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The Grand Criterium de Vitesse Nice-Matin (Gr. I, UET Masters Series, purse 170,000€, 11 starters) today at Cagnes sur Mer was raced with video, with wagering and with fans and the 1.8/1 favorite Vivid Wise As (6m Yankee Glide-Temple Blue Chip) scored, timed in 1.09.7kr (1:52.16) for trainer/driver Alessandro Gocciadoro. Scuderia Bivans Srl owns the now four-time winner in France and his life earnings reached 774,636€. The race time was well off the 1.08.9kr race record jointly held by Readly Express and Bold Eagle. The 4.5/1 Earl Simon (6m Prodigious-Tindrama) was second with Franck Ouvrie up for trainer Jarmo Niskanen and Ecurie Skyttem. 12/1 Billie de Montfort (9f Jasmin de Flore) rallied late for third after being trapped on the pegs with Gabriele Gelormini up. The 9/2 Delia du Pommereux (7f Niky) was fourth and 6.4/1 Looking Superb finished fifth ahead of the other two check earners Uza Josselyn and Bahia Quesnot. Former Elitloppet winner Dijon was a miscue dq. Une de Mai won this classic five times; Ourasi plus Timoko are four-time winners. The last USA winner was Moni Maker in 2000 with Jimmy Takter driving. The seven other USA winners include Peace Corps and Express Ride. Vivid Wise As Race Replay:  https://www.letrot.com/fr/replay-courses/2020-03-08/0601/5 LeTrot, PMU files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

March 10, 2019 - Today’s Gr. I UET Master Series Grand Criterium de Vitesse Nice-Matin (purse 170,000€, 1609 meters autostart, nine harness racing International starters) went to late rallying Readly Express (7m Ready Cash-Caddie Dream) with Bjorn Goop aboard for trainer Timo Nurmos and owner Bro Byggnads AB.  The grand champion tied the race record of 1.08.90kr set a year ago by Bold Eagle, and increased his career earnings to 2,201,824€. Goop and Ready Express were away from the gate sixth as Romain Derieux put Dijon (6m Ganymede-Sonate d’Aunou) on the lead with Uza Josselyn (8f Love You-Teza Josselyn) in the pocket for Gabriele Gelormini. Bold Eagle (8m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) fired off the gate from past seven and engaged Dijon, but Derieux did not take back. Dijon parked the Eagle around the first turn and into the backside when Bold Eagle showed weakness. He was being followed by Bahia Quesnot (8g Scipion du Goutier-Queen Ines) and her pilot Junior Guelpa took up the challenge to Dijon as they battled into the long lane when Dijon looked a winner until Readly Express caught him nearing the official finish post at Cagnes sur Mer and moved ahead by half-length at the extra 1609 meter finish line. Dijon and Bahia Quesnot, both timed in 1.09kr, gamely held second and third with Uza Josselyn fourth clocked at 1.09.2kr. Billie de Montfort (8f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort) was away fifth and finished fifth timed in 1.09.3kr and trying to follow Readly Express. Unique Juni and Bold Eagle was dq’s, the latter pacing in the lane after fading badly. Click here for a video replay   Thomas H. Hicks

March 11, 2017 - Gallant harness racing trotter, the ten year-old Timoko seeks his fourth Grand Criterium de Vitesse on Sunday afternoon at Cagnes-sur-Mer. The career winner of €4,401,098 will be reined by Bjorn Goop for trainer Richard Westerink. The 1609 meter autostart  Gr. I European Trotting Masters 2017 test drew 13 starters after one scratch. Anna Mix, Oasis Bi and Un Mec d’Heripre are likely threats. Trainer Jerry Riordan sends Treasure Kronos and Rod Stewart to the start from second tier starting positions. Grand Criterium de Vitesse de la Cote d’Azur (purse €200,000, 1609 meters autostart) March 12, Cagner-sur-Mer – race 6 PP/Horse/Driver Anna Mix, Lebourgeois Up And Quick, Mottier Rocky Winner, Gelormini Timoko, Goop Brillantissime, Vercruysse Oasis Bi, Takter Voltigeur de Myst, Donati Un Mec d’Heripre, J-M Bazire Timone EK, J.Ph. Monclin Red Rose America, Gubellini SCRATCHED – Call Me Keeper, Nivard Vicomte Boufarcaux, Ch.A. Mary Treasure Kronos, Eriksson Rod Stewart, Bekaert Thomas H. Hicks

Un Mec d’Heripre, one of the favored sprinters in tomorrow’s €200,000, 1609 meter autostart, Gr. I Grand Criterium de Vitesse at Cagnes-sur-Mer, has been scratched (reportedly due to cough and fever) leaving harness racing veteran Timoko as the likely clear choice in wagering. Others getting early attention are Voltiguer de Myrt, Oasis Bi, Anna Mix, Trebol (Spain) and Pascia’Lest (Italy). Nevertheless it should be a speedy affair that could result in a third Timoko victory, the 2013 and 2015 winner, for the career winner of almost €3.9 million.   PP  Horse                             Shoes Sex Age Driver                    Trainer           Distance Past Perform.          Earnings 1 Kadett c.d.     M 9 r. bergh r. bergh 1609 7a9a6aDaDaDa 814 888 €     2 Un mec d'heripre   NON PARTANT 3 Solea rivelliere     F 10 ph. daugeard ph. daugeard 1609 8a6a7a7a(15) 794 370 €     4 Pascia' lest     M 7 n. ensch f. souloy 1609 0a(15)3a1a8a 1 248 293 €     5 Voltigeur de myrt     M 7 g. gelormini r. donati 1609 3a8a2a(15)1a 1 205 332 €     6 Oasis bi     M 8 johnny takter s. pettersson 1609 0a3a3a(15)4a 1 061 568 €     7 Timoko     M 9 b. goop r. westerink 1609 5a2a2a1a(15) 3 893 993 €     8 Anna mix     F 6 p. vercruysse f. leblanc 1609 3a4a2a0m(15) 699 700 €     9 Vicomte boufarcaux     M 7 ch.a. mary m.j. ruault 1609 2a2a6a9a4a(1 436 780 €     10 Trebol     M 9 g.a. pou pou g.a. pou pou 1609 7a1a7a(15)9a 552 112 €     11 Luckycharm hanover     M 8 y.a. briand daniel reden 1609 5a4a4a4a6a(1 359 009 €     12 Sahara fairytale     F 7 ch. martens v. martens 1609 8a7a5a(15)3a 286 477 €     13 Going for gold zaz     M 8 d. locqueneux r. bergh 1609 Da5a(15)2a4a 349 350 €     14 Air frame     F 6 r. derieux r. kuiper 1609 7a6a5a2a2a4a 269 095 €     Déferré postérieur (no shoes front) Déferré des 4  (barefoot) Déferré antérieur (no shoes back) The race record of 1.09.6kr was set by Varenne in 2002. Winners since the year 2000 are shown below for this UET Masters Series test that began in 1964.   Year Winner S/A* Country Time Sire Driver Second Third 2015 Timoko M.8  France 1'11"3 Imoko Björn Goop Maven Vanika du Ruel 2014 Univers de Pan M.6  France 1'10" Kenya du Pont Philippe Daugeard Pascia' Lest Vanika du Ruel 2013 Timoko M.6  France 1'10"2 Imoko Jos Verbeeck The Best Madrik Rêve de Beylev 2012 Santa Rosa France F.6  France 1'10" Kaisy Dream William Bigeon Quaker Jet Rêve de Beylev 2011 Quaker Jet M.7  France 1'10"8 Love You Jean-Étienne Dubois Priscilla Blue Brioni 2010 Meaulnes du Corta M.10  France 1'11" Voici du Niel Pierre Levesque Brioni Priscillia Blue 2009 Meaulnes du Corta M.9  France 1'11"2 Voici du Niel Pierre Levesque Igor Font Offshore Dream 2008 Opal Viking M.8  Suède 1'11'1 Turnpike Taylor Jorma Kontio Nijinski Blue Opus Viervil 2007 Kesaco Phedo M.9  France 1'10"7 Caballio in Blue Jean-Michel Bazire Smashing Victory Frisky Bieffe 2006 Kazire de Guez M.8  France 1'11"3 Udo de Touraine Jean-Michel Bazire Kool du Caux Lets Go 2005 Vasterbo Daylight F.8  Suède 1'10"5 Spotlite Lobell Ake Svanstedt Ilster d'Espiens Likable River 2004 Kesaco Phedo M.6  France 1'09"9 Caballio in Blue Jean-Michel Bazire Alesi OM Revenue 2003 Gigant Neo M.5  Suède 1'13"2 Super Arnie Jean-Michel Bazire Flambeau des Pins Ilster d'Espiens 2002 Varenne M.7  Italie 1'09"6 Waikiki Beach Giampaolo Minnucci Fan Idole Flambeau des Pins 2001 Gobernador M.7  France 1'11" Buvetier d'Aunou Dominick Locqueneux Gébrazac Not a Spacecase 2000 Moni Maker F.7  États-Unis 1'10"5 Speedy Crown Jimmy Takter Remington Crown The Bad Boy   Be there on-site or online for what is always an interesting contest for the trotting sprinters as winter racing nears completion in France. Thomas Hicks    

Race five on the Cagnes-sur-Mer harness racing card Sunday is the Gr. I UET Masters Series Grand Criterium de Vitesse for €200,000 over the 1609 meters autostart course. Geldings are permitted in this test for 4-10 year olds that have won €160,000 or more. The sprinters will be out and flying led by Timoko, Un Mec d’Heripre, Anna Mix and others respected for speed off the mobile car. First tier starters will likely have an advantage although the CSM has a long stretch for the late closers. Be there on track or online for what has become a classic ending of the winter trotting season in Europe. Thomas H. Hicks

Last year's winner Neste Effe is the overwhelming favourite for this year's running of Finland's Prix d'Etain Royal one of three UET Masters Series races on Easter weekend, as the European spring-summer circuit hits the track running. The Group one event worth 110,000 euros has been brought forward a couple of weeks this year which surprisingly puts the race head to head with other big international races in France and Norway. Nesta Effe was supreme in the early part of last season, with wins in the opening two of the five Finnish international Group ones for elite aged horses. The Italian-bred stallion son of Sweden's Naglo followed up the win in the Prix d'Etain Royal, with a win in the FInlandia Ajo and a second in Norway's Oslo Grand Prix before a win in a heat of Sweden's Elitloppet highlighted a fine Spring programme. An unplaced effort when hampered for a run in the final heralded two further unplaced starts before being put aside until January when he prepared for an unsuccessful shot at the Prix d'Amerique with a warm up race in Florence Italy. Neste Effe fronted up in Turin in mid February to take out the Italian Group two Gran Premio Mario Locatelli before returning to France where he was unplaced in the Grand Criterium de Vitesse at his last start on March 9. None of the others in this field have been competing at this level and Holger Ehlert's handsome chestnut , who will be driven by usual pilot Roberto Vecchione will be at very short odds, being at less than even money in early markets. Bergsaker trainer Svante Bath's well-performed Quid Pro Quo has been a group one performer since a 2YO when he ran third in the only Group 1 for babies in Sweden, the tongue-twisting Uppfödningslöpning. He followed that up with a win in Italy's Group 1 Orise Mangelli for 3YOs and last year was the Swedish Group one Sprintermasteren final winner for 4YOs. The son of Yankee Glide has also had group one placings in Norway and Germany to prove that travel will not bother him, although just an early 5YO, it is age that might be against the rising star in an aged group one. B.W.L Champion is a veteran journeyman with 20 race wins capped off with a win in Norway's group two Radio Metro Cup last year, his only win in group company in seven seasons on the track. But the 9YO son of Pine Chip is a tough old campaigner and as followers of European trotting know, these guys can keep their speed well into their second decade. Ex-pat Finn Reijo Liljendahl who was Swedish legend Stig Johansson's right-hand man for 35 years until abruptly going out on his own last year at the age of 58 has the classy Monster Drive entered, and the son of Tap In has come in for a lot of support. Other local hopes will be on Jarno Kauhanen's Swedish Import Womanizer, a 10YO roan journeyman who is as tough as old boots And the Finns also have two other local stars in the race, including last season's Finnish TravDerby winner Quite an Avenger who has had two second this term and a former Finnish St Leger winner She Loves You who will have star Swedish driver Johnny Takter hooking up again. The group one winning mare who has won big races in Sweden and raced in France and returned to winning form last start after a long absence. PRIX D'ETAIN ROYAL Seinäjoki 19/04/14 GROUP 1 UET MASTERS SERIES Int 4-12 2100m  €110 000   1         Nesta Effe (h   Naglo - Etna Sec)  Dr:  Roberto Vecchione   Tr: Holger Ehlert     2100         2         Quite An Avenger (v   Quite Easy - Nobes Hanover)   Mika Forss  Dr:  Markku Nieminen     2100         3         Monster Drive (h   Thai Tanic - Kewpie)  Dr:  Per Lennartsson   Tr: Reijo Liljendahl     2100         4         Womanizer (v   Tap In - Sandra Nibs)   Dr: Tommi Kylliäinen  Tr:  Jarno Kauhanen     2100         5         She Loves You (s   Love You - Sj's Shad Roe)  Dr:  Johnny Takter  Tr:  Jörgen Westholm     2100         6         Surprise Lord (h   Classic Response - Beauty Bro)  Dr:  Iikka Nurmonen   Tr: Timo Hulkkonen     2100         7         Prussia (s   Ken Warkentin - Elvezia)  Dr:  Pietro Gubellini Dr:   Tr: Pietro Gubellini     2100         8         Quid Pro Quo (h   Yankee Glide - Hostage)  Dr:  Erik Adielsson   Tr: Svante Båth     2100         9         Pitch Command (v   Scarlet Knight - Magyare Turgot)  Dr:  Jorma Kontio   Tr: Mia Kjellman     2100         10         B.W.L.Champion (v   Pine Chip - Lovely )  Dr: Ville Karhulahti   Tr: Petri Salmela     2100          by David Sanders, for Harnesslink.com  

Today's Laval co-featured Prix de la Societe du Cheval Francais, a European monte test for 27,000e, went to veteran Jag de Bellouet stallion Remember Jihem. Fabien Gence rode the J-M Monclon trainee to his first victory since early June 2013. He rallied along the pegs with 700 meters to go in the 2875 meter test to score easily in 1.14.4kr, his 10th career victory. Longshots Rescousse de Barb and Riquewihr finished two-three. March 12, 2014 Laval, Prix de la Societe du Cheval Francais, 27,000e, European monte, 10- starters, 2875 meters (m=male; f=female)  1.14.4kr 1st Remember Jihem (9m Jag de Bellouet-Feriana-Pietro), Fabien Gence up for Jean-Marie Monclon, 2.5/1 odds, his 10th career victory for earnings of 349,700e 2nd Rescousse de Barb (9f L'as de Vivetaute-Gaie Melodie-Quadrophenio), Mlle. Marion Lemonnier, 58/1 3rd Riquewihr (9g Tenor de Baune-Itara-Reve d'Udon), Yann Joblot up, 24/1 Last Sunday's Grand Criterium de Vitesse winner, Univers de Pan, will soon begin his initial season at stud at Haras du Prieure while also racing. Trainer Philippe Daugeard will point his pupil, a beautiful and great gaited son of Kenya du Pont, toward the April 19 Prix de l'Atlantique at Enghien and will consider Sweden's Olympiatravet, the Oslo Grand Prix and Kymi Grand Prix albeit they may represent tight scheduling difficulties. Daugeard commented that his first concern is the horse, and having him fresh and ready for the next winter meet at Paris-Vincennes. On the Sunday Cagnes sur mer card Germany's Armando Kievitshof and reinsman Rik Dupuydt took the 50,000e Prix de Rome in 1.14kr over 2925 meters. The son of Ganymede, from a Spotlite Lobell dam, scored at 9.6/1 odds for his ninth lifetime win. March 9, 2014 Cagnes sur mer, Prix de Rome Tor di Valle, 50,000e, 2925 meters, 15 starters 1.14kr 1st Armando Kievitshof (7g Ganymede-Continental Lobell-Spotlite Lobell), Rik Dupuydt up for trainer Carine de Soete, owner DVBA Campus RPF, 9.6/1 odds, his ninth career win for 293,599e 2nd Saphir de Fille (8m Ipsos de Montfort-Jelene-Ortolan), Eric Raffin aboard, 2.3/1 3rd Swing d'Eronville (8g Jag de Bellouet-Lucie d'Eronville-Workaholic), J-C Feron up at 30/1 Other European racing of interest took place Saturday at Farjestad (Sweden) as the Jag de Bellouet stallion Francois de Gull took the V-75 Gold Division in a quick 1.11.3kr over 1640 meters autostart. He defeated a well-balanced field including BAHT Launcher. On the card trainer Per Eriksson recorded a training win with the Cantab Hall mare Livacious Lindy. March 8, 2014 Farjestad Sweden, Gold, 1640 meters autostart, 150,000SEK to winner  1.11.3kr 1st Francois du Gull (7m Jag de Bellouet-Tantiem Gull-Lindy Lane), Erik Adielsson up, winners' 13th in 67 starts for 2,547,172SEK 2nd BAHT Launcher (9g Tap In-Josephine Launcher-Turbo Thrust), Orjan Kihlstrom up 3rd Dileva Kall (8f Muscles Yankee-Leva Kall-Spotlite Lobell), Daniel Reden driver/trainer March 8, 2014 Farjestad Sweden, conditioned 2640 meters turning, 100,000SEK to winner 1.15.6kr 1st Livacious Lindy (5f Cantab Hall-Luscious Hall-Pine Chip), Jorma Kontio driver for trainer Per K. Eriksson who co-owns with Per Rodert; this 2010 import from US has won four times in five 2014 starts and five of 28 lifetime by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com  

Consistent Univers de Pan (6m Kenya du Pont-Gypsilore-Pan de la Vaudere) led virtually all the way to win today's 200,000e UET Masters Series Gr. I Grand Criterium de Vitesse at Cagnes sur mer by a comfortable three lengths. Trainer/driver Philippe Daugeard teamed the favored (1.9/1 odds) winner alertly off the gate and secured the top spot when well supported Triode de Felliere went off stride in battling for the lead shortly after the start. Once on the lead Daugeard rated the pace and his 13 other rivals were unable to serve a strong challenge. Univers de Pan was timed in 1.10kr over the 1609 meter autostart course (one mile in 1:52.63). That time equaled the third fasted in race history (Varenne 1.09.6kr in 2002; Kesaco Phedo 1.09.9kr in 2004 and 1.10kr by Santa Rosa France in 2012). Italy's Pascia'Lest, with Andrea Guzzinati aboard, took the pocket and eventually ended second when he out battled the game mare Vanika du Ruel, who survived an outside journey for Franck Anne to hold third. Italy's Nesta Effe was never in the hunt and finished unplaced. Univers de Pan's victory was his 17th in a solid career and put his earnings at 1,037,530 euros. He's owned by Olivier Horvath and today secured his first Gr. I score. Univers de Pan enjoyed a good winter meet at Paris-Vincennes where he was second in the Grand Prix de France, Prix de la Marne and Prix de Belgique. He was also fifth in the Prix de Selection. Being age six, look for this one to be a factor in future Gr. I races in France and throughout Europe. He proved today that he can leave, rate and sprint home in sprinter distance contests. His pedigree is 73% French trotteur, 27% Standardbred and with a 3.8% inbreeding coefficient. March 9, 2014 Cagnes sur mer, Grand Criterium de Vitesse de la Cote d'Azur (Grand Criterium Nice-Martin), 1609 meters autostart, 14 starters, purse 200,000e, Gr. I International UET Masters Series 1.10kr (1:52.63) 1st Univers de Pan (6m Kenya du Pont-Gypsilore-Pan de la Vaudere), Philippe Daugeard trainer/driver for owner Olivier Horvath, 1.9/1 odds, his 17th career win 2nd Pascia'Lest (5m Varenne-Superiors Sun-Diamond Way), Andrea Guzzinati up for trainer Thierry Duvaldestin and owner Samuele Querci, 18/1, (Italy) 3rd Vanika du Ruel (5f Jardy-Jacarandine-Vroum d'Or), Frank Anne driver/trainer, 8.8/1 odds, earning now €1,015,350 4th Aisle Stand (7f Scarlet Knight-Twisterella-Super Arnie), 116/1 odds, Jos. Verbeeck up for trainer Ronny Kuiper, (Sweden) 5th Quoumba de Guez (10f Urfist des Pres-Vanina de Mareuil-Neron Grandchamp), J-M Bazire trainer/driver, 14/1 odds, career earnings now €1,155,569 Note that Pascia'Lest represents significant American pedigree as his dam, Superiors Sun, is a daughter of Superiors Crown (Speedy Crown-Superior Sweep-Hickory Pride). Superior Sweep won the Old Oaken Bucket, the Lady Suffolk and Kentucky Futurity. Replay of today's Gr. I event can be seen using the link below: http://www.harnesslink.com/International/ by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com  

Anticipating Sunday's 1609 meters autostart (one mile) Gr. I Grand Criterium de Vitesse, sprinters have emerged at Cagnes sur mer to contest mile distance events. Today three such races took place with two won by Italy's invaders Oronte di Cesato in 1.11.9kr in the Prix de Bologne and Onorio in the Prix de Pise timed in 1.11.7. The other sprinter race, the Prix de Naples, went to Quezio de Cayola in 1.13.2 as that veteran defeated a group of claimers in the Prix de Naples. March 7, 2014 Cagnes sur mer, Prix de Bologne, 25,000e, 1609 meters autostart, 14 starters 1.11.9kr (1:55.68) 1st Oronte di Cesato (6m Allison Hollow-Enzaran-Lurabo Blue), Roberto Andreghetti, 1.9/1 favorite, 20th career win for 93,815e lifetime earned, (Italy) 2nd Okay Dei Ronchi (6g From Above-Filu of Brown-Lemon Dra), Eduardo Baldi, 7.3/1, (Italy) 3rd Only One Glory (6m Ganymede-Eva Kant Gar-Indro Park), Eduardo Moni, 30/1, (Italy) March 7, 2014, Cagnes sur mer, Prix de Naples, 16,000e, 1609 meters autostart, 14 starters 1.13.2kr (1:57.83) 1st Quezio de Cayola (10g Cezio Josselyn-Deesse du Plessis-Sebrazac), Gabriele Gelormini up for trainer/owner Benjamin Goetz, 5.1/1, his 13th win for 318,348e in lifetime earnings. 2nd Quiet du Chene (10g Horse du Chene-Flo du Chene-Florestan), Yannick A. Briand up, 2/1 odds 3rd Sam Turgot (8m Look de Star-Kalinka d'Arbaz-Tarass Boulba), Lorenzo Baldi up, 82/1 4th Quoriace Stop (10m Horse du Chene-Herado Chene-Nobody de Retz), Jean-Christophe Sorel up for owner/trainer Anders Lindqvist, 54/1 March 7, 2014, Cagnes sur mer, Prix de Pise, 25,000e, females, 1609 meters autostart, 11 starters 1.11.7kr (1:55.40) 1st Onoria (6f Pine Chip-Noega-Ghendero), Andrea Forolfi up, 1.7/1, (Italy), her 22nd victory for 91,394e earnings 2nd Olivia di Casei (6f Love You-Zinia di Casei-Lemon Dra), 21/1, (Italy), Andrea Guzzinati up 3rd Orki Dea Dus (6f Conway Hall-Antartide Dus), Enrico Bellei up, 3.5/1, (Italy) 4th Open (6f Uronometro-Zufola), Dominik Locqueneux up, 20/1, (Italy) At Gelsenkirchen in the Prix de la Cote d'Azur, Robin Bakker piloted the Paul Hagoort trained Diamond to victory. The gelded son of Classic Photo, from the Yankee Glide mare Gala dei Bessi, scored in 1.14.9kr over 2000 meters autostart. The top three finishers represented Holland. March 7, 2014 Gelsenkirchen, Prix de la Cote d'Azur, 7,000e, 2000 meters autostart, 14 starters 1.14.9kr 1st Diamond (4g Classic Photo-Gala dei Bessi-Yankee Glide), Robin Bakker for Paul Hagoort trainer, 2.5/1 (Holland), fourth career win for 12,200e 2nd Crazy Lover (5g Ufo Kievitshof-Kathleen Dragon-Super Way), Robbin Bot, 10/1 (Holland) 3rd Dream Well (4f Love You-Resi Bes), Rudolf Pools up, 11/1 (Holland) Gelsenkirchen, Germany by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com  

The French Winter Meeting at Vincennes is over but elite group racing continues in the world's richest trotting coutry as the UET Masters Series heads south to Cagnes sur Mer, France for the group one Grand Criterium De Vitesse over a mile (1609) for 200,000 euros Italian-bred horses drew the all important three inside positions on the barrier draw as the final field of 14 was released Friday for Sunday's big race. Former Italian Derby winner Pascia' Lest, now trained in France by Thierry Duvaldestin has the pole position inside another French trained Italian, Marielles, a former heat winner in Italy's biggest race the Lotteria over this distance who is trained by Fabrice Soulouy. The number three pole will be taken Nesta Effe, which was the only one of the trio to race in the Prix d'Amerique this year although she finished 10th. But Holger Ehlert's son of Naglo is a proven sprinter and was in super form this time last year, winning two group ones in Finland in April, the Prix d'Etain Royal Seinäjoki-Race and the Finlandia-Ajo over a mile, and he is also a runner-up in the final of the Lotteria, Italy's greatest race, also over a mile. The other two Italians carry good form from the Winter Meeting with Pascia' Lest second in the Group two Prix Jean Le Gonidec in February over 2175m while Marielles was third in prestigious Prix Du Bourbonnais (Gr2) in December. All three are driven by Italian reinsman Andrea Guzzinati (Pascia' Lest), Roberto Andreghetti (Marielles) and Roberto Vecchione (Nesta Effe). While the three Italians have the inside draws, they also have have to face some of their French vanquishers in their respective races here with Prix Jean Le Gonidec winner Vanika du Ruel drawing the seven hole while Prix du Bourbonnais winner Triode de Felliere, possibly the most improved horse in France over the Winter Meeting, drawing pole four. Franck Anne's Vanika du Ruel was the best horse of her generation at two and three and has a best time over the sprint distance at Vincennes of 1.11.6 (1.55.1MR) when winning the group one Prix de l'Etoile. And Jean Paul Marmion's Triode de Felliere warmed up for this race with a close third in the Prix de Plateau de Gravelle, a Vincennes sprint over 2100m in which he recorded a slick 1.11.3 (1.54.4). But the biggest French danger comes from the horse drawn fifth, Univers de Pan who was beaten by the narrowest of margins in the sprint round of the French Triple Crown,the Grand Prix de France. Philippe Daugeard's son of Kenya du Pont was fifth last start off a 25m handicap in the Prix de Selection, but recorded a slick 1.11.1 (1.54.1MR) for the journey and from the five hole will prove very tough to beat. Sweden's best chance Amaru Boko is the only Scandinavian-based entrant in the rich sprint, but the recent addition to Robert Bergh's stable is in outstanding form with four wins on the trot since coming to the Bergsaker barn. The son of Coktail Jet has a fastest time of 1.10.3 (1.53.1MR) but has to start off the second line. GRAND CRITERIUM DE VITESSE Cagnes sur Mer, France 09/03/14 UET Masters Series Group 1 Int 1609m 4-10 200 000e 1 Pascia' Lest (5h Varenne - Superiors Sun) Dr: Andrea Guzzinati Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 1609 2 Marielles (8m Kick Tail - Egida Play) Dr: Roberto Andreghetti Tr: Fabrice Souloy 1609 3 Nesta Effe (7h Naglo - Etna Sec) Dr: Roberto Vecchione Tr: Holger Ehlert 1609 4 Triode de Felliere (7m Derby du Gite - Linea de Vandel) Dr: Anthony Barrier Tr: Jean Paul Marmion 1609 5 Univers de Pan (6h Kenya du Pont - Gypsilore) Dr: Philippe Daugeard Tr: Philippe Daugeard 1609 6 Quoumba de Guez (10m Urfist des Pres - Vanina de Mareuil) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Jean Michel Bazire 1609 7 Vanika du Ruel (5m Jardy - Jacarandine) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 1609 8 Quinoa du Gers (10h Ganymede - Targa du Chalange) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 1609 9 Olona Ok (6m Varenne - Erreuno Ok) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Domenico Zanca 1609 10 Aisle Stand (7m Scarlet Knight - Twisterella) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Ronny Kuiper 1609 11 Twist des Caillons (7h Jam Pridem - Heyra des Caillons) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Hubert Hardy 1609 12 Amour d'Occagnes (7h Diamant Gede - Naomi November) Dr: Christophe Martens Tr: Vincent Martens 1609 13 Amaru Boko (7h Coktail Jet - Sue Boko) Dr: Robert Bergh Tr: Robert Bergh 1609 14 Unabella Perrine (6m Diamant Gede - Minnie Perrine) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Jean Francois Mary 1609 by David Sanders, for Harnesslink.com    

The Grand Criterium de Vitesse de la Cote d'Azur, this Sunday at Cagnes sur mer in France, has seen the field reduced to 15 from 21 engaged. The final group will contest for 200,000e in the Gr. I International UET Masters Series event over the 1609 meters autostart course. Sprinters in the field include the young mare Vanika du Ruel for trainer/driver Franck Anne and Italy's Nesta Effe, trained by Holger Ehlert. The race has a rich history of victorious females. Since 1969 the race has seen ten female winners led by five-time victor Une de Mai and single winners Roquepine, Peace Corp, Moni Maker in 2000, Vasterbo Daylight and Santa Rosa France in 2012. The fastest win was posted in 2002 by Italy's Varenne (1.09.6kr), followed by Kasaco Phedo's 1.09.9kr in 2004. The great Ourasi won the event four times, and other North American bred winners include Gum Ball, Crowning Classic, Sea Cove, Express Ride and Spice Island. The entrants are listed below. Note, m=male, f=female. No geldings are eligible ; for 4-10 year-olds that earned over 160,000e  15 Starters Horse, Sex/Age, Driver/Trainer, Earnings in euros Olona Ok (Italy), 6f, tba/D. Zanca, 386,445 Aisle Stand (Sweden), 7f, tba/Ronny Kuiper, 375,748 Unabella Perrine, 6f, Franck Ouvrie/J-F Mary, 379,966 Amaru Boko (Sweden), 7m, Robert Bergh/also trainer, 413,492 Amour d'Occagnes (Holland), 7m, Christophe Martens/Vincent Martens, 544,730 Twist des Caillons, 7m, Eric Raffin/H. Hardy, 567,780 Napolean Bar (Italy), 7m, tba/C.E. Hollmann, 585,187 Triode de Felliere, 7f, Anthony Barrier/J-P Marmion, 710,590 Marielles (Italy), 8f, Roberto Angreghetti/Fabrice Souloy, 730,414 Pascia'Lest (Italy), tba/Thierry Duvaldestin, 760,682 Univers de Pan, 6m, tba/Philippe Daugeard, 947,530 Vanika du Ruel, 5f, Franck Anne/also trainer, 987,360 Quinoa du Gers, 10m, Franck Nivard/Fabrice Souloy, 994,343 Nesta Effe (Italy), 7m, Roberto Vecchione/Holger Ehlert, 1,058,928 Quoumba de Guez, 10f, J-M Bazire/also trainer, 1,145,569 by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com  

The highly regarded sprinter classic, the Grand Criterium de Vitesse de la Cote d'Azur, takes place Sunday at Cagnes sur mer in France. There are 21 international contestants that have been engaged in this 200,000 euros Gr. I International UET Masters Series event over the 1609 meters autostart course (one mile). Last years' winner Timoko will not defend his title. A number of noted sprinters are in the field including the young mare Vanika du Ruel for trainer/driver Franck Anne and Italy's Nesta Effe. The entrants are listed below. Note m=male, f=female. No geldings are eligible to this race for 4-10 year-olds who have earned over 160,000 euros Horse, Sex/Age, Trainer, Earnings in euros Quoriace Stop, 10m, Anders Lindqvist, 165,990 Rebecca des Champs, 9f, S. Cingland, 243,370 Tango Somolli, 7m, C. Mathe, 313,140 Saphir de Fille, 8m, H. Ph. Gautier, 338,240 Olona Ok (Italy), 6f, V. Lacroix, 379,609 Aisle Stand (Sweden), 7f, Ronny Kuiper, 375,748 Unabella Perrine, 6f, J-F Mary, 379,966 Amaru Boko (Sweden), 7m, Timo Nurmos, 413,492 Amour d'Occagnes (Holland)m 7m, Vincent Martens, 544,730 Quarlos, 10m, M. Dabouis, 554,600 Twist des Caillons, 7m, H. Hardy, 567,780 Napolean Bar (Italy), 7m, C.E. Hollmann, 585,187 Santa Rosa France, 8f, J-L Bigeon, 705,950 Triode de Felliere, 7f, J-P Marmion, 710,590 Marielles (Italy), 8f, Fabrice Souloy, 730,414 Pascia'Lest (Italy), Thierry Duvaldestin, 760,682 Univers de Pan, 6m, Philippe Daugeard, 947,530 Vanika du Ruel, 5f, Franck Anne, 987,360 Quinoa du Gers, 10m, Fabrice Souloy, 994,343 Nesta Effe (Italy), 7m, Holger Ehlertm 1,058,928 Quoumba de Guez, 10f, J-M Bazire, 1,145,569 by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com  

Timoko, driven by Joseph Verbeeck for owner/trainer Richard Westerink, won the “Flying Mile” at Cagnes ser mer today.

Harness racing's richest mile race in France, the Grand Criterium de Vitesse at Cagnes sur Mer, was full of drama and excitement. Just on the line the 6-year-old French mare Santa Rosa France caught last year's winner of the race, Quaker Jet, to win in 1:52.3. But the judges had to call for a photo before the winner was announced.

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