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Ribot EK (5g Varenne-Gianna di Jesolo-Diamond Way) with driver Antonio Di Nardo aboard took Sunday’s Premio Basilio Matti (purse €45,100, 1600 meters autostart) by three lengths clocked in 1.12.3kr. Veteran classmaster Italiano (11g Giant Cat-Coming Up Cash-Baltic Speed) and teamster G.P. Minnucci was second in a close battle ahead of Ranymede FAS (5m Ganymede-Alias di Jesolo-Royal Troubador) driven by Santo Mollo. On Saturday’s August 29 the Gr. II Gran Premio Nello Bellei (€45,100, 2040 meters autostart, four year-olds) takes place at Montecatini. The solid lineup is shown below with Smeralda Jet a likely favorite: 1 Sing Halleluja Enrico Bellei 2 Santiago D’Ete Roberto Andreghetti 3 Smeralda Jet Antonio Di Nardo 4 Saba del Ronco Gennaro Casillo 5 Spinello Jet Romeo Gallucci 6 Saphire Bi (E) Tommaso Di Lorenzo 7 Sharon Gar Pietro Gubellini 8 Suricato Jet Vincenzo Luongo 9 Sereno Op (A) Antonio Velotti   Also on August 29 at Bergsaker will be held the Sundsvall Open (1SEK million to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) and a good lineup it is with probable leading contenders being Creatine, Delicious, Oasis Bi and Royal Fighter. 1.       Global Money (Robert Bergh) 2.       Royal Fighter (Jennifer Tillman) 3.       Creatine (Johnny Takter) 4.       Ringostarr Treb (Wilhelm Paal) 5.       Rocky Winne (Jorma Kontio) 6.       El Mago Pellini (Adrian Kolgjini) 7.       On Track Piraten (Torbjörn Jansson) 8.       Delicious (Örjan Kihlström) 9.       Traveling Man (Erik Adielsson) 10.   Oasis Bi (Björn Goop) Recent past winners of this Gr. I classic include Quid Pro Quo (2014), Panne de Moteur (2013), Sebastian K (2012), Joke Face (2011), Lisa America (2010) and Commander Crowe (2009). Victory Tilly was a three time winner in 2000-2002 and Giant Diablo, dam of D’One, was victorious in 2006. Thomas H. Hicks

August 22, 2015 - Today’s top harness racing events in Sweden were at Gavle, the E3 Finals for three year-old fillies and colts, each with 900,000SEK to the winners, raced over 1640 meters autostart, and both were Gr. I International contests. The ES Final for fillies went to Princess Face (3f Muscle Hill-Hepburn Broline-Pine Chip) with Adrian Kolgjini up for owner/trainer Lutfi Kolgjini timed in 1.11.1kr for this length victory. This one now shows a slate of 3-3-0 in seven outings for 1,088,500SEK earned. Toohotforyou (3f Scarlet Knight-VasterboFromHeaven-Red Xing) and teamster Ulf Ohlsson and Ninepoints Gaagaa (3f Steinlager-Ninepoints Kelly-Scarlet Knight) with trainer Jorgen Westholm aboard were second and third in a close finish, both clocked in 1.11.2kr. The E3 for colts and geldings went to Heavy Sound (3g Ken Warkentin-Illustre November-Viking Kronos) with Kenneth Haugstad up for trainer Roger Walmann clocked in 1.10.9kr for a three length victory. The winner is owned by AB Svensk Reklamfinans and now has a 6-2-2- slate in 10 starts for 1,681,000 earned.  Camelot Sisu (3m Even Better Odds-Warrawee Karri-Dream Of Glory) handled by Ulf Ohlsson and Farzad Boko (3g Zola Boko-Kathy Silvio-Spotlite Lobell) with Johnny Takter teaming were second and third in another close finish. Also on the card was the Lars Axerlssons Gold Division worth 150,000SEK to the winner and contested over 2140 meters autostart. Italy’s Royal Blessed (5m Varenne-Ivory Kronos-Viking Kronos) took this one in 1.11.4kr for trainer/driver Wim Paal, his first 2015 win and ninth lifetime in 53 starts for 2,419,480SEK earned.  Arazi Boko (8g Varenne-Laura Kemp-Express Ride) was second for Christoffer Eriksson with third to veteran Lord Capar (10m Varenne-Foxy’n Rowdy-Rowdy Yankee) and teamster Thomas Dalborg. Kash’s Cantab, Nothing But Class and Hard Livin were in the beaten field. 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 25, 2015 - Today’s Enghien harness racing card included the Quinte+ Prix de Plaisance (€56,000 purse, 2150 meters autostart, 14 European starters) with the Q+ jackpot of €3.55 million. The 1.13.3kre winner was 9/1 Tropic du Hetre (8g Jasmin de Flore-Ixia de Perthurs) with Eric Raffin piloting for trainer Bruno Bourgoin, the winners’ 15th career score in 61 starts. 7/1 Olimpus Caf (7m Varenne-Evoila Caf) was second for Julien Dubois, trainer Jean-Etienne Le Bec and Ecurie Montaro of Italy. 12/1 Nantucket (9m Viking Kronos-Malabar Lady) was third witjh Franck Ouvrie up for trainer Sofia Aronsson and Stall Express of Sweden. The top three finishers raced without shoes. At Vichy this day the Prix Pierre Coulon (€70,000 purse, 2150 meters, 13 International starters) went to 2.1/1 Tabriz du Gite (8m Ganymede-Kabrizia du Gite) for David Thomain and trainer Jean Lelievre, racing barefoot as did the next two finishers. 43/1 Ugo du Loisir (7m Niky-Isla Bonita) was second for owner/trainer/driver Jean-Philippe Ducher ahead of 12/1 Sophie du Vif (9f Jenko-Lavalliere du Vif) handled by owner/trainer Aymeric Thomas. The time of the winner was 1.12.3kr and the beaten field included notables Global Midnight, Probo OP, Nefertite del Rio, Anette du Mirel and Armando Kievitshof. At Aby (SWE) trainer Jerry Riordan enjoyed a successful day with three wins, a second and a third. In a three year-old event Riordan finished first and second, with the winner Tornatore Grif (3m Varenne-Meadowbranch Nan-Pine Chip) handled by Peter Ingves for owner Mauro Prospero of Italy. This 1.15kr victor defeated stablemate Tres Bien IT (3g Daguet Rapide-Imatra Bi-Supergill) for reinsman Frank Nilsson and owners Lisa Riordan and Al. Folli Srl in this  event over 2140 meters autostart with 35,000SEK first money. Riordan stables’ Super Bull (4m Yankee Slide-What A Joy-Alf Palema) won the Molndals Postens (30,000SEK first money, 1640 meters autostart) in 1.11.8kr for reinsman Christoffer Eriksson by six lengths. Mauro Prospero also owns Super Bull. Quantum Gliding and Bennet finished second and third. Prospero owns another Riordan trainee, Superfly Effe (4m Varenne-Chipping Image-Pine Chip), that scored in 1.14.7kr in the Grillnatta (2140 meters autostart, 12,000SEK to winner). Scuderia Gardesana Srl bred this winner. Carbon Launcher and Renoir Bi finished behind the Riordan trainee. Riordan was later third in the Moindals (2640 meters distance handicap, 40,000SEK to winner) with owner Prospero’s Spitfire Effe (4m Varenne-Victorian Bride-Valley Victory, a length behind winner Light Brode (5m Classic Photo-Luck Of the Day-Mr. Lavec) for Lutfi Kolgjini and second place Vasterbo Eclair (4m Echo-Vasterbo Flash-Spotlite Lobell) with Joakim Lovgren driving. On the same Aby card the Coop Forum Kallereds (40,000SEK to winner, 1640 meters autostart) went to US-bred (by Polly and William Hilliard) My Gliding Angel (5f Yankee Glide-My Shooting Star-Malabar Man-Bedell-Speedy Crown) trained and driven by Bjorn Goop, timed in 1.11.2kr. The winner has a 8-4-3 slate in 24 career starts. Pin Kronos (6f Cantab Hall-Luck Of The Day-Mr. Lavec) was second for teamster Johan Untersteiner and owner Stall Courant AB. Paducah Dream (5f Infinitif-Padme Hanover-Credit Winner) was third for Peter Ingves and trainer/owner Jenny Nordensson. Ecurie Reve Avec Moi bred this one. Thomas H. Hicks  

Italian filmmakers are planning a movie to tell the story of the world’s richest harness racing trotter, Varenne. The Swedish newspaper Expressen, interviewed Jori Turja, who trained Varenne. "As I understand it, it is not a documentary, but a movie like the one that told the story of Seabiscuit," Turja told Expressen. Varenne, who is 20-years-old and the leading sire in Italy, took a mark of 1.51.1 and earned $6.8 million in his career, the most ever by any trotter. Varenne stands at stud in Italy for $13,500, live foal. by Karsten Bønsdorf, , USTA Newsroom Senior Correspondent 

June 15, 2015 - Sharon Gar (4f Varenne-Geneve Gar-Lemon Dra) took Monday’s Premio GP Presidente Della Republic (€45,100 purse, 2060 meters autostart) clocked in 1.14.3kr (new race record) for harness racing reinsman Pietro Gubellini. The four-length winner defeated Stilus Amnis (4m Malabar Circle AS-Steppa Jet-Park Avenue Joe) and Sugar Rey (4m Look de Star-Aurora Boreale-Indro Park), that it took a photo to separate that pair. Gubellini, once on the lead, set a steady pace that kept rivals without serious challenge opportunity, and he won this event for the first time in a storied career. Thomas H. Hicks

May 23, 2015 - Harness racing Elitloppet officials today rounded out next Sunday’s 16-horse lineup (two eliminations of eight each) with the addition of Royal Fighter, Vincennes and Bret Boko. The full field is shown below. 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) Royal Fighter (SWE) Vincennes (FR) Bret Boko (FI) Trainer Per Eriksson’s Royal Fighter earned his ticket a week ago with a win in what was then the fastest clocking in Europe in 2015. The seven year-old son of Varenne has earned only 1.6SEK million in a relatively lackluster career that has shown flashes of brilliance. The SWE bred mare Vincennes has been a solidly consistent performer at high levels this Spring. The seven year-old daughter of Spotlite Lobell has earned 6.1SEK million and is a closer. Bret Boko was the final invitee off his impressive gate to wire victory in the Finlandia AJO. The son of Yankee Glide has earned over 3.1SEK million and has gate speed to be a factor. The 2015 Elitloppet field is a competitive one and should provide intense action. It’s a combination of proven veterans and outsiders that recently have provided fast victories. Be there for a great classic at Solvalla and Elitloppet weekend. 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 20, 2015 -  Royal Fighter took tonight’s featured Meadow Roads (80,000SEK to winner, 1609 meters autostart, 10 starters) at Solvalla for driver Jennifer Tillman in a sharp 1.09.8kr (1:52.31 mile time) over Daley Lovin (4m Conway Hall-Dreamsrmadeofthis-Dream Vacation) with Daniel Reden up with third to Global Money (8g Love You-Norwegian Beauty-Yankee Glide) and Robert Bergh. The winner is a seven year-old stallion by Varenne-Froken Julie-Supergill that is trained by Per Eriksson for owners/breeders Per Robert and Christina Nilsson. The winner now shows 12 wins in 56 career starts for 1.6SEK million earned. The winner’s 2015 slate is 1-0-3 in four starts. His previous speed mark was 1.11.2kr. Thomas H. Hicks  

Oropuro Bar (7m Love You-Ubatuba Oaks-Armbro Goal) took Easter Sunday’s Torino featured Gr. I Premio Sociata Campo di Mira Fioro (€110,000, 1600 meters autostart), rallying from back off the last bend to victory clocked in 1.12.7kr for Roberto Andreghetti. Pocket sitting Pascia’Lest (6m Varenne-Superiors Sun-Diamond Way) escaped late to garner second for Andrea Guzzinati ahead of veteran pacestetter Mack Grace SM (9m CC’s Chuckie T-Ambro Grace SM-Armbro Goal) and Roberto Vecchione. This 55 time career winner raced gamely on the front holding off challengers until late in the lane. Today’s Lotteria Wild Card, named the Premio G. Compili (€13.200, 1600 meters autostart, two eliminations and raceoff) at Napoli, went to Rombo di Cannone (5m Varenne-Cannoniera-Diamond Way) clocked in 1.11.4kr for the raceoff victory teamed by V.P. Dell’Annunziata. This one took his elimination in 1.12.3kr. In the two-horse raceoff he defeated Miguel WF (9m Super Arnie-Dinastia OR-Lemon Dra) that won his earlier test in 1.14.6kr. Thomas H. Hicks

Harness racing trainer Jerry Riordan scored a training double Wednesday at Jagersro in Sweden as a pair owned by Lisa Riordan and bred by the late Lou Guida took impressive wins. Sylvester America (4m Varenne - Armbro Voice - Garland Lobell) scored in 1.13.7kr to earn 70,000SEK first money in a 2140 meter autostart event for four-year olds. Christoffer Eriksson was the pilot as Sylvester recorded career win seven in 17 starts. He’s undefeated in two 2015 starts. The winner is from an excellent family that includes $100,000 plus winners Laurel America, Red Rose America and Michael America. In the card’s finale Radysin America (5f Donato Hanover - Zagabria Dei - Victory Dream) scored in a sharp 1.11.6kr over 1640 meters to earn 60,000SEK first prize. The event for mares saw the Peter Ingves teamed winner defeat Alchemilla Rich with Johnny Takter aboard. The winning mare, trained by Riordan, secured her 10th career win in 28 starts and first in the current year. She’s a half-sister to top international performer Lisa America. Thomas H. Hicks  

February 16, 2015 - Today’s Gr. II Prix Ovide Moulinet (€120,000, 2700 meters, 7 starters) was an expected victory for 0.5/1 favorite Aladin d’Ecajeul (5m Quaker Jet  -Nancy d’Ecajeul) with Eric Raffin up for trainer Sebastien Guarato. The winner, clocked in 1.13.2kr, now has 12 wins in 25 career starts for €818,740 earned for owner Ph. Dewulf. 5/1 Africaine (5f Oiseau de Feux - Italienne) was second for teamster Pierre Vercruysse and owner/trainer Jean-Etienne Dubois. 34/1 Alesia d’Atout (5f Defo d’Aunou - New York Jet) landed third for Mathieu Mottier. Monday’s Quinte+ was the Prix de Cahors (€60,000, 18 European five year-olds, 2700 meters) and the 1.14.7kr winner was Italy’s Roxanne Bar (5f Exploit Caf - Guendalina Bar) at 13/1 for Roberto Andreghetti up for trainer Catello Savarese. She rallied off the final bend to gain the lead and sustained her drive to the line. Favorite 1.7/1 odds Action Package (5f Opium - Loumana Flor) was second for Pierre Levesque and trainer Mike Lenders. Italy’s 24/1 Rosemary Gar (5f Donato Hanover - Allstar FC) was third for Mario Minopoli and trainer Salvatore Minopoli. The Prix de Bracieux (€56,000, 18 European starters) ended with victory by 3/1 Falcon Haleryd (6g Varenne - Falnos Ballona) teamed by Dominik Locqueneux for trainer Johan Untersteiner. Timed in 1.14.5kr the winner defeated a driving 8/1 King of the World (6m Magnificent Rodney - Queen of Hearts) with Michael Nimczyk up and third place 28/1 Viking du Pilet (6g Kuadro Wild - Indra du Pilet) handled by Franck Ouvrie. The initial engagement for Sunday’s Gr. I UET Masters Series Grand Pris de Paris includes 26 and leading performers Timoko, Up And Quick and Roxane Griff. It looks to be a competitive group. UET Masters Series - Groupe I - International - Attelé - 400.000 € - 4.150 mètres (2.58 miles) - Grande piste Primes : 22 500 €, 12 500 €, 7 000 €, 4 000 €, 2 500 €, 1 000 €, 500 € Prix : 180 000 €, 100 000 €, 56 000 €, 32 000 €, 20 000 €, 8 000 €, 4 000 € Separately the excellent mare Prussia (6f Ken Warkentin - Elvezia-Pine Chip) was named Italy’s Trotter of the Year at ceremonies Sunday at Naples. The Pietro Gubellini trainee won the L’Etain Royal in Finland, the Gran Premio Turilli at Rome and the Gran Premio delle Nazioni at Naples. Thomas H. Hicks

February 11, 2015 - February 9 at Halmstad showed a victory by the Jerry Riordan trained Rare Wise As (5f Varenne - In Wise As - SJ’s Caviar), clocked in 1.13.5kr. Second dam is Garden Variety by Tagliabue. Lisa Riordan owns the winner, driven this day by Johnny Takter in the Hallands Lopp providing 35,000SEK to the winner. The distance was 1640 meters autostart and the winner recorded career victory number seven. Replay: http://www.atgplay.se/lopp/20150209-halmstad-dd?id=1 February 10 at Jagersro the half-brother of Commander Crowe, Master Crowe (5m Conway Hall - Somack - Mack Lobell, won for the fourth time in five career starts. Thomas Uhrberg drove the winner for owner/trainer Petri Puro. The victory was his second in two 2015 starts in this event clocked in 1.15.7kr over 2140 meters voltstart. The winners’ purse share was 20,000SEK. Second dam is Somolli Ribb by Speedy Somolli. Replay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbimCcegIxQ Thomas H. Hicks      

February 7, 2015 - The excellent Saturday Paris-Vincennes harness racing program began with the Gr. II Prix Ephrem Houel (€120,000, 2850 meters, 10 starters) went to Bardane du Houel  (4f Jet Fortuna - Hague du Houlbet) with David Thomain the pilot for R-Ch. Larue trainer. The 7.6/1 winner was clocked in 1.14.3kr with a quick last panel off modest fractions (1.15.4kr at 1500; 1.15kr at 1000; 1.14.7kr at 500) to score easily over Briac Dark (4m Prince Gede - Queen des Charmes) the 9/10 favorite handled by trainer Franck Anne. Black d’Avril (4m Oceano Nox - Olivia d’Avril) was third for teamster Frack Ouvrie and trainer Frederic Prat at 9.1/. The winner recorded her third career win now for €203,340 earned. The Quinte+ Prix de Munich (€95,000, 2100 meters autostart, 15 European starters) went to 6/1 Scarlet Turgot (9f Dahir de Prelong - Noella de Massy) with Eric Raffin up for trainer Y-A Briand. Favorite Chelsea Boko made a misque at the start. The winner was clocked in a sharp 1.11.7kr off even fractions (1.09.8kr at 1500; 1.11.2kr at 1000; 1.11.9kr at 500). Italy’s Princess Griff (6f Varenne - Fauve Griff) was second at 9/1 for trainer Fabrice Souloy and pilot Roberto Andreghetti. 31/1 Septour (9g Love You - Kenitra) was third for Julien Dubois.  Rapports (pour 2€) Tirelire 5.350.000 € - Numéro plus : 0897   Ordre :       35.712,00€   Désordre :       297,60€   Bonus 4 :       66,20€   Bonus 4sur5 :       11,40€   Bonus 3 :       7,60€   Nonant le Pin (8f Goetmals Wood - Blazing Janice-Pine Chip) took the Prix de Lisieux (€88,000, 2700 meters, 12 European monte starters) took this test in her first ridden start for David Thomain, trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro and owner Scuderia le Pradine. The Italian invader scored at 14.3/1 odds timed in 1.14kr (mile rate 1:59) after even fractions (1.15.1kr at 1500; 1.14.2kr at 1000; 1.14.1kr at 500), during which she took an early lead, yielded and raced third until around the final bend when she rallied to the front and edged away for a two-length victory over 3/2 favorite Valleroi (6m Oiseau de Feux - Pocahontas) with Eric Raffin up for Sebastien Guarato and 3/1 Veloce du Banney (6g Quaro - Jeus du Banney) handled by Joan Lebourgeois for trainer Franck Leblanc. Nonant le Pin now has 20 wins for €316,656 earned. The five year-old mare Prix de Verneuil (€75,000, 2700 meters, European 13 starters)) went to Aupiquaria (5f Goetmals Wood - Illys Way) with trainer/driver J-M Bazire up as 1.6/1 favorite. She scored in 1.15kr with a good closing effort from soft fractions (1.16.8kr at 1500; 1.15.2kr at 1000; 1.15.9kr at 500) to defeat 10/1 Alpine du Rib (5f Opium - Rockeuse du Rib) reined by J.L. C. Dersoir for trainer Joel Hallais. The Divine Miss F (5f Kiss Francis - Fast Wise As) was a 20/1 third for Pierre Vercruysse and trainer Halena Burman for Folkbolagen AB from Sweden. Tomorrow is Grand Prix de France day and what a racing program it promises to be. Thomas H. Hicks

January 27, 2015 - The Monday January 26 Vincennes card continued the excellent Prix d’Amerique weekend of harness racing. The Prix D’Issoice (€37,000 purse, 2700 meters, 15 European starters) went to the Jerry Riordan trained, Lisa Riordan owned Sylvester America (4m Varenne-Armbro Voice) clocked in 1.14.9kr and reined by Bjorn Goop. The even-money,  Chuck Sylvester namesake, favorite defeated Suerte’s Cage (Igor Font - Fuanziska’s Cage) for Roberto Vecchione for trainer H.K. Ehlert at 48/1 with third to 10/1 Bad Boy du Dollar (4m Magnificent Rodney - Nymphe du Dollar) with trainer Sylvain Roger at the lines. Winner’s dam Armbro Voice by Garland Lobell is also dam of Laurel America (US$341,000), Michael America (US$113,000) and Red Rose America (US$261,000), each developed by Riordan. Une de Villetot (7f Canada-Oste) took the Prix de Rethal (€48,000, 2700 meters, 18 European starters) at 38/1 for owner, trainer, driver Sebastian Baude timed in 1.14.9kr. 45/1 Una Fix (7f Kiwi-J’y Pense) ended second for trainer/driver Franck Ouvrie ahead of 63/1 Uka Pellois (7f Coktail Jet-Lady Square) with Pierre Vercruysse up for trainer Rony Kuiper in this Quinte+ event. The Prix de Fleurance A (€33,000 purse, 2200 meters, 13 starters) produced a 1.18.4kr victory for well-bred Cottie Cash (3f Sam Bourbon -Kidea) for Jerome Ruaults up for trainer Philippe Allaire. This 1.8/1 favorite handled Crista Maris (3f Kiwi-Prima Maris) for trainer, driver Sylvain Roger at 9/1 with third to Crazy Queen (3f Let’s Go Along-Rydding Star) and Julien Dubois. Philippe Moulin trains this one for Ecurie Victoria Dreams. The winner is from the Extreme Dream mare Kidea (from a Workaholic dam), dam of double Prix d’Amerique winner Ready Cash plus Suricate (US$169,000) and Upper Class (US$398,000). The lightly raced three year-olds also contested the Prix de Fleurance B (€33,000, 2200 meters, 12 starters) and Julien Dubois teamed Café Rossa (3f Let’s Go Along -Lee Nova) to the win clocked in 1.16.6kr. The 2.7/1 winner is trained by Philippe Moulin for Ecurie Victoria Dreams. 36/1 Chapella Phedo (3f Little Crack-Romanaisa Phedo) was second for Franck Nivard ahead of 2.9/1 odds Carla Love (3f Royal Lover-Querida de Vonnas) with trainer J-M Bazire aboard. Tuesday at Vincennes continued with a card that included European eligible events and first-time training win for Julien Dubois. Summaries follow: The Prix de Vittel A (€50,000 purse, 2700 meters, 14 European starters) went to Primula Brazza (6f Oiseau de Feux -Erbanoza Brazza) trained by Fabrice Souloy and reined by Roberto Andreghetti. The 2.3/1 favorite was clocked in 1.15.5kr in defeat of Voila Marine (6f Infant du Bossis-Lady Danae) with David Thomain up for trainer/owner Franck Harel. 9/1 Vany des Loyaux (6f Vivaldi de Chanu-Morie des Loyaux) was third for owner/trainer/driver Mathieu Abrivard. The Prix de Laval (€70,000 purse, 2100 meters autostart, 16 European starters) went to 3/2 odds Aupiquaria (5f Goetmals Wood -Illys Way) for trainer/driver J-M Bazire, clocked in a sharp 1.12.5kr. This Quinte+ event saw 9/1 Ardente du Clos (5f Reve des Vallees-Lumiere du Clos) end second for owner/trainer/driver Matthieu Abrivard. 50/1 Roxanne Bar (5f Explot Caf-Guendalina Bar) was third for Roberto Andrghetti and trainer Catello Savarese. The Divine Miss F (5f Kiss Francis-Fast Wise As) was a 25/1 fourth for Pierre Vercruysse with fifth to 19/1 Ruguaida Dei Rex (5f Cantab Hall-Eternity Rex) for reinsman Robin Bakker, trainer Paul Hagoort and owner Arnold W. Mollema. The Prix de Laval was the Quinte+ race of the day. The Prix de Sarlat (€44,000 purse, 2700 meters. 18 European starters) went to owner/trainer/driver Julien Dubois and his 28/1 Always Perfect (5m Prodigious-Oh Butterfly), his first training win. Scoring in 1.16.1kr the winner defeated Atout de Montbrun (5g Otello Pierji-Dame Montbrun) with trainer/driver Philippe Daugeard and American Charm (5m Password-Question de Charme) at 45/1 for reinsman Jean-Philippe Dubois for his Ecurie Victoria Dreams and trainer Philippe Moulin. Thomas Hicks

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