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At Kuurne this day the featured Grand Prix d’Hiver (Mardi Gras) Belgique for a purse of €30,000 went to 9.3/1 Une de Bannes (8f Vroum d’Or-Jeune de Bannes) timed in 1.16.32kr for driver Christophe Martens. The 2325 meter event had 17 International starters. Vincent Martens trains the winner for BVBA Campus RPF. 2.8/1 Ru de l’Airou (11g Cygnus d’Odyssee-Cour d’Intheville) was second for driver/owner Sven Hoste and trainer Jean-Marc Chaineux. Well regarded Artiste Joudes at 9/10 odds was disqualified for driver Joseph Verbeeck and trainer Philippe Allaire. At Cagnes-sur-mer the Prix Grace Ducal (quinte+ with jackpot €3.95 million, purse €58,000, 2925 meters, 15 European starters) went to 3.3/1 odds Kalle (8g Smok’n Lantern-Burning Desire) driven by trainer Robert Bergh. He was timed in 1.15kr to defeat 2.3/1 Vitinou (7g Jet Fortuna-Hircea) and driver Junior Guelpa with third to 10.3/1 Udine du Dazert (8f Le Retour-License To Win) for trainer/driver Denis Bekaert. Also at Cagnes-sur-mer the Prix Henri Callier (purse €40,000m 2925 meters, 10 starters) went to the 1.17.5kr timed, 41/1 Calicot du Vivier (4g Repeat Love-Kalika du Vivier) for driver Kevin Vanderschelden. Yves Boireau trains the winner for owner Jean-Pierre Dubois. Stablemate 9/2 Clarabelle (4f Ready Cash-Rebelle) was second driven by Jean-Pierre Dubois for trainer Boireau. 6.9/1 Colibri du Vivier (4m Oiseau de Feux-Iguine du Vivier) was third for Yannick-Alain Briand. Thomas H. Hicks  

This has been a breakout year for Love You’s full brother Repeat Love whose stocks have never been higher in French trotting. As well as producing a good percentage of qualifiers, a top stallion must show he can produce progeny that compete at the highest level, and on both counts Repeat Love has delivered, as reflected by his French stud fee and the demand for his services. For Repeat Love's progeny have just turned five, the final year of age group racing in France, and the point where the future for most stallions is determined – and that is reflected by his price. And Repeat Love's stud fee of €8000 puts him in the upper end of the scale in the highly competitive French market, where more than 500 stallions vie for their share of the 17,000 registered mares. His fee is the same as Prix d'Amerique winner Up And Quick and the highly respected  stallion Niky and higher than current top 15 stallions Look de Star, Magnificent Rodney, Gazoulis, Offshore Dream and Oiseau de Feux. With Repeat Love's first crop, now 5YOs which includes the likes of €100,000 earners and the Group placed Brindille de Mai and Bodeguita, he lies  14th on money earned and 12th on the list of qualifiers with 50 from 76 foals or 65.8% (just behind is illustrious brother Love You  with 51 from 73). With Repeat Love’s second French crop, which are now 4YOs, he has risen to eighth on the money list and 12th on qualifiers with another 50 already earning their ticket from 79 foals. In the past fortnight six of Repeat Love's  progeny have collected cheques at  Vincennes famed Winter Meeting, which equates to an Australian major Metropolitan meeting or a Premier night in New Zealand (France being under a centralised system). Cuise La Motte has been racing against the very top of her age group, competing in the Group I Prix de Vincennes monte and a string of Group II races in the bike, and has been placed second twice and third at the elite level. In her last start she was sixth to boom 3YO Ready Cash colt Traders in the Prix de Chateau Chinon, a race which also included Capucine de Nacre, another by Repeat Love who was having her first start since running third in the Group I Criterium des Jeunes last February and who raced in the Group III Prix du Riberac last night. Another exciting prospect is Cloane du Vivier, a just turned 4YO mare who is with one of France’s top stables, that of Sebastien Guarato, and has won her last two starts at Vincennes, making it 6 wins in just 8 career starts. A member of the famed R generation, Repeat Love therefore spent his injury shortened racing career  competing among one of the greatest crops in the history of French trotting which includes the likes of Prix d’Amerique winners Ready Cash and Royal Dream, Prix du Cornulier winner Roxane Griff, multi group one winners Rapide Lebel, Roi du Lupin, Roc Meslois and many more.  Despite such stiff competition Repeat Love won seven out of his 19 starts including four  Group races, finishing his career at four with earnings of  €290,680. As a budget alternative to Love You,  it is fair to day that Repeat Love did not initally attract the top end of the mares in New Zealand, indeed his first crop of just six foals came from mares which had never produced a winner, and  from them he has produced two qualifiers to date. His second crop of just three foals included only one from a winning producing mare, the result being the promising Louis Moss, a recent impressive trial winner who is with the Tim Butt stable But in the past two seasons with his famous brother unavailable, Repeat Love did get his chance with some very nice mares, and judging by the French performances,  it may well prove to have been a very sound investment indeed. At a stud fee of NZ3000 + gst, he represents remarkable value for a sought after, proven French sire. Haras des Trotteurs

January 3, 2015 - Several Crack Series events took place on Prix de Bourgogne Day at Paris-Vincennes, for sulky and monte finalists, Four year-olds Cloane du Vivier and Caorches, both females, were victorious. Summaries of these events, among them blanket finishes, are shown below. The Prix Django Riff Crack Series (purse €60,000, 2175 meters, nine monte starters) for female 2105 three year-olds went to wide side drifter 1.9/1 Cloane du Vivier (4f Repeat Love-Royale du Vivier) for jockey Eric Raffin, trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner/breeder Jean Yves Lucuyer. Timed in 1.13.5kr this winner bested 9.5/1 Celina Pollca (4f Kool du Caux-La Canella) and Anthony Barrier for owner/trainer Joel Van Eeckhaute. 13/1 Codie de Beaulieu (4f Oyonnax-Melody d’Arcy) was home third. 1.6/1 favorite Caoeches (4f Goetmals Wood-Queensbury) took the Prix Cristal Money Crack Series (purse €36,000, 2100 meters autostart, 10 starters – females) timed in 1.14.7kr. Franck Nivard reined this winner for trainer Thierry Duvaldestin for Ecurie Augustin Normand. Second was 6.6/1 Cleopatre Turgot (4f Coktail Jet-Nouba Turgot) for trainer/driver Franck Anne. 3/1 Caracas (4f The Best Madrik-Menthe Fraiche) landed third for trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse and owner Mme. Florence Allera. David Thomain teamed 3.1/1 Adorable (6g Prince Gede-Ostiana) to victory in the Prix des Sulky d’Or (purse €50,000, 2700 meters, monte 8 starters) clocked in 1.15.6kr. Thierry Duvaldestin trains the winner for Mme. M.DF. Fairand. Baltique du Margas (5f Derby du Gite-Matinale du Margas) at 10/1 took the highly competitive Prix Akim du Cap Vert Crack Series (purse €40,000, 2700 meters, 15 starters) clocked in 1.16.6kr as 11 starters were in the picture within four lengths on the damp Paris-Vincennes grande piste. Pierre Levesque drove this winner for trainer J-P Lecourt and owner Mme. A. Lecourt. The Bold Eagle Crack des Cracks (purse €50,000, 2100 meters autostart, 16 starters) went to 9/2 odds, 1.14.3kr timed Utalo de Carentone (8g Kiwi-Maeva d’Harcouel) for trainer/driver Guy Maillard for owner Mme. Mireille Maillard as eight were within 2-1/1 lengths on the line. The Prix Timoko Crack Series (purse €70,000, 2100 meters autostart, 16 starters) went to 3/1 Black d’Arjeanc (5g Prince d’Espace-Perle de Riviere) with Damien Bonne up, timed in 1.13.1kr. Thomas H. Hicks  

December 27, 2015 - Today’s Paris-Vincennes opener to an outstanding Winter Meet harness racing program at Paris-Vincennes was the €34,000 Prix de Conches for three year-old females over 2175 meters. 3/1Cresta Rosa (3f Repeat Love-Quercifolia) earned a two-length win for driver Franck Ouvrie and owner/trainer Jean Baudron timed in 1.15.3kr. 13.6/1 Caline Belri (3f Magnificent Rodney-Ma Tourangelle) was second for trainer/driver Bruno Chanonat ahead of 3.7/1 Cadence de Brion (3f Vivaldi de Chenu-Kijoue du Montil) and trainer/driver Mathieu Abrivard. The Gr. II Prix Emile Riotteau for four year-olds (purse €120,000, 10 monte starters, 2700 meters) went to 2/1 second choice Bilibili (4m Niky-Quetty du Donjon) timed in 1.14.2kr and ridden by Alexandre Abrivard for trainer L.Cl. Abrivard and owner Jean-Pierre Barjon. 1.9/1 favorite Best of Jets (4m Magnificent Rodney-Plume Jets) was a close second for Francois Lagadeuc and trainer/owner Jean-Michel Baudouin. 5.9/1 Boeing du Bocage (4m Scipion du Goutier-Lova du Cap Vert) ended a distant third for Eric Raffin and trainer Franck Leblanc with fourth to 26.8/1 Beauty Turgot (4f Hand du Vivier-Quouragane) reined by Anthony Barrier for trainer Fabrice Souloy. Replay  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SYcmN5gu9I The co-featured Gr. II International Prix Tenor de Baune (purse €120,000, 2700 meters, 11 starters) was captured by 1.4/1 favorite Lionel (5m Look de Star-Aurora Sign) and driver Franck Nivard. Fabrice Souloy trains this Norwegian-registered trotter for Goran Antonsen. 1.8/1 Robert Bi was second for Robin Bakker, trainer Paul Hagoort and K.K. Bijkerk, the owner. 4.1/1 Akim du Cap Vert (5m First de Retz-Prima du Cap Vert) ended third for trainer/owner/driver Franck Anne with fourth to 12.5/1 Call Me Keeper (5m Pine Chip-Eliza Keeper) driven by Orjan Kihlstrom for the combination of Daniel Reden and Stall Zet. Africaine (5f Oiseau de Feux-Italienne) landed fifth for Pierre Vercruysse and owner/trainer Jean-Etienne Dubois. Scratched was A Nous Trois. The fractions were very pedestrian in this groupe II event (1.15.7kr at 1500 to go; 1.15.5kr at 1000; 1.15.3kr at 500, finish 1.14kr) until the final 500 meters when Lionel exploded with speed. Lionel now shows nine wins in 15 starts for career earnings of €531,716 and this win comes with an automatic Prix d’Amerique qualification. Replay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDP3Y43IsL0 The Gr. I Prix Vincennes (monte, purse €240,000, 2700 meters, 14 starters) went to favored 4/5 odds Cassandra d’Em (3f Kesaco Phedo-Paradisia d’Em) ridden by jockey Yoann Lebourgeois for trainer Jean-Pierre Allix and Ecurie d’Em. The easy five-length winner recorded victory six in 12 outings now for €223,880 earned. With seven starters disqualified, 10/1 Caline des Plages (3f Scipion du Goutier-Nuit de la Marfee) landed second for Franck Nivard, trainer Franck Leblanc and Ecurie de l’Empereur. 48.7/1 Candela (3f First de Retz-Ofara) was third for trainer/owner Paul Viel and jockey Antoine Lherete. 99.1/1 Cappricia (3f Mah Jong du Vivier-Prisca Verderie) was fourth for Mme. Emilie Le Beller and trainer Bertrand Le Beller. 103.4/1 Caennaise (3f Memphis du Rib-Opaline Blanche) was fifth for Mathieu Abrivard. The race winner was clocked in 1.14.6kr. Today’s performances by, Lionel, Robert Bi, Specialess and Akim du Cap Vert set up an interesting final month before the Prix d’Amerique, and all of these are relative youngsters (will be ages five and six in 2016). Thomas H. Hicks  

Last Thursday's dispersal sale of Carl Middleton's racing and breeding stock at the Ashburton Racecourse became a bit emotional when auctioneer Peter Lagan announced at the end of the sale that Carl had passed away while the sale was in progress. The onset of cancer had forced Carl to reluctantly sell his bloodstock but the announcement by Peter Lagan still came as a bit of a shock to everyone there. The sale itself was extremely well attended and most of the nineteen lots that went under the hammer were actively sought. Top price on the day went to the Dream Vacation mare Savona 1:55.4 ($137,675) who was in foal to Love You's full brother Repeat Love. She was purchased by Flora Robson from Australia for $33,000. Next highest priced lot on the day was the three year old Repeat Love gelding named Louis Moss. Qualifying for Carl at two, the impressive looking individual  was purchased by Tim Butt of Premier Stables for $32,000 and looks a nice addition to his barn. The third highest lot on the day was the smart Love You racemare Another Love 2:00.9 ($43,570). A maiden mare, she was sold in foal to Dream Vacation for $30,000 to Aldebaran Park from Australia. These three lots dominated proceedings on the day with the next highest price after that being $10,500 for Bourbon and Dry, a Sam Bourbon gelding that was placed at three last season. Australian buyers purchased four of the nineteen lots on offer with Another Starlet and Sweet Pretense joining Savona and Another Love in now having Australian owners. Overall the nineteen lots sold for $141,150 with an average of $7428 which was an excellent result in the current environment. Check results here Harnesslink Media

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

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