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November 3, 2017 - Well regarded Cobra Bleu (5m Fortuna Fant-Nuit Irisee) returned in victory today at Le Croise Laroche, winning the harness racing Grand Prix du Nord 5Ans (purse €40,000, 2825 meters distance handicap, 10 starters) clocked in 1.15.3kr. Pierre Vercruysse drove Cobra Bleu, one that he also trains, for breeder/owner Nathalie Chepdelaine. The 2/5 favorite overcame a 25 meter handicap, and after catching his rivals, staged a four wide move to the lead with a lap remaining, to defeat 7/1 Chic (5f Look de Star-Marine du Hausey), Franck Nivard up,  and 10/1 Coeur de Loup (5g Jet Fortuna-Otra Luna) reined by trainer Philippe Deaugeard. Cobra Bleu scored his second 2017 win in only three starts and now has 10 career victories for €442,640 earned. Cobra Bleu is one to watch at the Vincennes Winter Meet. He has shown up before, placing second last Christmas day in the Criterium Continental and he won Gr. II events such as the Prix Phaeton and Prix Ephrem Houel, also in 2016. Evening racing this day at Paris-Vincennes was highlighted by the Quinte+ Prix Barbara (purse €48,000, 2100 meters autostart, 18 starters) that resulted in a 1.13.3kr timed victory by 43/1 Agi de Crenes (7g Joyou d’Amour-Ovation de Crennes) reined by J.P. Maillard. 8.2/1 Atout de Gainaut (7g Gazouillis) was next for Eric Raffin and third was 4.7/1 Aquero de Soudes (7g Dahir de Prelong) for Alain Laurent. Monday the Paris-Vincennes afternoon program will be worth tracking with its three Gr. II events and other meaningful contests. PRIX REYNOLDS 120 000€ Groupe II - Monté - 2 175m - International PRIX REINE DU CORTA 120 000€ Groupe II - Attelé - 2 175m – 3yo females PRIX ABEL BASSIGNY 120 000€ Groupe II - Attelé - 2 175m -3yo males Well respected Tornado Bello (monte), three year old fillies Electra Jet, Elegantissime, Erming d’Oliverie  and three year old colts Express Jet, Espoir Prestance, Eridan and Ecu Pierji will be at the start. Thomas H. Hicks  

Cobra Bleu (4m Fortuna Fant-Nuit Irisee) took Saturday’s featured Gr, II Prix de la Republique de Bachkirie (purse €120,000, 2850 meters, 12 starters) at Paris-Vincennes. The winner scored as 1.4/1 harness racing favorite, timed in 1.14.8kr over a sloppy course. Pierre Vercruysse is trainer/driver of Cobra Bleu for owner G.E. Morin. The well-bred 27/1 Calita Wood (4f Goetmals Wood-Qualita Bourbon) was a fast closing second for Bernard Piton, trainer Yves Boireau and owner Jean-Pierre Dubois. 20/1 Canari Match (4m Extreme Aunou-Ruelle d’Ostal) was third for Frederic Prat. The winner’s sire Fortuna Fant is a son of And Arifant that won the Criterium des Jeunes and Prix Paul Viel at age three. Three year-olds contested the Prix JSS Hippodrome de Russie (purse €32,000, 2700 meters, 13 starters) and 2.6/1 Dobra Droga (3f Goetmals Wood-Oublies Moi) recorded the 1.17.7kr victory for driver Franck Nivard, trainer Fabrice Soukoy and Ecurie Hodij Coatings BV. 152/1 Desideria (3f Coktail Jet-Tentation de Star) was second for trainer/driver P-Y Verva with 1.4/1 favorite Dame Island home fourth for J-M Bazire. Uza Josselyn (5f L’As de Viretaute-Hada) took the Quinte+ Prix CTA Commonwealth Trotting Association (purse €72,000, 2700 meters, 15 European entrants) timed in 1.13.6kr for trainer/driver J-M Bazire. 4/1 Belle Bauloise (5f Ludo de Castelle-Sweet Pearl) ended second for William Bigeon with 9/1 Easytowin home third for Franck Nivard. 45/1 Babylone Seven was fourth for Gabriele Gelormini with fifth to 150/1 Sheyla EK (5f Varenne-Camargue OM) driven by Santo Mollo and trainer Cristian Rizzo and Scuderia RM Team SRL. Today’s card and Sunday as well honored Russia and its equine industry. The monte performers battled in the Prix de la Region Varone J (purse €88,000, 2700 meters, 12 European monte starters) with the 1.14.2kr victory to 1.4/1 favorite Tayson de Houelle (9g Insert Gede-Irina de la Frette) for Eric Raffin, trainer Franck Leblanc and Ecurie Pricing Power. 10.6/1 Art On Line (9g Rite On Line-Lass Fleur) was second with Damien Bonne driving for trainer Fabrice Souloy andTeam Art On Line AB. 7/2 Ugolin du Maine ended third for Mathieu Abrivard. Your Highness (7m Chocolatier-La Belle Lady) took the Prix de la Region Irkoutsk (purse €95,000, 2100 meters autostart, 11 European starters) timed in a sharp 1.11.5kr as the 0.5/1 favorite over the sprinter distance. Franck Nivard was aboard for trainer Fabrice Souloy and PV Racing Stable HB. 4.2/1 Val Royal (7m Capriccio-Quarta de Rib) was second for trainer/driver J-M Bazire and Ecurie des Charmes with 18.5/1 Tropic du Hetre (9g Jasmin de Flore-Ixia de Perthuis) third for Eric Raffin. In Sunday’s Grand Prix de France Rolling d’Heripre has been scratched in the race billed as a battle renewed between Timoko and Bold Eagle. Thomas H. Hicks

June 21. 2015 - The Gr. II Prix Xavier de Saint Paris (monte, €120,000 purse, 2175 meters, 12 starters) went to 2.2/1 Athena de Vandel (5f Prince Gede-Maelia de Vandel-Coktail Jet) for jockey Mathieu Abrivard and trainer Cedrik Megissier. The winner scored in 1.11.3kr for career win number nine and earnings of €401,600. The owner/breeder is Ecurie la Tour de Vandel. Second at 10/1 was Astor du Quenne (5m Opus Viervil-Qjualinka du Quenne) for Eric Raffin with third to 57/1 Amiral du Poitou (5m Oxford du Rib-Katia de Loimade) handled by Damien Bonne The Gr. I International UET Masters Series Prix Rene Balliere (€200,000 purse, 2100 meters autostart, 11 starters) started the Gr. I events and it went to 6/1 Voltigeur de Myrt (6m Opus Viervil-Myrtille des Bois-Tenor de Baune) with Gabriel Gelormini up for owner/trainer Roberto Donati. The top-performing winner was clocked in 1.10.3kr (race time 2:27.59, mile rate 1:53.11) for his ninth career victory good for €1,040,083 earnings. 3/1 Akim du Cap Vert (5m First de Retz-Prima du Cap Vert) was second for owner/trainer/driver Franck Anne. 5/1 Vinci de l’Abbaye (6m Otello Pierji-Kyboumette) ended third for trainer/driver J-M Bazire. Roxane Griff was a miscue disqualification and Italy’s Olmo Holz and Pace del Rio finished fourth and fifth. Bilibili (4m Niki-Quetty du Donjon) and Alexandre Abrivard took the Gr. I Prix du President de la Republique (monte, €240,000 purse, 2850 meters, 16 starters) clocked in 1.13kr (race time 3:27.97). The victory was his fourth in a career that now shows €273,700 earned. L. Cl. Abrivard trains Bilibili for owner/breeder J-P Barjon. 4/1 Booster Winner (4m Love You-Quille Viretaute) was second for Eric Raffin and trainer Sebastian Guarato with third to 1.9/1 Best Of Jets (4m Magnificent Rodney-Plume Jets) for Francois Lagadeuc and trainer/owner Jean Michel Baudouin. Bird Parker was disqualified for a miscue. The Gr. I Prix Albert Viel (€200,000 purse, 2700 meters, 16 starters) went to the Pierre Vercruysse trained/driven 10/1 odds Cobra Bleu (3m Fortuna Fant-Nuit Irisee). He scored in 1.13.6kr for owner/breeder G.E. Morin. The winner recorded his sixth career victory for €204,340 earned. 29/1 Coktail Meslois (3m Roc Meslois-Ocarino Mesloise) was second for trainer/driver Pierre Belloche ahead of 6/1 Cristal Money (3m Coktail Jet-Making Money) with Franck Nivard up for trainer Thierry Duvaldestin. 1/1 odds favorite Captain Crazy was a dq early for a break. The Gr. I Prix d’Essai (monte, €200,000 purse, 2175 meters, 14 starters) went to 2/1 Carlos des Caux (3m Mien-Star Dodienville) with Mathieu Abrivard aboard. Jacques Bruneau trains this one for Jean-Louis Postel that scored in 1.13.9kr (race time 2:40.72). 3/1 Che Jenilou (3m Goetmals Wood-Pirogue Jenilou) was second for Eric Raffin, trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Antonio de Sousa. 49/1 Cincinnati Bond (3f Prince Gede-Miranda d’Odyssee) was third for Anthony Barrier. The Group races were well received by a huge crowd this day under sunny skies. Thomas H. Hicks

April 4, 2015 - Graded events and fast-class harness racing action graced the Saturday card at Vincennes, albeit taking a back seat to Bold Eagle’s 12th consecutive victory. The Quinte+ Prix d’Aubussion (€55,000, 2100 meters autostart) went to Ulster Perrine (7m Tenor de Baune - Nana Perrine) and J-M Bazire. The 3.4/1 second choice scored handily in 1.11.5kr off quick fractions for trainer J-M Baudouin to defeat Universal Rider and Mathieu Mottier with third to Sahara Fairytale the 1.8/1 favorite for Christophe Martens. The International Monte Gr. II Prix Theophile Lallouet (€120,000, 2700 meters) went to 44/1 outsider Nene Degli Ulivi (8g Uconn Roc - Maureen Lobell) for Alexandre Abrivard and trainer Vincent Lacroix. The winner scored in 1.13.8kr off modest fractions to defeat 1.7/1 Uppercut de Manche with Anthony Barrier up and 52/1 Rapide du Digeon and Mathieu Abrivard. Roxanne Griff finished fifth after surging toward the front off the final bend. The Prix du Treport (€85,000, 2700 meters, 13 european starters) went to fast closing Ustinof du Vivier (7g Look de Star - Melba du Vivier), the 3/2 favorite with Mathieu Abrivard up for trainer Sebastian Guarato timed in 1.12.4kr. Moving On (6f Quite Easy-Kings Blondie) was the 6/1 second place closer for Franck Nivard with Spain’s Trebol (8m Hot Blues-Sally Can Wait) third at 22/1 for Gabrielle-Angel Pou Pou. The Gr. II Prix Paul Legueurney (€120,000, 2850 meters, 9 starters) went to the classy mare Billie de Montfort (4f Jasmin de Flore - Quismy de Montfort) with Eric Raffin up for trainer Sebastian Guarato. She scored in 1.13.9kr as the .5/1 favorite ahead of Blue Grass (4f Ready Cash-Princess Natacha at 6/1 for trainer Philippe Allaire and teamster Joann Lebourgeois. Tony LeBeller drove Bambina Majic (4f Nuage de Lait-Rive Magic) home third at 16/1. The Gr. III Prix de Saintes (£60,000 purse, 2100 meters, 8 starters) went to 1.3/1 odds Cobra Blue (3m Fortuna Fant - Nuit Ipisee) for trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse and owner G.E. Morin. This 1.14.1kr winner defeated Charly de Noyer (3m Ready Cash-Ornella Jet) and Coktail Meslois (3m Roc Meslois-Ocarina Mesloise). Tom Hicks  

January 17, 2015 - The Gr. II Prix de Pardieu (€120,000 purse, 2175 meters monte, 13 starters, four year-old females) went to 3/1 Beauty Turgot (4f Hand du Vivier - Quouragane) in 1.13.2kr, after a quick early tempo, with Anthony Barrier in the irons for trainer Fabrice Souloy. The comfortable winner easily dispatched Bianca d’Atout (4f Saxo de Vandel - Geline d’Atout) and Matthieu Mottier at 9/1 and third place Brise de l’Alba (4f Quido du Goutier-Celq de la Meritee) with David Thomain aboard at 15/1 odds. The Quinte+ Prix de Granville (€75,000 purse, 2700 meters, 18 starters) produced an impressive victory for Ugor du Beauvoisin (7m Olitro - Klea du Beauvoisin) for reinsman Alexandre Abrivard and trainer L. Cl. Abrivard. The 11/1 odds winner handled second place Topaze de Landerie (8f Legs des Clos - Oree Line) with Pierre Vercruysse up at 23/1 by two lengths. Tollemont Haufor (8f Ganymede - Mamba d’Haufor) ended third at 6/1 for Christian J. Bigeon. The Gr. II European Prix de Brest (€120,000 purse, 2850 meters, 12 starters) went to the game mare Princess Grif (6f Varenne - Fauve Grif) at 17/1 for Italian teamster Roberto Andreghetti, trainer Fabrice Souloy and owner Azienda Agricola Biasuzzi. The winner, timed in 1.13.9kr, nosed out 5.2/1 Villeroi (6m Oiseau de Feux-Pochahontas) trained by Sebastian Guarato and reined by Gabriele Gelormini. Guarato was also third as trainer with Ustinof du Vivier (7g Look de Star - Melba du Vivier), the 1.4/1 favorite with Eric Raffin up. Repay Merci landed fourth for Anthony Barrier and Triskell Pacha was fifth for Franck Nivard. Lightly raced three year-old males contested the Prix de la Ferte Mace (€42,000 purse, 2200 meters, 13 starters) over the petite course. Pacesetter 1.6/1 favorite Cobra Bleu (3m Fortuna Fant - Nuit Irisee) held on for trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse for the 1.16.3kr score. Cote Ouest (3m Goetmals Wood -Island Dream  -Coktail Jet) was a fast closing second along the pegs at 8/1 for Joseph Verbeeck, trainer Patrick Chevrier and owner J-P Dubois. The first dam of Cote Ouest, Island Dream, is a great one, having produced Infinitif USD750,093, Viva Island USD374,815, Not Disturb USD373,948 and Rebelle USD100,225. Third today went to 16/1 Colibri de Larve (3m Echo - Sagresse de Larre) for trainer/driver Sylvain Roger.Cobra Bleu Thomas H. Hicks

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