second in the rich Grand Prix du Sud Ouest in October to T-generation star Timoko, beating into third place Swedish star Sanity, a group one winner and a gold division regular. Vincennes RACE 1 11/01/14 PRIX DE LUNÃ' d'VILLE 2014-01-11 Group III monte 5YOs 2175m € 95 000 1 Version Star's (m Prince d'Espace - Planete Rapide) Rd: Thomas Levesque Tr: Emmanuel Varin 2 Vermeer Jarzeen (g Oh James - Perle Jarzeenne) Rd: Eric Raffin Tr: Jean Warin 3 Vraie Blonde (m Coktail Jet - Main Street) Rd: Antoine Wiels Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois 4 Viking d'Henlou (g Hand du Vivier - Laura d'Etangville) Rd: Elisabeth Allaire Tr: Philippe Allaire 5 Velasquez Vrie (h Prodigious - Marozia de Vrie) Rd: Olivier Touvais Tr: Louis Baudron 6 Veloce du Banney (g Quaro - Jiva du Banney) Rd: Yoann Lebourgeois Tr: Franck Leblanc 7 Vic du Boisnant (h Gazouillis - Ode du Boisnant) Rd: Pierre Yves Verva Tr: Bruno Bourgoin 8 Votka Bleue (m Jasmin de Flore - Joyeuse Bleue) Rd: Franck Nivard Tr: Emmanuel Ruault RACE 2 PRIX DE CROIX 11/01/14 FR UET Masters Series - Group II Vincennes 2850 5YO €120,000 1 Villeroi (h Oiseau de Feux - Pocahontas) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois 2 Vive Majyc (m Baccarat du Pont - Mammy Blue) Dr: Bernard Piton Tr: Louis Baudron 3 System Performance (m Scarlet Knight - Hermit Lady) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Stefan Melander 4 Voyage de Reve (h Password - Kiocalba) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 5 Viking de Val (h Baccarat du Pont - La Forge de Val) Dr: Eric Lambertz Tr: Eric Lambertz 6 Porthos Amok (h Orlando Vici - Baroness Amok) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Stefan Melander 7 Volcan d'Urzy (h Password - Jabotte d'Urzy) Dr: Jean Philippe Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 8 Vigove (h Gazouillis - Govive) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Franck Leblanc 9 Vive Daidou (m Ouragan de Celland - Orange Douce) Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 10 Princess Grif (m Varenne - Fauve Grif) Dr: Mathieu Abrivard Fabrice Souloy 11 Dreams Take Time (h Andover Andover - B.My Honey) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Lars I. Nilsson 12 Voltigeur de Myrt (h Opus Viervil - Myrtille des Bois) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Roberto Donati 13 Village Mystic (h Love You - Netchka d'Orgeres) Dr: Louis Baudron Tr: Louis Baudron 25m RACE 4 PRIX DU FOREZ 11/01/14 Group III 2850m 7-10 €110 000 1 Tintin de Roche (g Jet Fortuna - Mademoiselle Dany) Dr: Frederic Prat Tr: Frederic Prat 2 Tolima (m Ganymede - Ironie Jet) Dr: Pierre Levesque Tr: Mike Lenders 3 Topaze de Gournay (m Kepler - Haute Tension) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Franck Ouvrie 4 Tolca de Bellouet (m Orlando Vici - Quenavora) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 5 Tamara Jiel (m Neoh Jiel - Heredia Jiel) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Jean Luc Dersoir 6 Ton Reve de Cahot (g Hand du Vivier - Nona de Cahot) Dr: David Thomain Tr: Jean Pierre Thomain 7 Tsar Pazenais (g Ever Jet - Aube de Sapicourt) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Sebastien Guarato 8 Tornade du Digeon (m Jag de Bellouet - Herlane du Terme) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Jean Michel Bazire 9 The de Chine (g Blue Eyes America - Heparine) Dr: Jean Loic Claude Dersoir Tr: Jean Loic Claude Dersoir 10 Racing Charm (h Love You - Feraine d'Occagnes) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 11 Swedishman (g Gogo - Volgana) Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 25m 12 Ru de L'Airou (g Cygnus d'Odyssee - Cour d'Intheville) Dr: Sebastien Ernault Tr: Patrick Martin 25m RACE 6 PRIX MAURICE DE GHEEST 11/01/14 Group II 2 700 3M €120,000 1 Bosco du Goutier (h Goetmals Wood - Idole de Tugeras) Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 2 Bajazet (h Qwerty - Perkine) Dr: Jacques Bruneau Tr: Jacques Bruneau 3 Black d'Avril (h Oceano Nox - Olivia d'Avril) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Frederic Prat 4 Black Gold (h Sam Bourbon - Seldovia) Dr: Jean Pierre Dubois Tr: Patrick Chevrier 5 Brutus de Bailly (h Niky - Ninon de Bailly) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Bruno Bourgoin 6 Bird Parker (h Ready Cash - Belisha) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Philippe Allaire 7 Best of Sly (h Sam Bourbon - Quinella Aimef) Dr: Pierre Yves Verva Tr: Sebastien Guarato 8 Bolide de Gueron h( Cygnus d'Odyssee - Olivia) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 9 Brillantissime (h Ready Cash - Ivre de Victoire) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Philippe Allaire by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com 

Sunday Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes hosts the third “B” leading to the Prix d’Amerique. Many of the top international trotting stars will be in action in this Gr. II UET Masters Series International event over 2100 meters autostart for a purse of 120,000 euro. The lineup sets forth as follows: Ready Cash, Franck Nivard The Best Madrik, Jean-Etienne Dubois Timoko, Jos. Verbeeck Royal Dream, Jean-Philippe Dubois Vanika du Ruel, Franck Anne (four year old mare) Texas Charm, Julien Dubois Tiego d’Etang, C.J. Bigeon Roxane Griff, Eric Raffin Reve de Beylev, Dominik Locqueneux Roxane de Barbray, Mme. A.F. Donati Triode de Felliere, Anthony Barrier (winner Prix du Bourbonnais) Univers de Pan, Philippe Daugearde Renommee d’Obret, Franck Ouvrie Marielles (Italy), Mathieu Abrivard Up And Quick, J-M Bazire Santa Rosa France, W. Bigeon Kadett C.D. (Sweden), Robert Bergh From this group will likely come several contenders for the 93rd edition of the Prix d’Amerique that could join Uhlan du Val (winner Prix de Bretagne), Victoire (winner of Criterium Continental), Sweden’s Maharajah plus Italy’s Mack Grace SM if they join the field of 18. Winners of the Prix de Bourgogne since 1990 Year Winner Driver Réd.Km. 2014       2013 Ready Cash Franck Nivard 1'10'' 8 2012 Ready Cash Franck Nivard 1'10'' 6 2011 Ready Cash Franck Nivard 1'11'' 5 2010 Olga of Biwetz Jean-Michel Bazire 1'12 "6 2009 Meaulnes du Corta Pierre Levesque 1'11'' 4 2008 Meaulnes du Corta Pierre Vercruysse 1'12 "7 2007 Kesaco Phedo Michel Lenoir 1'10 "8 2006 Kazire of Guez Stéphane Delasalle 1'12 "8 2005 Jag BELLOUET Christophe Gallier 1'11 "9 2004 Kesaco Phedo Jean-Michel Bazire 1'11 "9 2003 Insert Gede Yves Dreux 1'12 "2 2002 Insert Gede Yves Dreux 1'12 "6 2001 First of Retz Pierre Levesque 1'13 "9 2000 Giant Cat Nicolas Roussel 1'13 "1 1999 Moni Maker Jean-Michel Bazire 1'12 "5 1998 Aunou challenge Jean-Etienne Dubois 1'13'' 0 1997 Abo Volo Jos Verbeeck 1'15 "3 1996 Happiness Tillard Jean-Claude Hallais 1'16 "3 1995 Vourasie Bernard Oger 1'13 "6 1994 Vourasie Bernard Oger 1'14 "9 1993 Uka Champs Thierry Leveau 1'15 "1 1992 Ursulo Crouay Joel Hallais 1'14 "3 1991 Success Rozoy Roger Baudron 1'14 "8 1990 Dream Udon Yves Dreux 1'16 "3   Thomas H. Hicks  

The important Criterium Continental (Gr. I, UET Masters Series, European four year-olds, 240,000 euro purse, 2100 meters autostart, 18 starters) that carries a Prix d'Amerique entry to the winner, produced a modestly unexpected win for 3.6/1 odds filly Victoire (4f Kitko-Juventa Blue-Boy du Pre) and reinsman Mathieu Mottier. She won for the 11th time in her career, now with earnings of 597.390 euro. The filly, bred, owned and trained by Danielle Mottier, hung on for a close score in 1.12.2kr (2 :31.72) over 4/1 Village Mystic (4m Love You-Netchka d'Orgeres-Full Account) with breeder, owner, trainer, driver Louis Baudron aboard. Viking de Val (4m Baccarat du Pont-La Forge de Val-Quadrophenio) took third at 51/1 for breeder, owner,trainer, driver Eric Lambertz. Sweden's invaders Dreams Take Time (4m Andover Andover-B My Honey-Viking Kronos ended fourth for JohnnyTakter ahead of Porthos Amok (4m Orlando Vici-Baroness Amok-Pine Chip) with Eric Raffin up for trainer, owner Stefan Melander. Italy's hopeful Pascia Lest was seventh and J-P Dubois' Viva Island was 11th. Highly regarded Princess Grif, Vanika du Ruel, Volcan d'Urzy and Indigious were disqualified for breaks in the Quinte+ event The Gr. II Prix Federation Francaise Equitation (Emile Riotteau), a monte event over 2700 meters with 10 starters for four year-olds, went to 3.4/1 odds Valse Castelets (4f Memphis du Rib-Elide-Florestan) and J.L.C. Dersoir. She won for the eighth time in her career with increased earnings to 387,200 euro, scoring by open lengths in 1.14.5kr. Joel Hallais trains the winner for Ecurie Rib, both leading participants in monte trots. Favored Vision Intense was disqualified for rough gaitedness early in the contest. Vic du Boisnant (4m Gazoullis-Ode du Boisnant-Vivier de Montfort) was second for P-Y Verva at 74/1 with 64/1 Vicomte Boufarcaux (4m Oh James-Olympe du Bouford-Eclat de la Crau) third with Jonathan Carre aboard. The Gr. I Prix de Vincennes (monte, 240,000 euro purse, 2700 meters, 15 starters, three year-olds) went to second choice 3.7/1 Atlessima (3f Rocklyn-Noblessima-Goetmals Wood) with Eric Raffin in the irons. She scored in 1.14.4kr for her fifth lifetime win and 243,540 euros earned for owner Ecurie Victoria Dreams and trainer Philippe Moulin. Favored 1.9/1 Anastasia Fella was disqualified for a miscue and pacesetter Airport ended fifth. Agrippine (3f Hasting-Moqueuse-Extreme Dream) was second for jockey Alexandre Abrivard with Apollon de la Lys (3m Ouragan de Celland-Hillary de Pierji-Butin du Vivier) finishing third. A big crowd was on-hand for the racing festivities today including youngsters being entertained by Disney activities. Racing resumes at Paris-Vincennes on the afternoons of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com   

Today's excellent Paris-Vincennes card was headlined by two Gr. II events. The Prix Une de Mai for juvenile fillies (Gr. II, 120,000 euro purse, 2175 meters, 10 starters). The race went to 9/1 upsetter Billie de Montfort (2f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort-And Arifant) in 1.13.7kr for Eric Raffin. The Sebastian Guarato trained, Philippe Dauphin owned filly remained undefeated in five starts, now with earnings of 97,200 euro. She closed stoutly to get by 2/1 favorite Be My Girl (2f Love You-Ornella Rainbow-Extreme Dream) handled by Jos. Verbeeck for trainer Philippe Allaire and owner G. Poulsen-Allaire. This one now has five scores in six starts for 151,950 euro. Beauty Turgot (2f Hand du Vivier-Quouragane-Korean) was third for Franck Nivard ahead of Bassanc de Marlu (2f Sam Bourbon-Jessie de Vonnas-Podosis) reined by her owner Jean-Pierre Dubois. Dubois has recorded 35 wins in 129 starts since May 1st including four graded wins (he has been 69 times 1-2-3). The Prix de Damville (Q+ race of the day, 70,000 euro purse, 2700 meters, 18 starters) was up next as the Quinte+ jackpot was 1.5 million euro today. Valse Mika (4f Niky-Ellamika-Malouin) won this event in 1.14.6kr for Sylvain Roger (trainer/driver) with a strong closing brush for the filly owned by Ecurie La Petteviniere. Her earnings increased to 133,350 euro with this her sixth career win. Victoria du Jouan (4f Insert Gede-Jirondelle-Coktail Jet) held second for Wm. Bigeon and third went to Vega du Noyer (4f Kiwi-Mansourah-Dream With Me). The prestigious Prix Jules Lemonnier (120,000 euro purse, International Gr. II UET Masters Series, monte, 2175 meters, 14 starters) included big-time career winners and perhaps showcased those that may contest the Prix de Cornulier a week prior to the 2014 Prix d'Amerique. Today 15/1 Save The Quick (7f Jasmin de Flore-Heureuse Duchesse-Blue Dream) gained attention as she scored in a quick 1.11.5kr for Mathieu Mottier, in the irons for conditioner Franck Leblanc and Ecurie Quick Star. The splits were fast in this event (1.09.2kr at the 1500, 1.10.4kr at the 1000 and 1.11.6kr at the 500) before they sprinted home. Her career earnings are now 1,557,474 euro with this her 13th lifetime win. 5/1 Singalo (7m Goetmals Wood-Ingala-Buvetier d'Aunou) raced well and held second for David Thomain. Louis Baudron owns and trains Singalo, last years' Prix de Cornulier winner, and a career winner of over 1.1 million euro. 3/1 Quarry Bay (9f Cygnus d'Odyssee-Barcarelle-Fakir du Vivier) also battled throughout and gained third along the pylons for Ms. Camille Levesque. Mike Lenders trains Quarry Bay for Ecurie Pierre Levesque. Veteran Paladin Bleu (10m Jag de Bellouet- Una Picolina-Ianthin) was fourth for Ms. Margot Groli ahead of 2/1 favorite Roxane Griff (8f Tenor de Baune-Julia Mesloise-Sancha Panca)with Eric Raffin aboard for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Ecurie Griff. She's a career winner of over 1.7 million euro but today appeared to be disinterested in the challenge until the very late going. The Prix de Strasbourg (80,000 euro purse, 2850 meters, 11 starters) was up next and Quartz de Fleurier (9g Hooper-Urzeile-Jorky) proved the best at 27/1 for P-Y Verva. He scored in 1.15kr for his 15th lifetime win. Pedro Vici (10g Hulk des Champs-Eau de Loir-Lutin d'Isigny) was home second for Wm. Bigeon ahead of Starter du Rib (7g Ganymede-Jiviger-Sancho Panca) and J.L.C. Dersoir. He's owned by Ecurie Rib and conditioned by Joel Hallais, a leading monte trainer. The Prix de Brive-La-Gaillarde (54,000 euro, 2100 meters autostart, 11 starters on the petit piste) showcased three year old males and 3/1 odds Akeste du Goutier (3m Quido du Goutier-Matsayama-Sebrazac) took the easy victory (his sixth career score) for Matthieu Abrivard. Amazar de Florange (3m Echo-Pauleta-Ganymede) secured second for Franck Nivard ahead of As Dore (3m Coktail Jet-Dragee d'Or-Passionnant) handled by Dominik Locqueneux. Note that the two graded events on today's card were won by offspring of Jasmin de Flore (1997 foal by Vivier de Montfort-Etoile du Pasteret-Mon Tourbillon). He won the Prix Jacques Vauloge, Criterium des 4ans, Prix de Milan, Prix de Selection and Criterium des 5ans during a successful career on the racetrack. His close-in pedigree shows no standardbred bloodlines, an 83% French trotter mix and 4% inbreeding coefficient. Tomorrow the 240,000 euro purse Criterium Continental headlines the Paris-Vincennes card. Louis Baudron's Village Mystic may be the favorite in what promises to be a competitive affair (18 starters) over 2100 meters. 1. Princess Grif (F.Nivard) 2. Village Mystic (L.Baudron) 3. Vanika du Ruel (F.Anne) 4. Victoire (M.Mottier) 5. Pascia' Lest (E.Bellei) 6. Voltigeur de Myrt (D.Loqueneux ) 7. Vera Pierji (T.Duvaldestin) 8. Vaux le Vicomte (J.M.Bazire) 9. Dreams Take Me (J.Takter) 10. Porthos Amok (E.Raffin) 11. Indigious (E.Adielsson) 12. Votka Bleu (A.Barrier) 13. Voyage de Reve (J.Dubois) 14. Volcan d'Urzy (J.Ph.Dubois) 15. Viking de Val (E.Lambertz) 16. System Performance( F.Ouvrie) 17. Vigove (P.Vercruysse) 18. Viva Island (J.P.Dubois) by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com   

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