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August 22, 2015 - Norway’s Lionel (5m Look de Star-Aurora Sign-Smok’n Lantern) took today’s Paris-Vincennes featured Gr. III Prix de Provence (purse €85,000, 2700 meters, eight European starters) with Franck Nivard up for harness racing trainer Fabrice Souloy and owner Goran Antonsen. The even-money winner was timed in a sharp 1.12.9kr to defeat Sweden’s  5/2 odds Dante Boko (5g Going Kronos-Margherita Rosa) that raced well on the front for Dominik Locqueneux, driving for trainer Lutfi Kolgjini and owner Stall Be The Best, and that effort was half-length short of victory. 7/2 Vaisman (6m Memphis du RibIula du Donetil) was a distant third for owner/trainer/driver Franck Anne ahead of Italy’s 18/1 Prince di Poggio (6m Varenne-Moon Shadow) and teamster Eric Raffin. Fractions were 1.14.7kr at the first 500 meters; 1.12.9kr at the 1000 mark; 1.12.4kr at the 500 and 1.12.9kr at the finish. Also on the card was the Prix de Lury Sur Arnon (purse €38,000, 2100 meters autostart, 14 starters) and it went to 7.7/1 odds Borsalino du Jal (4m Oyonnax-Riva Pellois) for trainer Sebastien Guarato and teamster Guillaume Jouve for owner RMC 2014. Second went to 13/1 Bambou de Calvi (4g Korean-Gramonde) for Matthieu Verva ahead of 3.7/1 Binky (4g Niky-Pristounette) driven by J-M Bazire for trainer J-M Baudouin. Winning time was 1.12.6kr. The well-bred Crazy Dream (3g Repeat Love-Daisy Chain-Speedy Somolli), off at 2/1, won the Prix de Lagny (purse €36,000, 2700 meters, 10 starters) in 1.18.kr driven by trainer Yves Boireau for owner Ecurie D. 25/1 Clear Sky (3m Oyonnax-Tosea) was second for trainer/driver Charles Antoine Mary ahead of 65/1 Camel Griff (3g Nice Love-Reine Griff) reined by Gaetan Ligeron. Legendary broodmare Daily Chain has produced 16 foals, the last in 2013, 12 money winners and five with over US$100,000 earned including Kaisy Dream 1:56.2 ($1,205,145), Orsy Dream 1:56.2 ($257,337), Paisy Dream 1:59.2 ($170,861) and Nice Dream 1:59.1($134513) In Sweden on August 21 at Gavle the well-bred Tobin Kronos (3m Muscle Hill-Zamia FC-Sugarcane Hanover) took the E3 Consolation (80,000SEK to winner, 1640 meters autostart) timed in 1.12.3kr. Ulf Ohlsson teamed the winner to defeat Token Bi (3g Equinox Bi-Ida Grandi-Toss Out) with Columbus Sisu (3g Korean-I Enjoy Beinga Girl-Conway Hall). Zamia FC 1:58.1 ($500,352) was winner of the Gran Premio Citt’di Napoli and has produced eight foals, six money winner and six in 1:59.1 or better including Gift Kronos 1:51.2 ($358,901), Mint Kronos 1:55.1 ($271,513) and Namale Kronos 1:55.2 ($153,648). Second dam of the winner is Twiggy by Speedy Somolli from Dance Slipper by Noble Victory. Thomas H. Hicks

Geir Vegard Gundersen piloted his trainee Support Justice (6m Kadabra-Artisane-Lucky Lane) to a 1.11.6kr victory, in a two-horse race-off, in the Aby Stora Pris (Gr. I International UET Masters Series, 1640 meters autostart, each heat with 400,000SEK to the winners and the final worth 1.2SEK million first prize). First heat winner Vasterbo Highflyer (7g Look de Star-Vasterbo Highclass-Pine Chip) driven by trainer Daniel Reden was second after setting the pace. Reden, from post one, took the race-off lead and held it to top of the stretch with Support Justice alongside for much of the 1640 meters autostart. Support Justice then took over and drew clear for a three-length score. The winner now has a slate of 26-3-2 in 38 career starts, for earnings of 7,634,613SEK. He earned 1.6SEK million for the race-off and heat two victories. Vasterbo Highflyer won heat one in a fast 1.09.4kr defeating Mosaique Face (6m Classic Photo-Iona LB-Supergill) with Lutfi Kolgjini up and BBS Sugarlight (6g Super Light-Sugarsweet Sid-Sugarcane Hanover) was third for Peter Untersteiner. Rue du Bac and Nahar finished next in line. Heat two went to 1.10.2kr winner Support Justice over BBS Sugarlight and Royal Fighter (7m Varenne-Froken Julie-Supergill) with Jennifer Tillman driving. Repay Merci was fourth in this heat as Rue du Bac and Nahar were disqualified for going off-stride. Also on the Aby card was the Gr. II International UET Masters Series Lyon Grand Pris Summer Meeting (500,000SEK to winner, 3140 meters autostart). Mellby Viking (7m Viking Kronos-Naomi de Lou-Extreme Dream) rallied late for a convincing victory driven by Jorma Kontio for trainer Timo Nurmos. The winner has an 18-4-0 slate in 32 starts now for 2,955,080SEK earned. Alfas du Vinci (7g Orlando Vici-Hillary Clinton-And Arifant) was second for Joakim Lovgren with third to veteran Traveling Man (10m Supergill-Kimberly Lobell-Speedy Somolli) with Ulf Ohlsson aboard for trainer Daniel Reden. Time was 1.13.4kr over the stayer distance. Candor Hall and On Track Piraten, the pacesetter, finished fourth and fifth. Aby Grand Pris promo video follows. Despite rains a fine audience was on-hand for today’s superb racing program. The last ten years has seen many of the trotting sport’s leaders win the Aby Stora Pris. Year Winner Driver Trainer Second Third 2015 Support Justice Geir Vegard Gundersen Geir Vegard Gundersen Västerbo Highflyer   2014 Commander Crowe Örjan Kihlström Fabrice Souloy Quid Pro Quo Juliano Rags 2013 Sebastian K. Jorma Kontio Åke Svanstedt Save The Quick Commander Crowe 2012 Sebastian K. Åke Svanstedt Åke Svanstedt Commander Crowe Oracle 2011 Rapide Lebel Eric Raffin Sebastien Gurato     2010 Lisa America Torbjörn Jansson Jerry Riordan Torvald Palema Beanie M.M. 2009 Torvald Palema Åke Svanstedt Åke Svanstedt Commander Crowe Garland Kronos 2008 Garland Kronos Lutfi Kolgjini Lutfi Kolgjini     2007 Giant Superman Fredrik B. Larsson Fredrik B. Larsson Oiseau De Feux   2006 Red Chili Pirat Örjan Kihlström Patrik Södervall Passionate Kemp Adams Hall 2005 Gidde Palema Åke Svanstedt Åke Svanstedt Steinlager   Thomas H. Hicks  

August 9, 2015 - Today’s Gr. I Grand Prix de Wallonie (UET Masters Series, 2300 meters autostart, purse €180,000, nine starters International) went to Princess Grif (6f Varenne-Fauve Grif) for driver Roberto Andreghetti for trainer Fabrice Souloy and owner Azienda Agricola Biasuzzi, timed in 1.14.4kr. Off at 5.3/1 odds the winner benefitted from the scratch of Aladin d’Ecajeul and disqualification of favored Roi du Lupin and Olmo Holz. 41/1 Paladin Bleu (13m Jag de Bellouet-Uno Picolina) was second with Marc Huygens up and third went to 35/1 Onyx D’em (13g Uranes Sautonne-Becilia) for Rik Depuydt. Other longshots 24/1 Nene’degli Ulivi and 48/1 Roller Quick were next to the line in this contest. The turf contestants battled today at Royan in the Grand Prix Dynavena Maisagri Duran (€32,000 purse, 2475 meters, 13 starters) with the 1.19.6kr win going to 3/2 favorite Univers de Marzy (7g Look de Star-Lovelie de Marzy) for J-Ph Monclin and trainer/owner B.R. Plaire. 17/1 Tui de Narmont (8m Ipson de Mormal-d’Oree de Narmont) was second in a good effort, ahead of third finishing 48/1 Telfanto de Coudde (9g Orlando Vici-Jalna de Couddes) Also on grass, at Carentan, was the Grand Prix de la Ville de Carentan (€45,000 purse, 2850 meters distance handicap, Trophee Vert series) and the 1.17.1kr winner was 19/1 Un Soir Baroque (7g Hand du Vivier-Joie Baroque) for Flavien Michot. Thierry Raffegeau is the trainer. 7/1 Tresor Wic (8m Jag de Bellouet-Epona Vinn) was next for Anthony Barrier with third to 36/1 Uno de Guinette (7g Kaiser Soze-Isis de Guinette) for trainer/driver Sebastien Hardy. At Enghien the Prix Café de la Mairie de Groussainville (€56,000 purse, 2875 meters) went to the Thierry Duvaldestin trained 13/1 odds Cere Josselyn (3f Kaisy Dream-Kate) with Damien Bonne driving. Time was 1.18.8kr with second to 2/1 Currency (3f Orlando Vici-Precious of Fee) with Franck Nivard up for trainer Fabrice Souloy. 43/1 Cana de Bailly was home third for pilot Franck Ouvrie. Thomas H. Hicks  

July 11, 2015 - The Saturday July 11,the Gr. III Prix de Bruxelles (€95.000 purse, 2150 meters autostart, 11 European starters) at Enghien presented a top flight harness racing lineup on a sunny day before a fine audience: Nene’Degli Ulivi, Pierre Vercruysse Olmo Holz, Ch. Martens Ru de l’Airou, FranckOuvrie Texas de l’Iton, T. De Genouil Scarlet Turgot, Eric Raffin Princess Grif, Roberto Andreghetti Tornado Bello, Thomas Levesque Beckman, Franck Nivard Tornade du Digeon, Jos. Verbeeck Rue du Bac, Tony Le Beller (Italy) Moses Rob, Andrea Guzzinati Italian-bred Princess Grif (6f Varenne-Fauve Grif), at 6/1 odds, staged a victorious late rally for teamster Roberto Andreghetti to score in 1.12.8kr, by two lengths, for trainer Fabrice Souloy and owner Azienda Agricola Biasuzzi, from pacesetter Olmo Holz (7m Uronometro-Veuve du Kras) handled by trainer Christophe Martens, also Italian-bred. Italy’s Moses Rob (9m Ganymede-Etoile Rob) was third for teamster Andrea Guzzinati and owner Scuderia Sole Che Sorgi. The fractions were moderate and speed steadily increased during the contest (1.13.4kr at 1000; 1.13kr at 500). It was an Italian clean sweep. The first of several other top class races July 11 at Enghien was the Prix du Louvre (Gr. III €85,000 purse, 2875 meters, 10 European starters) and after a mid-race no contest ruling the race was re-started and the 0.5/1 favorite prevailed. Lionel (5m Look de Star-Aurora Sign) scored in 1.15.5kr for Franck Nivard, trainer Fabrice Souloy and owner Goran Antonsen. 6/1 Red Rose America (Italian-bred by the late Lou Guida, followed to be second for Tony Le Beller, trainer Souloy and owner Stall Panamera Racing. 13/1 Alpha Saltor (5m Paris-Haufor-Glory d’Ariane) was third for Mathieu Abrivard. Race fractions were modest (1.16.3kr at 1000; 1.15.8kr at 500) with Lionel controlling the affair throughout. The Prix de Villiers (€48,000 purse, 2150 meters autostart, 16 starters) was the day’s Q+ event (€4.35 million jackpot) and it went to the 9/10 favorite, Sweden-bred, Calvin Borel (5m Super Photo Kosmos-Ulrika Furan) with owner/trainer/driver Conrad Lugauer driving. The winner led for much of the race and barely held on for the 1.13.6kr victory (fractions 1.13.5kr at 1000; 1.13.4kr at 500). Mathieu Mottier teamed 11/1 Blues d’Ourville (4g Password-Pursuit of Charm) to second ahead of 43/1 Arlequin (5m Hasting-Imagine) with Joseph Verbeeck up for trainer Luc Roelens.  Rapports (pour 2€) Tirelire 4.350.000 € - Numéro plus : 1644   Ordre :       80.760,00€   Désordre :       1.615,20€   Bonus 4 :       159,20€   Bonus 4sur5 :       42,00€   Bonus 3 :       11,20€ The Prix du Palais de Chaillot (€68,000 purse, 2875 meters, 13 European starters) went to Sweden-bred Rocky Winner (7m Credit Winner-Level Forty Two) with Gabriel Gelormini aboard for trainer Jorgen Westholm and owner Nortronic KB. Off at 7/1 odds the winner was clocked in 1.14.4kr over the extended distance with accelerating speed (fractions 1.15.5kr at 1000, 1.14.6kr at 500). Tina Jolie (8f Jasmin de Flore-Mirea des Picares) was next for reinsman Yoann Lebourgeois and trainer Helena Krom with third to Urgos (7m Kesaco Phedo-Orcieres) and teamster Joseph Verbeeck and trainer J-M Bazire.  Thomas H. Hicks  

June 22, 2015 - Sunday’s harness racing undercard at Vincennes also included two Gr.III events and the day’s Quinte+ with a €3.35 million jackpot. Starting that action  was the Gr. III Prix Raymond Fouard (€85,000 purse, 2700 meters, 14 European starters) was clocked in 1.13.7kr by the victorious 1.6/1 favorite Beau Gamin(4m Quinoa du Gers-Cadette) with Eric Raffin up for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Jean Michel Rancoule. The winner recorded his eighth win now for earnings of €227,440. 7/1 Balva Montaval (4f Magnificent Rodney-Primavera de Lou) finished second for Franck Nivard with 44/1 Bolide de Gueron (4m Cygnus d’Odyssee-Olivia) third for Franck Anne, the driver/trainer/owner. The Prix de Gresse (Gr. III, €80,000 purse, 2700 meters, 12 European starters) went to the 1.12.5kr winning Norwegian Lionel (5m Look de Star-Aurora Dign-Smokn Lantern) for J-M Bazire. The 3/1 winner is trained by Fabrice Souloy for Goran Antonsen. Lionel scored his ninth career win for earnings of €203,216. 25/1 Red Rose America (5f Varenne-Armbro Voice) was second for Tony LeBeller driving for trainer Souloy and the Denmark owner Stall Panamera Racing. This one was bred in Italy by the late Lou Guida. 39/1 Atout du Lorre (5g Oakwood du Closet-Haquikmie) was third for Franck Anne also trainer/owner. Rooibus and Rember Mail finished fourth and fifth while As Dore and Arlington Dream were disqualified. The Quinte+ Prix Bertrand Deloison (€90,000 purse, 2850 meters, 17 European starters) went to the 1.13.8kr timed, 2.3/1 odds Val Royal (6m Capriccio-Quarda du Rib) for trainer/driver J-M Bazire and owner/breeder Ecurie des Charmes. The winner posted his 11th career victory now for €353,720 earned. Germany’s 3/1 Chapeau (6m Love You-Crown Tess) was second for trainer/driver Christophe Martens and Italian owner Renato Bruni. 29/1 Urgos (7m Kesaco Phedo-Orcieris) was third for Joseph Verbeeck driving for trainer Bazire. Italy’s Perkins Grif was fourth. Win-place handle alone on the W+ race exceeded €1,147,000.      Rapports (pour 2€)   Tirelire 3.350.000 € - Numéro plus : 0397     Ordre :       1.281,80€     Désordre :       23,40€     Bonus 4 :       7,20€     Bonus 4sur5 :       3,60€     Bonus 3 :       2,40€           Cl. N° Chevaux Drivers Propriétaires Entraîneurs 1er 7 Val Royal J.-M. Bazire Ecurie des Charmes J.-M. Bazire 2ème 11 Chapeau GER C. Martens R. Bruni C. Martens 3ème 10 Urgos J. Verbeeck M. Moureaux J.-M. Bazire 4ème 4 Perkins Grif ITY F. Nivard Scuderia Futura 2004 Srl F. Souloy 5ème 16 Scarlet Turgot E. Raffin Mme T. Hoste Y.-A. Briand               Thomas H. Hicks  

June 20 2015 - Harness racing at Chartres on Saturday included the Prix de Bar PMU “L’Olympic” (€21,000 purse, 2800 meters, 14 starters) and the 1.18.4kr winner was 4/1 Bago du Plessis (4m Rieussec-Jessica du Plessis) for trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse. 21/1 Bijou des Loups (4g Nahar de Beval-Jodie de Bois) was next for Anthony Barrier with third to 7/1 Broneu Vici (4g Saxo de Vandel-Eau du Loir) with M-J Chevalle driving. Saturday at Chartres led the action that day in France including the Prix PMU “Be Lucky” (€27,000 purse, 2800 meters, 16 starters) and Franck Nivard teamed 2.4/1 Valsa d’Aviqniere (6f Look de Star-Hermine d’Avigniere) to the 1.16.3kr win. Thierry Duvaldestin is the trainer/owner. 12/1 odds Tcherkess (8g Cedre du Vivier-Lianesde) was next for Franck Ouvrie ahead of 40/1 Viano Turbo (6g Orsy Dream-Guimauve des Sarts) for trainer/driver Gabriel Angel Pou Pou. Legandary Jean-Pierre Dubois piloted his Calicot du Vivier (3g Repeat Love-Kalinka du Vivier) to victory in the Prix Epicerie PMU (€21,000 purse, 2800 meters, 14 starters) at 3.1/1 odds, clocked in 1.18.7kr. Yves Boireau trains the winner that defeated 15/1 Cherry Cadence(3f Redlight Jet-Oderose) and 14.7/1 Cool Buissonay (3m Kool du Caux-Lutara Buissonay) with owner/trainer/driver Joel Van Eeckhaute up. Cavaillon on Saturday hosted the Prix Alain  Paul Nitard (€25,000, 2626 meters autostart, 15 European starters) and the 1.16.2kr winner was 14/1 Midsummer King (10g King Lavec-Pietra) with J. Guelpa up. 32/1 Head Line(8g Rite On Line-Fanopoli) was next for David Bekaert with 3/5 odds Romanesque (5m Love You-Guantanamera) third for trainer/driver Christophe Martens and owner Ecurie Campus. Thomas H. Hicks  

May 23, 2015 - The Jean-Yves Lucuyer bred Ustinof du Vivier (7g Look de Star-Melba du Vivier-Cedre du Vivier) earned an Elitloppet ticket today following yesterday’s game dead-heat victory at Vincennes in the Gr. III Prix du Crepuscule (€90,000 purse, 2100 meters autostart, 13 European starters) with Scarlet Turgot. Mathieu Abrivard piloted Ustinof for trainer Sebastian Guarato and owner Stephane Szwarc. Yesterday’s score was career win 27 for €606,740 earned by this late bloomer. He’s the best of eight foals of the dam that also includes Tonio du Vivier, a US$133,000 winner by General du Pommeau. The Elitloppet field now has three slots remaining to be named with to-date entrants as follows: Timoko (FR) Maven (USA) On Track Piraten (SWE) Wind Of The North (USA) B.B.S.Sugarlight (NO) Support Justice (NO) Nahar (SWE) – a past winner of this classic Voltigeur de Myrt (FR) Magic Tonight (SWE) Univers de Pan (FR) Nuncio (SWE) Ustinof du Vivier (FR) Mosaique Face (SWE). Thomas H. Hicks

May 22, 2015 - The opener this evening at Vincennes went to 15/1 outsider Regio (5m Varenne-Leopardia) in the Pris Constellation (€50,000 purse, 2700 meters, 18 European starters). Clocked in 1.14.1kr the winner was teamed by Pierre Vercruysse for harness racing trainer Paul Hagoort and Holland’s owner Ecurie Victoria Park. 19/1 Andalovsie (5f Ganymede-Napoula) was second for Jacques Bruneau ahead of 72/1 Atino de l’Ormerie (5g Qualmio de Vandel-Padine du Lac and reinsman Bertrand Le Beller. The Quinte+ Prix Ville de Nogent-Sur-Marne (€90,000 purse, 2100 meters autostart, 14 European starters) produced a thrilling dead-heat timed in 1.11.7kr between peg-side rallying Scarlet Turgot (9f Dahir de Prelong-Noella de Massy) for Eric Raffin and red-hot Ustinof du Vivier. This 9/1 co-winner is trained by Y-A Briand. 2/5 pacesetting favorite Ustinof du Vivier (7g Look de Star-Melba du Vivier) and Mathieu Abrivard led a quick pace, drifted out in stretch and then re-rallied to equal Scarlet Turgot on the line. Sebastian Guarato trains this one. Spain’s consistent 15/1 Trebol (8m Hot Blues-Sally Can Wait) closed for third for trainer/driver Gabriel-Angel Pou Pou. 17/1 Tornardo Bello with Thomas Levesque and 15/1 Viking de Val and pilot Eric Lambertz were next in this upper level field. The top two appear to be “elite” level players at this time. Tonight’s Vincennes feature was the Gr. II Prix Ozo (€120,000 purse, 2175 meters, 11 starters). The 1.13.5kr winner was Cosmic Girl (3f Sam Bourbon-Oriane Jolie) at 59/1 for Pierre Vercruysse, a longshot double for the veteran teamster. Gerard Laurent trains. Favorite at .5/1 was Ciperla Mag (3f Quaker Jet-Perle du Ravary) that was second for JM Bazire ahead of 56/1 Clea Madrik (3f Prince d’Espace-Paisy Tivoli) for owner/trainer/driver Benoit Robin. On the excellent Vincennes nocturnal card the Prix Sirrah (€55,000 purse, 2850 meters, 16 starters) went to the 1.13.2kr winner Universal Rider (7m Nahar de Beval-Hanska) at even-money for Mathieu Mottier. 20/1 Undici (7g Kaiser Soze-Jobeth) was second for reinsman Pierre Vercruysse and trainer Alain Roussel ahead of 13/1 Solo de Val (9g Sobrazac-Girl Villa) in rein to owner/trainer Eric Lambertz. At La Cepiere this day the Grand Prix Dynavena Maisagri Duran (€35,000 purse, 2325 meters, 13 European starters) was conducted with the 1.14.3kr winner the 2.2/1 odds Uno de Montauran (7m Sancho Panca-Nijinskaya) with Denis Brossard up. 5.2/1 Royal Blessed (5m Varenne-Ivory Kronos) was next to the line for trainer/driver Wilhelm Paal with third to 5/1 Let Win and owner/trainer/driver J-H Treich. Thomas H. Hicks

May 1, 2015 - The Gr. II Prix Kerjacques (€120,000,2700 meters, nine international starters) highlighted the Vincennes card this day for top class harness racing entrants. The 3/5 favorite Ustinof de Vivier (7g Look de Star-Melba du Vivier) won his fourth straight for trainer Sebastian Guarato and driver Mathieu Abrivard, scoring in 1.13.3kr off well rated fractions (1.14.6kr at 1500; 1.13.9kr at 1000; 1.14.6kr at 500) as the winner rallied in the lane for a three length victory despite drifting out and racing absent cover for much of the journey. Jean-Yves Lecuyer bred the great-gaited winner. Olmo Holz (7m Uronometro-Veuve du Kras) was second at 42/1 for Christophe Martens and 50/1 Uppercut de Manche (7g Neutron du Cebe-Nuit de Manche) reached the line third for Damien Bonne. Roxane Griff was fourth for Eric Raffin and Une Fille d’Amour finished fifth for David Thomain. Timoko reached the lead shortly after the start, yielded for a pocket ride and ended eighth, showing little. The undercard showcased the Prix Bettina (€48,000, 2100 meters autostart, international, 17 starters) at Vincennes for sprinters and trainer Fabrice Souloy conditioned the top two finishers. 14/1 Peace Of Mind (6f Uronometro-Erica d’Alfa) rallied to secure the win clocked in 1.12kr for Italy and reinsman Bjorn Goop. Souloy’s Tell Me No Lies (6g Offshore Dream-B Glorious) was a close second at 3.3/1 for driver Franck Nivard with 18/1 Vigna La Ravelle (6f Diamant Gede-Jirania La Ravelle) third for J-M Bazire beaten only a length. Thomas H. Hicks

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

February 8, 2015 - The Gr. I Prix des Centaures (€240,000, 2200 meters distance handicap, monte, nine starters) resulted in a decisive win clocked in 1.12.5kr for Booster Winner (4m Love You - Quille Viretaute) with Eric Raffin up for harness racing trainer Sebastien Guarato. The 2/1 favorite handled, by four lengths, 3.9/1 Bali du Leard (4f Gazouillis-Irman Williams) with Franck Nivard in the irons for Franck Leblanc. Beauty Turgot (4m Hand du Vivier-Quouragane) ended third for Anthony Barrier and trainer Fabrice Souloy. The Gr. III Prix de Luneville (€78,000, 2700 meters, seven starters, monte) went to 1.7/1 odds Biscuit Delavera (4m Ludo de Castelle - Neva du Rosier) in an easy score clocked in 1.16kr after slow fractions (1.17.9kr at 1500; 1.17kr at 1000; 1.16.2kr at 500). Clement Frecelle reined the winner for trainer Jean Luc Bigeon. 11/1 Buckingham Park (4m Coktail Jet - North American) was second for Mathieu Abrivard and trainer Nicolas Raimbeaux ahead of Bilooka du Boscail (4f Look de Star  -Mirza du Vivier) with Nathalie Henry in the irons. Yves Hurel trains this one. In other upper class races Agrippine (5f Hasting - Moquevse) took today’s Prix Salam (€95,000 purse, monte, 10 five year-old starters, 2850 meters) with Alexandre Abrivard in the irons for trainer L.Cl. Abrivard at 3.8/1. The winner was clocked in 1.14kr in defeat of Attentionally (5m Jasmin de Flore - Intentionally) at 7/1 for David Thomain with third to Astre Blanc (5m Memphis du Rib - Java Blanche) at 11.1 for Mathieu Mottier and conditioner Sebastien Guarato. Norway’s Lionel (5m Look de Star - Aurora Sign) captured the Prix Application Parieurs (€75,000, 18 European five year-old males) for Franck Nivard. The 7/2 odds winner is trained by Fabrice Souloy and owned by Goran Antonsen. Aubrion du Gers (5g Memphis du Rib - J’Arrive du Gers) was second at 2.7/1 for owner, trainer, pilot J-M Bazire ahead of Italy’s third place Raul Breed (5m Yankee Slide - Flamma d’Asolo) at 124/1 for reinsman Mario Minopoli Jr. and trainer Salvatore Minopoli. The Prix Janval (€60,000, 2700 meters, nine three year-old starters) produced a win by Cirrus du Chene (3m Milford du Chene - Oasis du Chene) teamed by Franck Nivard. The 2.7/1 odds winner scored in 1.16.6kr as he defeated Cobra (3m The Best Madrik - Phuket Island) at 8/1 for trainer/driver J-M Bazire and third finisher Christo (3m Rieussec - Panacee) at 32/1 for Michel Lenoir, trainer/driver. Today at Le Bouscat the Grand Prix Dynavena Maisagri Duren (€35,000 purse, 2650 meters, 17 European starters) went to Jean-Pierre Dubois driven and owned Tast Of Bourbon (5f Donato Hanover - Qualita Bourbon). Jean Baudron trains this winner that was the 2/1 favorite.  Second was 2.8/1 Berry’s Boy (7g Love You - Realy Furniture) trained by Sebastien Guarto and driven by Glenny Delaune. Third was 16/1 Twist des Pleignes (8g Gazouillis - Ibiza des Plaignes) for owner/driver Denis Broussard. The earlier reported Prix de France summary is shown below with the winner Timoko. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjejaDIwSvk What a racing day this was, in this second leg of the French Triple Crown. Two weeks from now will be the Grand Prix de Paris over the marathon distance of 4150 meters. The Gr. I UET Masters Series event for €400,000 was won a year ago by Up And Quick with J-M Bazire up as he defeated Tiego d’Etang and Roxane Griff. Thomas H. Hicks

Sugar Rey (3m Look de Star-Aurora Boreale-Indro Park) took today’s 87th edition of the Italian Trotting Derby, the first harness racing edition held at the new Campanelle (Rome) 1000 meter track. This 2100 meter autostart event carried a purse of €770,000 ($938,000US) with the winner timed in 1.13.4kr. Giampaolo  Minnucci piloted Sugar Rey in the defeat of Sansone Bar and teamster Bjorn Goop and favored Sciecco  (also by Look de Star) handled by Andrea Guzzinati. Sugar Rey, trained by Paolo Romanelli, was well piloted by Giampaolo Minnucci, and had the advantage of facing the two favorites perhaps not on their best day. Stankovic OK went smoothly on the lead and seemed unbeatable until later in the contest when he began pacing and was disqualified after being third past the line. Sansone Bar was second with favored Sciecco placed third. The Italian Trotting Oaks for a €220,000 purse was contested over 1640 meters autostart and it too ended with a surprising winner in Smeralda Jet (3f Gigant Neo-Ticket To Ride-Nevele Pride). Youthful pilot Antonio Di Nardo patiently steered the winner. The daughter of Gigant Neo took the lead, and then yielded to Sirena d'Asolo. The Jerry Riordan trainee Sheava Vik advanced into contention before making a miscue around the final bend causing Saphire Bi to react.   Then Smeralda Jet escaped from the pegs and closed stoutly to a comfortable victory over Savannah Bi and Seattle Bi. The winner’s dam is a 23 year-old daughter of Nevele Pride-J.J’s Springsong by Speedy Crown that was Denmark registered. The maternal family has produced Drago Jet, a winner of nearly $406,000, My Super Pride and Express Rodney.   by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

Three eliminations for the October 5th 87th Italian Derby took place today at Roma Campanelle, in the right-handed direction. Each elimination was raced over 2100 meters autostart for €22,000. Stankovic OK (3m Self Possessed-Flavia Kronos-SJ’s Photo) romped by six lengths in 1.13.3kr in the first battery for Enrico Bellei. Specialess and Swan Wise As trailed the impressive, bold striding winner. This elim was the fastest of the day. Stankovic Ok Pietro Gubellini teamed Sharon Gar to victory in the second elimination timed in 1.14kr. The pair ended two lengths up over Saba de Ronco and reinsman Enrico Bellei with Skyline Dany third. The winner is a three year-old daughter of Varenne from Geneve Gar by Lemon Dra. Sharon Gar The impressive Sceicco (3m Look de Star-Iuta-Viking Kronos) took the final elimination in 1.13.8kr by open lengths for Andrea Guzzinati over Sansone Bar and Santiago d’Ete. The impressive chestnut is a likely favorite in the final, that should be a very competitive affair. Sceicco   Thomas H. Hicks

Sciecco (3m Look de Star-Iuta-Viking Kronos) took Saturday’s €154,000 Carlo Marangoni Memorial Open at Torino, Italy for Andrea Guzzinati. The long-striding chestnut winner recorded his fifth win in 16 outings, now for earnings over €265,000. Sciecco covered the 2100 meter autostart course in 1.14.9kr. Sing Hallelujah (3m SJ’s Caviar-Mystic Hanover-Donerail) was second for Roberto Vecchione Jr. with third to Superbo Capar (3m Calypso Capar-Dark Degi Ulivi-Indro Park) with Jos. Lombardo Jr. aboard. The filly Sister Dany Bar (3f Love You-Red Hot Action-American Winner) ended fourth for Marco Smorgon. The €55,000 Carlo Marangoni Filly went to Simona Om (3f Uronomtro-Keystone Frizzle-Balanced Image) in rein to Roberto Andreghetti. Simona Om won for the sixth time in 17 starts, covering 1600 meters autostart in 1.13.8kr in a rousing finish with three other rivals in the picture. Saba del Ronco (3f Adrian Chip-Didone Gas-Sugarcane Hanover) was second for Enrico Bellei with Sangria Bi (3f Toss Out-Guidara As-Lemon Dra) home third for owner/driver Maurizio Biasuzzi. Sirena d’Asolo finished fourth. by Thomas H.Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

The Hambletonian weekend and two important Derby’s in Europe (Germany and Hungary) did not diminish excellent graded trotting action in France. Village Mystic and owner/trainer/driver Louis Baudron took the Gr. II Prix de la Haye at Enghien in a driving finish, holding off veteran Swedishman with Franck Nivard up. The €120,000 purse was contested over 2875 meters by 13 International rivals and the winner scored in 1.15.2kr as the favorite. The victory, his 12th career score, increased his life earnings to €774,320. August 2, 2014 Enghien, Gr. II Prix de la Haye, €120,000 purse, 2875 meters, International 13 starters, 1.15.2kr Village Mystic (5m Love You-Netchka d’Orgeres-Full Account), Louis Baudron owner/trainer/driver, 1.4/1 Swedishman (8g Gogo-Volgana), Franck Nivard for trainer Thierry Duvaldestin, 3.5/1 Victoire (5f Kitko-Juventa Blue), Mathieu Mottier up, 38/1 .................................................................................................... The Gr. III Prix de Henri Cravoisier also went to a well-regarded, well-known performer in the Philippe Allaire trained Brillantissime. The three year-old daughter of Ready Cash is owned by Frederic Sauque and she won for the ninth time, now with career earnings of €445,450. Veteran Joseph Verbeeck teamed the winner as even-money favorite. She is from the good producing Buvetier d’Aunou mare Ivre de Victoire. Italy’s Sceicco was second for Andrea Guzzinati in the one mile test timed in 1.11.6kr. August 3, 2014, Enghien, Gr. III Prix de Henri Cravoisier, purse €85,000, European 10 starters, 1609 meters autostart, 1.11.6kr Brillantissime (3m Ready Cash-Ivre de Victoire-Buvetier d’Aunou), Jos. Verbeeck for Philippe Allaire trainer, Fredric Sauque owner, 1.1 favorite Sceicco (3m Look de Star-Iuta), Andrea Guzzinati trainer/driver for Ecurie Louisiana, 7.2/1, Italy Black d’Avril (3m Oceano Nox-Olivia d’Avri), Franck Ouvrie for trainer Frederik Prat, 12.8/1 ........................................................................................................... The European Prix de la Ville de Cannes was held at Cagnes sur mer and this €60,000 purse test over 2925 meters went to Tempo de Carless and teamster David Bekaert. The favorite was a length winner in 1.14.3kr over Sweden’s Ouch with Christophe Martens aboard. Italy’s Osiride Griff, a son of Varenne, ended third.. Cagnes sur mer, Prix de la Ville de Cannes, €60,000 purse, European 13 starters, 2925 meters, 1.14.3kr Tempo de Carless (7m Grisbi de Carless-Joie de Carless), David Bekaert up for Ph. Mortagne. 1.6/1 Ouch (7g Viking Kronos-Hot Enough), Christophe Martens, 6.4/1, Sweden Osiride Griff (6m Varenne-Sex Appeal OK), Nicolas Ensch, 24.8/1, Italy Thomas H. Hicks

Emerging Angel Dark took the €38,000 (US $51,692) Prix Irene (Merci Alfred) for four-year-olds tonight at Paris-Vincennes before a large enthusiastic crowd. Expertly reined by Johanna  Lindqvist for trainer Anders Lindqvist (co-owner with Peter Gerry/Arden Homestead Stable) the 32/1 longshot winner scored for the fifth time in 12 starts (all in 2014). Angel Dark has earned 10 checks for €50,130 (US $68,192) earned. The winner qualified in early February and made his first start at Mons-Ghlin on February 28. His steady improvement has been worth watching, culminating on today’s 1.15kr (2:00.67 mile rate) win over the 2700 meter (1.68 miles) grand piste. From head number four Mlle. Lindqvist took an outside starting position and zoomed to the early lead that the pair held until yielding to favorite Apace de Beaum and J-M Bazire heading up the backside hill. Lindqvist patiently remained in the pocket until getting out of tight quarters in the stretch. Angel Dark did the rest, powering to the line decisively. Lindqvist and Perry acquired Angel Dark at the 2013 Prix d’Amerique mixed sale. June 24, 2014 Paris Vincennes,Prix Irene (Merci Alfred), €38,000, 2700 meters, 13 starters Fractions: 1.16.8kr at 1500; 1.15.8kr at 1000; 1.15.4kr at 500; 1.15kr finish 1st Angel Dark (4g Look de Star-Quadrata des Jipes-Flash de Cosse), Johanna Lindqvist up for trainer Anders Lindqvist who co-owns with Arden Homestead Stable (Peter Gerry), his fifth win in 12 starts, all in 2014 for earnings of €50,130; 32/1 odds 2nd Apache de Beaum (4m Vivaldi de Chene-Quinda Louise), J-M Bazire, 1.3/1 favorite 3rd Along (4m Ganymede-Orange de Vire), Eric Raffin, 102/1 4th Amadeus Quick (4g Prince d’Espace-Quinta Vaumicel), Pierre Vercruysse, 10/1 5th American Jet (4m Quaker Jet-Marlena), Franck Nivard, 3/1 by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

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