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Zacon Gio (5m Ruty Grif-May Glide Font SM-Yankee Glide) returned to competitive action today at Napoli to win the PR fon Telethons Invitational (purse 12, 100€, 2060 meters distance handicap), He scored from a 40 meter handicap timed in 1.11.6kr with Roberto Vecchione aboard for trainer Holger Ehlert.  Vedette del Ronco (6f Julius del Ronco-Bum Bum Fortuna) rallied nicely to be less than two lengths back second. Virtuoso Luis (6m Self Possessed-Mandralogo PL) took third. Zacon Gio, the 2019 Yonkers International winner, who also bested Face Time Bourbon in Italy, made his return off several impressive public training appearances with his trainer aboard, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7LQge0SDrM&feature=emb_logo Zacon Gio Zacon Gio’s pedigree is shown below. Gaet, Ippodromo di Agnano files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

Bel Avis (8m Ganymede-Gloria Maris-Workaholic) roared home for harness racing trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire, just as he did in his batteria, to take the 70th edition of the Gran Premio Lotteria (purse 603,000€, 1600 meters autostart) timed in 1.11.3kr over the 1000 meter track at Napoli. Disco Volante (6g Scarlet Knight-Glorify-Super Arnie) was second for reinsman Bjorn Goop after a pace setting trip where he parked Vitruvio throughout, and third was Ursa Caf (6f Explot Caf-Crismar) with Antonio Esposito aboard. Bazire and Bel Avis followed Disco Volante from a second over journey before making a three wide surge past the tiring Vitruvio late in the final bend, and it was over. Watch the replay here! Bel Avis                    Bel Avis reached the finale with another furious finish to win the third batteria (purse25,300€, 1600 meters autostart) timed in 1.11.6kr. In this one he was away fourth after a slow start and worked his way toward the leaders before jetting away late. Timone EK (m Mr. Vic-Gemona) with Roberto Vecchione up set the pace and gamely held second, ahead of Vanesia EK (5f Explot Caf-Nike EK) with Pietro Gubellini driving. The other batterias went to (the first) Disco Volante (6g Scarlet Knight) with Goop aboard timed in 1.11.9kr in a gate to wire score over Attack Diablo (9g Blue York Yankee) handled by Fed. Esposito and the third finishing Urlo Dei Venti (6m Mago d’Amore).  Disco Volante with Goop       Gaet photo The second batteria saw Vitruvio (5m Adrian Chip-Tigre OM) win timed in 1.11.5kr with an impressive first up brush to the lead at the 600 meter mark and from then on it a controlled win engineered by the trainer/driver Alessandro Gocciadoro. This team defeated Ua Huka (6f Muscles Yankee-Fancy Bi) for Rene Legati and third finishing Ursa Caf (6f Exploit Caf) for Ant. Esposito. Before the finale there was the Lotteria Consolation (purse 33,000€, 1600 meters autostart). Here the front end winner was veteran Arazi Boko (12g Varenne-Laura Kemp-Express Ride) with Gocciadoro again the driver/trainer. Race time was 1.11.1kr. Vernissage Grif (5m Varenne-Dalia Grif-Park Avenue Joe) was second and Very Joy (5m Napoleon Bar-Nieves Joy) took the third check ahead of Voltaire Gifont (5m Quaker Jet).   Thomas H. Hicks

January 3, 2019 - Today’s harness racing Quinte+ was the Prix Hersilie at Paris-Vincennes (purse 80,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 14 European starters) that saw 18/1 Cocktail Julino (7g Pagalor-Lady de Bearegard) score timed in 1.12kr for driver Matthieu Abrivard. Loic Bernard Martin owns and trains the 12 time winner in 62 career starts for 307,430€ earned. 20/1 Tesauro (7g Filipp Roc) took second with Alexandre Abrivard up and third was the 7.4/1 Generaal Bianco (6g Ufo Kievitshof) that had Frank Nivard piloting the Peter Untersteiner trainee. The 2/5 favorite Valokaja Hindo (8m Great Challenger) was fourth for trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire, coming into this event with six wins in his eight starts in France. 16/1 Beppe AM (8g Enjoy Lavec-Via di Jesolo) completed the top five with owner/trainer Bjorn Goop aboard. The exact order Q+ payoff was 2,051€ for a 2€ wager. Cocktail Julino Cocktail Julino and connections The day’s monte feature was the Prix de Mauleon (purse 35,000€, 2175 meters, nine starters) and the 1.14.1lr timed victory went to 5.4/1 odds Flaya du Saptel (4f Speedo Graffiti) handled by jockey Benjamin Rochard for trainer J.M. Monclin.  The winner recorded her second win in 11 outings and bested 1.2/1 favorite Fraction Jenilou (4f Village Mystic) with Eric Raffin in the irons for breeder/owner/trainer Louis Baudron. The 8.1/1 odds Fiora Gerdreene (4f Akim du Cap Vert) gained third money for jockey Francois Lagadeuc. Flaya du Saptel The Prix de Covet-le-Chateau (purse 56,000€, 2850 meters, 10 four and five year old female starters) saw the 23/1 Florida Sport (4f Tornado Bello-Victoria Sport) score timed in 1.15.6kr, her third victory in 12 starts in FR. Trainer Miguel X. Mestre Suner was at the lines for owner P.J. Pascual Lavanchy. 10/1 Fairy White (4f Ouragon de Celland) was second for driver Anthony Barrier and breeder/owner/trainer Christophe Gallier. Third home was 7.4/1 Fever (4f Rolling d’Heripre) and teamster Tony Le Beller for Ecurie de Tremont. Florida Sport On Christmas Eve at Ippodromo di Agnano (Napoli) a two year filly record was equaled in the Pr. Fine Anno (purse 13,200€, 1600 meters autostart), two year olds). Amour A Belle (2f Voltigeur de Myrt-Emme Emme-King Conch) scored timed in 1.13.4kr with a well-timed late rally engineered by pilot Vincenzo Luongo. Al Capone Strecca (2m Napoleon Bar-Ambretta Bar-Ganymede) was second for Alessandro Gocciadoro and pacesetter A Sexybomb Par (2f Yankee Slide-Vivacissima Par-Harvard Yard) took the third check. The winning filly is owned by Scuderia Santese. Amour A Belle PMU, LeTrot, Gaet, Napoli Agnano files/photos Thomas H. Hicks

December 9, 2018 - A superb harness racing card was held Sunday at Napoli that included three classic races. The Gr. II G.P. Royal Mares (purse 88,000€, 1600 meters autostart) began the action and Trendy OK (6f Varenne-Annette Hanover-Sierra Kosmos) went first over to gain the lead and draw clear in the lane for the victory timed in a record 1.11.1kr. Alessandro Gocciadoro teamed his trainee to the score that increased Trendy’s life earnings to 294,701€. “Trendy Trendy OK OK” put away second finishing Pantera del Pino (9f Turbo Sund-Desire’ del Pino) with G.P. Minnucci up and third finishing Sonia (7f Donato Hanover-Ele Code-Uronometro) handled by Rene’ Legati. The featured Gr. I G.P. Mipaaft Open (purse 440,000€, 2100 meters autostart) saw the favored Axl Rose (2m Love You-Linda di Casei-Uronometro) rally to win decisively for driver V.P. Dell’Annunziata. This colt is special, and he defeated another fine one Granon Vedaquais (2m Brilliantissime-Sesteire-Cezio Josselyn) with Andrea Guzzinati up, for trainer Philippe Allaire and breeder J.P. Guay. Third was the filly Anita Roc (2f Filipp Roc-CK Roc-Pine Chip). Well regarded Amelie Grif was fourth. Race time was 1.15kr. The G.P. Mipaaft Filly (Gr. II, purse 88,000€, 1600 meters autostart) saw the game All Wise As (2f Varenne-Temple Blue Chip-Cantab Hall), with Bjorn Goop driving, fend off the battling A Sexygirl PAR (2f Varenne-Fight For Lux-Toss Out) handled by V.P. Dell’Annunziata, clocked in 1.13.9kr. A Sexybomb PAR (2f Yankee Slide-Vivarissima PAR-Harvard Yard) was third. Harvard Yard, a stallion rarely seen on today’s programs, is a 1985 son of Speedy Crown-Somolli, a full-brother to the 1975 foaled Speedy Somolli and others from the mare including Mae Jean’s Crown, Seascape Lobell, and Santana Lobell. Somolli had 14 foals. Harvard Yard earned 114,767€ with a 1.13kr record, and bred mares in Italy from 1992-2003, producing only four winners of over 100,000€. The following news was also reported. Retired now are the well-regarded Twister Bi, Rod Stewart and Voltigeur de Myrt. Readly Express is being prepped for the December 30th Prix de Bourgogne and Villiam for the Criterium Continental, both at Vincennes and both carrying possible invitations to the Prix d’Amerique, the top three in Bourgogne and the winner of the Continental. Thomas H. Hicks

April 28, 2017 - This weekend provide exciting Gr. I harness racing action at Aby and Napoli. Tomorrow is the €296.626 purse Olympiatravet featuring heavily favored Nuncio with Orjan Kihlstrom at the lines for Stefan Melander. The race lineup follows for that 2140 meter autostart UET Masters Series test: Saturday: OlympiaTravet (Group I - 2.140m autostart) So named because the organization reverses a portion of the funds raised on betting to the Swedish Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the OlympiaTravet is a very popular race in Sweden. Although no French trotter ever won it except for Etain Royal in 2001, but it defended Finnish colors, they are four to be in second place: General du Pommeau , beaten by Varenne in 2002, Flambeau des Pins dominated in 2003 by Gidde Palema ( winning record of the event with three consecutive successes from 2003 to 2005), Kart de Baudrairie in 2005, and more recently, Roxana de Barbray defeated by Maharajah in 2013. This year, Black d'Avril and Voltigeur de Myrt will try to reverse the trend. Well placed by having inherited numbers 3 and 4, they will still have to take the best on the Swedish-American crack Nuncio who will have to sharpen in this event before confronting Bold Eagle in the Elitlopp next month. It will also be necessary to deal with the defender of the title Your Highness , as well as the other Scandinavian Lionel , Kadett CD , Oasis Bi and On Track Piraten . Never seen in France but having assured their participation in qualifications, They are two very young drivers who will drive the French trotters, Alexis Prat, son of Frederic who trained Black of April before the start of his season of mount, and Lorenzo Donati, son of Roberto, which drags Voltigeur of Myrt . The starters, their record and their driver: Square Horse Driver General Record 1 Spring Erom (Sweden)  Christopher Ericksson  1'11''0 2 Oasis Bi (Italy) Erik Adielsson  1'09''4 3 Black of Avril Alexis Prat  1'10''9  4 Flyer of Myrt Lorenzo Donati  1'09''7  5 Nadal Broline (Sweden)  Ulf Ohlsson  1'10''1  6 Nuncio (USA)  Örjan Kihlström  1'08''7  7 Lionel (Norway)  Göran Antonsen  1'11''7  8 Your Highness (Sweden) Björn Goop  1'09''7  9 On Track Piraten (Sweden) Johnny Takter  1'09''4  10 Kadett CD (Sweden) Robert Bergh  1'09''8  Two other French trotters, Safari Dream , who left for Scandinavia at the beginning of the year, and Valdenburg , will participate in the mounted trotting race.   Monday: the Grand Prize of the Lottery (Group I - 1,600m autostart) The Grand Prix of the Lottery of Naples takes place in three batteries qualifiers for the final. Legendary legacy, once won by the not-so-legendary Roquépine (1967) One of May (1971, 72 and 73) and then Bellino II (1976), the last French trotter to have registered his name in the "Gran Premio della Lotteria" Is Hillion Brillouard driven by Philippe Allaire in 1980. One of the greatest champions of history, Varenne , reigned on this race, imposing itself three times consecutively (2000, 01 and 02) as, more recently, Mack Grace SM (2012, 13 and 14). Last year, Voltigeur de Myrt had only found Oasis Bi on his way after having brilliantly won his qualifying pool in 1'10''6. This year, the French delegation looks very promising. They are two real distance specialists, accomplished champions, Timoko and A Guy of Héripré , who come to defy the Italians on their Neapolitan land. Timoko , in the second battery, shot number 5, which is not the best but not the worst either, knowing that Richard Westerink's crack has already come out of more problematic situations. A Heriper's Guy will be in Battery 1 with the number 1, but his basic speed especially at the start should allow him to keep a good place and qualify for the final. If that is the case, On the driver side, Björn Goop will obviously be in the sulky of Timoko , and Un Mec d'Héripré will find Jos Verbeeck with whom he has just won the Gran Premio Costa Azzurra in Turin. The starters of batteries 1 and 2, their record and their driver: Battery 1 Horse Driver General Record           1 A Guy of Héripré  Jos Verbeeck  1'09''5            2 Ringostarr Treb (I)  Roberto Vecchione  1'09''5            3 Super Fez  Gabriele Gelormini  1'11''8            4 Specialess (I)  Andrea Vitagliano  1'10''8            5 Tano Fohle Sm (I)  Antonio Di Nardo  1'11''7            6 Tesoro Degli Dei (I)  Enrico Bellei  1'12''0            7 Totoo Del Ronco (I)  Mario Minopoli Jr  1'11''6            8 Trendy Ok (I)  Alessandro Gocciadoro  1'11''4            Battery 2 Horse Driver General Record 1 Testimonial Ok (I) Alessandro Gocciadoro 1'11''9 2 Street Varenne Dany (I) Antonio Di Nardo 1'11''4 3 Sugar Rey (I) Erik H. Bondo 1'11''4 4 Real Mede Sm (I) Domenico Zanca 1'12''0 5 Timoko Björn Goop 1'09''1 6 Tony Gio (I) Guiseppe Maisto 1'10''4 7 Pascia 'Lest (I) Enrico Bellei 1'09''1 8 Steven Del Ronco (I) Mario Minopoli Jr 1'11''3   The final is raced over the same distance for a purse of €704,000. The Lotteria has drawn a solid group of speedsters including Timoko, Un Mec d’Heripre, Timone EK, Volstead, Pascia’Lest and Ringostarr Treb. There is also a consolidation race for a purse of €33,000. Thomas H. Hicks

Rania Lest (6f Love You-Superiors Sun-Diamond Way) took the prestigious Gran Premio Royal Mares (purse €45,100, 1600 meters autostart) at Napoli’s harness racing 1000 meter track. Timed in 1.13.1kr this Alessandro Gocciadoro trainee won by a length with her trainer at the lines for her 21st career victory in 58 starts for earnings in excess of €191,000. Her second dam is a Speedy Crown daughter. Terra Dell’Est (4f SJ’s Photo-For Fathalsty-Uronometro) was second for Pietro Gubellini and third was Paris Dany (7f Varenne-Elinor King-Lindy Lane). On Saturday at Palermo’s 1000 meter track, the Gran Premio Mediterraneo (purse €45,100, 1600 meters autostart) went to 1.14.2kr timed Uragano Trebi’ (3g Nad Al Sheba-Istria Bi-Toss Out) with Gaspare LoVerde. The second dam of the winner is Traffic Jam by Speedy Crown. Uma Dany Grif (3f Varenne-Alba Jet-Supergill) was second for G.P. Minnucci and third was Ucci Ucci Play (3m Conway Hall-Yankee Calypso-Lindy Lane). Thomas H. Hicks  

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