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Bazire band stands out as Belina wins the day

27 January 2019

Talked up in the press, and Jean-Michel Bazire’s pick over his other two representatives in the field, Belina Josselyn confirmed her favouritism for Sunday’s Prix d’Amérique with a tremendous late effort. Runner-up in 2017, followed by a fourth place twelve months ago, she outpaced two of her stablemates and last year’s winner, Readly Express, in the final strides, to secure the most prestigious trotting race on the planet.
A brief track invasion by the ‘gilets jaunes’ before the event did not help matters for some of the runners who demonstrated a certain nervousness before the start, but once proceedings got under way, with Uza Josselyn and Davidson Du Pont making the pace, the earlier hysteria was behind them. Bazire had his mare planted firmly just three or four places behind the leaders and it was not until Björn Goop advanced Readly Express to third position at the bottom of the hill that the champion driver began to make his move.
Looking Superb, the winning stable’s third choice at 66/1, similarly got stuck in coming down the stretch and with 100m to go, it was anyone’s guess as to which of the four protagonists would claim the day, but with a magnificent turn of foot, Belina Josselyn got her nose in front to deny the Prix Ténor de Baune winner. A length back, Readly Express finished a valiant third, just a short-head in front of longtime leader, Davidson Du Pont. Propulsion was not far behind in fifth, but second-favourite, Bold Eagle, endured a bad start and despite a good effort, could finish no closer than sixth.
With his three runners in the first four, Jean-Michel Bazire had a day to remember. “It’s fantastic, since my children are here and my other horses ran superbly. Even though these days I am somewhat immune to it all, I’m beginning to realise the scale of what I have just done.”
He has now won his fourth Amérique as a driver, and second as trainer.
Picture: Belina Josselyn (outside) edging stablemate Lookig Superb in the final strides of the 2019 Amérique