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Solid trotting took place during the past week at various European venues. Coverage below is of racing at Jagersro (SWE), Avenches (Switzerland), Mantorp (SWE), Kincsem Park (HU), Bologna (ITY) and Paris-Vincennes where Gr. III events were featured on June 3. The Prix Caecilia went to the rallying roan Meaulnes du Corta filly Arpent d'Ostal for J-Ph Mary. The same day the monte Prix Dido went to Buffalo de Beylev for Yohan Lebourgeois, winning as the 2/5 favorite should. On June 2 at Bologna, the Premio GP Republica went to Papandreu for Enrico Bellei. The five year-old son of Abano As scored in 1.12.7kr over 1660 meters autostart for winners' share of a purse of €45,100. Oncle Photo VL took the co-featured Invitational on that card and veteran classmaster Italiano won the Greyhound Invitational that same day at Follonica. On May 31 at Mantorp (SWE) the Ina Scots went to Remo Gas (four year-old son of Varenne) for teamster Erik Adielsson. The V75 Gold produced a victory for Porthos Amok (five year-old son of Orlando Vici) and Orjan Kihlstrom. At Kincsem Park, the featured Tony Oaks DIJ went impressively to Orangyal (six year-old daughter of Wall Street Banker) for reinsman Pal Vicen and at Avenches the Grand Prix 5Ans (Suisse) went to Playboy Wind (five year-old son of In Love With You) and trainer/driver Wilhelm Paal. On May 29 at Jagersro, the Jerry Riordan trained Sylvester America (3m Varenne-Armbro Voice-Gaerldan Lobell) recorded his first career victory in his third start for driver Linda Allerecrantz. Race summaries follow including reply of the Premio GP Republica. June 3, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix Caecilia, Gr. III, €80,000, 2700 meters, 11 starters, 1.14.4kr 1st Arpent d'Ostal (4m Meaulnes du Corta-Quina Perrine), J-Ph Mary trainer/driver 24/1 2nd Alpha Saltor (4m Paris Haufor-Glory d'Ariane), Damien Bonne up, 4.3/1 3rd Adio Josselyn (4m And Arifant-Queda Josselyn), J-M Bazire aboard, 3/2 favorite June 3, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Prix Persues, 80,000e, 2700 meters, 11 starters, monte, 1.14.1kr 1st Rescousse de Barb (9f L'As de Viretoute-Gaie Melodie), P-Y Verva, 27/1 2nd Quango (10g Joyau d'Amour-Belle Argence), Julien Raffestin up, 9/1 3rd Remember Jihem (9m Jag de Bellouet-Feriana), Fabien Gence up, 3.3/1 June 3, 2014 Paris-Vincennes, Gr. III Prix Dido National Monte, 60,000e, 2200 meters, 7 starters, 1.15.6kr 1st Buffalo de Beylev (3m Memphis du Rib-Rafale du Plessis), Yohan Lebourgeois up for Hubert Hardy trainer, 2/5 favorite 2nd Boy du Plessis (3m Odeisis de Vandel-Natik des Loges), Paul-Philippe Ploquin up for Patrick Ploquin, 5/1 3rd Best de Marco (3m Gogo-Fille de Marco), Julien Raffestin up for J-F Senet trainer, 42/1 June 2, 2014, Bologna Italy, Premio GP Republica, 45,100e, 1660 meters autostart, 10 starters, 1.12.7kr 1st Papandreu (5m Abano As-Capucine-Sugarcane Hanover), Enrico Bellei up 2nd Orsia (6f Angus Hall-Tiogre OM-Zebu), Allesandro Gocciadoro 3rd Le Vida Loca (9f Ganymede-Diasia-Arndon), Roberto Andreghetti Beaten field included Look MO, Oibambam Effe, Probo OP and Nesta Effe June 2, 2014 Bologna Italy, Premio Lorenzo Sisal Invitational, 11,000e, 1660 meters autostart, 8 starters, 1.13kr 1st Oncle Photo VL (6g SJs Photo-Balalajaca SLM-Lemon Dra), Federico Esposito up 2nd Per Amore Gual (5f Varenne-Dalmatica Gual-Uronometro), Enrico Bellei driving 3rd Nonant Le Pin (7f Goetmals Wood-Blazing Janice-Pine Chip), Allesandro Gocciadoro trainer/driver June 2, 1014 Follonica Italy, Prix Greyhound Invitational, 6,600e, 1600 meters, 7 starters, 1.12.3kr 1st Italiano (10g Goant Cat-Coming Up Cash-Baltic Speed-Casino Evil-Speedy Crown-Ah So), 30 wins in 93 starts for 779,782e in Italy, G. Casillo teaming 2nd Oblio Dei Venti (6m Yankee Slide-Belinda GIM-Lemon Dra), Man. Matteini up 3rd Proper Wise (5m Varenne-Flirt Alert-Valley Victory-Triangle Park-Mystic Park-Miss Flirt), L. Becchetti aboard May 31, 2014 Kincsem Park, Tony Oaks DIJ, 1800 meters autostart, 500,000HUf purse, 1.15.6kr 1st Orangyl (6f Wall Street Banker-Derengo-Endless Sands), Pal Vicen, 4.7/1, 1.15.6kr 2nd Lady Luna (9f Sierra Ranger-Lune-Surry Lobell), Joze Sagaj, 3.3/1 3rd Nemesur (7m Tony Oaks-Elegant Lady- Mill H), Veljko Mazsity, 2.5/1 May 31, 2014 Mantorp SWE, Ina Scots, 300,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart, 1.13kr 1st Remo Gas (4m Varenne-Isotta Gas-Toss Out), Erik Adielsson, Italy, seventh win from 19 starts for 2,608,516SWEK 2nd Rosso Pomodoro (4m Donato Hanover-Unbelievable F-Viking Kronos), Johnny Takter, Italy 3rd Carelin (4m Super Arnie-Carte Blanche-Kosar), Kenneth Haugstad May 31, 2014 Mantorp SWE, Gold Division, purse 320,500SEK, 2640 meters autostart, 10 starters, 1.13.8kr 1st Porthos Amok (5m Orlando Vici-Baroness Amok-Pine Chip), Orjan Kihlstrom, sixth win in 39 tries for 2,731,292SEK 2nd Quid Pro Quo (5m Yankee Glide-Hostage-Express Ride), Erik Adielsson for Svante Bath trainer 3rd Deuxieme Picsous (7m In Love With You-Carme la Strom Line-Delvin Kosmos, Johnny Takter for Joham Lejon trainer May 31, 2014 Mantorp SWE, Silver Division, purse 251,500SEK, 1640 meters autostart, 10 starters, 1.11.2kr 1st Octopus (7m Yankee Glide-Decapose-Cumin), Ulf Ohlsson up 2nd Vendi (9f Armbro Trick-Wizy Fly-Speedy Fly), Jorma Kontio driver 3rd Art On Line (7g Rite On Line-Lass Fleur-Backstreet Guy), Mikko Aho up May 31, 2014 Marseille-Borely, Prix de Zonza, €21,000, 2300 meters autostart, 8 starters, 1.15.4kr 1st Bolero Love (3m Love You-Orelady-And Arifant), Nicolas Ensch up for Patrick Chevrier trainer for Jean-Pierre Dubois and breeder Ecurie D, 7.8/1 odds, second career win for €28,350 2nd Bonjour (3m Rieussee-Queenie d'Urzy), Y-A Briand trainer/driver, 2/1 3rd Bently de Raconis (3g Repeat Love-Bodomie0Podosis), David Vakaert up for Patrick Chevrie trainer and owner Jean-Pierre Dubois, 1.3/1 May 31, 2014 Marseille-Borely, Prix d'Ajaccio, 24,000e, 3000 meters, 6 starters, 1.16.3kr 1st Vucain du Vivier (5m Look de Star-Idea du Vivier-Tarass Boulba), Y-A Briand trainer/driver, 1/5 favoritge for owner Ecurie Jean-Yves Lucuyer and breeder SNC Jean-Yves Lucuyer, 10th win for 166,450 euros 2nd  Viking d'Orion (5m Jag de Bellouet-Erfa du Vivier), Mikael Cormy up, 5.3/1 3rd Vipitano (5g Love You-Prune Rouge), Dylan Garcia up, 20/1 May 30, 2014 Avenches, Grand Prix des 5 Ans Suisse, 12,284e, 2400 meters, 10 starters 1st Playboy Wind (5m In Love With You-Kattanouga), Wilhelm Paal trainer/driver, Stall Allegra Racing 2nd Vattigo (5g Gros Grain-Julia du Martza) finished second. 3rd May 29, 2014 Jagersro, ICA Malmborgs, 2140 meters autostart, 20,000SEK to winner, Sylvester America (3m Varenne-Armbro Voice-Garland Lobell), Linda Allercrantz up for Jerry Riordan trainer, first win in three starts by Thomas H. Hicks, for      

Sebastien Guarato's Prix de Selection winner Aladin d'Ecajeul heads the nine-horse field in the 120,000 euro Group 2 Prix Gaston Brunet, the final male lead-up race to next month's Criterium des 4 Ans at Vincennes in early May. The son of the royally bred Quaker Jet Aladin added the intergenerational Prix de Selection recently to his Criterium des 3 Ans (Gr1) and two other Group twos and has established himself firmly as the pre-eminent 4YO in France. However Matthieu Abrivard's Aldo des Champs has been making steady progress, running third in the Prix de Selection and was third in the Prix Phaeton, the first of the prep races last start. The son of Prince d'Espace is a group one place getter, Prix Albert Viel, and is one who is certainly capable of adding to his four career victories thus far. Third in the market is Vincent Collard Africain, a very consistent horse who has been in the money on a frequent basis without looking likely to win. The son of Oardo will be driven by Franck Nivard There are few horses with a CV as strong as Franck Anne's Akim du Cap Vert. The son of First de Retz won the top 2YO race in France, the Prix Emmanuel Margouty and was second in the Criterium Des Jeunes (Gr1), and a gallant third in the Prix Albert Viel (Gr1). He has won two at group two level including the Prix De Tonnac-Villeneuve (G2) in January and has been placed in three other races at group level. Joel Van Eeckhaute's Ganymede colt Athos des Elfes won the Prix Phaeton at odds of 30/1 last start, his first attempt at group company. The field was minus the likes of Aladin d'Ecajeul, but this was his fifth win in 23 starts, and he has been a consistent improver thus far. PRIX GASTON BRUNET Vincennes 18/04/14 FR Group 2 Nat 2100 4M 120,000e 1 Adio Josselyn (h And Arifant - Queda Josselyn) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Hedi Le Bec 2100 2 Africain (h Oardo - Kamine) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Vincent Collard 2100 3 Ah Quel Micha (h Rocklyn - Oceane du Phare) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 2100 4 Adonis du Goutier (h Coktail Jet - Quintaescencia) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Sebastien Guarato 2100 5 Akim du Cap Vert (h First de Retz - Prima du Cap Vert) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 2100 6 Ausone du Kastel( h Gros Grain - Lancee) Dr: Emmanuel Allard Tr: Emmanuel Allard 2100 7 Aldo des Champs (h Prince d'Espace - Noumea des Champs) Dr: Matthieu Abrivard Tr: Matthieu Abrivard 2100 8 Athos des Elfes (h Ganymede - Lazio du Bourg) Dr: Joel Van Eeckhaute Tr: Joel Van Eeckhaute 2100 9 Aladin d'Ecajeul (h Quaker Jet - Nancy d'Ecajeul) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato 2100 by David Sanders, for

Monte star Vision Intense is one of four entrants of the powerful Ecurie Victoria Dreams stable of Jean Philippe Dubois in a field of 15 entered in the group two Prix Henri Levesque at Vincennes on Saturday. The race for the 5YO V-generation is over 2175m and the daughter of Prodigious will be making her first serious attempt under harness since appearing in the 4YO equivalent race this time last year, the Prix Paul Legeurney, where she ran eighth to Varade d'Hermine who also lines up here. Her last win under harnesss came in the Coupe Inter-Regionale des 3 Ans in Vincennes in December 2012 although she does have two top-three placings in group races under harness, the last one being the Prix Annick Dreux also in December 2012. She will be driven by Julien Dubois. Dubois' other three entrants include the underrated Volcan d'Urzy, who will be diven by Jean Philippe Dubois himself, was second in two of the group ones Criterium Des 4 Ans and Prix Albert Viel for this crop. Group two winner Voyage de Reve was third in the Prix De Croix Euro (G2) this year, while twice group two placed Love You mare Visite Royale will be driven by Michel Lenoir. The field is start-studded, featuring dual Criterium winner Franck Anne's star mare Vanika du Ruel, a four-time winner at group one level and recently back in form with a win in the Prix Jean Le Gonidec (G2) in February this year after more than 12 months without a win. Roberto Donati's Criterium des 4 Ans winner Voltigeur de Myrt, who is undertaking his first season at stud simultaneously as they do routinely in France, is also back under harness and and the son of Opus Viervil will be looking for his first win since his success in the classic, some 11 months ago. Two of the in fom runners are Jean-Etienne Dubois' Villeroi and Eric Lambertz' Viking de Val who have been prominent in group two races this year at Vincennes. Viking de Val, a son of Baccarat du Pont, won the Prix Robert Auvray (G2) and was second in the Prix De Croix Euro while Villeroi, a son of Oiseau de Feux, won the Prix Ovide Moulinet (G2) and was second in the Prix Robert Auvray. Franck Leblanc's Vigove also has a win this year, picking up the Prix de Croix in early January, although he has been well held in his last two starts. PRIX HENRI LEVESQUE Vincennes 12/04/14 GROUP 2 FR Nat 5YOs 2175m 120 000 euros 1 Vodka des Caillons (5m Nuage de Lait - Aberlande) Dr: Hubert Hardy Tr: Hubert Hardy 2 Vulcain de Vandel (5h Jag de Bellouet - Ophelia de Vandel) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Franck Nivard 3 Valdu Mag (5h Jam Pridem - Poesie de Chamant) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Bruno Bourgoin 4 Visite Royale (5m Love You- Imagine d'Odyssee) Dr: Michel Lenoir Tr: Philippe Moulin 5 Very Nice Marceaux (5h Jag de Bellouet - Jolie Fortuna) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Gregory Laurent 6 Varade d'Hermine (5m Legs du Clos - Hotesse des Champs) Dr: Francoise Lagadeuc Tr: Jean Michel Baudouin 7 Voyage de Reve (5h Password - Kiocalba) Dr: Etienne Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 8 Volcan d'Urzy (5h Password - Jabotte d'Urzy) Dr: Jean Philippe Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 9 Villeroi (Oiseau de Feux - Pocahontas) Dr: Christophe. Martens Tr: J-Et. Dubois 10 Viking de Val (5h Baccarat du Pont - La Forge de Val) Dr: Eric Lambertz Tr: Eric Lambertz 11 Vigove (5h Gazouillis - Govive) Dr: Loic Guinoiseau Tr: Franck Leblanc 12 Voltigeur de Myrt (5h Opus Viervil - Myrtille des Bois) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Roberto Donati 13 Vipsie Griff (5m Gros Grain - Ojipsie Griff) Dr: Damien Bonne Tr: Sebastien Guarato 14 Vision Intense (5m Prodigious - Intense Action) Rd: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 15 Vanika du Ruel (5m Jardy - Jacarandine) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne by David Sanders, for

Acknowledged master of younger horse training Philippe Allaire will present unbeaten colt Boccador de Simm for both his first group race and first race under saddle in the 120,000 euro group two Prix Edouard Marcillac one of the two feature events on Thursday's Vincennes card. The first group two for B-generation colts under saddle has drawn a field of ten for the 2175m event, headed by Allaire's son of Rieussec, a richly-bred Goetmals Wood stallion who was second in the Criterium des 4 Ans, and from the immediate family of Criterium winners Jam Pridem and Carpe Diem. Boccador de Simm will be ridden by Yoann Lebourgeois and is one of only two colts making their monte debuts, and none of the field has before graced a group race, with most being specifically bred for under saddle racing. Matthieu Abrivard will be aboard the impressive Nicolas Raimbeaux trained Baggio du Chatelet who easily accounted for rising filly monte star Bomba when they met in Vincennes in the Prix de Cholet on January 28. The son of Niky has won both his starts under saddle, vastly improving on his record in the bike which stands at nine starts for one second and a fourth. His dam is by a Prix de Cornulier winner Gobernador from the immediate family of champion monte sire Chef du Chatelet. Thierry Duvaldestin lines up Best des Jacquets who was third in the Prix Cholet, his second start under saddle. His monte debut was a winning one for the son of Coktail Jet who hails from the family of Gros Grain who is the sire of Vipsie Griff, a current multiple group winning monte winner and a runner up in the Group one Prix des Elites. An interesting runner for breeding buffs is Beguin Madrik a son of monte star Paddy du Boison from the powerful Franck Anne stable. Paddy du Boisson won the group one montes the Prix de la Republique and the Prix des Centaures and is one of the last descendants of the famed Phaeton bloodline, which is unique to France. This line, which is distinct to that of the more famous Fuschia (Godolphin Arabian) line descends from a Darley Arabian line which goes through the important thoroughbred stallions Heir of Linne, the famous Eclipse and beyond that to Bartlet's Childers, who brother Flying Childers is the progenitor of the Hambletonian line. It is hanging by a thread in France, but has so for more than forty years, always seeming to produce one more son to carry it on. Jean Michel Baudouin's Best of Jets, a winner under saddle and Pierre Yves Verva's Beautiful Dussac, who has won his only start, also under saddle, are two others to have garnered early support. PRIX EDOUARD MARCILLAC Vincennes 13/02/14 FR Group II monte 2175m 3M 120 000e 1 Bilboy d'Occagnes (h Islero de Bellouet - Ode Pierre) Jy: Mathieu Mottier Tr: David Desclos 2 Brutus la Mesange (h Lilium Madrik - Infante du Buisson) Jy: David Thomain Tr: Gaetan Ligeron 3 Beautiful Dussac (h And Arifant - Olympe de Dussac) Jy: Pierre Yves Verva Tr: Pierre Yves Verva 4 Bazaki Seven (h Kesaco Phedo - Rani Duophi) Jy: Francois Lagadeuc Tr: Jean Michel Baudouin 5 Brooklyn Bridge (h Quatre Juillet - Mysterious Valley) Jy: Franck Nivard Tr: Franck Leblanc 6 Beguin Madrik (h Paddy du Buisson - Quatia Madrik) Jy: Antoine Lherete Tr: Franck Anne 7 Best des Jacquets (h Coktail Jet - Kodessa) Jy: Antoine Wiels Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 8 Best of Jets (h Magnificent Rodney - Plume Jets) Jy: Eric Raffin Tr: Jean Michel Baudouin 9 Boccador de Simm (h Rieussec - Poupee Charmeuse) Jy: Yoann Lebourgeois Tr: Philippe Allaire 10 Baggio du Chatelet (h Niky - Paola du Chatelet) Jy: Matthieu Abrivard Tr: Nicolas Raimbeaux by David Sanders, for

France's top four-year-olds take centre stage on Saturday's card at Vincennes in the Group two Prix Ephrem Houel over 2850m with Akim du Cap Vert looking to bounce back from an unfortunate gallop at the start of his last outing in the Prix Charles Tiercelin run at a slushy Vincennes on Prix d'Amerique day. Franck Anne's star 4YO son of First de Retz was a heavily backed favourite that day and gave the field the best part of 70metres head start and put in a supreme effort to catch the peloton and eventually run seventh. If he steps away, and this is from the starting shute and not from the mobile gate as it was last start, he has a great chance of winning his fourth group two, and his second this year following his success in the Prix De Tonnac-Villeneuve in January. The winner of the Prix Charles Tierclin was Alesia d'Atout, a tough daughter of Defi d'Aunou who held off a brilliant finish from Aladin d'Ecajeul to claim her second group two. Dominique Mottier's mare has blossomed into a genuine talent in the earlier shadow of the star trio of Axelle Dark, Avilla and Anastasia Fella, and also has the group two Prix Ozo to her name, and even more importantly for her stud career, classique status through a third placing in the Criterium Des 3 Ans. She holds the fastest record in the race with a 1.12.2kr Axelle Dark was third in the Prix Charles Tiercelin but was several lengths in arrears of the first two. The slushy track was known to have upset a lot of the horses, and whether this has been a factor in the daughter of Ready Cash's lack of dash of late is open to conjecture. Owner Philippe Allaire also has Atlas de Jourdes entered in the race, a richly bred son of his retiring superstar who was sixth in the Prix Charles Tiercelin and slated to start stud duties in a few weeks time. Jean-Philippe Dubois' Atlessima is a group one winner under saddle but has yet to best this generation under harness, being prominent in the Prix Charles Tiercelin before trotting roughly and breaking. The son of Rocklyn is talented but may be being set for the Prix Louis Le Bourg on the last day of the Winter Meeting on March 1, while the best in harness of the crop will be competing in the group one Prix de Selection. PRIX EPHREM HOUEL Vincennes 08/02/14 FR Group 2 2 175m 4YOS € 120 000 1 Athena de Vandel (s Prince Gede - Maelia de Vandel) Dr Cedric Megissier Tr: Cedric Megissier 2 Adio Josselyn (h And Arifant - Queda Josselyn) Dr Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Hedi Le Bec 3 Africain (h Oardo - Kamine) Dr Franck Nivard Tr: Vincent Collard 4 Ausone du Kastel (h Gros Grain - Lancee) Dr Emmanuel Allard Tr: Emmanuel Allard 5 Astor du Quenne (h Opus Viervil - Qualinka du Quenne) Dr Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato 6 Alesia d'Atout (s Defi d'Aunou - New York Jet ) Dr Mathieu Mottier Tr: Dominique Mottier 7 Atlessima (s Rocklyn - Noblessima) Dr Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 8 Aldo des Champs (h Prince d'Espace - Noumea des Champs) Dr Mathieu Abrivard Tr: Matthieu Abrivard 9 Akim du Cap Vert (h First de Retz - Prima du Cap Vert) Dr Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 10 Axelle Dark (s Ready Cash - Queen des Charmes) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Philippe Allaire by David Sanders for

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

The A generation step out for their first run as 4YOs in the Prix de Tonnac-Villeneuve, a group two over the sprint distance of 2175m at Vincennes on Saturday. Heading the field is Criterium de 3 Ans winner Aladin d'Ecajeul, who has been the undoubted star of the Winter Meeting for this age group. Sebastien Guarato's stallion will be shooting for his third win in a row after capturing the classique and also the Group II Prix Abel Bassigny on the first week of November, his second win in his third try at the level. The son of Quaker Jet has now won seven of his 14 race starts, for earnings of 304,940 and will start the favourite in this event. The Criterium des 3 Ans was a brutal reminder that racing gives reputation scant respect with the three favourites failing to finish a race where the attrition rate was more than 50 per cent. Frank Anne's Akim de Cap Vert was an early casualty of a tight squeeze of the peleton as the entered the downhill straight from the starting area, while Philippe Allaire-owned horses trio Atlas de Joudes and the much vaunted fillies Avila and Axelle Dark also failed to cope with the intensity of the race. Akim de Cap Vert, Avila and Axelle Dark have also come in for heavy early support, with handicappers giving them a chance to redeem themselves, in this the major race for 4YOs in January. Runner up in the Criterium was Ausone du Kastel, the winner of just five career starts, the last being in his first try at group company in August, which was the culmination of a three-win streak. Although second in the Criterium, Emmanuel Allard's son of Gros Grain was third in a lesser field in the Prix de Chateau Chinon on Christmas Day. Third in the Criterium was Alesia d'Atout, another with just one group victory, back in May, and will probably be tested in this, with just four wins in 15 starts. Alberic was fourth home in the Criterium but at massive odds, and with just three wins in 17 starts he will struggle for support, especially with a failure in the Prix de Chateau Chinon on Christmas Day. Artiste de Joudes was fifth home in the Criterium, but Philippe Allaire's fourth entrant is a perennial also ran, although he does have a penchant for slotting into one of the money-bearing places in big races hence his 178,150 euro bankroll, despite only two wins. PRIX DE TONNAC-VILLENEUVE Vincennes 04/01/14 FR Group II 2175m 4YOs € 120 000 1 Ah Quel Micha (4h Rocklyn - Oceane du Phare) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 2 Alberic (4h Goetmals Wood - Oublies Moi) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 3 Artiste de Joudes (4h Prodigious - Memory de Joudes) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Philippe Allaire 4 Alesia d'Atout (4m Defi d'Aunou - New York Jet) Dr: Mathieu Mottier Tr: Dominique Mottier 5 Ausone du Kastel (4h Gros Grain - Lancee) Dr: Emmanuel Allard Tr: Emmanuel Allard 6 Atlas de Joudes (4h Ready Cash - Queschua Love) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Philippe Allaire 7 Aladin d'Ecajeul (4h Quaker Jet - Nancy d'Ecajeul) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato 8 Akim du Cap Vert (4h First de Retz - Prima du Cap Vert) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 9 Avila (4m Ready Cash - Encombevineuse) Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 10 Axelle Dark (4m Ready Cash - Queen des Charmes) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Philippe Allaire by David Sanders for 

Today produced another solid crowd and good weather for the annual Christmas Day of racing at the Temple du Trot. Ukir du Charroux (5g Jeanbat du Vivier-Geribia du Donjon-And Arifant) took today's opener, the Prix de Charroux (50,000 euro purse, 2100 meters autostart, 15 starters), with a close win in 1.12.9kr as 2/1 choice for J-M Bazire. 48/1 outsider United du Tay (5g Halimede-Helonia d'Archon-Reve d'Udon) was second for Laurent Fortin ahead of Unique de l'Iton (5g Capriccio-Majeste de l'Iton-Sancho Panca) handled by Tristan deGenouillac. The winner scored for the seventh time in his career and increased earnings to 127,520 euro. The featured Prix Constant Hervieu (Gr. III European, 105,000 euro purse, 2850 meters, 16 starters) went to the currently successful Swedish invader Beckman (6g Turbo Sund-Nins Palema-Ald Palema). He was off as 4.4/1 second choice with Franck Nivard driving for Fabrice Souloy and owner Ecurie Commander. Beckman won for the 24 time in his career that now shows earnings of 397,181 euro. Tzigane du Rib (6g Kaiser Soze-Medda) took second for Ecurie Rib with J.L.C. Dersoir at the lines. Toreador (6g Fleuron Perrine-Jubelione-Jet du Vivier) landed third for teamster Francois-Pierre Bassuet. The Prix de Salers (35,000 euro purse, monte, 2700 meters, 11 starters) went to the 3.3/1 second choice Azalee Dedienville (3f Lontzac-Byrsa Pascalo-Marpheulin) with Anthony Barrier in the irons for J.P. Marmion. Timed in 1.17.5kr she defeated Antillaise de Mai (3f New Aldo-Jaconde Royale-Royale Romeo and Aquitaine d'Aron (3f Neautron du Cebe-Miss d'lquaire-Voyou du Golfe), the latter with Damien Bonne aboard for Franc Leblanc. The Prix de Craon (62,000 euro purse, 2700 meters, European, 14 starters) went to 3/1 Tornado de l'Ocean (6g Look de Star-Talvina-Valmont) with Pierre Levesque teaming for owner Ecurie Jean-Pierre Barjon (owner of Prix d'Amerique winner Meaulnes du Corta). He scored with a solid rally in 1.14kr for his 12th career victory, now for earnings of 250,320 euro. Mike Lenders trains the winner who defeated Spain's Trebol (6m Hot Blues-Sally Can Wait-Prince Mystic) with Gabriel-Angel Pou Pou driving. This 28 time winner, for 230,862 euro, races consistently well at the Paris-Vincennes winter meet and again he closed stoutly for his trainer/driver. The Gr. III Prix de Chateau-Chinon (95,000 euro purse, 2700 meters, 10 starters) went to 3/2 favorite Astor du Quenne (3m Opus Vierul-Qualine du Quenne-Extreme Aunou) with Eric Raffin aboard for trainer Sebastien Guarato. The winner scored in 1.14.6kr, his ninth career victory, now with earnings for 212,940 euro. J-M Bazire's Adio Josselyn (3m And Arifant-Queba Josselyn-In Foot) was home second as 5/2 second choice ahead of Ausone du Kastel (3m Gros Grain-Lancee-Courlis du Pont) and reinsman Emmanuel Allard. The Prix de Jonvelle (34,000 euro purse, 2200 meters, monte, 11 starters) went to Uranie d'Hucheloup (5f Lutin Malin-Hardie de Bource-Quintolet) with jubilant Cedric Terry aboard. She was timed in 1.14.9kr as the 42/1 longshot bested 7/1 Une Corzeene (5f Jaguar Bethune-Melisse d'Orme-Capriccio) with Eric Raffin in the irons. At Aby (Sweden) this day, the Aby Travsallskaps (100,000SEK first money, 2140 meters autostart) went to the veteran O'Grady (7m SJs Photo-Dawn Garbo-Smasher) handled by Flemming Jensen. He scored in 1.15.1kr to defeat US import Solvato (4m Donato Hanover-Solveig-Yankee Glide) driven by Veijo Heiskanen with third to Montgomery Hill (9g SJs Photo-Funny Hill-Mr. Vic) with Johnny Takter up. On the card, Ricardo Mols (Denmark registered 5g Chipmate-Kejerinden-Tap In) scored in 1.12kr for Jensen to earn 60,000SEK in a 1640 meter autostart event. The winner scored for the seventh time in eight 2013 appearances. In a two year-old filly event at Aby for 30,000SEK first money, over 1640 meters autostart, Shakira di Pippo (2f Uronometro-Lussoria-Lindy Lane) won her initial lifetime start in 1.17.8kr with Andre Eklundh driving for Italian trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro who is in Italy for Derby weekend at Napoli. by Thomas H. Hicks for  

Today's exceptional card at Paris-Vincennes drew a fine crowd of trotting enthusiasts and children for the Journal of Mickey entertainment. The trotting featured Criterium 3 Ans (Gr. I, 2700 meters, 240,000 euro purse) was won by 18/1 upsetter Aladin d'Ecajeul (3m Quaker Jet-Nancy d'Ecajuel-Halimede) driven by Eric Raffin for owner Philippe Dewulf and his trainer Sebastien Guarato. Raffin had the winner close to the leaders throughout and sprang loose in the lane for a 1-1/2 length victory over Ausone du Kastel (3m Gros Grain-Lancee-Courlis du Pont), a 13/1 shot handled by J-M Bazire. Alesia d'Atout (3f Defi d'Aunou-New York Jet-Halimede-Elite d'Atout-Sugarcane Hanover) at 81/1 was placed third after a disqualification of Aldo des Champs. The winner scored in 1.14kr. Sire of dam of two of the top three finishers, Halimede, is a son of Buvetier d'Aunou from Udames by Quioco. Seven of the 15 starters, including the favorites, were disqualified for breaks (Axelle Dark, Alizea du Kastel, Avenir de Blay, Atlas des Joudes, Akim du Cap Vert, Avila and Aldo des Champs). The co-featured Prix Octave Douesnel (Gr. II, males age four, 2700 meters, 120,000 euro purse) went to 5/1 odds Village Mystic (4m Love You-Netchka d'Orgeres-Full Account) and driver, trainer, owner, breeder Louis Baudron. He led much of the way to score in 1.14.3kr, his 10th career win for earnings of 521,000 euro. The 23/1 Voyage de Reve (4m Password-Kiocalba-Coktail Jet) was second for driver Julien Dubois, trainer Philippe Moulin and owner Ecurie Victoria Dreams. Vigove (4m Gazouillis-Govive-Hetra Vert)) was a challenging third at 10/1 for teamster Pierre Vercruysse and trainer Franck Leblanc. Today's opener at the Temple of Trot, on a bright, sunny afternoon, was the Prix de Parthenay (monte, three year-old females, 2700 meters, 46,000 euro purse) and Ms. Nathalie Henry won it with A Nous Deux (3f Goetmals Wood-Nina Madrik-In Love With You). Ms. Henry rode the winner perfectly and steadily, rallying to win in 1.16.2kr for trainer Ronny Kuiper, owner Jean-Pierre Dubois and breeder Ecurie D. Altesse du Surf (3f Chaillot-Lady du Surf-Boy du Pre) was placed second for jockey Martial Viel and Altair des Brouets (3f Quiz des Brouets-Luanda des Brouets-Quadrophenio) landed third for Jonathan Vanmeerbeck. The Prix Jacinthe (2700 meters, two year-olds, 38,000 euro purse), contested during a gorgeous sunset, proved a bit of redemption for Ready Cash as sire, after his favored foals went offstride in today's feature. In this one, Bird Parker (2m Ready Cash-Belisha-Fakir du Vivier) scored at 12/1 for patient reinsman Pierre Vercruysse as the pair circled nearly all of the field to win in 1.16.3kr. Philippe Allaire trains the winner for owner Mme. Elisabeth Allaire. Brutus de Bailly (2m Niky-Nino de Bailly-Carnac) was second for reinsman J-M Bazire with Borjal (2m Memphis du Rib-Jaldemosa-Vrai Lutin) landing third for trainer/driver Franck Anne. The winner's name Bird Parker relives my memory of legendary jazz musician Charlie "Bird' Parker who performed and recorded in Paris during his short but accomplished life as developer of "Bebop" and an icon of the hipster sub-culture. Parker was described as an uncompromising artist and intellectual, not just an entertainer, as illustrated by his recording "Bird in Paris - The Complete French Tour Recordings". Perhaps the name will live on with the trotting namesake Bird Parker. by Thomas H. Hicks for   

It is rare for a harness racing filly to win the Criterium des 3 Ans - there have only been five winners in the last 40 years, although it was won by the brilliant Vanika de Ruel last year and three of those winners have been in the past ten years. But this A-generation is so dominated by fillies that there is the possibility that the first three home in Sunday's Criterium des 3 Ans could be one of the fillies who have dominated every one of this crop's "Classique" races. In fact you have to look as far back as 1975 to find fillies finishing one-two-three in this race when Gamellia beat home Garinella and Girl Blanche. But for the first time this year, all six group one races - the Criterium de Jeunes (Avila), Prix Albert Viel (Axelle Dark), Prix d'Etoile (Avila), and the monte races the Prix des Elites (Anastasia Fella), Prix d'Essai (Arca Des Jacquets) and the Saint-Leger des Trotteurs (Almira Marancourt) - have been won by a filly. The seventh could very welll fall to either Fabrice Souloy's Anastasia Fella, or Philippe Allaire's brilliant duo Axelle Dark or Avilla who is trained by Thierry Duvaldestin and who provided the first three home in both the Prix Reine Du Corta and Prix Annick Dreux, the two 3YO fillies races earlier in this Winter Series. Franck Anne's Akim du Cap Vert and Vincent Collard's Africain have finished second and third respectively to Aladin d'Ecajeul (Prix Abel Bassigny) and Aldo Des Champs (Prix Jacques De Vauloge) in both 3YO male races of this Winter Series, which were run in quicker times than their female equivalents, suggesting that the colts might be catching up. But so far no colt has managed to top this trio when it counted in the bike - Matthieu Abrivard's Aldo Des Champs was second in the Prix Albert Viel, while Allaire 's two colts Atlas de Joudes was third in the Prix de l'Etoile and Artiste de Joudes managed a third in the Criterium des Jeunes although has done little since and will be at long odds. Interestingly, three of Allaire's entrants are by Ready Cash, who is making his first start of the Winter Series the day prior in the Prix de Bourbonnais. The only other stallions with more than one entrant, is another whose first crop are 3YOs, Quaker Jet and Goetmals Wood. As it stands the fillies have all the black type, withAvila having two group one wins to her credit, with victories in the Criterium des Jeunes and Prix de l'Etoile while her stablemate Axelle Dark won the Prix Albert Viel. Anastasia Fella was second in the Prix de l'Etoile and won the Prix des Elites under saddle and has also seemingly gone up a gear since that win, having been unbeaten since and will be favourite for this race. Axelle Dark and Avila will also be at single figure odds, while Akim de Cap Vert and Aldo de Champs will be the colts carrying most of the wagering money and the most likely to strike a blow for male pride. CRITERIUM DES 3 ANS Vincennes 08/12/13 FR Group 1 3YOs 2700m €240 000 1 Avenir de Blay (3c Hooper - Mirabelle de Blay Tony Le Beller Tony Le Beller 2 All Feeling (3c Otello Pierji - Quelle Cerencaise Christophe Martens Mickael Lemercier 3 Ausone du Kastel (3c Gros Grain - Lancee) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Emmanuel Allard 4 Alberic (3c Goetmals Wood - Oublies Moi) Dr: David Thomain Tr: Fabrice Souloy 5 Africain (3c Oardo - Kamine) Dr: Yann Gerard Tr: Vincent Collard 6 Alesia d'Atout (3f Defi d'Aunou - New York Jet) Dr: Mathieu Mottier Tr: Dominique Mottier 7 Artiste de Joudes (3c Prodigious - Memory de Joudes) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Philippe Allaire 8 Alizea du Kastel (3f Quaker Jet - Kalida Jet) Dr: Emmanuel Allard Tr: Emmanuel Allard 9 Aladin d'Ecajeul (3c Quaker Jet - Nancy d'Ecajeul) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato 10 Aldo des Champs (3c Prince d'Espace - Noumea des Champs) Dr: Matthieu Abrivard Tr:Matthieu Abrivard 11 Atlas de Joudes (3c Ready Cash - Queschua Love) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Philippe Allaire 12 Anastasia Fella (3f Goetmals Wood - Jeanne's Fella) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 13 Akim du Cap Vert (3c First de Retz - Prima du Cap Vert) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 14 Avila (3f Ready Cash - Encombevineuse) Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 15 Axelle Dark (3f Ready Cash - Queen des Charmes) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Philippe Allaire Dave Sanders

The top 3YO colts will be lining up for the Prix Jacques de Vauloge, the final preparation for the Criterium des 3 Ans on the second Sunday in December. The winner of the first prep race, the Prix Abel Bassigny, Sebastien Guarato’s Aladin d’Ecajuel is the only one of that field from a fortnight ago to not front up again in an effort to earn a place in the biggest race for French 3YOs. The runner up in that race was Akim de Cap Vert, who was only very narrowly beaten by Aladin d’Ecajuel after a titanic struggle in the straight after he had tried to lead all the way. It was still a very good effort and Akim de Cap Vert is still  the highest earning 3YO male in France, and a consistent performer since winning the first group race available to colts,  the Prix Emmanuel Margouty, the premier race for 2YOS of his gender. He has suffered in the shadows of an extraordinary group of 3YO fillies but was second in the group one Criterium des Jeunes and was third in the group one Prix Albert Viel. Franck Anne’s First de Retz colt  started second favourite last time, to Aldo des Champs a son of Aldo des Champs who is trained and driven by Matthieu Abrivard, who finished a distant fourth.  He was however runner up in the Prix Albert Viel (Gr1).  Vincent Collard’s Africain was an encouraging  third in the Prix Abel Bassigny in his first start in group company, and though he was never going to catch the leading pair, he has shown consistent improvement of late and the son of Oardo could be a real contender if this continues. Philippe Alaire’s Atlas de Joudes picked up the  fifth and final placing in the Prix Abel Bassigny after never really getting into the race. He rather surprisingly went out at odds of 23/1 despite being a proven performer on the big stage with a group two win in the Prix Paul Viel, a third placing in the group one Prix de l’Etoile and two other group two second placings. The royally bred colt by Ready Cash out of a Love You mare is bred on a cross we are going to see a lot more of, and should be prominent in the upcoming feature events, even if he may be overshadowed by his imposing paternal sisters, Avila and Axelle Dark, who share the same ownership. Another in the same ownership is  Artiste de Joudes  a son of rising French sire Prodigious, who also went out at juicy odds, perhaps due to his having not continued his early promise. Perhaps he, like many of Prodigious’ get may be better suited under saddle. Another son of Ready Cash, Alto de Viette, a winner of four races, is one of  two newcomers in the field along with Al Capone Jet, a son of Jag de Bellouet,  who has won twice under saddle, and will be keen to show the versatility of his sire.   PRIX JACQUES DE VAULOGE Vincenne 18/11/13 (Gr2) 2700m 3C €120 000 1 Alto de Viette (3c Ready Cash - Mini Ceinture) Dr: Bernard Piton Tr: Peter Derycke  2 Al Capone Jet (3c Jag de Bellouet - Passion de Morgane) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Nicolas Raimbeaux  3 Adonis du Goutier (3c Coktail Jet - Quintaescencia) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Sebastien Guarato  4 All Feeling (3c Otello Pierji - Quelle Cerencaise) Dr: Christophe Martens Tr: Mickael Lemercier  5 Ausone du Kastel (3c Gros Grain - Lancee) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Emmanuel Allard  6 Alberic (3c Goetmals Wood - Oublies Moi) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Fabrice Souloy  7 Africain (3c Oardo - Kamine) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Vincent Collard  8 Artiste de Joudes (3c Prodigious - Memory de Joudes) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Philippe Allaire  9 Aldo des Champs (3c Prince d'Espace - Noumea des Champs) Dr: Matthieu Abrivard Tr: Matthieu Abrivard  10 Atlas de Joudes (3c Ready Cash - Queschua Love) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Philippe Allaire  11 Akim du Cap Vert (3c First de Retz - Prima du Cap Vert) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne  by David Sanders for

The Group two Prix Abel Bassigny at Vincennes today is the first of two preparations for colts on the path to the Criterium des 3 Ans on December 8. The race is something of a commentator’s nightmare with Artiste du Jour, Artiste de Joudes and Atlas de Joudes all in the race, and all having some chance to add another Group two to their CVs in what looks a far more open race than the fillies race earlier in the day. Of the favoured runners, Akim du Cap Vert has been a very consistent performer, although he has had to play second fiddle to the fillies in all the Group one races he has contested this season, with a second place in the Criterium des Jeunes,  a very close third in the Prix Albert Viel and a fourth in the Prix de l’Etoile. He is currently the leading colt on the money-earnings table, in third place overall behind Ready Cash fillies Axelle Dark and Avila. But Franck Anne’s colt by First de Retz has two group twos among five wins, and he has been in the top three in all but five of his 18 starts, with a fourth in a group one the only other time he has completed a race – the other four races were breaks. Mathieu Abrivard’s Aldo des Champs is a late bloomer, but has recently made some very impressive strides, being nosed out for second in the Group one Prix Albert Viel splitting two wins, including the Prix Kalmia at Vincennes in July where he beat five of the horses he meets here – including Akim du Cap Vert. He may even start favourite. Then we have the three tongue twisters, headed by Ready Cash colt Atlas de Joudes who was third in the Prix de l’Etoile at his last start. This was the first good run he had put in since February, after a promising start to his career. If Philippe Allaire has him in that sort of form again he could figure. Allaire’s second horse is Atlas de Joudes, who is by rising star sire Prodigious, a son of Goetmals Wood. He has been placed second and twice third in his last four starts, though he failed in his last start in August. He will need to improve on that to be in this. Artiste du Jour  was second in the Prix Kalmia against most of these horses in May, and he was fourth in the group one Criterium des Jeunes. Frederic Prat’s Chef du Chalet colt  ran second in a minor warm-up race in Chartes a fortnight ago in preparation for this. Franck Nivard will be on Vincent Collard’s Africain (Oardo) whose last start was a win at Vincennes, one of three in 14 outings, and he may be the dark horse. PRIX ABEL BASSIGNY Vincennes  04/11/13 FR (G2) 2175m 3H €120,000 1  Ausone du Kastel  (h Gros Grain - Lancee) Dr: Emmanuel Allard Tr: Emmanuel Allard  2  Africain (h Oardo - Kamine) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Vincent Collard  3  Alberic  (h Goetmals Wood - Oublies Moi) Dr: Pierre Levesque Tr: Fabrice Souloy  4  Aladin d'Ecajeul (h Quaker Jet - Nancy d'Ecajeul) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr:  Sebastien Guarato  5  Artiste de Joudes  (h Prodigious - Memory de Joudes) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse  Tr:  Philippe Allaire  6  Aldo des Champs  (h Prince d'Espace - Noumea des Champs) Dr: Mathieu Abrivard Tr: Mathieu Abrivard  7  Artiste du Jour  (h Chef du Chatelet - Ondine du Fournet) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Frederic Prat  8  Atlas de Joudes  (h Ready Cash - Queschua Love) Dr: Jos Verbeeck  Tr:  Philippe Allaire  9  Akim du Cap Vert  (h First de Retz - Prima du Cap Vert) Dr: Franck Anne  Tr:  Franck Anne  Dave Sanders

It’s highly  likely Ready Cash will be in the headlines again this weekend with three of his progeny being among the first four favourites of taking out the Group I Prix de l’Etoile at Vincennes. One of the great classics of French trotting, the Prix de l’Etoile (3-4-5YO sulky) is one of four races in France which, through handicapping, were originally designed to give breeders a chance to compare the crops. The other races are the Prix des Elites (3-4-5YO monte),the Prix de Selection (4-5-6YO sulky) and Prix des Centaures (4-5-6 YO monte). The introduction of the modern US bloodlines in the 1980s, where around 20 French mares were exported to the United States and their progeny sent back to France (the book closed again in 1991),  has had the effect of making the breed much more precocious and as a result the two sulky races in particular have become dominated by 3YOs. Having to start off a 50 metre handicap, it' hasn’t been since 1997 since a 5YO has won this race when Elvis de Rossignol (Sancho Panca) beat another from his crop Escartefigue (Steed James), with 4YO Fleuron Perrine (Tenor de Baune) third – and a genuine great of French trotting General du Pommeau (Sebrazac) being the first 3YO home in fourth.   Three of these four stallions were from the Fuschia (Godolphin) line, and the other from the endangered Phaeton (non Hambletonian Darley) bloodlines. And it won't be a five-year-old  this year with the only representative of that crop being Unaka (Joyau d'Amour)  who has only had three wins in 55 starts and his having  her first start in a major race despite five.   She will be  hoping to sneak into a top five finish and add some classic credentials to her pedigree page as will the 4YO mares Vigogne du Boulay and Viscaria, who were two of the top 2YOs in their crop, but never went on to fullfil their early promise.  Incidentally it was back in 1993 that a 4YO won this race. Vigogne du Boulay (Defi d'Aunou) in fact won the biggest 2YO race in France, the Group II  Prix Une De Mai, and was  fifth in  Group I Criterium des Jeunes - the first of the Criteriums and raced in February  of the 3YO year - but she has done nothing since. Viscaria (Gai Brillant) is mainly  a monte horse, whose best performance was second in  Group I  monte, the Prix des Centaures. But this is now  a very coveted race for 3YOs and the top three of the generation (and four of the top five) will be fronting up to claim a Group I and add to their breeding credentials. The top of the crop is Axelle Dark who has won seven of her 15 starts(€434,400)  including the Group II Prix Uranie last start, and also won the  Group I Prix Albert Viel in June – and will be the favourite for the race. Avila  downed her paternal half-sister two starts ago and has won six of her 12 starts (€322,000) is trained by Ready Cash’s trainer Thierry Duvaldestin, although is under different ownership to the other pair (Cyril Lelarge).  She won the Critierium des Jeunes, the other Group I so far decided by this generation, making it two from two so far for Ready Cash with his first crop. Ready Cash’s best colt Atlas de Joudes (4 wins) is out of a Love You mare and like Axelle Dark is owned and trained by Philippe Allaire – who of course owns Ready Cash. He has been making mistakes of late and hasn’t won since February, when he claimed the Prix Paul Viel while he was fifth in the Criterium de Jeunes a few weeks later. Akim du Cap Vert (first de Retz) is likely to be the biggest threat to the Ready Cash trio, indeed is the best colt of the generation, having won France’s  top 2YO race, the Group two Prix Emmanuel Margouty in December. He was also second in the Criterium des Jeunes and  his trainer/driver Franck Anne won this same race last year with the brilliant filly Vanika de Ruel (Jardy). The other runner with genuine claims is the Fabrice Solouy’s Goetmals wood filly Anastasia Fella who beat the two Ready Cash fillies home in the top 2YO race for their gender, the Prix Une de Mai, in December. Although that was also her only victory so far, she was second  in her last start, when splitting Axelle Dark and Avila in the Prix Uranie so is capable of an upset. PRIX DE L'ETOILE Vincennes  2150m Group 1, 3-4-5YO  € 240,000 1         Ausone du Kastel (3c Gros Grain – Lancee)  Tr/Dr: Emmanuel Allard    2         Anastasia Fella (3f Goetmals Wood - Jeanne's Fella)   Dr: Franck Nivard   Tr: Fabrice Souloy         3         Almira Marancourt (3f Lilium Madrik – Elmira)  Dr:  David Thomain   Tr: Sébastien Hervalet       4         Atlas de Joudes (3c Ready Cash - Queschua Love)   Dr: Pierre Vercruysse   Tr: Philippe Allaire       5         Avila (3f Ready Cash – Encombevineuse)   Tr/Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin   Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin       6         Akim du Cap Vert (3c First de Retz - Prima du Cap Vert)   Tr/Dr: Franck Anne            7         Axelle Dark (3f Ready Cash - Queen des Charmes)   Dr: Jos Verbeeck   Tr: Philippe Allaire       8         Unaka (5m  Joyau d'Amour - Lena) Dr: Baptiste Masseguin Tr:  Francisco Criado     50m     9         Vigogne du Boulay (4m  Defi d'Aunou - Mona Lisa Jet)   Dr: Eric Raffin   Tr: Franck Harel     50m 10         Viscaria (4m Gai Brillant - Lajounie des Cinty)   Tr/Dr: Guillaume Gillot   Guillaume Gillot     50m by David Sanders for

One of the Elitloppet favorites, Maharajah (Sweden), has been scratched from his elimination on Sunday. Of the remaining harness racing entrants in that elimination, the early wagering favorites are Formula One, Timoko and Neste Effe. Favored in the second elimination are Sebastian K, Brad de Veluwe and Nahar.

Interesting harness racing occurred this week throughout Europe as the exciting Oslo Grand Prix weekend approaches.

The hot-trotting Swedishman (Gogo-Valgana) won today's Grand National du Trot at Hippodrome Marseille-Borely. Trained and driven by Thierry Duvaldestin (trainer of Ready Cash), Swedishman overcame a 25 meter handicap to score easily in this 3,000 meter (1-7/8 mile) harness racing test carrying a purse of 90,000 euro.

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