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This day’s groupe level races at Vincennes began with the Prix Louis Forcinal (Gr. II monte, purse 100,000€, 2700meters, 5-6 year olds). The 1.12.2kr timed winner was 5/10 favorite Freeman de Houelle (6m Vigove-Refina de Houelle) with jockey Eric Raffin in the irons. The breeder/trainer is Franck Leblanc and Stephane Gohier owns the now seven-time winner for 400,080€ in life earnings. The 6.9/1 odds Good Luck Quick (5m Un Mec d’Heripre) was a distant second, with David Thomain up for Ecurie Quick Star and trainer Maik Esper. Flore de Janeiro (6f Vanishing Point) was third with Florian Desmigneux up for owner/trainer Franck Blandin. Freeman de Houelle Aged classmasters contested the Gr. III Prix de Bois de Vincennes (purse 90,000€, 2850 meters, 4-11 year old International trotteurs) with Ce Bello Romain (9g Jan Pridem-Miss Echo Bella) the 1.12.2kr timed winner. Anthony Barrier teamed this 6.4/1 odds trotteur for owner/trainer S.G. DuPont as he won for the 20th time now for 651,230€ in life earnings. This was three in a row for Ce Bello Romain. The 107/1 Bilooka du Buscail (10f Look de Star) was second for Matthieu Abrivard and trainer Yves Hurel. Third went to 5.1/1 Moni Viking (8m Maharajah) with trainer Pierre Vercruysse up for owner Jan Lyng. The was the program’s Quinte+ race and the exact order e-payoff was 22,540€. Ce Bello Romain The top five year olds in France contested the Gr. II Prix Robert Auvray (purse 100,000€, 2850 meters) with the 1.13.2lr timed victory to Gelati Cut (5m Coktail Jet-Variety Cut) at 4.3/1 odds. This was his second straight win and eighth in a career that has yielded 475,420€. Gabriele Gelormin was the pilot for trainer R.C. Larue and breeder/owner Ecurie de Windcut. The 8/10 favorite Gu d’Heripre (5m Coktail Jet-Vedette d’Heripre) took second for Franck Nivard and third home was 8.6/1 Green Grass (5f Bold Eagle-Tootsie Darling) with Mathieu Mottier at the lines. Gelati Cut  The Prix Jean Cabrol (purse 67,000€, 2700 meters, European 6-11 year olds) went to 1.12kr clocked Fire Cracker (6g Quaro-Urganza) at 2.5/1 odds and reined by Eric Raffin. He won for the 13th timed now for 402,960€ in life earnings. Gregory Thorel conditions this one for Ecurie la Pinsonniere. 27/1 Elvis de Vallon (7m Reve de Beylev) was second for David Thomain and 5.5/1 Dexter Chatho (8g Un Amour d’Haufor) held third for Charles J. Bigeon. Fire Cracker The Prix de Chatillon (purse 53,000€, 2700 meters, three year-olds) saw the 7/10 Impressionist (3m Ready Cash-Une Lady de Nappes) hold on to score in 1.15.6kr for Eric Raffin, his third career win now for 67,300€ earned. Ecurie Hunter Valley owns the winner that is trained and was bred by Louis Baudron. The 11/1 Ikacou des Cinty was a hard finishing second for Gabriel Angel Pou Pou and third was 32/1 Iron Meslois (3m Titan d’Occagnes) with Pierre Belloche up.  Impressionist For full race results, click here. LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

On this closing day of the Paris-Vincennes Winter Meet, the Gr. I Prix de Selection (purse 200,000€, 2200 meters, four-six year-olds) was the featured event. The 1/10 favorite Face Time Bourbon (6m Ready Cash-Vita Bourbon) prevailed easily timed in 1.10.3kr for Eric Raffin. Raffin last drove FTB on November 8, 2018 in that victorious effort. Sebastien Guarato is the winning trainer for Scuderia Bivans Srl as FTB won for the 29th time in 35 career starts, now for 2,747,440€ earned. He was a well-rated winner today (1.10.7kr at the 1500 meters to go mark; 1.11.1kr at the 1000; 1.10.8kr with 500 to go) as he drew off in the final 500 meters. The 59/1 outsider For You Madrik (6m Up And Quick-Quelea Madrik) was second for pilot Benoit Robin, trainer J.L. Bigeon and owner Joel Seche. Third was 41/1 Fric du Chene (6m Nobody du Chene-Oseille du Chene) with Franck Nivard up for trainer Julien LeMer and breeder/owner Claude Guedj.   To watch the race replay, click here.     Face Time Bourbon Face Time Bourbon is expected to remain in France and race lightly to prepare for the 2022 Prix d’Amerique. LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

The undercard today at Paris-Vincennes was a good one with three groupe level contests. The Prix Henri Desmontils (Gr. III monte, purse 90,000€, International) went to 9/10 favorite Clegs des Champs (9g Legs du Glos-Prosperine) for jockey David Thomain. Race time was 1.12.2kr for the Thierry Raffegaeu trainee that J-Y Roze owns. He now has 19 career wins good for 914,080€ earned. The 3.1/1 Carly (9g Rollin d’Heripre) was second with Mathieu Mottier up for conditioner Thierry Duvaldestin. Third was 2.8/1 Freeman de Houelle (6m Vigove) with Eric Raffin in the irons for trainer Franck Leblanc. Clegs des Champs The Prix Louis le Bourg (Gr. II monte, purse 100,000€, 2850 meters, four year-olds) produced a 1.13.6kr timed victory for Hallix (4f Roc Meslois-Titania) and jockey Eric Raffin. Hallix, off at 1.4/1 odds, recorded her seventh lifetime win for 195,860€ earned. Guillaume Gillot conditions this one for Ecurie Chefreulle.  She raced with shoes on. The 73/1 outsider Hopla des Louanges (4g Gazouillis) was second for jockey Damien Bonne and trainer Franck Leblanc. Third was 62/1 Hudson Vedaquais (4m Thorens Vedaquais) with Alexandre Abrivard in the irons for trainer Patrick Terry and Ecurie Pole Position. Jockey Raffin had a big day also scoring with Face Time Bourbon. Hallix Ce Bello Romain (9g Jam Priden-Miss Scho Bello) took the Prix du Plateau de Gravelle (Gr. III, purse 90,000€, 2100 meters autostart, International age 4-11 eligible) clocked in 1.11.2kr. Off at 7.1/1, the winner was handled by Anthony Barrier for owner/trainer S.G. DuPont as he won for the 19th time in his career now for 610,730€ earned. The 29/1 outsider Unique Juni (8f Uptown Yankee) was second with Matthieu Abrivard up for trainer Jorgen Westholm. 4.7/1 odds Dreambreaker (8g Offshore Dream) took third money with Eric Raffin handling this Jean Michel Bazire trainee. Cicero Neo and Chica de Joudes rounded out the top five in this good field of aged performers. Ce Bello Romain LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

The day’s Vincennes featured harness racing event Wednesday was the monte Gr. III Prix d’Avenches (purse 70,000€, 2175 meters for four year0olds). The 5.1/1 odds Hacker Boy (4g Akim du Cap Vert-Orestane Girl) sustained his stretch long drive to secure the 1.12.4kr timed victory with Eric Raffin in the irons. He won his second straight, and for the career, now posting life earnings of 91.920€. Yves Dreux is the winning breeder/owner and trainer. The 8.5/1 Hora Bot Eur Moel (4f Prodigious) was a game second for jockey Guillaime Martin and trainer Arnaud Desmottes. Third home was 52/1 outsider Hopla des Louanges (4f Gazouillis) in rein to Damien Bonne for trainer Franck Leblanc. Hacker Boy On the card was also the Prix du Chesnay (purse 67,000€, 2850 meters distance handicapped for 7-11 year-olds) with that victory to the 25-meter handicapped and 5.1/1 odds Crusoe d’Anama (9g Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree) for trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire and owner Mario Xuereb. This was his 10th career score now for 443,250€ earned. The 5.3/1 odds and also 25-meter penalized performer, Duel du Gers (8g Quaker Jet), was second for trainer/driver Matthieu Abrivard. Third home was 3/1 odds and 25-meter handicapped Dexter Chatho (8g Un Amour d’Haufor) with Charles J. Bigeon aboard for owner/trainer Christian Bigeon. Crusoe d’Anama 16 top trotters remain declared for Sunday’s Prix de Paris as shown below. The final field will be set on Thursday. For full race results, click here. LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

A total of 35 trotteurs have declared for next Sunday’s Grand Prix de Paris, the marathon test that is the finale of the French Triple Crown. The race will be held at Paris-Vincennes. The declarations include Face Time Bourbon, Davidson du Pont, Delia du Pommereux and Bahia Quesnot. The distance is 4150 meters, nearly 2.5 miles, and the purse is 400,000€ ($486,000US). Last week’s Face Time Bourbon driver controversy is apparently over with Eric Raffin named as his driver by trainer Sebastien Guarato. C4 - PX D'AMERIQUE RACES ZETURF PX DE PARIS 400 000€  Groupe I - Attelé - 4150m - Grande piste European Trotting Masters Series 2021 Course Internationale Pour 4 à 11 ans inclus (H à A), hongres exclus, ayant gagné au moins 160.000. En cas d'élimination, les chevaux ayant obtenu une priorité de participation dans le Prix d'Amérique sont maintenus en priorité. En cas d'élimination, les gains des chevaux déclarés partants sont calculés sur les bases suivantes : chevaux âgés de 4 ans (H), gains réels majorés de 30 %, chevaux âgés de 5 ans (G), gains réels majorés de 20 %, chevaux âgés de 6 ans LeTrot files by Thomas H. HIcks, for Harnesslink      

It has been reported by Karsten Bønsdorf, USTA Senior Newsroom Correspondent that affter the defeat Sunday afternoon in the Prix de France, where Face Time Bourbon finished second, his regular driver, Björn Goop, was sacked by the main owner, Italian Antonio Somma. Somma has long been unsatisfied with Goop as the driver of maybe the world’s best trotter at present, and just after the race, Somma wrote on Twitter that Goop was sacked. Today Somma was interviewed on the French racing television channel Equidia and said that Sebastian Guarato, who trains Face Time Bourbon, was free to pick any of these five drivers in the future to drive the top trotter: Eric Raffin, Gabriele Gelormini, Yoann Lebourgeois, Matthieu Abrivard and Franck Nivard. Sebastian Guarato had already made his choice and made it public, that Eric Raffin is the new driver of Face Time Bourbon. “Raffin is an obvious choice,” Guarato said. “He has driven Face Time Bourbon twice in races and has won both times.” Eric Raffin will drive Face Time Bourbon on March 6 in the Prix de Selection at Vincennes. Björn Goop has driven Face Time Bourbon in 29 races and has 24 wins and four seconds. On Jan. 31, Face Time Bourbon (with Goop) was an easy winner of the famous Prix d’Amerique for the second year in a row. From the USTA

Today’s Gr. I International Prix de France (purse 400,000€, 2100 meters autostart, European Masters Trot Series 2021) saw 13/1 Delia du Pommereux (8f Niky-Noune du Pommereux) rally late to capture the Speed Race in 1.09.8kr off quick fractions (1.06.7kr at the 1500 to go mark; 1.07.3kr at the 1000; 1.08.6kr with 500 meters remaining) set mostly by second finishing 2/10 odds favorite Face Time Bourbon (6m Ready Cash-Vita Bourbon) with Bjorn Goop up for Scuderia Bivans Srl and trainer Sebastien Guarato. Eric Raffin teamed the winner, for breeder/owner Noel Lolic and trainer Sylvain Roger, as she won for the 14th time in her career now for 1,311,220€ earned. She was positioned seventh at the 1000-meter mark before moving forward. She rolled past a tired FTB to win by a half-length. The 31/1 odds Aetos Kronos (5m Bold Eagle-Will Of A Woman) followed the winner after being eighth at the 1000. He rallied strongly in the lane for pilot Franck Nivard, trainer Jerry Riordan and Team Snyder AB. Bahia Quesnot gamely lasted for fourth at 45/1 odds for Junior Guelpa after forcing the pace early against FTB but could not secure the lead, yielding to the pocket as Billie de Montfort faded. 50/1 Feliciano (6m Ready Cash) was fifth ahead of 110/1 Frisbee d’Am and a distant 97/1 Billie de Montfort. Delia du Pommereux     mid-stretch J-P Barjon (left) presents the Prix de France trophy to the connections of the winning daughter of Niky, a horse he raced and sire of monte champion Bilibili. To watch the race replay, click here.   For full results, click here. LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

The 2.1/1 odds Zerozerosette Gar (6m Wishing Stone-Nadir Gar) captured the 59,000€ purse Prix Gras Savoye Wills Towers Wilson this day at Vincennes. Racing over 2100 meters autostart the winner scored in 1.11kr for Eric Raffin, trainer Vitale Ciotolo and Scuderia Nininni as he won for the fifth time in France now for 198,368€ in career earnings. This versatile talented trotter now has three attele wins and two at the monte. The 10/1 Marcello Web (6g Raja Mirchi-Astoria Amour) was second for Christophe Martens and 25/1 Festif Charmant (6g Love You) took third for Damien Bonne in a blanket finish. Zerozerosette GarEric Raffin For full results, click here. LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

Helgafell (3m Charly du Noyer-Baaria), off at 8/10 favorite odds, captured the Gr. I Championnat Europeen des 3 Ans (purse 100,000€, 2100 meters autostart) at Paris-Vincennes with Eric Raffin up for trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Ecurie Normandy Spirit. Marial Turbiaux bred the winner that posted his ninth career harness racing victory now for 356,400€ earned. Race time was 1.13.9kr. The 22/1 Hanna des Molles (3f Village Mystic-Ultimate Jet) took second for Alexandre Abrivard, trainer L.Cl. Abrivard and owner J.L. Baraud. 11/1 odds Wilds West Diamant (3m Muscle Hill-Mustangs Sally) was third for pilot Robin Bakker and trainer Paul Hagoort. 16/1 Custom Cheval (3m Farifant-La Brosse) was fourth for Jean Michel Bazire, ahead of Kuyt F. Boko (3m Conway Hall-Gala dei Bessi) with Matthieu Abrivard at the lines for trainer Hagoort. Helgafell The Gr. I Championnat Europeen des 5 Ans (purse 100,000€, 2100 meters autostart) went to 13/1 odds Feerie Wood (5f Rockfeller Center-Vive Fee) clocked in 1.12.9kr with Alexandre Abrivard the pilot and owner for trainer L.Cl. Abrivard. This mare was bred by Ecurie D and now has six career wins for 285,000€ in lifetime earnings. The 5/10 favorite Feliciano (5m Ready Cash-Ravenella) was second for David Thomain, trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Ecurie des Charmes. 3.5/1 Fairplay d’Urzy (5m Ready Cash-Romaine d’Urzy) took third for trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire and Ecuie Marechal. The 77/1 A Sweet Dance (5f Maharajah-Sugar Step) was a fast closing fourth for Alexis Prat, trainer Anders Lindqvist and owner S. Kristenssons Akerie AB. Feydeau Seven, Stoletheshow and Msiter F Daag completed the top seven. Feerie Wood  LeTrot, PMU files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

Elie de Beaufour (6g Royal Dream-Pignata) took today’s ninth leg of the Gr. III Grand National du Trot Paris Turf (purse 75,000€, 2626 meters distance handicap) held at Chatalaillon-la-Rochelle. Eric Raffin teamed the 8/10 favorite for trainer Jean Michel Bazire and Ecurie LeVallois, Race time was 1.12.8kr. Elie won for the 17th time in his career for 276,600€ earned. The 25 meter penalized and 3.4/1 odds Diable de Vauvert (7m Prince d;Espace-Pop Star) was second with Gabrielle Gelormini aboard for trainer Bertrand LeBeller and owner Franck Learvet. 12/1 Dayan Winner (7g Offshore Dream-Tempete Winner) was third for Hugues Monthule and trainer Sebastien Guarato. Elie de Beaufour Yesterday at Paris-Vincennes was the Prix Brunhild (purse 33,000€, three year olds, monte) and 5.6/1 odds Heroic Park (3m Bird Parker-Quiromantica) gained the victory for trainer/jockey Pierre Yves Verva for breeder/owner Jean Pierre Dubois. This colt now has four career wins for 38,880€ earned. Heroic now has three wins in in his last six starts, all in monte events. 1.2/1 Hashka (3g Goetmals Wood) was second for trainer/jockey Yoann Lebourgeois. 3/1 Horoneur du Cebe (3m Un Charme Fou) was third for jockey Eric Raffin and owner/trainer Franck Leblanc. Heroic Park On Monday at Paris-Vincennes was the Gr. III Prix Legoux-Longpre (purse 70,000€, 2850 meters, monte) and the 3/2 odds open lengths winner was Gladys des Plaines (4f Opus Viervil-Thetis de Vaujour) and jockey Mathieu Mottier. She was timed in 1.13.3kr and is trained by Gilles Curens in recording her fourth career victory now for 281,170€ in life earnings. 3.6/1 Gospel Pat (4m Uriel Speed-Namorosa) was second with David Thomain up for trainer Philippe Allaire. Third was the 9/1 Flamboyant Blue (5g Timoko-Quafsa Blue) with Antoine Dabouis in the irons for trainer J.P. Mary. Gladys des Plaines On the weekend (September 6) is the Trophee Vert Final at Craon. Named the Prix V and B (Gr. III, purse 60,000€, 2775 meters) the race will have 17 horses at the start including the leading point winners to date in this prestigious series. LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

The Gr. II Prix Uranie (purse 85,000€, 2175 meters, 12 three year old fillies) was on the undercard at Paris-Vincennes today and saw 3.7/1 odds Hirondelle Sidey (3f Gazouillis-Celina du Chatelet) score easily timed in 1.12.9kr for pilot Eric Raffin, trainer J.M. Baudouin and owner Ecurie le Rivage. She won for the third time in 15 harness racing career starts and advanced her life earnings to 151,000€. The 2.9/1 Havanaise (3f Ricimer) was second for F.P. Bossuet and breeder/owner Ecurie Tenor. 54/1 Harrah Dibah (3f Brillantissime) took third for Yoann Lebourgeois and trainer Sebastien Guarato. Hirondelle Sibey Earlier the Gr. III Prix de Beaugency (purse 70,000€, 2850 meters, nine starters) saw the 2/10 favorite Dorgos de Guez (7g Romcok de Guez-Lady Fromentro) score in 1.12.5kr for trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire and Ecurie Vautors, the owner/breeder. The winner secured his 25th career victory in 57 starts now for 741,080€ earned. 7/1 odds Express Jet (6m Goetmals Wood-Run For Jet) was second for trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse and Ecurie Hunter Valley. Third was 51/1 Aldo d’Argentre (10m Qualmio de Vandel) for Adrien Lamy. Dorgos du Guez LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

Saint Malo hosted the 8th Leg of the Grand National du Trot Paris Turf (Gr. III, purse 75,000€, 2950 meters distance handicap) and 1.2/1 odds Fairplay d’Urzy (5m Ready Cash-Romane d’Urzy) scored in 1.15.3kr with Eric Raffin at the lines. Ecurie Marechal owns the now 11- time career winner and Jean Michel Bazire is the trainer. His life earnings reached 264,030€ with this victory. The 3/1 Et Voila de Muze (6m Royal Dream-Nolaila) was second for pilot Hugues Monthule, trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Union Stable. Echo de Chanlecy (6g Quinoa du Gers) was third for E.G. Blot, ahead of Balzac de L’Iton with Franck Nivard up and Derby du Dollar was fifth for Gilles Delacour      Fairplay d’Urzy Trotting action on August 4 was at Cabourg before a huge live audience. The featured Prix des Hetres (purse 34,000€, 2700 meters, five year olds) saw the well-regarded 8/10 favorite Fleche du Yucca (5f Prodigious-Vencenza) score in 1.13.7kr. Jean Philippe Dubois teamed this one for his Ecurie Victoria Dreams and trainer Philippe Moulin. She recorded her 13th career victory and increased life earnings to 339,470€. Foxtrot Sea (5m Olitro) was second for Cedrik Megissier, also his trainer. Third home was Feeling Cash (5m Ready Cash-Royale Star) with Eric Raffin up for trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Carlos Lerner.        Fleche du Yucca Jean Philippe Dubois won again at Cabourg with 5.6/1 Grande Edition (4f Royal Dream-All Edition) in the Prix des Eglantines (purse 17,000€, 2050 meters autostart). Timed in 1.14.2kr the winner recorded his fourth career win now for 28,130€ earned. Philippe Moulin trains this one for Ecurie Victoria Dreams. Gina Costardiere (4f Quicky Oa-Petit Costardiere) was second for Adrien Lamy and Great Touch (4f Royal Dream-Touch of Charm) was third with Eric Raffin for trainer Etienne Dubois.       Grande Edition LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

Today’s Prix de la Cote d’Azur (Gr. III International, purse 120,000€, 2900 meters distance handicap, 16 starters) at Cagnes sur Mer in France saw 3.7/1 Elsa de Belfonds (6f Tornado Bello-Talfa) score off a 25-meter handicap. She was away on the lead for trainer/driver Nicolas Ensch, then yielded to the pocket before escaping in the lane to draw clear. Ecurie Thomas Levesque owns this now 11-time career winner for 353,690€ earned. Race time was 1.14.2kr. The 2.7/1 favorite and 50-meter handicapped Earl Simon (6m Prodigious-Tindrana) was a game second for Ecurie Skytten, trainer Jarmo Niskanen and pilot Franck Ouvrie. The 31/1 Black d’Arjeanc (9g Prince d’Espace-Perle de Riviere), penalized 25 meters, was third with Eric Raffin up for trainer Nicolas Ensch. 50-meter handicapped Voltaire Gifont (6m Quaker Jet-Realm of Fancy) was fourth with trainer Pietro Gubellini up on this 88/1 outsider. The 44/1 Beffe Am (9g Enjoy Lavec) was fifth for Franck Marty. This race was the Quinte+ race of the day and the exact order winning tickets paid 95,586.00€ to six recipients. The Q+ pool was 3,716,532€ and the total of all pools on this race exceeded 8,091,000€. Yesterday at Cagnes sur Mer three year olds contested the Prix de la Cote Saint Andre (purse 18,000€, 2160 meters autostart) and it went to Hawai Island (3f Bold Eagle-Viva Island-Goetmals Wood-Island Dream) with Eric Raffin up for breeder/owner Jean Pierre Dubois and trainer Kevin Vanderschelden. This was her second career victory and now she has earned 14,450€. Hidden Face (3f Brillantissime-Conquette A Deux) was second for trainer/driver Nicolas Ensch for Ecurie le Tremont. Jean Pierre Dubois also bred this one. Hers and Mine (3f Bold Eagle-A Nous Deux) was third for Loris Garcia at the lines for breeder/owner JBD and trainer Vanderschelden. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

The January 1 feature at Paris-Vincennes was the Prix d’Angouleme (purse 59,000€, 2100 meters autostart) and 6/1 Foxtrot Sea (3m Olitro) scored in a quick 1.11.2kr for owner/trainer/driver Cedrik Megisier. He recorded his eighth lifetime win now for 203,900€ earned. The 1.2/1 favorite Fairplay d’Urzy (3m Ready Cash) was second for trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire and 52/1 Florida Sport (3f Tornado Bello) took third money with P.J. Pascal Lavanchy up. On New Years Eve the featured Prix de Poitiers (purse 67,000€, 2700 meters) went to 2.1/1 favorite Colt des Essarts (7m Olitro) for Francois Lagadeauc. It was his 18th career victory now for 381,050€ in career earnings. 18/1 Bleu Ciel and 5.3/1 Alinee followed the winner home. Race time was 1.14.4kr. On December 31 Eric Raffin scored with First de Beauvalet to win the Prix Tarbes (purse 29,000€, 2100 meters autostart) to secure his 345th 2019 victory, equaling the previous record in France set in 2006 by Jean Michel Bazire. Raffin was very pleased with the result. A host of top groupe level events are on tap for the next two weeks of the Winter Meet as we march toward Amerique. It will be quite a show of competitive racing. Jan 4 Prix Emile Riotteau Gr. II monte purse 100,000€, 2700 meters Jan 5 Prix de Tonnac-Villeneuve Gr. II purse 100,000€, 2700 meters Prix de Lille purse 80,000€, 2100 meters autostart Prix du Calvados Gr. II monte purse 130,000€, 2850 meters Jan 11 Prix de Croix Gr. II purse 100,000€, 2850 meters Prix Maurice de Gheest Gr. II 100,000€ purse, 2700 meters Prix du Forez Gr. III purse 80,000€, 2700 meters Jan 12 Prix Belgique Gr. II purse 110,000€, 2850 meters Prix Gelinotte Gr. II purse 100.000, 2700 meters Prix de Riberac Gr. III purse 70,000, 2700 meters Prix Djerid Gr. III monte purse 90,000€, 2700 meters by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Helgafell Wins Gr. II Prix Emmanuel Margouty at Vincennes Two-year olds began today’s groupe action in the Gr. II Prix Emmanuel Margouty (purse 100,000€, 2175 meters) with a 1.13.5kr score by even-money favorite Helgafell (2m Charly du Noyer-Baaria) with Eric Raffin up. Philippe Allaire trains the winner for Ecurie Normandy Spirit, his fifth career victory in six starts now for 137,900€ earned. The sire is another of the Ready Cash stallions emerging in this crop.  The 4.9/1 Hooker Berry (2m Booster Winner-Osaka Berry) held second for Jean Michel Bazire and breeder/owner Michjel Aladenise. 14/1 Holzarte Vedaquais (2m Brillantissime-Chikka Vedaquaise) was third for Francois Legadeuc and owner/trainer Allaire. 4.2/1 Heartbreaker One was fourth for Bjorn Goop. Clegs des Champs (7g Legs du Clos-Prosperpine) took the monte Gr. II Prix Jules Lemonnier (purse 100,000€, 2175 meters) at 2.4/1 odds and with David Thomain the jockey. He swept past then leading Traders to score impressively in a quick 1.11.3kr. Thierry Raffegeau trains the winner for J-Y Roze and the victory was Clegs 18th in a 35-race career that is now worth 829,580€ in earnings. The 3.8/1 Vertige de Chenu (10g Lynx de Bellouet) was second for jockey Eric Raffin and 30/1 Eros du Chene (5m Un Amour d’Haufor) was third for P.Ph. Ploquin. The Quinte+ race this day was the Prix de Strasbourg (purse 80,000€, 2700 meters) and 2.2/1 Balzac de L’Iton (8g Panache de L’Iton) prevailed for pilot Franck Nivard. Balzac won for the 12th time in 70 starts now for 449,780€ earned. Race time was 1.14.2kr. 1.4/1 Be Bop Haufor (8g Notre Haufor) was second with Damien Bonne the pilot for trainer Christian Bigeon. The 51/1 Alamo du Goutier (9g Quido du Goutier) was this for Sebastien Hardy, ahead of 44/1 As Blue and 64/1 Amarilla de Rabor. There were 56 winning Q+ exact order tickets that each paid 19,542.40€. The Q+ pool was 4,507,405€ and over 9,586,000€ was wagered on the race, all pools. The Gr. III Prix Constant Hervieu (purse 80,000€, 2700 meters) completed today’s groupe action with this one going to 6.5/1 Epic Julry (5m Nice Love-Ophelie de Bas) with breeder Jean Pau Gauvin aboard for owner Ecurie Julry. Epic won for the 14th time in his 48-race career, now for 358,910€ earned. 8.2/1 Estola (5f Nectar) was second for Yoann Lebourgeois and 63/1 outsider Caly Loulou (7f Gazouillis) took third with Matthieu Abrivard up. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

The 6.8/1 outsider Tony Gio (7m Varenne-Ilaria Jet) rallied to win today’s Gr. III Grand Prix de la Federation Regionale du Nord (purse 90,000€, 2700 meters autostart, eight starters) held at La Croise Laroche in France. He was clocked in 1.10.8kr. Eric Raffin teamed the Sebastien Guarato trainee for Scuderia Bivans Srl to his seventh career victory in 51 starts now for life earnings of 867,815€. The winner exploded past early pocket sitter, 1.6/1 Bold Eagle (8m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) reined by Bjorn Goop for trainer Guarato and owner Pierre Pilarski, that had followed 47/1 leader Express Jet (5m Goetmals Wood-Run For Jet) until top of the stretch. Bold Eagle was second beaten two lengths. The 8/10 favorite Looking Superb (6m Orlando Vici-Classical Pine) with J-M Bazire aboard was away last before making a halfway point move to the death seat alongside Express Jet. But his effort was futile and he finished a tired fourth with Express Jet fifth for Pierre Vercruysse. Bazire’s stablemate, 18/1 Bel Avis (8g Ganymede-Gloria Maris) rallied late to be third for Alexandre Abrivard. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

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