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The road to the 2014 Grand Prix d’Amerique officially kicks off at Vincennes on Saturday with the running of the first of the  four ‘B races’ the  Prix de Bretagne, which gives the winner a ticket to the great race on the last Sunday in January. The winners prize of €54,000is secondary. Two Swedish horses are among the 13 nominated for the 2700m volt start event, both with varying amounts of French breeding in their pedigree, while there is one Italian bred of pure American stock – the grand old campaigner Main Wise As, who was third in last year’s Prix d’Amerique. Last year’s Prix d’Amerique winner Royal Dream was a nomination for this race but has withdrawn as has highly rated Texas Charm, while Ready Cash has chosen to bypass the race as he did last year, when he ran second to Royal Dream. Ready Cash won the Prix de Breatgne in 2011 on his way to winning the Prix d’Amerique for the second time the following January. But last year’s winner Roxane Griff, the best mare of the stunning R generation is once again back – she was also the runner-up in 2011 – fresh from a win under saddle in the opening semi-classique (Group II) race of the Vincennes Winter Series, the Prix Reynolds. Two well-credentialled  Swedes are in the line up with Anders Lindqvist-trained Pato, a former Swedish Trav-Derby and Trav-Kriterium  winner  who has fouled out of both his starts in France, including last time out at Vincennes recently. But he is a very talented son of Orlando Vici and was bred by the Finnish master breeder Petri Puro, who of course bred Commander Crowe on a similar Franco American cross – a French sire with a dam of pure American bloodlines. Robert Bergh’s Kadett C.D. was second in the Criterium Continental on this track last year, a rare international intrusion into the placegetters of France’s Criteriums. He has won the European Derby (Grand Prix De l'Uet (Gr1)) and the Swedish Breeders Crown and is fashionably Franco-American  bred, being by former Hambletonian winner Scarlet Knight out of a half-French mare. Franck Leblanc’s exceptionally talented young stallion Up And Quick makes first start since his brilliant win in the Criterium des 5Ans in mid-August. He has a strong record of being in the money in big races in both Sweden and France. The field also includes the multi-talented Tiego d'Etang sixth in last year’s Prix d’Amerique and second in the Prix de Paris, but is also a group two monte winner, and the afore-mentioned super Italian-bred Main Wise As, a multiple group one winner in France and Italy, and a place getter in the Prix d’Amerique and Prix de France. The only horse in the race of pure American bloodlines, he has been an outstanding ambassador for the breed. There is also the reappearance of the four-time Group one winning mare Vanika du Ruel who was an  entrant in this year’s Prix d’Amerique at the youngest possible age. Of the older brigade Quoumba de Guez was second in this race last year and is a grand old campaigner while the only representative of the S generation is Singalo, a monte specialist who won this year’s Prix De Cornulier and  has also won the group one Prix de l’Ile-de-France. All his 15 victories have been under saddle. He may be aiming at one last tilt at the big race to add to his already solid stud credentials. The Prix d’Amerque is not a race the S generation has excelled in with only two horses ever competing in it, with Severino’s sixth its best effort. By contrast the R generation has eight representatives in the big race for three winners, two runners-up and another in the top five – which is why the French consider it one of the two greatest generations. The road to the greatest race in trotting starts on Saturday. PRIX DE BRETAGNE Vincennes 16/11/13 FR (G2)  Int 2700m volt 4-9 120,000 1  Pato (SWE) (5h Orlando Vici- She's My Pie)   Dr : Johanna Lindqvist  Tr: Anders  Lindqvist 2 Uhlan du Val (5h Islero de Bellouet- Indiana Beautiful) Dr : Cédric Megissier  Tr: Cedric Megissier 3 Treskool du Caux (6h Kool du Caux-Intervista) Dr : Tony le Beller Tr: Fabrice Souloy 4 Kadett CD (6h Scarlet Knight - Kiss Of Life)  Dr: Robert Bergh Tr : Robert Bergh 5 Up And Quick (5h Buvetier d'Aunou- Fichtre) Dr : Franck Nivard Tr: Franck Leblanc   6 Tiego d'Etang* (6h Chaillot- Harolene) Dr : Christian Bigeon Tr: Christian Bigeon 7 Vanika du Ruel* (4m Jardy-Jacarandine) Dr: Franck Anne Tr : Franck Anne 8 Quinoa du Gers (Ganymede-Targa du Chalange) Dr : Matthieu Abrivard  Tr: Fabrice Souloy 9 Rêve de Beylev (8h Fortuna Fant- Heloise Poterie) Dr : Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Sebastien Guarato 10 Singalo (7h Goetmals Wood- Ingala) Dr : David Thomain  Tr: Louise Baudron 11 Quoumba de Guez* (9m Urfist des Pres- Vanina de Mareuil Dr : Jean-Michel Bazire ) Tr: Jean Michel Bazire 12 Main Wise As* (7h Yankee Glide-Desert Flower K)  Dr : Pierre Levesque  Tr: Mike Lenders 13 Roxane Griff* (8m Tenor de Baune-Julia Mesloise)  Dr : Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato "B-races" at Vincennes: Prix ​​de Bretagne - 16 November Prix du Bourbonnais - December 7 Prix du Bourgogne - December 29th Prix de Belgique - January 12 Dave Sanders

Although the Vincennes Winter Meeting has been underway for the past few days it  doesn’t get truly going until the Prix Reynolds tonight, a Group II international monte, which unlike many of the big races on the Vincennes track is open to geldings. Indeed this race has been won recently by two of the greatest  geldings to have raced this decade in the recently retired Rapide Lebel and Swedish star Commander Crowe, who will instead by heading to Italy this year to partake in next weekend’s Nazioni , a €308,000 international group one in Milan. It is perhaps fitting that the horse that split their victories in 2011 and 2013 should also be making one of his last visits to the track in this race, as he again lines up in this €120,000 monte over Vincenne’s sprint distance. Picsou Villabon has not won since he took out this very race two years ago and makes his first start back from his stud season atPascal Borderieux’s Haras des Flagues at Geuron, near Bayeux, Normandy. A former winner of the  Group one monte Prix De L'ile-De-France and four Group twos including the Prix de Reynolds, he is one of two entering the last couple of months of their careers in France. French regulations see horses retire at 10, and it is fitting that two members of the P generation are represented in the opening group two race of the Winter Meeting, which fittingly is a monte, in which is where many of this particular crop excelled.   These include outstanding mares  Priscilla Blue (Prix de l’Isle-de-France winner and second in the Prix de Cornulier), Princess Foot (Group one monte winner and placegetter), Paola De Lou (placed in four Group ones including second in Prix de Cornulier), Private Love (a group one winner and placed in the Prix de Cornulier) and Plenty Pocket (Prix de l’Isle-de-France plagetter). The crop has also produced monte stallions at stud including the aforementioned Picsou Villabon, but also Philotenor (St Leger and Prix d’Essai winner), Paddy du Buisson (winner of two group one montes) Prince Gede (Prix de Normandie winner and Prix de Paris in the bike) and  Prince de Montford (placed in four group one montes including the Prix de Cornulier). Other good P-generation males include  Premiere Steed (placed in Prix Cornulier and three other Group ones ) and Pacha du Cap Vert (placed in two group one montes). And while Picsou Villabon is a former Prix Reynolds, the most likely representative of the crop of 2003 to make an impression in this race is Pluto du Vivier. Jean-Christophe Sorel’s gelding has won two monte races in his last five starts (the last one in June) and has actually won five of his sixteen career victories in this his last season – taking his total earnings to over €828,000. But as usual in the Prix Reynolds, there are some outstanding horses in this field including the likely favourite Roxane Griff, who is a group winner over the toughest race of them all, the 4000m Prix De Paris.  Sebastien Guarato’s star mare was also  second in three Group ones including the greatest of them all the Grand Prix d’Amerique plus the Prix de l’Atlantique and Prix Rene Balliere. She will be at very short odds one would imagine. But also likely to be heavily backed is Quarry Bay, another outstanding mare and a genuine star of monte races. Mike Lender’s charge  was second in this season’s Prix du Cornulier, the second richest in race in France, and the greatest under saddle race in the world, the renewal of which is one of the features of this Winter Season at Vincennes. The nine-year-old daughter of Cygnus d'Odyssee was also second in this year’s Group One Prix de l’le-de-France and has earning less than 70,000 euros short of being a millionaire. She was fouled out of her last start, the marathon Prix de la Ville de Caen which was won by Swedish invader Global Manhattan,  and her previous start was tenth in a minor race  in Rambouillet, a conditioning evenrt which saw several topliners such as Texas Charm and Royal Dream get in some prep. But these races were in the bike, and Quarry Bay is a different horse under saddle, and is coming off  two group twos victories in May and April, and a second placing in March. She is going to be very hard to beat with regular rider Camille Levesque aboard. The T generation, the  crop which left the assurances of age group racing this season to mix it permanently with the big guns in open class elite racing is represented by two rising monte stars in Taiga du Rib and Torre Crepin. Taiga du Rib ran third in the Group one Prix De Normandie in 2012. He has been mixing both saddle and bike this season and has been doing far better under saddle, with a win, four thirds and two fourths in his last seven starts, all Group II montes. Torre Crepin was second in the Prix Alfred Lefevre, a Group three  monte on this track late  last month, and all of Bruno Marie’s gelding’s seven career wins have been at Vincennes under saddle. Former Group one Prix des Centaures winner Saphir de Morge is also in the field. Frank Terry’s stallion is having only his third run back after more than a year off and will need to be taken on trust. PRIX REYNOLDS Vincennes  30/10/13   Group II Int monte  2175m 5-10 €120,000 1         Torre Crepin (6g  Capriccio - Lanaka   Franck Nivard) Rd:  Tr:  Bruno Marie          2         Saphir de Morge (7h  Guenor - Folie de Morge) Rd:   Pierre Yves Verva Tr:   Franck Terry          3         Sakura Jiel (7m  Buvetier d'Aunou - Milady Jiel) Rd:   Guillaume Martin  Tr:  Jean Luc Dersoir          4         Petit Javanais (10h  Diamant Gede - Grande Java) Rd:   Yoann Lebourgeois  Tr:  Herve Houel          5         Ratio Thieben (8g  Tenor de Baune - In Brasilia) Rd:   Olivier Touvais  Tr:  Jean Baptiste Bossuet          6         Taiga du Rib (6m  Nice Love - Galinette Cendree) Rd:   Jean Loic Claude Dersoir Tr:   Joel Hallais          7         Picsou de Villabon (10h  Speed Clayettois - Ghiza du Chene) Rd:   Medhy Hadjira Tr:   Patrick Labrousse          8         Pluto du Vivier (10g  Extreme Dream - Iguine du Vivier) Rd:   Mathieu Abrivard Tr:   Jean Christophe Sorel          9         Quarry Bay (9m  Cygnus d'Odyssee - Barcarolle) Rd:   Camille Levesque Tr:   Mike Lenders          10         Risque Tout (8g  Giant Cat - Little Pearl ) Rd:  Julien Raffestin  Tr:  Gerard Paille          11         Roxane Griff (8m  Tenor de Baune - Julia Mesloise)  Rd: Eric Raffin  Tr: Sebastien Guarato       Dave Sanders

Mike Lenders' rising Monte star winner Ulysse heads a four-strong U-Generation assault of the Group I Prix des Elites at Vincennes tomorrow. The Love You stallion won the Prix De Normandie, the symbol of under saddle supremacy for the five-year-old age group last month and the first four home in that event line up for a shot at further glory in the Inter-generational monte Classique, the trotting equivalent of weight for age racing. Weight for age racing is the accepted standard for assessing championship quality in the thoroughbred industry, with the Breeders Cup (USA), Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (France), WS Cox Plate (Australia) and many of the feature events at England’s jewel of flat racing, Royal Ascot, being run under these conditions. But while thoroughbreds carry set weights which vary depending on a horse’s sex, age, the distance and the month in which the race is run to try and equal out the physical advantage of a horse as it matures against its younger rivals, in trotting a distance handicaps are applied. However, the set 50 metre handicap that the older horses concede  to the three year olds in these French Classics, has seen the advantage shift so far in favour of the younger horses in recent years that the French governing body, Le Trot, will be reducing the handicap to 25m in future years, starting from next season. But while the attele version (sulky) of the inter-generational Prix de l’Etoile and Prix de Selection have been dominated in recent years by 3YOs, in the monte classiques (Prix des Elites and Pris des Centaures),  the older horses have managed to at least get placings, and have on the odd occasion won it, as Nouba Turgot did in 2006 and 5YOs have filled the third placing in half the past 10 renewals. Ten years ago there were equal numbers across the age groups represented in the Prix des Elites but in  the past three years’ renewals of the Prix des Elites there has only been one 5YO represented. Since 2006 there have been no more than two 4 or 5YOs and this year there are no 4YOs at all. So to reclaim the value of the intergenerational Classiques to compare the different crops racing, Le Trot is to adjust the handicap next year, and this year the field for the Prix des Elites has been opened up to six-year-olds for the first time and there are three V-generation mares entered, hoping to get some classic classification to enhance their value as broodmares (only 3 of the 16-strong field are male). While there are no four-year-olds in this year’s renewal, the first four home in the Prix De Normandie line up tomorrow, headed by the winner Ulysse and includes Utopie Imperiale (Kepler , 2nd ), Unikaranes (Montecatini, 3rd) and  Udayama (Echo, 4th). The fifth-placed Prix De Normandie runner, Un Mec d’Heripre (Orlando Vici) will revert to sulky racing and is France’s top entrant in the Championnat Europeen des 5 Ans on the same day. Ugenie du Citrus (Meaulnes du Corta) is a fifth U-generation entry, making it the biggest field of 5YOs in over a decade. Of the six-year-olds entered, Valdice de Mars (Lynx de Bellouet) has  won four montes in a row and will also have the services of top monte jockey Yoann Lebourgeois.   Frank Nivard will ride Fabrice Souloy’s Goetmals Wood filly and top A-generation entrant Anastasia Fella, who was second in the Prix de l’Etoile a fortnight ago while Sebastien Hervalet ‘s  Almira Marancourt is the only other 3YO to have also contested the sulky equivalent of this race. The other leading A-generation chance is Daniel Delaroche’s  filly Alexia du Cherisay (Lilium Madrik) who won the Group II monte Prix de Basley at Vincennes on the 7th of the month. PRIX DES ELITES Vincennes  2200m  Group I 3-6  € 240 000 1         Aston Fly (3c   Hermes de Montfort - Quie Daidou)  Rider: Jonathan Carre   Tr: Michael Jean Ruault          2         Anne de Neulliac (3f   Magnificent Rodney - Onise de Neulliac)  Rider:  Philippe Masschaele   Tr: Sylvain Roger          3         Antara Buissonay (3f   Le Retour - Judelle Buissonay) Rider:   Pierre Edouard Mary  Tr:  Joel Van Eeckhaute          4         Asana Trembladaise (3f   Kuadro Wild - Passion d'Alban)  Rider:  Anthony Dollion   Tr: Anthony Dollion          5         Almira Marancourt (3f   Lilium Madrik - Elmira) Rider:   David Thomain   Tr: Sebastien Hervalet          6         Alexia du Cherisay (3f   Le Big Boss - Precious Thing)  Rider:  Pierre Yves Verva   Tr: Daniel Delaroche          7         Anastasia Fella (3f   Goetmals Wood - Jeanne's Fella)  Rider:  Franck Nivard   Tr: Fabrice Souloy          8         Ultissimo (5h   Gobernador - Altissima)  Rider:  Mathieu Mottier   Tr: Max Izaac     50m     9         Vic du Boisnant (6m   Gazouillis - Ode du Boisnant) Rider:   Anthony Barrier   Tr: Bruno Bourgoin     50m     10         Utopie Imperiale (5m   Kepler - Joie Imperiale) Rider:  Nathalie Henry   Tr: Franck Boismartel     50m     11         Ugenie du Citrus (5m   Meaulnes du Corta - Onna Lisa)  Rider:  Eric Raffin   Tr: Laurent Claude Abrivard     50m     12         Valdice de Mars (6m   Lynx de Bellouet - Tiphanie)  Rider:  Yoann Lebourgeois  Tr:  Loic Groussard     50m     13         Udayama (5m   Echo - Lancia du Pont)  Rider:  Gaetan Prat   Tr: Loic Groussard     50m     14         Viscaria (6m   Gai Brillant - Lajounie des Cinty)   Rider: Julien Raffestin   Tr: Guillaume Gillot     50m     15         Unikaranes (5m   Montecatini - Pivoine des Hayes)   Rider: Alexandre Abrivard  Tr:  Laurent Claude Abrivard     50m    16         Ulysse (5h   Love You – Loctudy)  Rider:  Thomas Levesque   Tr: Mike Lenders     50m By Dave Saunders

The heats for the International Group I Grand Prix de l’UET will be held this week at Vincennes and Solvalla with the €400,000 final to be held at Solvalla on September 29. There are 12 French horses, two Dutch, one Italian and a German horse have entered, and  unusually for a year with the final in Sweden,  most of the top French horses are involved. The only top liner missing is Criterium des 4 Ans winner Voltigeur De Myrt, currently on the annual  "Tour Européen du Trotteurs Français", where he finished sixth in the Prix de President, in Avenches, Switzerland on the weekend. The first heat looks the easier of the two and the Jean Michel Bazire’s  Vaux le Vicomte (4h Nahar de Beval) who was second in the Criterium des 3 Ans looks a class above these having beaten the best in this field home when second in both the Prix Gaston Brunet and Prix Phaeton, two of the biggest races of the year. Last  season’s Prix de l’Etoile runner-up Vera Pierji  (4m Otello Pierji) and third placed Very Pleasant (4h Goetmals Wood)  are both entered but the former, who is trained by Thierry Duvaldestin  is not in good form having not won in over a year. Philippe Moulin’s Very Pleasant, who  won a minor race in the provinces last month, will be probably be the second favourite, but his last good performance in top company was in April. In the second heat Paul Hagoort’s Dutch Derby winner Clint Boko (Abano As) is the only foreign  threat to three French horses with real claims. The winner should come from the trio of Varade d'Hermine (4m Legs du Clos) with Jean Michel Bazire in the bike,   Viva Island (4m Goetmals Wood) with the incomparable Jean-Pierre Dubois driving and Volcan d'Urzy (4h  Password), another of Philippe Moulin’s charges. Varade d’Hermine has won 10 of his 15 starts and was disqualified from second place in the Criterium des 4 Ans for a rough gait, but has since won two Group IIs  and  should be favourite. Volcan d’Urzy was promoted to second in the Criterium des 4 Ans but has since run down the track in similar company. GRAND PRIX DE I'U.E.T. Qualifying heats - Vincennes 2013-09-17  4YOs 2100m HEAT  1 1    Proud Wood (ITA) (4m Goetmals Wood - Berenice d'Ete)   Dr: Arnold J Mollema  Tr: Arnold J Mollema             2         Voici d'Urzy (4h Orlando Vici - Amazone River)   Dr: Romain Derieux Tr: Romain Derieux             3         Very Pleasant (4h Goetmals Wood - Feraine d'Occagnes)   Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin             4         Vera Pierji (4m Otello Pierji - Odyssee Pierji)  Dr: Franck Ouvrie   Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin            5         Vive Majyc (4m Baccarat du Pont - Mammy Blue)   Dr: Louis Baudron  Tr:  Louis Baudron             6         Conway Fortuna  (NED) (4h Conway Hall - Saratoga Yankee)   Dr: Hugo Langeweg Jr  Tr:  Hugo Langeweg Jr            7         Via Josselyn (4m Kiwi - Kate)   Dr: Pierre Yves Verva   Tr: Hedi Le Bec             8         Vaux le Vicomte (4h Nahar de Beval - Nina du Beauvoisin) Dr:  Jean Michel Bazire Tr:   Jean Michel Bazire             HEAT 2   1         Varade d'Hermine (4m Legs du Clos - Hotesse des Champs)   Dr: Jean Michel Bazire  Tr:  Jean Michel Baudouin             2         Vassilia d'Orgeres (4m Love You - Falamine)   Dr: Louis Baudron  Tr:  Louis Baudron             3         Villeroi (4h  Oiseau de Feux - Pocahontas)   Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois  Tr:  Jean Etienne Dubois             4         Viva Island (4m Goetmals Wood - Island Dream)   Dr: Jean Pierre Dubois Tr:   Jean Pierre Dubois             5         Clint W Boko (NED)  (4h Abano As - Vantz Boko)   Dr: Robin Bakker Tr:   Paul Hagoort             6         Volcan d'Urzy (4h  Password - Jabotte d'Urzy)   Dr: Jean Philippe Dubois Tr:   Philippe Moulin             7         Casanova (GER)  (4h Ufo Kievitshof - Pinky)   Dr: Pierre Levesque Tr:   Mike Lenders             8         Vegas des Oliviers (4h Prodigious - Ops Clairchamp)   Dr: Franck Anne  Tr: Franck Anne     By Dave Sanders for Harnesslink.com

Ulysse (5m Love You-Loctudy-Extreme Dream) took today’s Gr. I Monte Prix de Normandie at Paris-Vincennes for a purse of 240,000 euro. Thomas Levesque was aboard the winner, timed in 1.14.5kr over the 3000 meter course rain soaked surface. Off at 3/1, Levesque and Ulysse took command late and stretched his lead heading for home despite drifting wide. Mike Lenders trains the winner (Pierre Levesque stable) for owner Ecurie des Pommiers. SNC Jean Levesque bred Ulysse, now with eight career victories in 28 outings, for earnings in excess of 350,000 euro. Utopie Imperiale (5f Kepler-Joie Imperiale) finished second for Mlle. Nathalie Henry with Unikaranes (5f Montecatini-Pivoine des Hayes) third for Alexandre Abrivard. Favored Un Mec d’Heripre was fifth after stalking the leaders throughout from the outside. Yesterday at Grobois, two year-old qualifiers took place and produced interesting successful participants : Before You (Coktail Jet-Kidea), Phillipe Allaire driving, 1.20kr, this one from the dam of Ready Cash Booster Winner (Love You-Quille Viretoute), 1.20.8kr with Allaire up Bugsy Malone (Ready Cash-Night Captain), 1.20.7kr also for Allaire Blue Label (Love You-Mary Lou Wic), 1.18.7kr for J-M Bazire Bakov de Vandel (Love You-Kalmiade de Valdel), 1.19.4kr with Christophe Martens aboard Bianca Nostra (Goetmals Wood-Idumee du Dollar), 1.18.4kr for Martens by Thomas H. Hicks  

Criterium des  5 Ans  favourite  Un Mec d'Heripre (Orlando Vici) has a chance to redeem himself after a lack lustre performance in the most prestigious race for 5YOs with his first run under saddle in the monte equivalent, the  Prix de Normandie (Group 1, €240,000) run over 3000m at Vincennes. This French classic started off life as an important semi-classique (Group II) for 3YOs in the sulky, but when the Criterium des 5 Ans was created  it became the equivalent for monte. Although he has never ridden under saddle, Un Mec d'Heripre will go out the hot favourite with his usual driver Eric Raffin, also very accomplished in the saddle, and with this generation not being considered in France as being a particularly strong under saddle. Sebastian Guarato’s  Un Team de Nacre (5h First De Retz) could well be the second favourite for the event. He is a monte specialist with  only four of his 36  appearances in the bike, including his first two and he is the second highest earner in the field with more than €300,000 in earnings.  Un Team de Nacre is a son of First De Retz, a former winner of the Group I Prix de Cornulier, the greatest monte race and the second richest race in France, and though he has only won 5 times,   two have been at Group II level. He is usually in a place if doesn't go off stride but unfortunately the stallion has galloped  in more than half his outings, including his last one. Another likely to be well supported is Ugo de Nieul (5h Cygnus d'Odyssee) who has really stepped up this year and beat Un Mec d’Herpre home by one place  in Criterium des 5 Ans. Romain Derieux’s stallion has also won under saddle with a victory in the Group II Prix  Camille Blaisot  in January and was 3rd in Prix du President de la Republique, the 4YO equivalent of today’s race. This is a race in which mares have proven as competitive as their males counterparts, which dominate the Group I sulky races. No less than half the winners for the past decade have been mares and it has been ten years since one of the top two have not been ‘une femme’. Indeed mares provided the first six home in 2009 and the first five home in the 2005 renewal. This makes Jean Marie Monclin’s Ursula Speed (5m Ludo De Castelle) an attractive proposition. The mare has won seven races including the Group II monte Prix Legoux-Longpre  last startand was fourth in last year’s  Prix du President de la Republique . Another top mare is Laurent Claude Abrivard’s Unikaranes  (5m Montecatini) who has taken to the ridden form well since concentrating in monte contests in  June last year. She won the Group II Prix Herve Ceran-Maillard two starts back, and has won of twice under saddle at this level. Another of  Abrivard’s  mares with a  claim is  Ugenie du Citrus (5m Meaulnes Du Corta) who won a Group II monte in Jan, beating several in this field. But in fairness she has not done much since Missing  from this year’s  race is the leading monte earner of this generation Utoky (5h Cygnus d'Odyssee), who won both the Prix du President de la Republique  and the Prix de Vincennes, both group  I races worth €240,000. But he was downed twice in two starts by the up and comer Ulyssee (5h Love You) who won three 120,000 montes in a row after taking up racing under saddle in earnest in May and may be the dark horse in the race. PRIX DE NORMANDIE Vincennes 3000m Group 1 monte 5YO, €240 000 1         Utara de Morchie (5m Chef Du Chatelet - Melva Des Pinons  Rider:    Pierre Yves Verva  Tr:    Yannick Desmet      2         Ultissimo (5h Gobernador - Altissima)   Rider:   Mathieu Mottier  Tr:    Max Izaac          3         Ushuaia de Miranda (5m Kapitano - Melodie Joe)   Rider:   Jean Loic Claude Dersoir Tr:     Philippe Gillot      4         Utopie Imperiale (5m Kepler - Joie Imperiale)   Rider:   Nathalie Henry Tr:     Franck Boismartel      5         Upero de la Fye (5h Jasmin De Flore - Oura Yoni)   Tr/Rider:   Romain Christian Larue   Romain Christian Larue        6         Ungarou de Flore (5h Orsy Dream - Gamine d'Urzy )  Rider:   Jonathan Carre  Tr:    Michaël Jean Ruault        7         Ugenie du Citrus (5m Meaulnes Du Corta - Onna Lisa)   Rider:   David Thomain  Tr:    Laurent Claude Abrivard         8         Ulysse (5h Love You - Loctudy)   Rider:   Thomas Levesque   Tr:   Mike Lenders          9         Ursula Speed (5m Ludo De Castelle - Johanna Dream)   Rider:   Antoine Wiels  Tr:    Jean Marie Monclin      10         Udayama (5m Echo - Lancia Du Pont)   Rider:   Gaetan Prat Tr:     Loïc Groussard      11         Ugo de Nieul (5h Cygnus d'Odyssee - Harmonie De Nieul)  Tr/Rider:   Romain Derieux    12         Unikaranes (5m Montecatini - Pivoine Des Hayes)   Rider:   Alexandre Abrivard  Tr:    Laurent Claude Abrivard     13         Un Team de Nacre (5h First De Retz - Lagune De Nacre)   Rider:   Damien Bonne Tr:     Sebastien Guarato      14         Un Mec d'Heripre (5h Orlando Vici - I Love You Darling)   Rider:   Eric Raffin Tr:     Fabrice Souloy     by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com

The French are preparing for an invasion, and they’ve called for the cavalry  to protect honour, glory and the small matter of half a million euros in the final of the UET Masters Series. The French legion which will  attempt to win the first ever Masters Series final at Vincennes is headed by the world’s best trotter Ready Cash, his heir apparent Timoko plus a recent world record breaker Save The Quick in what must be admitted is a much stronger race than last year’s inaugural running in Solvalla. The Masters Series is a brilliant concept and It has certainly been enhanced with the inclusion of such highly rated French horses such as Ready Cash who has won two Prix D’Amerique and was also runner-up in the world’s greatest race in a career in which he has won 35 times in 57 starts and amassed over €4million. This season he relinquished his Prix D’Amerique crown to Royal Dream, another from the remarkable R generation, but then bounced back the following week to beat his rival in the Group I Grand Prix de France, his third win in that event. He then won the Grand Prix de Paris - another Group I over the marathon 4000m - before settling down to stud duties. The 8-year-old son of Imoko  resumed his racing career in July with another win, in a low level race. Thierry Duvaldestin’s champion warmed up for this event in the Group I GP de Wallonie at Mons in Belgium where he went off stride when being switched from the trail by regular pilot Jos Verbeeck to try and pass Timoko when full of running. It was a rare mistake by the French superstar who will be right at home in Vincnnes and keen to make amends against his younger rival, the undisputed star of the T generation, which is also fashioning a glowing reputation. Timoko, like Ready Cash, is already performing stud duties, and very popular as a winner of both the Criterium des 3 and 4 Ans,  but he does not take a break while performing them, still managing to fit in a full racing schedule which included a trip to Solvalla for the Elitloppet, where he finished third in the final. Richard Westerink’s star is an accomplished sprinter, with his wins this season having been all over the shorter distances, 2300m in the GI Prix de Wallonie,  2100  in the Prix d’Atlantique at  Enghien and a mile in both the Prix de Washington (Vincennes) and Grand Criterium de Vitesse at Cagnes Sur Mer.  He finished third to Ready Cash in the GP de France over 2100m. And Timoko has also never finished better than fourth in this company over the 2700m distances with a fourth in Prix Kerjacques and he was seventh in the Prix d’Amerique. The 2700m may still be beyond him, especially when the pace is likely to be forced with the likes of Save The Quick in the field Franck LeBlanc’s world record breaking mare  stunned the world with her run in the European Championship for mares.  She has a string of second placings in some of the biggest races in the world, including last year’s Prix Du Cornulier (the world’s richest monte at 700,000) and also in the first UET Masters Series final in Solvalla last year. She was also second in the European Championship for mares the previous year too.  Can she go one better in this race too. She is certainly capable, if Ready Cash has an off day. Roxane Griff is  the best mare of the great R generation, lying third overall in earnings to Ready Cash and the recently retired gelding Rapide Lebel. She may have had only 14 wins in 62 career starts but several have been at this track, at this distance, in this company. She has also amassed a string of placings in the world’s biggest races –  including a second in the Prix D’Amerique. She is a dead set stayer (due no doubt to her 85% French bloodlines)  and even though she has not had one of her best years, this is the sort of race she excels in. The Best Madrik is Jean Etienne Dubois’ stable star – he ranks number two on earnings behind his great rival Timoko, the pair being the only millionaires so far in this generation, although Texas Charm will soon join them. The Best Madrik won the Criterium des 5 Ans after finishing third in the Prix d’Amerique earlier in 2012 and this year finished second in the Hugo Abergs Memorial in July and finished fifth a fortnight ago in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Enghien in a warm up for this race. A rising star but perhaps a year too early. Reve de Beylev is another R generation and the sixth millionaire from the crop and has had a stellar year with second placings in his last five outings, all Group II s worth over €100,000 . He has been a model of consistency without cracking a big win in the top echelon, one of those unfortunates to be in a generation without peer.  He is the outsider of the French contingent but deserves his place on this year’s form. This may be the best field ever assembled in Europe, with the best geldings like Elitloppet winners Commander Crowe and Nahar getting a rare chance at the Temple of Trot to run on the great track, for a great prize, in a great field. Sit back and enjoy European and world trotting at its finest on Saturday, at Vincennes , Paris, France.   FINALE UET TROTTING MASTERS 2013 Vincennes, FRANCE 500,000  Group I 4-10  2700m   1. BAGLEY   (GERMANY, UET rank: 27) (8g Bartali Ok (IT)-Novel Boshoeve (DE)) Owner: Dagmar & Thomas Bosner Trainer: Conrad Lugauer,  Jagersro 74 starts 18  wins €368,582           Best kilometer rate: 1'09"9 SEASON’S FORM: 51534221132   2. ON TRACK PIRATEN  (SWEDEN, UET rank: 33) (5g Kool du Caux (FR)-Monrovia (SE))  Owner: Stall Mörkermasse Trainer: Hans Strömberg , Rattvik Driver: Pierre Vercruysse € 393,411   42  starts  9 wins Best kilometer rate: 1'11"3 SEASON’S FORM: 06036103301   3. SANITY  (SWEDEN, UET rank:  27) (7g Love You (FR)-Flash Light (SE))  Owner: Stall Sanity Trainer: Malin Lofgren, Solvalla Driver: Jarmo Niskanen  €716,395  59 starts 25 wins Best kilometer rate: 1'09"2 SEASON’S FORM: 32d623340310   4. NAHAR  (SWEDEN, UET rank: 5) (8g Love You (FR)-Mahonny Broline (SE)) Owner: Stall Sedin Trainer: Robert Bergh, Bergsaker Driver: Robert  Bergh €1,031,825 70 starts 24 wins Best kilometer rate:  1'09"7 SEASON’S FORM: 5d26114d12112d10   5. REVE DE BEYLEV  (FRANCE, UET rank: 17) (8h Fortuna Fant (FR)-Heloise Poterie (FR)) Owner: Ecurie D.H. du Haras de l'Epinay Trainer: Sebastien Guarato Driver: Dominik Locqueneux €1,089,260  77 starts  14 wins Best kilometer rate: 1'09"5 SEASON’S FORM: 591d36822222   6. BRAD DE VELUWE  (FINLAND, UET rank: 6) (5h Andover Hall (US)-Amazing Ride (FI)) Owner: Lars Ingman Trainer: Tomas Korvenoja Driver: Tomas Korvenoja €1 091 655,00  34 starts  23 wins  Best kilometer rate: 1'09"7 SEASON’S FORM: 1221431544   7. THE BEST MADRIK   (FRANCE, UET rank: 14) (6h Coktail Jet (FR)-Lady Madrik (FR)) Owner: Ecurie Victoria Dreams Trainer:  J.E. Dubois Driver: Jean Etienne Dubois €1,294,110    52 starts 13 wins Best kilometer rate: 1'10"1 SEASON’S FORM: 65525863325   8. SAVE THE QUICK   (FRANCE, UET rank: 7) (Jasmin de Flore (FR)-Heureuse Duchesse (FR)) Owner: Ecurie E. Quick Star Trainer: Franck Leblanc Driver: B Goop €1,395,079  62 starts 11  wins : Best kilometer rate: 1'10"5 SEASON’S FORM: 0d68664460313   9.  MAIN WISE AS  (ITALY, UET rank: 11) (7h Yankee Glide (US)-Desert Flower K (US)) Owner: Ecurie Gerrits Recycling Trainer:  Mike Lenders Driver: Pierre Levesque €1,473,080 48 starts 10 wins Best kilometer rate: 1'10"5 SEASON’S FORM: 03ddd84296433   10. ROXANE GRIFF  (FRANCE, UET rank: 27) (8m Tenor de Baune  (FR)-Julia Mesloise (FR)) Owner: Ecurie Griff Trainer:  S. Guarato Driver: Eric Raffin €1,605,118 79 starts 14 wins  Best kilometer rate: 1'10"2 SEASON’S  FORM: 000334dd3   11. TIMOKO  (FRANCE, UET rank: 2) (6h Imoko (FR)-Kiss Me Coulonces (FR)) Owner: Richard Westerink Trainer: Richard Westerink Driver: Jos Verbeeck €1,832,230  48 starts 19 wins  Best kilometer rate: 1.10.0 SEASON’S  FORM: 3737114312111   12. COMMANDER CROWE  (SWEDEN, UET rank: 9) (10g Juliano Star (FR)- Somack (FI)) Owner: Smogarps Gard AB Trainer: Fabrice Solouy Driver: Jean Michel Bazire €3,410,612  89 starts 55 wins Best kilometer rate: 1'08"9 SEASON’S FORM: d100261126   13. READY CASH  (FRANCE, UET rank: 3) (8h Indy de Vive (FR) - Kidea (FR)) Owner: Philippe Allaire Trainer: Thierry Duvaldestin Driver: Franck Nivard €4,014 300   57 starts 35 wins  Best kilometer rate: 1'10"3 SEASON’S FORM: 2111d by David Sanders  

In addition to Commander Crowe’s appearance Wednesday at Enghien against a classy array of veterans, there are a host of graded and top-class events also at Enghien (two Gr. III European contests) and at Solvalla (two Gr. I UET Masters races). Numerous entrants from Italy reflect the export of talented trotters and their connections from that country that faces reduction in racing opportunities. Enghien Prix de Geneve – Gr. III European, 2875 meters, 85,000 euro purse, 16 starters Vrandac – E. Raffin/A.J. Mollema Powell Bi – F. Nivard/F. Souloy Velvet Rainbow – P. Vercruysse/Ph. Allaire Clint W. Boko – R. Bakker/PJP Hagoort Vegas des Oliviers – F. Anne/also trainer Velentin du Gite – B. Piton/J. Lelievre Villeroi – J. Et. Dubois/also trainer Vagabondu Mag – J-M Bazire/B. Bourgoin Varade d’Hearen – T. Lagadeuc/J-M Baudiouln Valse Castelets – D. Thomain/J. Hallais – winner of 414,000 euros Vive Daidou – T. Duvaldestin/also trainer Volcan d’Urzy – J-Ph Dubois/Ph. Moulins Vera Pierji – F. Ouvrie/T. Duvaldestin Voltigeur du Myrt – D. Locqueneux/R. Donati Village Mystic – L. Baudron/also trainer Valse Darling – J. Dubois/Ph. Moulins Enghien Prix de la Porte Versailles – Gr. III European, 2150 meters autostart, 75,000 euro purse, 12 starters Uraki des Sarts – F. Ouvrie/JM Chaineux Oibambam Effe – P. Levesque/Mike Lenders Nepherta Lux – F. Nivard/F. Souloy Usaurie de Melodie – S. Meunier/also trainer Noir Desir – M. Lenoir/also trainer Tabby Point – Ulf Nordin/also trainer Nene’ Degli Ulivi – A. Abrivard/JMA Roussel Ugo de Nieul – R. Darieux/also trainer Tonight CEM – J-M Bazire/F. Souloy Orione Degi Dei – P. Vercruysse/M. Baroncini Une de Ohelun – B. Piton/J-M Souici Noir d’ Ete – E. Raffin/JMA Roussel Solvalla – European Mares Championship, Gr. I UET Masters, 2140 meters autostart, purse 1.5 million SEK purse, 12 starters Dileva Kall – D. Reden/also trainer Save The Quick – B. Goop/F. Leblanc – winner of 1.28 million euro Vendi – K. Eriksson/M. Sandstrom Mermaid As – J. Untersteiner/P. Untersteiner Drillbit As – E. Adielsson/S. Bath Beatasine – P. Ingves/R. Airaksinen Linda di Casei – Allessandro Gocchiadoro/also trainer – winner of 611,000 euro Akema Valencia – J. Kontio/T. Nurmos Canaka BF – Jo. Takter/T. Nurmos She Loves You – J, Westholm/also trainer Prussia – Pietro Gubellini/also trainer Princess Grif – O. Kihlstrom/F Souloy Solvalla – Jubileumspokalen Gr. I UET Masters, 2140 meters autostart, 1.75 million SEK purse, 12 starters Occhione Jet – E. Adielsson/Stig.H. Johansson – winner of 440,000 euro Owens Club – Pietro Gubellini/also trainer Johnny B Kemp – J. Untersteiner/D. Reden David Sisu – U. Ohlsson/A. Salmels Perfectly Enough – B. Goop/Stig H. Johansson Going For Gold – J. Kontio/T. Nurmos Panne de Moteur – O. Kihlstrom/S. Hultman – winner of 468,000 euro Rocky Winner – A. Svanstedt/also trainer Edward Ale – P. Ingves/P. Puro Manalapan – Jo. Takter/R. Engblom Upitergium – L. Kolgjini/also trainer Brad de Veluwe – T. Korvenoja/also trainer – winner of 1.08 million euro Solvalla – C. Th. Ericssons Memorial , 2640 meters autostart, 289,000SEK ourse, 9 starters Yellow Eden – E. Adielsson/S. Hultman Caddie Comet – J. Kontio/T. Normos New Line – AS. Svanstedt/also trainer Heraldin Ho – O. Kihlstrom/C. Lundstrom Marlon OM – Pietro Gubellini/also trainer On Track Piraten – D. Ohlsson/H.R. Stromberg Juggle Face – L. Kolgjini/also trainer Winning Love – A. Lindblom/also trainer Lord Capar – K. Eriksson/Stig H. Johansson Wednesday is expected to be a busy and exciting day for trotting enthusiasts globally. by Thomas H. Hicks  

Today at Hippodrome d’Enghien two upper class events graced the card. The Gr. III European Prix de Milan for four year-olds drew a stellar field and the favorite prevailed with a 1.13.1kr score for Princess Grif (4f Varenne-Fauve Grif-Viking Kronos). The 2150 meter autostart event for a purse of 85,000 euro was a battle from the start with the winner rallying late for Franck Nivard, driving for trainer Fabrice Souloy and owner Azienda Agricole Biasuzzi. Viva Island with J-P Dubois up, pressed the pace and faded mid-stretch with second going to Voltigeur de Myrt (Dominik Locqueneux up) and third to Vagabondu Mag (J-M Bazire). This Quinte + race of the day carried a jackpot of 5.85 million euro The co-featured Prix de la Mediterranee (Gr. III European, 2150 meters autostart, purse 80,000 euro) produced another Souloy trained winner, favored Un Mec d’Heripre (5m Orlando Vici-I Love You Darling-Buvetier d’Aunou) with J-M Bazire driving. He comfortably defeated Real de Lou (Alexandre Abrivard up), Le Cannibale ( Franck Nivard) and Zorro Photo (Pierre Vercruysse) Last night at Cabourg Jean-Etienne Dubois earned a driving double, first winning the Prix Michel d’Ornaro for 35,000 euro with Vasco Jet (4m Buvetier d’Aunou-Passion de Morgagne). He scored in 1.15.4kr over the 2850 meter course. Vesuve d’Odyssee was second for Franck Nivard. Dubois also won the 24,000 euro Prix des Hibiscus over 2850 meters with Andover Jet (3m Prodigious-Delmonica Jet) in 1.16.8kr over the persistent Acrobate with Franck Nivard aboard. Dubois owns and trains both winners. At Cagnes sur Mer (CSM) last night the featured 55,000 euro International event went to Quickly Paris (9m And Arifant-Belle Calline) for driver Aymeric Thomas. He scored in 1.15.kr to defeat hard fighting Quentin Rose (Rik Dupuydt up) and Rambo Jet driven by Yannick Briand. The CSM card included two gallop events. Not often do we focus on aging veterans in the later stages of their careers. Not so at Mons-Ghlin (Belgium) yesterday in the Prix Hambourg over 2850 meters autostart (purse 8,400 euro). Prince du Verger (10g Axe des Sarts-Divine du Verger) prevailed for driver Lieuem de Groote in 1.15.2kr to bring his career earnings to over 648,000 euro. He defeated the upper class international player Perlando (10m Giant Cat-Keralda) for Nico d’Haenens, now a winner of 1,252,000 euro. Onyz d’Em was third with Orage Mauzin fourth, these with earnings of 654,000 euro and 322,000 euro respectively. It was also reported today that leading reinsman Matthieu Abrivard continues his rehabilitation from a May 27th accident at Chartres. He is recovering at Centre Européen de Rééducation réservé aux Sportifs at Capebreton. On July 24 the Quinte+ at Enghien went to 4/1 odds Orione Degli Dei (5g Conway Hall-Elissa Dei-Donerail) with Pierre Vercruysse driving for trainer Mario Baroncini and owner ScuderiaBologna. He won the Gr. III European  Prix de la Chaussee d’Antin, for 85,000 euro purse over the 2875 meter course, in 1.15.7kr. Second place Nancy Sco (6f SJs Photo-Felce Sco-Baltic Speed) was off at 67/1 for Dominik Locqueneux and Argos third for J-M Bazire. The exact order payoff was 348,070 euro (without the jackpot) On the July 25 Enghien card Jean-Etienne Dubois scored with another owned/trained pupil, the youthful Amazone Jet (3f Quaker Jet-Mazarina-Goetmals Wood) in the 36,000 euro purse Prix de Vouvray. She was off at 13/1 in this 2875 meter event that she won in 1.16.5kr.. The recently retired Quaker Jet appears that he may become a good sire if this filly is any indication. On the same card Thomas Levesque won with the Mike Lenders trained Verrazano Bridge (4g Offshore Dream-Kuala Lumpur=Tenor de Baune) in 1.16.8kr in the 35,000 euro Prix de la Place Radin. The 6/1 winner covered the 2875 meter distance to score by a length against a competitive bunch. Action this coming will be furious with various Derby races held globally, highlighted by the Hambletonian at the new Meadowlands. It promises to be a competitive event with eliminations and the final on the same card with the trots carried on racing networks globally. by Thomas H. Hicks  

Hippodrome Reims hosted today's Grand National du Trot seventh leg, with Sthieric (7g Alpha Barnes-Justine Pouvee-Cash d'Occagnes) winning in 1.13.5kr as 1.4.1 favorite for harness racing owner, trainer, driver Franck Ouvrie.

Ulk Medoc (m5 Karkai-Organza Haut Gilet-Fast du Gilet) won today's GNT leg #3 (purse 90,000 euro over 2,650 meters) at Saint Galmier for harness racing owner and trainer Lionel Cesar and driver Franck Carbineau.

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