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April 28, 2017 - This weekend provide exciting Gr. I harness racing action at Aby and Napoli. Tomorrow is the €296.626 purse Olympiatravet featuring heavily favored Nuncio with Orjan Kihlstrom at the lines for Stefan Melander. The race lineup follows for that 2140 meter autostart UET Masters Series test: Saturday: OlympiaTravet (Group I - 2.140m autostart) So named because the organization reverses a portion of the funds raised on betting to the Swedish Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the OlympiaTravet is a very popular race in Sweden. Although no French trotter ever won it except for Etain Royal in 2001, but it defended Finnish colors, they are four to be in second place: General du Pommeau , beaten by Varenne in 2002, Flambeau des Pins dominated in 2003 by Gidde Palema ( winning record of the event with three consecutive successes from 2003 to 2005), Kart de Baudrairie in 2005, and more recently, Roxana de Barbray defeated by Maharajah in 2013. This year, Black d'Avril and Voltigeur de Myrt will try to reverse the trend. Well placed by having inherited numbers 3 and 4, they will still have to take the best on the Swedish-American crack Nuncio who will have to sharpen in this event before confronting Bold Eagle in the Elitlopp next month. It will also be necessary to deal with the defender of the title Your Highness , as well as the other Scandinavian Lionel , Kadett CD , Oasis Bi and On Track Piraten . Never seen in France but having assured their participation in qualifications, They are two very young drivers who will drive the French trotters, Alexis Prat, son of Frederic who trained Black of April before the start of his season of mount, and Lorenzo Donati, son of Roberto, which drags Voltigeur of Myrt . The starters, their record and their driver: Square Horse Driver General Record 1 Spring Erom (Sweden)  Christopher Ericksson  1'11''0 2 Oasis Bi (Italy) Erik Adielsson  1'09''4 3 Black of Avril Alexis Prat  1'10''9  4 Flyer of Myrt Lorenzo Donati  1'09''7  5 Nadal Broline (Sweden)  Ulf Ohlsson  1'10''1  6 Nuncio (USA)  Örjan Kihlström  1'08''7  7 Lionel (Norway)  Göran Antonsen  1'11''7  8 Your Highness (Sweden) Björn Goop  1'09''7  9 On Track Piraten (Sweden) Johnny Takter  1'09''4  10 Kadett CD (Sweden) Robert Bergh  1'09''8  Two other French trotters, Safari Dream , who left for Scandinavia at the beginning of the year, and Valdenburg , will participate in the mounted trotting race.   Monday: the Grand Prize of the Lottery (Group I - 1,600m autostart) The Grand Prix of the Lottery of Naples takes place in three batteries qualifiers for the final. Legendary legacy, once won by the not-so-legendary Roquépine (1967) One of May (1971, 72 and 73) and then Bellino II (1976), the last French trotter to have registered his name in the "Gran Premio della Lotteria" Is Hillion Brillouard driven by Philippe Allaire in 1980. One of the greatest champions of history, Varenne , reigned on this race, imposing itself three times consecutively (2000, 01 and 02) as, more recently, Mack Grace SM (2012, 13 and 14). Last year, Voltigeur de Myrt had only found Oasis Bi on his way after having brilliantly won his qualifying pool in 1'10''6. This year, the French delegation looks very promising. They are two real distance specialists, accomplished champions, Timoko and A Guy of Héripré , who come to defy the Italians on their Neapolitan land. Timoko , in the second battery, shot number 5, which is not the best but not the worst either, knowing that Richard Westerink's crack has already come out of more problematic situations. A Heriper's Guy will be in Battery 1 with the number 1, but his basic speed especially at the start should allow him to keep a good place and qualify for the final. If that is the case, On the driver side, Björn Goop will obviously be in the sulky of Timoko , and Un Mec d'Héripré will find Jos Verbeeck with whom he has just won the Gran Premio Costa Azzurra in Turin. The starters of batteries 1 and 2, their record and their driver: Battery 1 Horse Driver General Record           1 A Guy of Héripré  Jos Verbeeck  1'09''5            2 Ringostarr Treb (I)  Roberto Vecchione  1'09''5            3 Super Fez  Gabriele Gelormini  1'11''8            4 Specialess (I)  Andrea Vitagliano  1'10''8            5 Tano Fohle Sm (I)  Antonio Di Nardo  1'11''7            6 Tesoro Degli Dei (I)  Enrico Bellei  1'12''0            7 Totoo Del Ronco (I)  Mario Minopoli Jr  1'11''6            8 Trendy Ok (I)  Alessandro Gocciadoro  1'11''4            Battery 2 Horse Driver General Record 1 Testimonial Ok (I) Alessandro Gocciadoro 1'11''9 2 Street Varenne Dany (I) Antonio Di Nardo 1'11''4 3 Sugar Rey (I) Erik H. Bondo 1'11''4 4 Real Mede Sm (I) Domenico Zanca 1'12''0 5 Timoko Björn Goop 1'09''1 6 Tony Gio (I) Guiseppe Maisto 1'10''4 7 Pascia 'Lest (I) Enrico Bellei 1'09''1 8 Steven Del Ronco (I) Mario Minopoli Jr 1'11''3   The final is raced over the same distance for a purse of €704,000. The Lotteria has drawn a solid group of speedsters including Timoko, Un Mec d’Heripre, Timone EK, Volstead, Pascia’Lest and Ringostarr Treb. There is also a consolidation race for a purse of €33,000. Thomas H. Hicks

April 28, 2017 - The Vincennes Friday night featured Prix Antigone (monte, Gr. III, purse €110,000, 14 starters) went to the impressive Vittorio de Carly (8g Quaro-Gamine des Sarts) with jockey Guillaume Martin in the irons for harness racing trainer Arnaud Desmottes. Second was Roxanne Bar (7f Exploit Caf-Guendalina Bar) for Alexandre Abrivard and trainer Gennaro Casillo. Third home was Vinci Pierji (8g Meaulnes du Corta-Intaille) for trainer and rider Matthieu Abrivard. The winner recorded his 13th career victory, now with €367,680 earned. Also on the card was the Q+ Prix Huberta (purse €54,000, 2850 meters, 18 starters) this night went to 2/1 and 1.15kr timed Azaro d’Eva (7m Lynx de Bellouet-Iomolly) for J-M Bazire, also owner/trainer. 10/1 Bourbon Somolli (6m Sam Bourbon-Jamaica Somolli) was second for Clement Duvaldestin, trainer Thierry Duvaldestin and owner Ecurie Augistin Normand. 7.2/1 Ah Quel Mica (7m Rocklyn-Oceane de Phare) was third for Julian Dubois, trainer Philippe Moulin and Ecurie Victoria Dreams. Violet and Balisto de May were fourth and fifth. Tonight’s opener was the Prix Maginus (purse €80,000, 2700 meters, 13 four year-old starters) with victory to 2/1 Drole d’Espoir (4m Nem-Orphea de Nay) in rein to J.Ph. Monclin  for owner/trainer J.M. Monclin and clocked in 1.16.8kr. 10/1 Dalencia (4f Perlando-Olencia) took second for Dominik Locqueneux and third was the J.F. Senet trained and driven Dorun Beam (4m Jag de Bellouet-Tacoma Jet). The interesting and promising youngster Ellington Dream (3m Opus Viervil-Rasta Perrine) took the Prix Libussa (purse €37,000, 2200 meters, 11 starters) timed in 1.15kr and reined by Yoann Lebourgeois. Philippe Allaire trains this winner for owner Elisabeth Allaire. Jean Fancois Mary was the breeder f this three time career winner in five starts. The dam is a good one, she a winner of €10,000 and producer of the Ready Cash winning Django Riff in her first foal (2013). Wednesday at Laval was led by the Prix Louis Baudron (purse €35,000, 2875 meters, 1 European starters) with the 1.14.5kr verdict earned by 20/1 Venicio Poimmeruex (8g Love You-Noune du Pommereux) teamed by Franck Nivard for trainer Sylvain RFoger and breeder/owner Noel Lolic. 3/10 favorite Afghan Barbes (7g Meaulnes du Corta-Nuance Barnes) was second for Ch. J. Bigeon with 45/1 Paparazi (8g Infinitif-Emily di Jesolo) third for Dominik Locqueneux and trainer Lutfi Kolgjini. 9/1 Pancottina Bar (8f Varenne-Valuta Lavec) was fourth for Roberto Andreghetti in the sulky. Top flight action this weekend in Europe features the Grand Prix de la Lotteria (Groupe I) at Napoli-Agnano on May 1 and the Olympiatravet (Gr. I) at Aby tomorrow. These events include Nuncio at Aby and Un Mec d’Heripre and Timoko in Italy, the latter Lotteria is comprised of three eliminations and a final. Thomas H. Hicks  

April 26, 2017 - 5/2 odds Baxter du Klau (6g Oiseau de Feux-Imia Josselyn), pictured on inside, took today’s Gr. III Prix GNT Paris-Turf (fourth leg, purse €90,000, 2950 meters distance handicap, 18 starters and the Quinte+ race of the day) clocked in 1.14.5kr and he covered the stated distance for harness racing teamster Franck Nivard, trainer J.M. Baudouin and Ecurie Etienne Haurand. 4/5 favorite and 25 meter handicapped Brissac (6m Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree-Jannibelle) was second for owner/trainer/driver Jean-Alain Eliphe. 29/1 Univers Solaire (9g Lutin Malin-Interaction) was third for Anthony Barrier ahead of 25 meter penalized and 71/1 Buffalo de Beylev (6m Memphis du Rib-Rafale du Plessis) reined by trainer Nicolas Ensch. 100/1 Aribo Mix was fifth for Cominil Cordeau. Ursa Major, Bon Copain, Tiger Danover and Tagada Tagada were well beaten in this field. Sunday’s trotting action in France was distributed across numerous venues, some on the turf. One such spot was Jallais and its Prix Miss Hippodrome France (purse €20,000, 2975 meters distance handicap). This competitive affair was just that from the start with victory earned by Ami Toon’s (7g Keed Tivoli-Indiavola Francjac) with Maxime Bezier up, also owner/trainer. 25 meter penalized Already Wic (7m Ready Cash-Epona Vinn) was next home for Eric Audebert driving.  Race time was not reported. Also on the turf at Alencon was the Prix Normandie Etoile Automobiles (purse €25,000, 2650 meters distance handicap) and that victory went to 25 meter penalized Athena des Ravaux (7f Prince d’Espace-Olympe Quick) reined by Genny Delaune and owner/trainer Sebastian Guarato. Race time was unreported. Thomas H. Hicks

April 25, 2017 - Two excellent groupe II tests were featured in the Tuesday evening harness racing program at Paris-Vincennes, both three year-old events. The fillies contested the Prix Masina (Gr. II, purse €120,000, 2100 meters autostart, 12 entrants) with 11.6/1 Ere Nouvelle (3f Love You-Kidea) a placed winner after dq of Estella Love in late stretch. Gabriel Gelormini teamed the 1.13.8kr timed winner for trainer Philippe Allaire and breeder/owner Kevin Tebirent. 19/1 Each Time (3f Coktail Jet-Tes Amours) was placed second for Christophe Martens, trainer Vincent Martens and Scuderia Bivans Srl, the owner. 14/1 Elisione Mag (3f Quaker Jet-Perle du Ravary) was placed third and driven by David Thomain. Elea Madrik was placed fourth, she the 3/2 favorite. The colts battled in the Prix Paul Kaple (Gr. II, purse €120,000, 2100 meters autostart, 10 starters) with the 1.13.5kr win going to 4.8/1 Eros du Chene (3m Un Amour d’Haufor-Oulanova de Lou) in rein to Franck Nivard for breeder/owner Claude Guedj and trainer J. Le Mer. 12/1 Eliseo (3m Timoko-Solaria) was second for Eric Raffin and trainer Frederic Prat ahead of 1.2/1 favorite Ecu Peirji reined by Mathieu Mottier for trainer Sebastian Guarato and owner Philippe DeWulf. Thomas H. Hicks

Tina Sugarman, author of one of the top equine novels of 2016-2017, Horse Flesh, has agreed to share excerpts of her book with Harnesslink. Horse Flesh is a thriller mystery fiction novel based around a Standardbred racetrack in Ontario, Canada. It is the first novel ever penned by horsewoman, Tina Sugarman. Each week, Harnesslink will feature an excerpt from Horse Flesh. If you wish to purchase the book either in paperback or ereader formats, click here. Here is this week’s 8th excerpt from Horse Flesh! Horse Flesh by Tina Sugarman THE BET On a calm evening in late August, Theo Vettore’s cousin, Lara Vachon, was standing down by the rail beside Iroquois Downs’ oval track, waiting and watching as Theo put Southview Sabre through his paces. It was 7 p.m. The plan was to take Southview Sabre a slow warm-up mile, but speed him up for the last eighth. Any hint of trouble and Lara was going to scratch her boy from the race and take him home. On the night, Theo had stumbled into Ferme Victoire afraid for his life, Lara had been on a vigil at Rivers Training centre, soaking Southview Sabre’s red hot right front foot in a tub of ice water. Lara treated all the horses she trained like her children, not that she had any of her own yet. She was only twenty-eight, after all. Unlike most trainers, Lara did not have the luxury of picking out yearlings at the Annual Sale. Instead, she took on whatever her father Bernie Vachon decided to give her: well-bred fillies with broodmare potential or colts who hadn’t found a buyer. Once in Lara’s barn, they were under her protection. She gave them as much time as they needed to get to the races and treated them all with equal affection, regardless of their talent (or the lack of it) on the racetrack. As Southview Sabre flew past the tote board, looking like a ghost in the dusk, Lara anxiously scrutinized him for any sign on lameness, any break in the horse’s rhythm. She found none. A pus pocket trapped deep inside his hoof had plagued Southview Sabre for weeks, unknown to anyone. After Dr. Winterflood had lanced it, the lameness disappeared overnight. The track lights kicked in, flooding the scene with colour: the green number pad flapping at the horse’s ribcage, the red and black of Theo’s racing jacket and the pale blue sulky with its white wheel discs spinning. Though his warm up run was over, Southview Sabre showed no sign of wanting to slow down. He sailed by a horse flashing four white stockings. Hurriedly, Lara consulted her overnight sheet. It was Mountain Boy, the 3 horse in the second. As both drivers swung their charges through a 180° turn and headed back to the Race Barn, a figure huddled in the shadows at the edge of the track sprang into life. A greater contrast between equine athleticism and human imperfection would have been hard to find. Lara recognized him immediately. As the man shuffled forward and reached out for Mountain Boy’s bridle, she shuddered involuntarily. She had made the mistake of hiring Crawfish Brown as a groom a couple of years back, in an act of charity. But she had discovered to her cost that despite his pitiful appearance, Crawfish was no saint. His left leg was crooked. His left eye was offset and half closed. He was missing several teeth and he always had a plug of tobacco in his mouth. The only time he went anywhere near water was when he was bathing the horses. But that wasn’t the real problem. Crawfish had generally showed up for work on time, unless he’d been out on a binge the night before. He was fairly good tempered, especially on pay day. He was conscientious too, unless he wanted to get away early. He was polite to Lara, unless he had a particular grudge to air. He was loyal, until Lara rumbled him, or as Crawfish put it, asked him to do a lot of things which weren’t a groom’s responsibility. . . She came out of her reverie just in time to avoid being knocked flat by Southview Sabre, who was throwing his head around like he’d had the time of his life out there. Hastily, she grabbed the bridle before she was decapitated. “Was he okay?” she asked anxiously. “He went his last eighth in thirteen seconds! That good enough for you?” Theo replied with a smile, handing her the lines. “I gotta go,” he added, a frown furrowing his brow. “Eh bien! Go!” Lara said, glancing at the tote board clock and wondering why Theo was in such a hurry. Post time for the first race was twenty-five minutes away. Inside the Race Barn, even though they were right next to one another, Crawfish ignored Lara. He busied himself, attaching his horse tightly to the cross-tie chains, as if the meek Mountain Boy was going to try and make a break for it. Lara couldn’t help noticing that, unusually, Crawfish appeared to have spruced himself up for the races. He was wearing a T-shirt without a rip in it, baggy black sweat pants which did their best to cover a pair of filthy, torn trainers and a lurid yellow baseball cap at war with his straggly brown hair, which she happened to know he cut with a razor, rather than getting a proper haircut. As for a visit to the dentist to fix his missing teeth, that was about as likely as a trip to the moon. Crawfish prided himself on being self-sufficient. Lara steeled herself not to feel guilty about firing him. She had to put the welfare of the horses first, she reminded herself firmly. Theo reappeared just as Lara was putting Southview Sabre’s bridle on, prior to race two. It was a struggle as the horse kept throwing his head around. His eyes were on fire. “Easy now, boy,” Theo said, holding onto the horse’s nose and steadying him. “Can’t wait to get at it, eh? Listen,” he added as Lara slipped the bit into the horse’s mouth. “I put three grand on him to win.” “You did what?” Lara hissed. “You do not bet!” “Hey! Lighten up!” Theo replied. “I got 12-1 online. After this race, God willing, I’ll be a free man.” “But they will think I ’ave been cheating with him!” Lara said, feeling outraged. “How could you do this to me, Theo?” “You want me to end up dead?” Theo muttered. Lara gulped. “How’s his foot?” Theo added nervously. “I am not telling you,” Lara replied angrily, glancing at Crawfish Brown in the next stall. She was certain he’d overheard their conversation. If so, everyone in the Race Barn would soon know all about it. “Hey! What d’you think you’re doing? You’ve hooked the lines up to the head halter, instead of the bit, you dumb idiot!” trainer Tom Larson growled at Crawfish, as Mountain Boy’s driver appeared. “Can’t get it right all the time,” Crawfish grumbled, hurriedly fixing the mistake. “What are you standing there grinning for? Lead ’im out!” Larson shouted. Crawfish jumped to it. But Lara noticed him hanging back after Mountain Boy had left the Race Barn, his left eyelid blinking rapidly. Her heart sank. Wherever Crawfish was, trouble was sure to follow. Outside the Race Barn, a crowd of horsemen had gathered to watch the running of the second race. Lara joined them, her heart beating faster. What if she’d got it wrong? What if Southview Sabre was no good tonight? There was so much at stake, not just for the horse, but for her cousin as well. She understood Theo needed to get the money from somewhere to clear his debts. But why did her horse have to be involved? As the starting car sped away, Theo grabbed the lead and opened up four lengths. The move did not go unnoticed. “I got the first eighth in thirteen seconds,” trainer Keith Lazer exclaimed, staring at his stopwatch. “Arrogant bastard,” Tony Hall exclaimed. “He’s as good as won!” Crawfish said excitedly. He was clutching a betting ticket, evidently dreaming of cashing it in. “My horse is getting a great trip!” Tom Cowboy Larsen said happily, watching Mountain Boy narrow the gap with the leader. “Jesus!” he added, ripping his Stetson off his head. “What’s that fool Harper think he’s doing?” Mountain Boy’s driver, Harry Harper, had brought his horse up to challenge Theo for the lead. The horse’s white stockings were pumping like pistons. Lara uttered a sigh of relief when Mountain Boy got to the top. A grudge match was the last thing her horse needed. To her consternation, Theo immediately swung Southview Sabre out to retake the lead and the two horses pulled away, fighting it out head to head. Suddenly Mountain Boy fell back. The crowd screamed. Mountain Boy had dropped like a stone, catapulting Harry Harper up and over the horse’s head. The driver landed hard and lay still. Unaware of the mayhem behind him, Theo carried on. Not for long! “Accident! Accident!” the track announcer called out urgently. “Stop your horses!” With a heavy heart, Lara watched as one of the outriders set off at a gallop, urging her pony on to intercept Theo, who was now fifteen or twenty lengths ahead of the pack. The other drivers were finally slowing down. The racetrack was suddenly crowded with horsemen, running to help the injured. Harry Harper and Mountain Boy lay strewn across the track, both of them ominously still. The vet ran over to Mountain Boy, who lay on the stone dust track, looking like he was made out of stone himself. Soon afterwards, Harry Harper got to his feet, looking a little dazed, too much cheering and clapping. Mountain Boy was stirring too. Tom Larson plonked himself down on the horse’s head and immediately began bawling Crawfish out. “Get this sulky off ’im before he comes to, you retard!” he cursed. “This is all your fault! Take a good look at that hopple hanger! No wonder he fell. It’s popped right out of the keeper. What d’you think I gave you that tape for eh?” Crawfish stood motionless, his face working, as if he had a great deal to say but was afraid to voice it. “You’re damn lucky he’s only winded,” Larson continued angrily. “You could’ve fuckin’ killed him!” “That’s it! I quit,” Crawfish declared, throwing down the bath bucket he’d been carrying and shuffling off. “Hey! Come back ’ere,” Larson said. “I ain’t done with you yet!” Crawfish kept right on going. Leaving Larson in the lurch did little to make up for a thoroughly disappointing evening. But it did cheer him up, just a bit. Stay tuned in to Harnesslink every week for another excerpt from Horse Flesh! Each week, Harnesslink will feature an excerpt from Horse Flesh. If you wish to purchase the book either in paperback or ereader formats, click here.

April 22, 2017 - Jerry Riordan’s trainee Twister Bi (5m Varenne-Lorraine Bi-Lemon Dra) took today’s harness racing Gr. I Seinajoku Race (Finland) (purse €108,000, first prize €60,000, 2100 meters autostart) timed in 1.13kr. The Italian bred campaigner is owned there by Pasquale Ciccarelli and now has a 2-1-0 slate in just three 2017 appearances and 18-6-1 in 41 career starts for €274,072 earned. Twister Bi led from the quarter post and drew off easily after a challenger went offstride in the final bend. Christoffer Eriksson piloted the winner, that bested Vasterboonthenews (9g Credit Winner-Sandra Dime-Alf Palema) reined by Peter Ingves. Third was fast-closing Anna Mix (7f Ludo de Castelle-Ires-Tenor de Baune) teamed by Jorma Kontio for owner Franck Leblanc. Twister Bi is next to race in Helsinki in two weeks. Twister Bi Jerry Riordan Thomas H. Hicks

April 22, 2017 - 1.8/1 Tobin Kronos (5m Muscle Hill-Zarnia FC-Sugarcane Hanover) took Saturday’s Umaker V75 day harness racing featured Berth Johanssons Memorial (200,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) with Orjan Kihlstrom aboard for trainer Daniel Reden and owner Brixton Medical. Tobin Kronos is two for two in 2017 and 11 for 26 lifetime for 2,531,836SEK earned. 4.6/1 Cruzado dela Noche (5m Muscle Massive-Alidade-Credit Winner) earned second money for driver Per Linderoth, trainer Stefan Melander and for owner Courant AB. Third was 3.6/1 In Vain Sund (5m Revenue-Staro Yasmine-Supergill) reined by Erik Adielsson  for trainer Reden. On the undercard was the V75 Gold Olympiatravet Test#4 (150,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) and the 1.2/1 favorite Propulsion (6m Muscle Hill-Danae-Andover Hall) scored victorious timed in 1.12.7kr. Orjan Kihlstrom teamed the Reden trainee for owner Stall Zet. Propulsion secured his first 2017 win in four starts and now has 20 wins in 41 career starts for 6,842,599SEK earned. 6/1 Fire To The Rain (6g Yankee Glide-Adelaide Hall-Conway Hall) took second for Ulf Ohlsson and trainer Reijo Liljendahl. Third was 43/1 Cool Keeper (7m Broadway Hall-Missys GoGo-Yankee Glide) trained by Leif Witasp and driven this day by Kenth Akerlund. Thomas H. Hicks

April 22, 2017 - Saturday’s Kincsem Park featured Bukfurdi Sorbaratok (purse 600,000HUf, 1800 meters autostart) went to 1.17.7kr timed Rafael Bit (7g Prime Prospect-Becky Ami-Keyser Lobell) with Vereb Zsolt aboard for harness racing trainer Laszlo Toth. Orinoco (9f PS Dimo-Uxor-Witsends Speedy) took second for Arpad Lakatos and trainer Zoltan Horvath, ahead of Oldtimer Diamant (7g Arc de Triomphe-Primadonnas Lady-Titan Way) reined by Emil Csordas. On the KP undercard was the Soldo DIJ (purse 400,000Huf, 1900 meters autostart) and the 1.17.7kr clocked winner was Unreal Boss (4f Maximus Lindy-Light Lady-Baltix Bet) reined by trainer Veljko Mazsity for owner Hico Versenyistallo. Uptown Boy M (4m Cigar Dan-Malhana Serey-Malhana Sascha) took second for Csaba Lakatos and trainer Laszlo Toth, ahead of Topaz Lady (5f Ata Star L-Golden Lady-Endless Sands) with trainer Tibor Hajnal driving. Thomas H. Hicks

April 22, 2017 - Coupe Droit (5m Prodigious-Saint Leonard) took Saturday’s Prix de la Ville de Saint Gratien at Enghien (purse €72,000, 2150 meters autostart, 10 European starters) scoring at 1.8/1 odds for driver Robin Bakker on the Bold Eagle undercard. The winner was clocked in 1.14.2kr and recorded his fourth career win in 30 starts, now for €251,110 earned. Paul Hagoort trains Coupe Droit for Stable Wby Not. 1.7/1 favorite Cirrus Atout (5g Look de Star-Ire du Ciel) held gamely for second driven by Gabriel Gelormini for trainer Sebastian Guarato and owner Ecurie de Aaris. Third was 4.9/1 Capitaine France (5g Modern Jazz-Quanta Rosa Sun) in rein to owner/trainer William Bigeon. For Stable Why Not it was a superb weekend following a 1:52.1 (mile) victory in the Friday evening US$ 20,000 purse Preferred Trot at New Meadowlands (USA) by Tuonoblu Rex (5m Cantab Hall-Eternity Rex-Lindy Lane). That one was driven by Andy Miller and trained by Julie Miller in his first US appearance for a purse. Well-regarded and 3/5 favorite Crazy Wow, a career winner over US$1.5 million, was a head-beaten second after leading from the quarter mark in his first 2017 start for a purse. Thomas H. Hicks  

April 22, 2017 - “Trotteurs” were back in harness racing action Saturday on the turf at Martinique Madinina (Hippodrome de Carrere Martinique) with the Prix de Caen (purse €5,000, 2600 meters distance handicap) going to 50 meter penalized Titan Pierji (10g Jardy-Kora Pierji) timed in 3:53 over the rain drenched turf course and in a pouring rainstorm. Titan Pierji now has won four of his five 2017 starts for owner/trainer/driver Lora Duplessis-Kergomard. The 25 meter handicapped Vlatou des Salines (8g Magnificent Rodney-Griffe des Salines) rallied for second reined by Jean Luc Langeron, also the trainer. Third home was Tyran du Vautour (10g Fan Quick-Katia des Vautour) driven by Jean Pierre Loury for trainer Abdon Rene Colas. In the Prix de Cabourg (purse €5,000, 2600 meters distance handicap) the winner placed by disqualification was Tosca du Logis (10f Islero de Bellouet-Maria du Logis) driven by Alexandre Faivre for owner/trainer Edmond Langeron. 25 meter Quamalox de Guex (13g Dahir de Prelong-Esyptia de Salomon) was placed second for driver/trainer/owner Benoit Magdeleine. Trotting action occurs monthly on a mixed trot/gallop program at the Hippodrome. Thomas H. Hicks

April 22, 2017 - Bold Eagle (6m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) kept on rolling with an easy front-end score at Enghien in the Prix de l’Atlantique (Gr. I UET International, purse €200,000, 2150 meters autostart, 11 starters). Franck Nivard was again the harness racing pilot and the 1.12.2kr timed winner now has 34 wins in 39 career starts for €3,193,300 earned. Sebastien Guarato trains Bold Eagle for Pierre Pilarski and Jean Etienne Dubois bred and early developed the champion. The 1/10 favorite bested 23/1 stablemate Billie de Montfort (6f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort) that Guarato trains for Philippe Dauphin. Third was 13/1 Ave Avis (7m Kesaco Phedo-Magna Guis) driven by Matthieu Abrivard for trainer J-M Bazire and owner Ottavia Rolfiu-Urano. Boosters Winner and Duke Of Greenwood took the fourth and fifth positions behind the “exceptionale!!!” champion. A “huge” crowd was on-hand at Enghien-Soisy to see one the greatest perform after more than a two-month layoff. The Q+ on today’s Enghien program was the Prix du Casino Baurnere (purse €60,000. 2150 meters autostart, 15 European starters) and the 4/5 favorite Attacus (7g Hand du Vivier-Nelocata) prevailed for Eric Raffin, trainer Sebastian Guarato and owner J.M. Machet. Attacus recorded his 11th career win in 41 starts for €337,300 earned and he was timed in 1.14.9kr. 9.1/1 Zonguldac (8g Love You-Heartenings Crown) finished second for driver Christophe Martens and Radieux (7g Love You-Dordogne) was third for Dominik Locqueneux and owner/trainer Lutfi Kolgjini. Agora and Blues d’Ourville completed the top five. Thomas H. Hicks  

April 21. 2017 - A superb Friday evenings harness racing card at Paris-Vincennes included two groupe II contests and the Q+ Prix Aetheia (purse €75,000, 2850 meters, 14 starters). The latter went to 2.2/1 odds Baxter du Klau (6g Oiseau de Feux-Imia Josselyn) reined by J-M Bazire for trainer J-M Baudouin and owner Ecurie Homard. 15.7/1 Agora de Goutier (7f Jardy-Olympe Pierji) took second for Anthony Barrier and third went to 56.1/1 Universal Rider (9m Nahar de Beval-Hanska) reined by Mathieu Mottier for trainer Denise Mottier. Uno Dancer and Ble du Gers were the next two on the line with race time 1.13.3kr. Groupe action began with the Gr. II Prix Gaston de Wazieres (purse €120,000. 2100 meters autostart, 12 starters) and 9/2 odds Daring de Reux (4f Prodigious-Queen Jet) was an upset winner, shown below, for driver David Thomain and trainer Sebastien Guarato. Ecurie Winner owns the 1.12.5kr timed victorious mare that recorded her seventh win I  only 13 career starts now with €208,210 earned. 5.2/1 Dawana (4f Ready Cash-Sanawa) took second for Gabriel Gelormini, trainer/owner Philippe Allaire. 10.6/1 Desiree (4f Ready Cash-Richesse d’Orient) was home third for driver/trainer Alain Laurent. Draft Life and Dream Life were fourth and fifth. The sixth race Gr. II Prix Gaston Brunet (purse  €120,000, 2100 meters autostart, nine entrants) went to the 22.1/1 outsider Dijon (4m Ganymede-Sonate d’Aunou) timed in a quick 1.12.5kr and piloted by trainer Romain Derieux, pictured below). Mauricette de Sousa owns the seven time career winner in 20 starts, now for €303,000 earned. 2.7/1 Django Riff (4m Ready Cash-Rasta Perrine) held second for Yoann Lebourgeois, trainer Philippe Allaire and breeder/owner Elisabeth Allaire. Third home was 10.7/1 Doberman (4m Prodigious-Quietude Mesloise) and trainer/driver Franck Nivard. 1.2/1 favorite Dreammoko (4m Timoko-IUranie d’Atout) ended fourth for Gabriel Gelormini. Thomas H. Hicks  

April 19, 2017 - 2.7/1 Makethemark (4m Maharajah-Global Naughty-Conway Hall) took today’s Solvallaserien III (100,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) for harness racing driver Ulf Ohlsson, driving for Petri Salmela. Timed in 1.13.1kr the winner was victorious in his first 2017 appearance and is now 14 for 19 lifetime with 1,972,500SEK career earnings. 8/1 Milligan’s School (4m Yankee Glide-Tori Ann-SJ’s Photo) took second for Stefan Melander. Richard and Joyce McClelland bred this one. 52/1 Mindyourvalue WF (4g Hovding Lavec-Mind Your Manners-Dahir de Prelong) was third for Ulf Eriksson and trainer Robert Bergh. Earlier in the week at Halmstad, the Yngve Larssons Memorial (100,000SEL to the winner, 1640 meters autostart) went to 1.1/1 Delicious US (8f Cantab Hall-Ipsara LB-Lemon Dra) timed in 1.10.4kr for reinsman Orjan Kihlstrom and trainer Daniel Reden. Stall Zet owns the talented mare that was bred by Lindy Farms. Delicious is a three time 2017 winner in as many starts and has a 27-9-7 slate in 52 career starts for 6,446,572SEK earned. 9.4/1 Take Them (7m From Above-D’Cherie-New Quick) was second for Steen Juul ahead of 8.2/1 BBS Sugarlight (8g Super Light-Sugarsweet Sid-Sugarcane Hanover) reined by Vidar Hop. Thomas H. Hicks

April 19, 2017 - 4.8/1 Barry Felin (6m Nahar de Beval-Krisma des Bois) won today’s Quinte+ harness racing featured Prix de la Ville de Cordemais (purse €40,000, 2825 meters, 18 starters) timed in 1.13.7kr for reinsman Dwight Pieters. Gilles Delacour trains the wines that defeated 2/1 Bronnus Seven (6g Scipion du Goutier-Melie Dhaumoniere), owned/bred/trained/reined by Jean-Michel Bazire. 3.8/1 Baladin Hongrois (6g Bon Conseil-Relodie Hongrise) took third for trainer/driver Arnaud Desmottes. At Paris-Vincennes yesterday was the Prix Henrietta (purse €60,000, 2850 meters, 10 starters) that produced a dead-heat victory shared by 1.7/1 Dandy de Godrel (4m Timoko-Nigelle Witt) for trainer/owner/driver Bjorn Goop and 6.5/1 Davidson du Pont (4m Pacha du Pont-Laguna du Pont) with Franck Ouvrie driving for owner/trainer J-Y Rayon. Third went to 5/2 Driver Cadence (4m Saxo de Vandel-Rose Pourpre) driven by trainer Emmanuel Allard. Fourth was 10.9/1 Derby d’Auvrecy (4m Texas Charm-Meliana Bella) driven by Dominik Locqueneux and trainer M-J Ruault. Race timed was 1.14.5kr. Also at Vincennes was the Gr. III Prix Cornelia (monte, purse €85,000, 2850 meters, 10 European starters) that resulted in a 1.13.4kr resounding victory for 1.6/1 Alpha Saltor (7m Paris-Haufor-Glory d’Ariane) with jockey Matthieu Abrivard in the irons. Daniel Bethouart trains the winner for P.G. David. 7/1 Valse de Reve (8f Mister President-Noubu Itouba) took second for Mlle. Camille Levesque and trainer/owner Alain Roussel. 16.1/1 Vrai Voyou (8g Gazouillis-Oranginette) was third for Adrian Lamy and owner/trainer P.E. Mary. Thomas H. Hicks  

April 19, 2017 - Bold Eagle leads a classy harness racing field of 11 in Saturday’s Gr. I UET Masters Series Prix de l’Atlantique at Enghien. The recent Triple Crown winner, first in 41 years, drew post one in the 2150 meters autostart affair for a purse of €200,000. The lineup follows:   Thomas H. Hicks

April 18, 2017 - Bold Eagle will likely be back in harness racing action Saturday at Enghien in the Gr. I International Prix de l’Atlantique. Over 30 horses have been initially engaged (final draw Wednesday) for the €200,000 purse event contested over 2150 meters autostart. Bold Eagle last completed the Triple Crown victory in France two months ago, the first such accomplishment in 41 years. Now, after a brief time in the breeding shed, he will prepare for the Elitloppet at end of May at Solvalla SWE, which would be his first effort at a mile distance and in a multiple heat affair. That said, the €3,103,500 winning Bold Eagle, would likely face many of the world’s best trotters on Saturday with 11 possible starters having career earnings in excess of €1 million and another three over €900,000. The possible contestants include: Up  And Quick €1,943,540 Tiego d’Etang €1,821,780 Un Mec d’Heripre €1,652,930 Univers de Pan €1,582,070 Pascia’Lest €1,402,611 Akim de Cap Vert €1,298,530 Bird Parker €1,285,530 Billie de Montfort  €1,271,516 Anna Mix €1,082,736 Lionel €1,011,381   Thomas H. Hicks  

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