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Eagle Bourgogne double in the balance

29 December 2017

Last season, we put all of our focus on winning the Triple Crown, having being denied it the previous year,” said Sébastien Guarato of Bold Eagle, “so this year we are concentrating primarily on the Prix d’Amérique.”
After missing the Prix de Bretagne due to a foot abscess, Bold Eagle was dominated, in no uncertain terms, by Bird Parker in the Prix du Bourbonnais next time out. While Guarato has had three weeks to mull over the reasons for his champion’s defeat, Sunday’s task in the G.II Prix de Bourgogne, 5th leg of the Epiqe Series for trotters, is still not an easy one. “2100m is not a problem for him, but to win the race again he will need a decent spot behind the car.” The Ménil-Bérard team will not have been thrilled with the rather wide draw of number seven, which could impact his chances significantly. 
Guarato will be somewhat mollified by the fact that Bird Parker breaks from No.8, but Philippe Allaire’s charge has very good speed and can come from the rear. The Normandy-based trainer said of his other two runners, “Since Billie De Montfort [No.9] qualified in the Prix de Bretagne, we skipped the Bourbonnais so she would be fresh for this race. It is the ideal trip for her and she should finish in the first five. She will then take in the Prix d’Amérique and the Prix de FranceBooster Winner [No.10] ran well in the Bretagne but didn’t confirm next time, but I hope she will reassure me on Sunday.”
Another major player in the 17-strong field, the speedy Lionel can certainly not be ignored even though he breaks from the inside. Daniel Redén sends out Propulsion, the fastest horse in Europe today, who should be able to complement his Bourbonnais fourth. Ringostarr Treb finished a place ahead of him that day but will not be helped by the second-line draw. Belina Josselyn stays shod again but starting from the two-spot will do her prospects no disservice.
Briac Dark tends to go better over longer and is unlikely to shake things up. René Aebischer’s Uza Josselyn is as versatile as they come but being allotted No.17 will not have filled connections with joy. Amiral Sacha finished runner-up in this race two years ago, but whether he is fit enough to repeat remains to be seen. Anna Mix has been in flying form since the autumn and Pierre Vercruysse will be encouraged by her good front-line position. Last year’s Critérium Continental runner-up, Day Or Night In, is a specialist over the shorter trips and with some luck in running should be able to finish in the mix.
With the Bourbonnais first-six taking each other on under very different conditions, Bold Eagle’s Bourgogne double is not assured, and it may not be just Bird Parker who poses the principal threat this time around.
Picture: Bold Eagle, Hugo Montille (stable-lad) and trainer Sébastien Guarato