Jean Ettiene Dubois' Villeroi seems finally to have found the depths to his stamina needed to compete at the very top level in France. His last start victory was his first in twelve starts at group level and his sixth overall in 34 race attempts. While he has accrued a respectable 309,590 euros, the son of Oisau de Feux and top broodmare Pocahontas was prone to step roughly when the pressure went on, and was we know in France galloping is an instant DQ, while more than a couple of skips from either front or back pairings will have a race taken off the offender. He will face a field of 5YOs in the Prix Robert Auvray, a 120,000 euro group two over 2850m which is absent of the money leaders of the V-generation, the likes of Vanika du Ruel, Victoire and Village Mystic. Indeed Villeroi is only just in the top 20 of his generation's richest although of course a good many of those will be under saddle specialists. The highest earner in the field is Criterium des 4 Ans winner Voltigeur de Myrt who looks to be coming back into form after recording his fastest time ever last start, 1.11.1 (under a 25m handicap) which was the equal fastest in the race but only good enough for sixth in the Prix des Selection, with the front markers from the A-generation taking four of the top places with their advantage. Eric Raffin will be in the bike on Roberto Donati 's son of Opus Viervil, and he is at generous odds (5/1) in the early market on the French PMU. Viking de Val has the early favouritism despite a gallop in the Prix de Selection and a third placing behind Villeroi in the Prix Ovide Moulinet in mid February. Trainer Eric Lambertz will as usual pilot the son of Baccarat du Pont who is a newcomer to group racing, and while he has yet to win a black type race he has been highly competitive with a third placing in the group one Criterium Continental, being his career highlight so far. Jean Michel Bazire is in the bike on Varade d'Hermine which has the daughter of Legs du Clos prominent in the market but although she is a multiple group two winner, she hasn't greeted the judge in nearly a year. Franck Nivard's Vulcan De Vandel and Michael-Jean Ruault's Vicomte Boufarcaux are the others to garne somer early support. Jean-Phillipe Dubois has a trio of runners in Volcan d'Urzy, Voyage de Reve and Visite Royal but all are considered outsiders on form. PRIX ROBERT AUVRAY Vincennes 22/03/14 FR Group 22850 5YO 120,000 euros 1 Victoria du Jouan (m Insert Gede - Jirondelle) Dr: David Thomain Tr: Jean Luc Bigeon 2850 2 Vulcain de Vandel (h Jag de Bellouet - Ophelia de Vandel) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Franck Nivard 2850 3 Visite Royale (m Love You - Imagine d'Odyssee) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 2850 4 Varade d'Hermine (m Legs du Clos - Hotesse des Champs) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Jean Michel Baudouin 2850 5 Vicomte Boufarcaux (h Oh James - Olympe du Boufard) Dr: Yoann Lebourgeois Tr: Michael Jean Ruault 2850 6 Voyage de Reve (h Password - Kiocalba) Dr: Etienne Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 2850 7 Volcan d'Urzy (h Password - Jabotte d'Urzy) Dr: Jean Philippe Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 2850 8 Villeroi (h Oiseau de Feux - Pocahontas) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois 2850 9 Viking de Val (h Baccarat du Pont - La Forge de Val) Dr: Eric Lambertz Tr: Eric Lambertz 2850 10 Voltigeur de Myrt (h Opus Viervil - Myrtille des Bois) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Roberto Donati 2850 by David Sanders, for Harnesslink
Is there a tougher race in harness racing. Certainly not at the elite level. The third leg of the French triple crown, the Prix de Paris, is a monster. Twice around the Grand Piste, twice up the famed monte, the killer rise up the back straight at Vincennes, which separates the pretenders from the contenders in any race at this great track. And these equine superstars can churn through the demands of the 4150m trip in around 2min time - indeed Private Love went under a 2min time when she won in 2010 as did Gobernador in 2001, General du Pommeau in 2002, Insert Gede in 2003 and Jardy went a flat 2.00 rate the third time he won the race in 2007. Vourasie also won the race three times, as did the great Bellino II and some of the true greats of the sport have also saluted the judge including Rooseveldt International Trot winners Jamin in 1960, Une de Mai in 1973, Ideal du Gazeau in 1982 and Lutin d'Isigny in 1984. Three Swedish horses have won the race, the first Piper Club, a son of French export sire Tibur, who is also in the pedigree of the last Swede to win the race, Maharajah in 2011. The third horse was the champion Remington Crown, the only horse to win the race with 100% American bloodlines - although his dam was from a Danish family which had been in Europe since the 1930s. Maharajah also set of a sequence of three wins by horses who were born in 2005 who have dominated the Triple Crown in the past four years. This is the 12th triple crown race since the Prix d'Amerique was won by Ready Cash in 2011. All previous 11 have been won by a foal of 2005, including Noras Bean, the Swedish raider who won the Prix de France two weeks ago. And don't bet against them continuing the sequence again on Sunday. Second favourite Roxane Griff is a former winner of the race, won the monte Prix du Cornulier the week before running a gallant fourth in the PDA, then won her second group one monte of the meeting, the Prix de l'Ille de France on February 2. Fourth favourite and third place getter in the Prix d'Amerique Yarrah Boko is a Swedish bred son of a great French sire in Coktail Jet who now competes for Norway, and is due a win in a big group one. He was bravery personified in the Prix de Paris being one of the three horses which set a sensational 1.03.9k/r for the opening 600m and then stayed on in the straight some 1500m later to finish fourth. "Four kilometers is new for him, but I have a feeling that he manages the distance. We must believe in our horse", said Norwegian trainer Trond Anderssen on Sweden's atg.se website. The other 9YOs in the race include former Prix d'Amerique winner Royal Dream and Roxana de Barbray, trained by ex-pat Italian Roberto Donati, and who was fourth in this event last year. The daughter of Speed Clayttois also ran fourth in that year's Prix d'Amerique in her only start in the great race. Favouritism will go to the rising star Up And Quick in the hands of master driver Jean Michel Bazire, while fourth favourite is Cedric Megissier's Uhlan du Val, who ran fifth and sixth in the Prix de France and Prix d'Amerique, which are fine performances for a young horse in French terms - six is regarded as the entry year for elite level horses after four seasons of age group racing. Fifth favourite is Christian Bigeon's Tiego and he is a really good chance in this, having ran second in this race last year, and ran a great third in the Prix de France a fortnight ago. PRIX DE PARIS Vincennes 2014-02-23 Group 1 4-10 4150m Euro 400 000 1 Titi Quick (7h Extreme Aunou - Gazelle d'Aussy) Dr: Alexandre Abrivard Tr: Clement Casseron 4150 2 Taormina d'Em (7m Cedre du Vivier - Nevadara d'Em) Dr: Tony Le Beller Tr: Jean Pierre Allix 4150 3 Son Alezan (8h First de Retz - Kelle Ile) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Franck Leblanc 4150 4 Utoky (6h Cygnus d'Odyssee - Epopee) Dr: Yoann Lebourgeois Tr: Franck Leblanc 4150 5 Soleil du Fosse (8h Jag de Bellouet - Fortune du Fosse) Dr: Mathieu Abrivard Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 4150 6 Uhlan du Val (6h Islero de Bellouet - Indiana Beautiful) Dr: Cedric Megissier Tr: Cedric Megissier 4150 7 Santa Rosa France (8m Kaisy Dream - Helice France) Dr: William Bigeon Tr: Jean Luc Bigeon 4150 8 Roxana de Barbray (9m Speed Clayettois - Iriane des Enclos) Dr: David Thomain Tr: Roberto Donati 4150 9 Severino (8h Gobernador - Katia de Tillard) Dr: Damien Bonne Tr: Roger Coueffin 4150 10 Quinoa du Gers (10h Ganymede - Targa du Chalange) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 4150 11 Up And Quick 6(h Buvetier d'Aunou - Fichtre) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Franck Leblanc 4150 12 Tiego d'Etang (7h Chaillot - Harolene) Dr: Christian Bigeon Tr: Christian Bigeon 4150 13 Yarrah Boko (9h Coktail Jet - Big Blue Kitten) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Trond Anderssen 4150 14 Royal Dream (9h Love You - Ida Bourbon) Dr: Jean Philippe Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 4150 15 Roxane Griff (9m Tenor de Baune - Julia Mesloise) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato 4150 Dave Sanders
The stellar career of the world's richest harness horse Ready Cash will come to an end after the running of the Prix de France at Vincennes on Sunday, a race which he won for the second time last year. Philippe Allaire's superstar is to retire to a fulltime career at stud after making a stunning start while still racing, with his first two crops producing multiple group winners. While the son of Imoko will be the sentimental favourite, the likely first pick of the punters will be runner-up to the absent Maharajah in the Prix d'Amerique Up And Quick. The brilliant son of Buvetier d'Aunou lost few friends in defeat a fortnight ago with a brave run in defeat to the Swede and will be at short odds to make it once better this time. Another likely to get support is Richard Westerink's Timoko, who was a fast-finishing fifth in the Prix d'Amerique without threatening to figure in the finish. The 'sprint' 2100m distance of the Prix de France might suit the son of Imoko better, Timoko won seven races last year, none further than 2400m. He has won at middle distance (2700m) at Vincennes, but only in restricted age-group races and was third in this race last year. Royal Dream was second in the race last year but the richly bred son of Love You has not been anywhere close to form this Winter Meeting. Seven is a recurring number for Jean-Philippe Dubois' former Prix d'Amerique winner. He was seventh in the big race this year and it has now been seven months and seven starts since he finished in the top three. Swedish bred and Norwegian owned and trained Yarrah Boko was flying home for third in the Prix d'Amerique and is not the worst chance in this. The son of Coktail Jet beat most of these home in the Prix de Belgique, and has been in super form, only once finishing out of the top three in his past 12 months racing. Compatriot and reigning Prix d'Ameriqe champion Maharajah has headed home, but Sweden will have a second presence through Noras Bean, who was a fourth in last year's race. The son of highly successful US export Super Arnie, who will have top Swedish driver Bjorn Goop in the bike, won his first start from a six-month break in the V75 at Aby last month and has a good record over the sprint distance. PRIX DE FRANCE Vincennes 2014-02-09 Group one 4-10 2100m 400 000 euros 1 Noras Bean (h Super Arnie - Easy Bean) Tr: BjÃ¶rn Goop Dr: Ulf StenstrÃ¶mer 2 Timoko (h Imoko - Kiss Me Coulonces) Tr: Jos Verbeeck Dr: Richard Westerink 3 Ready Cash (h Indy de Vive - Kidea) Tr: Franck Nivard Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin 4 Severino (h Gobernador - Katia de Tillard) Tr: Damien Bonne Dr: Roger Coueffin 5 The Best Madrik (h Coktail Jet - Lady Madrik) Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois 6 Royal Dream (h Love You - Ida Bourbon) Tr: Jean Philippe Dubois Dr: Philippe Moulin 7 Up And Quick (h Buvetier d'Aunou - Fichtre) Tr: Jean Michel Bazire Dr: Franck Leblanc 8 Tiego d'Etang (h Chaillot - Harolene) Tr: Christian Bigeon Christian Dr: Bigeon 9 Yarrah Boko (h Coktail Jet - Big Blue Kitten Pierre Vercruysse Dr: Trond Anderssen 10 Univers de Pan (h Kenya du Pont - Gypsilore) Tr: Philippe Daugeard Dr: Philippe Daugeard 11 Uhlan du Val (h Islero de Bellouet - Indiana Beautiful) Tr: Cedric Megissier Dr: Cedric Megissier 12 Triode de Felliere (m Derby du Gite - Linea de Vandel) Tr: Anthony Barrier Dr: Jean Paul Marmion 13 Santa Rosa France (s Kaisy Dream - Helice France) Tr: William Bigeon Dr: Jean Luc Bigeon by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com
The precocious stars of the A generation have very much been in the limelight in recent weeks, with the first two Group Ones of the Winter Series, the Criterium des 3 Ans and Prix des Vincennes having been the headline acts of December's racing at Vincennes. But French racing gives all those with genuine talent a chance to shine, and some of the A-generation's later developers will front for the group III Prix de Croissanville (72,000 euros) over 2175m. This race has recently been where many of future stars of the track get their first get a taste of the big time, this year's renewal is one of two feature events on Thursday's card at the Temple du Trot. The richest horse of the U-generation Univers de Pan won this race in 2012 while Criterium des 5 Ans winners Roc Meslois (winner 2009) and the ill-fated Scoop d'Yvel (runner up 2010) are recent graduates of the race. The most likely in this group to go onto bigger things is Alcest du Goutier,the winner of six of just 12 starts since beginning his racing with a second in a 3YO race in Durtal, west of Paris in March last year. He then won three in a row for trainer Jacques Bruneau before a fourth in his first visit to Vincennes in May. After a 3 month break he resumed with a win in Vincennes which has elevated him to the lucrative intermediate ranks, and he gained his first win in the higher grades last time out on December 21, a performance which has seen him installed as an early favourite. Vying for early favouritism is Frank Anne's Atout du Lerre., who has won four of his first ten starts. Anne who is well known for his ability to win big races with young horses, has used a patient approach with the son of Oakwood du Closet). However being a gelding he is also not eligible for the Classiques, and so his appearances have been naturally restricted. Another interesting runner from one of the more prominent stables is Jean Etienne Dubois' American Eagle who was second in a 76,000 euro race in Vincennes three weeks ago. The son of Offshore Dream has won two of his 20 starts, with his last win in July in Cabourg. Dominique Lefaucheux' Amazar de Florange is another attracting early money, although he has only won once in his first 20 outings, but French handicappers would have been encouraged with his second placing behind Alceste du Goutier last time of asking. The co-featured event is the Group III Prix de Mauriac, a 78,000 euro race for 5YO mares over 2700m with Sylvain Rogers' Valse Mika being the early favourite. The daughter of NIky was a last start winner, her sixth victory in only 24 attempts early in her 5YO career. Vuelta de Lys has won two of her last four starts, including last time out in Vincennes at the end of December, and is also attracting a lot of early money. The daughter of Insert Gede has won four of her 15 starts for trainer Jean-Luc Bigeon. Master reinsman Jean Michel Bazire has also brought Vadapolina gradually through the grades in his usual fashion, and with a win two starts back, her fifth in 21 starts, handicappers have been quick to support her chances. The richest mare in the race is Daniel Delaroche's Via de Villeneuve has amassed earnings of 141,790 euros despite having only won one race in 31 attempts. PRIX DE CROISSANVILLE Vincennes 09/01/13 Group 3 2175 4 â‚¬ 72 000 1 Arno de Bossens (4h One du Rib - Quaifa du Rib) Dr: Jean Loic Claude Dersoir Tr: Joel Hallais 2 Ambre Atout (4g Coktail Jet - Maya d'Atout) Dr: Pierre Belloche Tr: Pierre Belloche 3 Athos des Elfes (4h Ganymede - Lazio du Bourg) Dr: Joel Van Eeckhaute Tr: Joel Van Eeckhaute 4 Alpha Galbe (4h Nomade du Digeon - Nereide Galbe) Dr: Benoit Robin Tr: Laurent Leduc 5 Amazar de Florange (4h Echo - Paoleta) Dr Franck Nivard: Tr: Dominique Lefaucheux 6 Ajaccio de Bengale (4h Mentor du Goutier - Orange de Bengale) Dr: Pierre Yves Verva Tr: Sebastien Guarato 7 Arginio des Godins (4g Norginio - Oceane Fiere) Dr: Baptiste Masseguin Tr: Francisco Criado 8 Ambrogoal des Baux (4h Ouragan de Celland - Milady des Baux) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato 9 American Eagle (4h Offshore Dream - Paradise's Key) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois 10 Alceste du Goutier( 4h Quido du Goutier - Matsuyama) Dr: Matthieu Abrivard Tr: Jacques Bruneau 11 Acteur de Larre (4h Paisy Dream - Qasidamika) Dr: Sylvain Roger Tr: Sylvain Roger 12 Atout du Lerre (4g Oakwood du Closet - Haquikmie) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne PRIX DE MAURIAC Vincennes 09/01/13 Group 3 2700m 5m 74,000 1 Vadapolina (4m Quaro - Miska des Rondes) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Jean Michel Bazire 2 Vuelta du Lys (4m Insert Gede - Ivresse du Lys) Dr: William Bigeon Tr: Jean Luc Bigeon 3 Vallee Secrete (4m Goetmals Wood - Libre Allure) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 4 Vodka Lemon (4m Full Account - Pink Panther) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Julien Rosenzweig 5 Venus de Bailly (4m Chaillot - Oceane de Bailly) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Bruno Bourgoin 6 Vanna Coletto (4m Lejacque d'Houlbec - Paloma du Donjon) Dr: Anthony Barrier Tr: Eric Clouet 7 Vignia la Ravelle (4m Diamant Gede - Jirania la Ravelle) Dr: Eric Gilles Blot Tr: Eric Gilles Blot 8 Valse Mika (4m Niky - Ellamika) Dr: Sylvain Roger Tr: Sylvain Roger 9 Vigna Nobile (4m Goetmals Wood - Envieuse) Dr: Louis Baudron Tr: Louis Baudron 10 Valeska Jet (4m Nuage de Lait - Ocarina Jet) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois 11 Via de Villeneuve (4m Jet Fortuna - Akara) Dr: Pierre Yves Verva Tr: Daniel Delaroche by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com
French superstar Ready Cash is going for a shot at history Sunday, attempting to become the first horse to win four Prix de Bourgogne's a row. Philippe Allaire's stallion was seventh in the Prix du Bourbonnais last start but French handicappers have him at a little more than even money to achieve the feat over the 2100m journey from a mobile start. At present Ready Cash is equal to the great Ourasie on three wins in the event, the former star of Jean Rene Gougeon achieved the feat between 1988-90. Ourasie went on to win an unprecedented four Prix d'Amerique. And as an omen to Ready Cash's attempt to emulate him in January, he achieved the feat with three wins in a row, a miss and then a fourth win. Ready Cash also won three Prix de Amerique, and missed last year, so is on track to repeat it. But first he has to negotiate the Prix de Bourgogne, against what is a dream lineup, with 17 of the world's best trotters including last year's Prix d'Amerique winner Royal Dream and the rising stars of sport, the likes of Timoko, Texas Charm, Tiego Etang and Up and Quick - and the dark horse, The Best Madrik. There are no less than six millionaires in the race, three within a win or two of that total, and all but one having earned over 700,000 euros. It says volumes for the quality of the field, that that horse, Triode de Felliere, is the sixth choice of handicappers, despite beating most of this field in the Prix du Bourbonnais last time of asking. And a great mare such as Roxane Griff who was second in the Prix d'Amerique only two seasons ago, and has a Group I Prix de Paris on her stellar CV and a Group II winner two starts ago is a 34/1 chance. But that win was in the monte Prix Reynolds at the start of the Winter Meeting, and the brilliant daughter of Tenor de Baune is perhaps eyeing the Prix du Cornullier, the greatest race under saddle, a week before the Prix d'Amerique. PRIX DE BOURGOGNE Vincennes 29/12/13 FR Group II Int 2 100 4-9 120 000 1 Ready Cash (h Indy de Vive - Kidea) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 2 The Best Madrik (h Coktail Jet - Lady Madrik) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois 3 Timoko (h Imoko - Kiss Me Coulonces) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Richard Westerink 4 Royal Dream (h Love You - Ida Bourbon) Dr: Jean Philippe Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 5 Vanika du Ruel (s Jardy - Jacarandine) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 6 Texas Charm (h Cygnus d'Odyssee - Kamela Charm) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 7 Tiego d'Etang (h Chaillot - Harolene) Dr: Charles Julien Bigeon Tr: Christian Bigeon 8 Roxane Griff (s Tenor de Baune - Julia Mesloise) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato 9 Reve de Beylev( h Fortuna Fant - Heloise Poterie) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Sebastien Guarato 10 Roxana de Barbray (s Speed Clayettois - Iriane des Enclos) Dr: Anne Francoise Donati Tr: Roberto Donati 11 Triode de Felliere (s Derby du Gite - Linea de Vandel) Dr: Anthony Barrier Tr: Jean Paul Marmion 12 Univers de Pan (h Kenya du Pont - Gypsilore) Dr: Philippe Daugeard Tr: Philippe Daugeard 13 Renommee d'Obret (s Buvetier d'Aunou- Dixie L'Aventure) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Philippe Emmanuel Trible 14 Marielles (s Kick Tail - Egida Play) Dr: Mathieu Abrivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 15 Up And Quick( h Buvetier d'Aunou - Fichtre) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Franck Leblanc 16 Santa Rosa France (s Kaisy Dream - Helice France) Dr: William Bigeon Tr: Jean Luc Bigeon 17 Kadett C.D. (h Scarlet Knight - Kiss Of Life) Dr: Robert Bergh Tr: Robert Bergh by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com
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.