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November 19, 2017 - Valko Jenilat (8m Kepler-Perle du Roc) held gamely and scored in today’s harness racing Gr. II Grand Prix de Bretagne (purse €120,000, 2700 meters, International) timed in 1.13.2kr and reined by Eric Raffin for trainer Sebastien Guarato and Ecurie G&F Raffre. The 1.1/1 favorite defeated peg hugging stablemate 12.6/1 Billie de Montfort (6f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort) with David Thomain driving for owner Philippe Dauphin and trainer Guarato. 21.9/1 Charly du Noyer (5m Ready Cash-Ornella Jet) was third for Yoann Lebourgeois, trainer Philippe Allaire and Ecurie Normandy Spirit. These top three earned qualification for the Prix d’Amerique in late January. 5.3/1 second choice Bird Parker (6m Ready Cash-Belisha) was fourth for J.Ph. Monclin, trainer Allaire and owner Elisabeth Allaire, ahead for fifth finishing 66.1/1 outsider Shadow Gar (5f Pine Chip-Lady Killer Gar) with owner/trainer Pietro Gubellini up. Belina Josselyn finished ninth racing with shoes and UIza Josselyn was tenth. Bold Eagle was a late scratch. Fractions were conservative (1.14.1kr with 1500 meters remaining, 1.14.4kr at the 1000, 1.13.8kr with 500 to go). A sizeable crowd was on hand at Paris-Vincennes this day for a superb racing program. Thomas H. Hicks

November 2, 2017 - Today’s Gr. III Prix de Cevennes (purse €110,000, 2700 meters, 12 starters) drew a super quality harness racing field and victory went to 1/2 favorite Valko Jenilat (8m Kepler-Perle du Roc) teamed by Eric Raffin for trainer Sebastien Guarato and Ecurie G&F Raffre. 6.8/1 Ave Avis (7m Kesaco Phedo-Magna Avis) took second for trainer/driver J-M Bazire ahead of 7.6/1 Virginie du Maza (8g Prodigious-Pocket Edition) with trainer/driver Sebastian Ernault. Uppercut du Manche, Booster Winner and Amiral Sacha were fourth through sixth. The beaten field also included monte stars Bilibili and Bellissima France. Race time was 1.13.8kr. The Vincennes program also included the Q+ Prix de Soulac (purse €70,000, 2700 meters, 18 starters) with victory to 1.13kr timed 24.9/1 Aero King (7h Hooper-Quarmina du Hour) for Anthony Barrier and owner/trainer Vincent Lecroq. 98.4/1 Vasco Flower (8g Niky-Nimea) was second for Damien Bonne and owner/trainer Christian Bigeon with third to 8.6/1 Arius du Douet (7g Oyonnax) with Franck Nivard the trainer/driver. The Prix du Durat (purse €85,000, 2700 meters, 13 starters) also was a day’s highlight and 5/2 Blue Story (6f Opium-Loumana Flor) scored for Pierre Levesque, and trainer Thomas Levesque. Timed in 1.14.2kr the winner bested 6.7/1 Black Atout (6m Prodigious-La Laqune) and Mathieu Mottier for trainer Franck Leblanc. 9.4/1 Brune des Forges (6f Rolling d’heripe) was third for David Thomain. Other Vincennes action took place earlier in the week. On Tuesday the Prix Lameia (purse €42,000, 2850 meters, 15 starters three year old fillies) went to 1.15.6kr timed and 12.4/1 Estancia Love (3f Repeat Love-Quelle Aventure) with Matthieu Abrivard driving for Yves Boireau who trains for owner Jean Pierre Dubois. His Ecurie D was the breeder. 16.2/1 Esquisse Royale (3f Prodigious-Royale Flower) was next for Emilien Roulline driving for Philippe Moulin, trainer for Ecurie Victoria Dreams and this one was bred by Jean Philippe Dubois. Leo Abrivard teamed the third finishing 27.3/1 Escalade (3f Love You-Uranie du Corta). On Tuesday the Prix Marcel Dejean (Gr. III, purse €80,000, 2200 meters, 10 two year old starters) went to 1/2 favorite Fly With Us (2f Ready Cash-Nariane Marceaux) teamed with Eric Raffin for trainer Philippe Allaire and Ecurie Normandy Spirit. 5/1 Fontaleza (2f Prince d’Espace-Houlba du Pouline) and Jean Michel Bazire took second for owner/trainer Jean Michel Beaudouin. 13.4/1 Fend l Bise (2f Prince Gede-Una Prima Steel) rallied for third with trainer Franck Anne up, for Ecurie AB Trot, the breeder/owner. Wednesday at Laval was the Prix Albert et Raymond Poiteven (purse €30,000, 2875 meters, 15 three year olds) and the 1.15.6kr timed victory went to 6.9/1 Exotic Destination (3f Love You-Quiromantica) with Matthieu Abrivard up. Yves Boireau trains the winner for owner Jean Pierre Dubois. 9/10 favorite Exit  Money (3m Coktail Jet-Making Money) took second for trainer/driver J-M Bazire while 18.1/1 Energy Victory (3f Prodigious-Queens Victory) secured third for Mathieu Mottier, Philippe Moulin (trainer) and Ecurie Victoria Dreams (Jean Philippe Dubois breeder). Also at Laval was the Grand Prix de la Ville de Laval (purse €60,000, 2875 meters, 18 European starters) and the 1.14.7kr timed winner was 3.4/1 Univaldi d’Aval (9g Vivaldi de Chenu-Miss Me d’Aval) for J-M Bazire and owner/trainer Denis Bethouart. 2.2/1 Une Serenade (9f Gazouillis-Moonlight Serenade) rallied for second driven by Eric Raffin and 4/1 Cash Okay (5m Ready Cash-Tresokay) was third for Olivier Raffin. Thomas H. Hicks  

July 15, 2017- The Enghien harness racing feature this Saturday was the Prix de Bruxelles (purse €95,000, 2150 meters autostart, eight European starters). The 2/5 favorite Valko Jenilat (8m Kepler-Perle du Roc) was a two length winner for Eric Raffin, trainer Sebastian Guarato and Ecurie G&F Raffre. Valko Jenilat took his 17th victory in 72 career outings, now for €859,515 earned. 15.7/1 Olmo Holz (9m Uronometro-Veuve du Kras) was second for Christophe Martens and trainer Vincent Martens, ahead of 5.1/1 Ave Avis (7m Kesaco Phedo-Magna Avis) driven by Matthieu Abrivard for trainer J-M Bazire. 19/1 Arazi Boko (10g Varenne-Laura Kemp) was fourth with Franck Nivard up, and 36/1 Trebol (10m Hot Blues-Sally Can Wait) was fifth for trainer/driver Gabriel Angel Pou Pou. Race time was 1.12.9kr. Today’s Q+ was the Prix du Palais de Chaillot (purse €68,000, 2875 meters. 18 starters) at Enghien with the 1.14.8kr timed victory going to 5/1 Azur Somolli (7m Obrillant-Ophelia Somolli) reined by trainer Sebastien Ernault. 8.8/1 All Feeling (7m Otello Pierji-Quelle Cerencaise) took second for Christophe Martens ahead of 14/1 Unero Montaval (9g Nem-Heroine du Loir) and driver Franck Nivard. 188/1 Baleyse was fourth for Alexis Garandeau and fifth was 8/1 Bad Boy du Dollar (6m Magnificent Rodney-Nymphe du Dollar) for Matthieu Abrivard and trainer Sylvain Roger. July 15 action at Enghien also included the Prix du Louvre (purse €80,000, 2875 meters, 12 European starters) with that victory earned by 12.3/1 Cantin de l’Eclair (5g Jet Fortuna-Noce Joyeuse) timed in 1.14.2kr and driven by Tony Le Beller for Ecurie Éclair. 9/1 Coup Droit (5m Prodigious-Saint Leonard) took second for Alexandre Abrivard, trainer Paul Hagoort and Stable Why Not. 3/2 favorite Bredabliks Nubbe (5m Lindy Lane-Wildgirl Boshoeve) was a rallying third for Conrad Lugauer. Thomas H. Hicks

June 25, 2017 - Groupe action today at Paris Vincennes included three monte events, two being Gr. I tests. The monte day began with the Prix Xavier de Saint Paris (monte, Gr. II, purse €120,000, 12 starters) and it went to 6.5/1 Cassate (5f Neoh Jiel-Quivadu Rib) with Adrien Lamy in the irons for Ecurie Luck and trainer J.L. Dersoir. 22/1 Cavalleria (5f Prodigious-Janga) was second for Eric Raffin and trainer Sebastien Guarato, with third to 18/1 Clara du Pontseuil (5f Mich Phili-Osaka d’Occagnes) for jockey Anthony Barrier. The heavy 9/10 favorite Canadien d’Am was a miscue dq. The Gr. I Monte Prix Dessai (purse €200,000, 2175 meters, 12 starters, three year olds) went to 1.13kr clocked and 5/10 odds favorite Eye Of The Storm (3m Village Mystic-La Dolce Vita) with Yoann Lebourgeois in the irons. The Philippe Allaire owned and trained product was bred by Hugues Rousseau. 20/1 Epatante (3f Village Mystic-Suricate) almost nailed her stablemate on the line with Anthony Barrier up for trainer Allaire and breeder/owner Pierre Tebirent. 5/1 Eiffel Tower (3f Ready Cash-Nouvelle d’Atout) took third for jockey David Thomain, trainer J-M Bazire and owner Ottavia Roffi-Urano. The race winner bounced back nicely from a pair of recent miscue dq’s. Draft Life (4f Ubriaco-Maflymede) at 10/1 took the prestigious Gr. I Monte Grand Prix du President de la Republique (purse €240,000, 2850 meters, 13 starters) with Eric Raffin in the irons. Raffin powered Draft Life to the front after 1000 meters and opened a huge margin that the pair held to the line. Louis Baudron bred, owns and trains the winner. Draft Life recorded her eighth career win in 21 starts, now for €482,170 earned. 13/1 Dawana (4f Ready Cash-Sanawa) was second for Anthony Barrier and owner/trainer Philippe Allaire. Third was 6/1 Dragon de Fresne (4m Saphir Castelets-Rosee des Bois) with Matthieu Abrivard, the jockey. Heavily backed Django Riff and Darling de Reux was miscue dq’s. Race time was 1.12.8kr. This event was presented, as was the entire program, very professionally and garnered great support from the large crowd in the fan and entertainment areas and in the winner’s circle. Great racing, great horses and fan entertainment makes for an unbeatable afternoon. Replay: This win by Eric Raffin placed him in the points lead for the E-challenge and culminated superb monte action. Thomas H. Hicks  

June 4, 2017 - Today’s top turf trotting action was at Alencon with the sixth leg of the Trophee Vert series. The Grand Prix Seche Environement (purse €45,000, 225 meters distance handicap, 18 starters on the grass) went to 9/10 favorite Bob (6m Overtrick-Fee du Houx) reined by Eric Raffin for owner/trainer Estelle Dessartre. This one overcame a 25 meter handicap to record his 10th career victory now for €199.030 earned. 41/1 and 25 meter penalized Viola Ecus was second for Martial Gilard and 18/1, 25 meter handicapped. Viking Fromentro was third for Pierre Levesque. Uniflosa Bella and Tresor Wic finished fourth and fifth. FR and PMU sponsored trots took place this day at Dundalk, Ireland, the nations’ only lighted all- weather track. Four FR trots took place, each for a €7,000 purse and raced over 2000 meters. Fields ranging from 14-15 trotters contested each race and FR driver Pierre Vercruysse took part in each, but without a victory. The winners were 12/1 Vichy de Moem (8m Vivaldi de Chenu) teamed by Alan Richardson timed in 1.20.2kr; 7/1 Balarou des Iles (6m Osiris de Corbery) for Alan Wallace Sr. clocked in 1.21.7kr; 8/1 Ariane des Tithais (7f Olitro) with Seamus Quill aboard timed in 1.21.3kr and 21/1 Balzac de Villars (6m Roi du Coq) scored in 1.20.5kr. Turf trotting continued with the monthly action at Madinina Marftinque over their 1200 meter grass course. The Prix de Grosbois (purse €5,000, 2600 meters distance handicapped) went to 1.26.1kr timed and 50 meter handicapped Yoly du Visais (9g Defi d’Aunou-Pristina Jet) with Christine Lebreton aboard, she also owner and trainer. The Prix de Cabourg (purse €5,000, 2600 meters distance handicapped) went to Ussein Royal (9g Lilium Madrik-Itgeloire) piloted by Jean Francois Gate, timed in 1.19.4kr for the winning owner/trainer Christine Lebreton, a training double for the afternoon. Thomas H. Hicks

April 15, 2017 - A solid Paris-Vincennes Saturday harness racing program began with the Prix de la Lorraine (purse €72,000, 2100 meters autostart, 16 European starters) and that contest went to 3.8/1 Vulcania de Godrel (8f Memphis du Rib-Jukietta) reined by Eric Raffin for owner/trainer Damien Marsault. The now 10 time winner in 69 career starts has earned €386,010 and scored today in 1.12.2kr off honest fractions largely set by 2.3/1 favorite Venkatesh that faded late (1.08.7kr at 1500 meters to go; 1.11.5kr at the 1000, 1.12.6kr with 500 remaining). 70/1 Tobrouk de Payre (10g Meaulnes du Corta-Orcade de Payre) held second for Matthieu Abrivard and trainer/owner J-Y Touillet. 16/1 Venus de Bailly  was third for J-M Bazire, ahead of Vanille du Dollar and Volare de Lou. The Gr. III monte Prix de Plouescat (purse €85,000, 2700 meters, 11 European starters) went to the 3/2 favorite Jerry Mom (4m Ready Cash-Graziella) with Yoann Lebourgeois up for trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Alain Roussel, timed in 1.13kr on even fractions (1.13kr at the 1500 to go mark; 1.13.5kr at the 1000 and 1.14.3kr with 500 remaining) with a striking final 500 meters. 3.3/1 Candie d’Atout (5f Magnificant Rodney-Licorne d’Atout) took second for trainer/jockey Matthieu Abrivard and owner Serge Lahuppe. Third was 4.8/1 Dragon d’Avril (4m Thorens Vedaquais-Sirene d’Avril) with Adrien Lamy in the irons for trainer/owner Sebastian Houyvet. The day’s featured Gr. II Prix Federations Ouest et Basse Normandie (purse €120,000, 2175 meters, 10 starters) went to the 1/5 favorite Carat Williams (5m Prodigious-Miss Williams) reined by David Thomain and racing barefoot for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Mme. Francoise Deboudaud. The winner, bred by Henri Garnier, now has 14 wins in 28 career starts for €524,240 earned. He was clocked in a quick 1.10.8kr with a fast final 500 off even fractions ( at the 1500 to go mark; 1.09.8 at the 1000; 1.11.3kr with 500 remaining). 7.4/1 Cyprien des Bordes (5m Ouregon de Celland-Perle des Bordes) was second for J.L.Cl. Dersoir and the Joel Hallais/Ecurie Rib team. 12.5/1 Caly Loulou (5f Gazouillis-Neige de Genetine) took third for trainer/driver Matthieu Abrivard. The Gr. II Prix des Hippodromes Marins (purse €120,000, eight monte starters) completed this day’s groupe level action. The 3/10 favorite Eye Of the Storm (3m Village Mystic/La Dolce Vita) secured victory for Yoann Lebourgeois, driving for trainer/owner Philippe Allaire. Timed in 1.13kr (fractions 1.08.2kr at 1500 remaining; 1.10,5kr with 1000 to go; 1.12.6kr with 500 remaining) the winner bested 3.9/1 Evidence Roc (3f Paris Haufor-Misface du Boulay) with Mme. Emilie LeBeller aboard second and 22/1 Epatante (3f Village Mystic-Suricate) handled by Anthony Barrier third for trainer Allaire and owner Kevin Tebirent. Eye OfThe Storm remained unbeaten, now in six outings, good for €212.850 earned. Pierre Rousseau bred this fine colt. At Tongres (Belgique) was the Prix Vic Thoed (purse €5,040, 2650 meters, 15 international starters) with victory once again to veteran Truman Dairpet (10g Biesolo-Heloise Poterie) at 1/2 odds and reined by Piet Van Poll for the Union Stable. The 116.9kr timed winner now has 23 wins in 97 career starts for €590,898 earned in a productive career. 39/1 Cesar Charisma and 18/1 By Vivant trailed the winner to the line. In the US some of the better North American trotters were in qualifying action at the New Meadowlands. Hannelore Hanover (4f Swan For All) scored in 1:55.3 with a final :26 quarter. Earlier Crazy Wow (5m Crazed) won timed in 1:53.1 with a final :27.2 panel and the young colt Top Flight Angel (3m Archangel-Top Photo-SJ’s Photo) won clocked  in 1:56.2, final quarter in :28 flat. Thomas H. Hicks  

December 29, 2016 - 5.3/1 Akayama (6f Prodigious-Hirosaka) was a three length winner of today’s harness racing Quinte+ Prix de Salvanhac (purse €64,000, 2700 meters, 16 European starters) clocked in 1.14.4kr. David Thomain reined Akayama for trainer Alain Roussel and breeder/owner Mme. Nicole Roussel. 3.1/1 Aupiquarta (6f Goetmals Wood-Illys Way) and trainer/driver J-M Bazire was second ahead of 9.9/1 Xea Venus (8f Charmy Skeeter-Xea Lobell) with Alexandre Abrivard up for trainer Bjorn Goop. The Pick5 Prix de Compiegne (purse €64,000, 2700 meters, 13 starters) was won by 2.1/1 Baxter du Klau (5g Oiseau de Feux-Iklia Josselyn) reined by trainer J-M Bazire for owner J.M. Baudouin. And timed in 1.14.7kr. 8.2/1 Bourbon Somolli (5m Sam Bourbon-Jamaica Somolli) was second for David Thomain and trainer Thierry Duvaldestin. 10.9/1 odds Black Atout (5m Prodigious-La Lagune) landed the third spot for Franck Nivard and trainer Franck Leblanc. Today’s featured Gr. III Prix de Chaleau Chinon (purse €95,000, 2700 meters, 12 starters) went to 1.6/1 Dream de Nilrem (3g Jet Foruna-Naoari de Chamant). Frederic Prat trains this favorite and Eric Raffin did the driving. Norway’s 6/1 Phantasm SOA (3m Cromwell-Ulver H) was second by half-length for Matthieu Abrivard, trainer Olivier Raffin and owner Gudbrand ALM Skiaken. Third was fast finishing 9.4/1 Dragon des Racques (3m Love You-Quinte des Racques) with Alexandre Abrivard up for trainer L.Cl. Abrivard. Jerry Mom (3m Ready Cash-Graziella) was fourth for Nicolas Roussel, owner Alain Roussel and trainer Philippe Allaire. Fifth was the Allaire owned and trained Dokha Vedaquaise (3f Prodigious-Sestriere) with Yoann Lebourgeois aboard. Race time was 1.16.6kr. Post positions are now set for Sunday’s next “B” (Prix de Bourgogne) leading to the Prix d’Amerique. See below, as the favorites appear well-positioned. Thomas H. Hicks

November 24, 2016 - Through November 24th the leading dash winning harness racing drivers/jockeys in the French trotting sport are last year’s full year winners. Jean-Michel Bazire leads the drivers with 228 victories and purse earnings of €5,819.000. Franck Nivard has 160 wins and Eric Raffin 154. Last year Bazire led the way with 224 followed by Nivard’s 183 and Raffin with 163. On the monte side, Eric Raffin has posted 66 wins for €2,655,000 earned. Alexandre Abrivard and Yoann Lebourgeois are next with 51 and 48 victories. Last year Raffin posted 67 monte wins followed by 52 for Damien Bonne and 50 for Alexandre Abrivard. Thomas H. Hicks

November 20, 2016 - The top FR harness racing three year-old fillies contested the Gr.II Prix Annick Dreux (purse €130,000 2700 meters, 15 starters) and the favorites were defeated by 9.1/1 Draft Life (3f Ubriaco-Maflymede) reined by Eric Raffin for breeder/owner/trainer Louis Baudron. She scored in 1.14.4kr in the heavy rain off modest fractions (1.14.3kr at 1500l 1.14.4kr with 1000 to go ; at the 500). 57/1 Diana du Chatelet (3f Real de Lou-Tirade du Chatelet) was second for trainer/driver Aymeric Thomas and the 1.2/1 favorite Dawana (3f ReadyCash-Sanawa) was a tired third for Gabriel Gelormini and trainer Philippe Allaire. Delia du Pommereux and Dynamite Fella were fourth and fifth. Second choice Douce Rebelle contested for the gained the lead but she too tired late and was a dq. Thomas H. Hicks

November 14, 2016 - Today’s Quinte+ Prix du Languedoc (purse €95,000, 2850 meters, 18 European starters) went to 1.12.6kr timed ands 5.3/1 odds Valko Jenilat (7m Kepler-Perle du Roc) with Eric Raffin driving for Ecurie G&F Raffre and harness racing trainer Sebastien Guarato. 4/1 Indigious (7m Prodigious-Indication) took second for Franck Nivard and trainer Fabrice Souloy with 35/1 Alienor de Godrel (6f Orlando Vici-Julietta) third for trainer Franck Anne and driver David Thomain. 5.7/1 Altesse du Mirel (6f Ready Cash-Ina de Mirel) was fourth. The Quinte+ exact order ticket paid €5,066 for a €2 wager. The featured monte Gr. II Prix Louis Tillaye (purse €120,000, 2700 meters, eight starters) this day went to 1.14.9kr timed and 5.6/1 odds Dhikti Vedaquais (3m Thorens Vedaquais-Marie Blanque) with Anthony Barrier in the irons. Philippe Allaire is owner/trainer of the colt bred by Jean-Pierre Guay. The 1/5 favorite Dollar Macker (3m Saxo de Vandel-Salt Lake City) was second for jockey Yoann Lebourgeois and owner Olivier Henri Thomas. Allaire also trains Dollar Macker. Third was 13.2/1 Dragon d’Avril (3m Thorens Vedaquais-Sirene d’avril) for Antoine Lamy and trainer/owner Sebastien Houyuet. Race fractions were modest (1.16.3kr at 1500 meters to go; 1.14.8kr at the 1000; 1.15.3kr with 500 meters remaining). The sire Thorens Vedaquais 1:56.2 (US$729,796) is by Cygnus d’Odyssee, a son of Workaholic, and the dam is Muntanyetai  by Cezio Josselyn (by Armbro Goal) from a Florestan mare. Thomas H. Hicks

October 25, 2015 - Agora (6f Prodigious-Ibiza des Brisants) won tonight’s Prix Isara (purse €82,000. 2850 meters, 14 starters aged six-ten) for harness racing driver Eric Raffin and breeder/owner Francis Tardieu at 7.6/1 odds. Second was 13/1 Thoury le King (9g Melchior Jet-Karina de Thoury) for Alexandre Abrivard and trainer/owner J.Ph. Raffegeau. Third was 4.2/1 Vignia la Ravelle (7f Diamant Gede-Jirania la Ravelle) with Jean-Michel Bazire at the lines. The winner was clocked in 1.14.1kr over the petite piste at Paris-Vincennes. The Gr. III Prix California (purse €80,000, 2850 meters, eight starters) resuled in a 1.13.9kr score for the 0.5/1 favorite Brissac (5m Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree-Jannibelle). J-M Bazire piloted the Jean-Alain Eliphe trainee that he also owns. This one now has 17 wins in 42 outings for over €305,000 earned. 35/1 Boide Jenilou (5g Kesaco Phedo-Melodie Jenilou) was second with Anthony Barrier driving and third was 6.5/1 Coup Droit (4m Prodigious-Saint Leonard) with Robin Bakker up for Paul Hagoort, trainer for Stable Why Not. The Gr. III Prix Timocharis (purse €65,000, 2850 meters, 11 starters – three year-old fillies) went to 2.7/1 favorite Delia du Pommereux (3f Niky-Neune du Pommereux) with Franck Nivard at the lines, timed in 1.15.6kr. Second was 15/1 Diamond Crown (3f Repeat Love-Ma Crown) for Mathieu Mottier, trainer Sebastian Guarato and owner Lady O’Reilly. Ecurie D was the breeder. Third went to 4.2/1 Desiree (3f Ready Cash-Richesse d’Orient) for trainer/driver Alain Laurent and breeder/owner Etienne Desmet. Thomas H. Hicks  

Valko Jenilat (7m Kepler-Perle du Roc) took today’s Q+ Enghien featured Prix de Buenos-Aires (purse €120,000, 4150 meters, 15 International starters) clocked in 1.17.1kr, stepping home by three lengths for harness racing driver Eric Raffin. Off at 5.4/1 the winner is trained by Sebastian Guarato for Ecurie G&F Raffre. Second was 2/1 Tiego d’Etang (9m Chaillot-Harolene) was second in a close battle, for Charles J.Bigeon and trainer Christian Bigeon. 12.6/1 Alienor de Godrel (6f Orlando Vici-Julietta) was third for trainer/driver Franck Anne and Ecurie AB Trot. 9.4/1 Swedishman (10g Gogo-Valgana) was fourth for driver Franck Nivard, trainer Thierry Duvaldestin and owner Gaylor Chaudemanche. 20/1 Bahia Quesnot was fifth for reinsman Matthieu Abrivard. The Enghien Prix Montmartre (purse €55,000, 2150 meters autostart, 16 European entrants) went to 21.3/1 odds Pingus Vang (9g SJ’s Photo-New Wonder) for J-M Bazire and trainer Fabrice Souloy. 4.8/1 Super Ariel (7f Super Arnie-Orika Lep) was second for Matthieu Abrivard in a close finish with 6.1/1 Rooibus (7m Rotation-Miss Tessami) for Eric Raffin. Bjorn Goop trains Rooibus for B.S. Stable HB. The race was clocked in 1.13.5kr. 1.3/1 favorite Dawana (3f Ready Cash-Sanawa) easily took the Prix de Rome (purse €85,000, 2875 meters, 15 European starters) as the Philippe Allaire owned and trained lass was timed in 1.14.8kr. Gabriele Gelormini teamed the winner to her sixth win in ten career starts now for €263,050 and she’s emerging as a good one, as was her dam. 92/1 United Love (3m Conway Hall-Dolly Kronos) rallied to be second for Eric Raffin. 18/1 Dream Darling (3m Sam Bourbon-Let’s Go Darling) held third for driver/owner Jean-Pierre Dubois and trainer Yves Boireau. Francoise Laroche bred this one. Thomas H. Hicks  

Harness racing 3/10 favorite Bold Eagle (5m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) overcame a 25 meter handicap to easily win today’s Prix des Sables-d’Olonne clocked in 1.11.3kr (mile rate 1:54.72) over his 2800 meter journey (1.74 miles). Eric Raffin was again at the lines for trainer Sebastian Guarato, owner Pierre Pilarski and breeder Jean-Etienne Dubois. Bold Eagle scored his 25th win in 28 starts, now for career earnings of €1,948,300. 21.5/1 Akim du Cap Vert (6m First de Retz-Prima du Cap Vert) took second for owner/trainer/driver Franck Anne with 9.4/1 Baltic Charm (5m Passwrod-Ilikova) home third for Matthieu Abrivard and trainer Guarato, owner St. Szwarc and breeder Jean-Philippe Dubois. 9/1 Alderman and 41/1 Beau Gamin were next. Bold Eagle was away alertly in the bulky field and eventually secured a pocket position where he remained until the final turn. Then he rapidly accelerated to the front and drew off.     Thomas H. Hicks

Bold Eagle (5m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) easily won today’s Gr. I harness racing UET Masters Series Prix Rene Balliere (purse €200,000, 2100 meters autostart, 11 entrants with one scratching, Booster Winner) with Eric Raffin piloting for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Pierre Pilarski. The dominant winner was bred by Jean-Etienne Dubois. Raffin left alertly with the 3/10 favorite from post seven and after 500 meters secured the front from then fast leading Your Highness (7f Chocolatier-La Belle Lady) and Bjorn Goop, off at 3/1 odds. The previously 2016 undefeated Your Highness took the pocket and remained that way to the line for trainer Fabrice Soukoy and owner PV Racing Stable HB. Under urging she could not threaten the winner and held gamely for second ahead of tough 10.4/1 odds Amiral Sacha (6m Ganymede-Nostalgique Sacha) and driver Gabrielle Gelormini and 41.4/1 fourth finishing Tiego d’Etang (9m Chaillot-Harolene) with Charles J. Bigeon aboard. Olmo Holz, Voltigeur de Myrt and Billie de Montfort were the next three to finish. Time of the race was 1.10.8kr after rated fractions (1.06.7kr at 1500 meters to go; 1.09.7kr at 1000; 1.11.5kr at 500 to go). The winning Bold Eagle now has career earnings of €1,925,800 and 24 victories in 28 career outings. He won his second straight after spring stud duty and he has earned €928,000 in 2016. Thomas H. Hicks

Bold Eagle returns to harness racing action Sunday at Paris-Vincennes, headlining the Prix Rene Balliere (purse €200,000, Gr. I UET Masters Series, 11 starters) with Eric Raffin named to drive the son of Ready Cash, replacing Franck Nivard (suspended since last Saturday). Trainer Sebastien Guarato had secured the services of Raffin before the declaration in the event Nivard remained unlicensed. The likely race favorite will face the 2016 undefeated Your Highness with Bjorn Goop to drive. The field follows: Billie de Montfort, Thomain Your Highness, Goop Booster Winner, Bonne Voltigeur de Myrt, Vercruysse Tiego d’Etang, Charles Bigeon Uhlan du Val, C. Megissier Bold Eagle, Raffin Olmo Holz, Martens Bird Parker, J-P Monclin Amiral Sacha, Gelormini Black d’Avril, Prat The exceptional Sunday card includes seven other top flight trots: Prix Xavier Saint Palais (Gr. II, purse €120,000, monte, 2175 meters) Prix de Grosbois (Q+, purse €90,000, 2850 meters) Prix d’Essai (Gr. I monte, 2175 meters, purse €200,000) Prix du President de la Republique (Gr. I, purse €240,000, 2850 meters) Prix Albert Viel (Gr. I, purse €200,000, 2700 meters) Prix de Grasse (Gr. III, purse €80,000, 2700 meters) Prix Raymond Fouard (Gr. III, purse €85,000, 2700 meters) Thomas H. Hicks

Tonight’s Quinte+ (€4.65 million jackpot) Prix Pythia (purse €72,000, 2700 meters, 18 European starters) at Paris-Vincennes went to 3/1 Valko Jenilat (7m Kepler-Perle du Roc) with Eric Raffin up for trainer Sebastien Guarato and Ecurie G&F Raffre. The quick winner, timed in 1.12.2kr, held off charging 1.9/1 favorite Akido (6g Love You-Isba) with trainer Franck Nivard the pilot for Ecurie Comte P de Montesson. 17/1 Utinka Selloise (8f Ojipey Vinoir-Merce des Tebe) was a fast finishing third for J-M Bazire. The featured Gr.II Prix Chambon P (purse €120,000, 2850 meters, 13 entrants) this evening went to 4/5 favorite Amiral Sacha (6m Ganymede-Nostalgique Sacha). Gabriel Gelormini steered the  impressive winner, timed in 1.12.5kr, for the three length score. Ecurie Sidere is the owner. 11.1/1 Tornado Bello (9m Jag de Bellouet-Enfilade) took second for Pierre Levesque, trainer Thomas Levesque and owner/breeder Remi Boucet. This one is a half-brother to Prix d’Amerique winner Offshore Dream. 30/1 Sierra Leone (10f John Arifant-Une d’Havetrot) landed third with J.Cl. Hallais teaming for trainer J.W. Hallais. 2.9/1 second choice Ustinof du Vivier (8g Look de Star-Melba du Vivier) was fourth for Matthieu Abrivard and trainer Sebastien Guarato while 61/1 veteran Olmo Holz (8m Uronometro-Veuve du Kras) took fifth money for Christophe Martens. The monte feature was the Gr. II Prix Lavater (purse €120,000, 2850 meters, nine starters) and rallying 12.2/1 Canadien d’Am (4m Ready Cash-Kanadia) scored for Matthieu Mottier, trainer Franck Leblanc and owner Laurent Edin. A game 1.9/1 favorite second was Cyprien des Bordes (4m Ouragon de Celland-Perle des Bordes) with J.L.Cl. Dersoir aboard for Joel Hallais and Ecurie Rib. 37/1 Candela (4f First de Retz-Ofara) landed the third spot. On June 2 at Cholet the Prix Abrivert Hippomat Petit Pas Laval (purse €28,000, 2800 meters, 18 starters) went to the 1.14.7kr timed and 3.6/1 odds Bingo d’Attaque (5m Pomerol de Laumac-Lady de la Roche) with Gabriel Gelormini aboard for Ecurie Attaque. This one defeated 7.2/1 Azur des Caillons (6m Quaker Jet-Douce Nuit) for owner/trainer/driver Matthieu Abrivard with 5/2 Barrio Josselyn (5m Scipion du Goutier-Piker Josselyn) home third with trainer J-M Bazire driving for owner Mme. O Roffi-Urano. On June 1 at Boden the featured Scandal Plays Minne (first prize 100,000SEK, 2140 meters autostart) resulted in a quick 1.11.2kr victory for 3.2/1 Rocky Winner (8m Credit Winner-Level Fortytwo-Arnaquer) with Jorma Kontio driving. Jorgen Westholm is the trainer and Rocky Winner now shows a career slate of 23-11-9 in 74 starts for 4,681,258SEK earned. 28/1 Special Promise (7m Mr. Pine Chip-Jiving Kemp-Napoletano) claimed second for Santtu Raitala with even-money favorite Victory Bonsai (5m Kadabra-Victory Bouquet-Balanced Image) third with Mika Forss driving. 2/1 Cool Keeper (6m Broadway Hall-Missys Go Go-Yankee Glide) took fourth for trainer/driver Leif Witasp ahead of fifth finishing Vasterbo Fantast (6m Mr. Pine Chip-Fassia LB-Supergill) driven by Jimmy H. Andersson. Former US stakes campaigner Corky was unplaced in the field and has only earned 74,400SEK in the last two seasons. Thomas H. Hicks

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