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News In Brief

17 February 2021

Eric Raffin  

Eric Raffin had an excellent day at Vincennes on Sunday 14 February with three victories including the G1 Grand Prix de France (2100m) with Délia du Pommereux. It was a particularly important success for the driver, having seen his father Jean Raffin win the Grand Prix de France in 1990The strong form continued for him on Monday at the same track, adding another three wins to his tally (Elite San Leandro, Izoard Védaquais and Hysope de Nganda). He is currently five wins ahead of his nearest rival in the Sulky D’Or standings.    

Délia du Pommereux  

Victory in the G1 Grand Prix de France (2100m) marked a first Group One success for Délia du Pommereux. Her dam Noune du Pommereux has been an excellent servant for breeder Noel Lolic, producing seven winners including Délia du Pommereux, G1 Criterium des 4 Ans (2850m) victor Enino du Pommereux and stallion Clif du Pommereux. To learn more, please see our interview with Noel Lolic.

Fakir du Lorault  

The son of Vaillant Cash failed to qualify for the G1 Grand Prix d’Amérique (2700m) following successive disqualifications but is on track to compete in the final big race of the winter season, the G1 Prix de Paris Marathon Race (4150m) on 28 February. Michael Charuel’s six-year-old colt has some classy form to his name and rates a genuine chance.  

Pierre & Camille Levesque 

It was an exciting day for the Levesque family at Vincennes on Monday 15 February with the father and daughter duo teaming up for a double with Finca Vigia and Gattopardo. Jockey Camille was particularly pleased with her second winner Gattopardo, who is expected to take on tougher opposition for his next assignment. 

Skaletti 

The G2 Prix Dollar (2000m) winner Skaletti closed off the 2020 season with a below-par performance at the Hong Kong International Races with trainer Jérôme Reynier citing the travel as a possible cause of the disappointment. The six year old will be aimed at the G3 Prix Exbury (2000m) for his seasonal reappearance before a tilt at the G2 Prix d’Harcourt (2000m) at Longchamp on 11 April. 

Saudi Arabia  

This week sees the second running of the richest race in the world, the USD$20m G1 Saudi Cup (1800m), staged at the King Abdulaziz racecourse in Riyadh. On Saturday, Call The Wind bids to defend his crown in the $2.5m Long Distance Turf Handicap (3000m). Last year saw the son of Frankel beat Mekong and Prince Of Arran, with subsequent G1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) hero Twilight Payment back in seventh.  

Arqana  

The six-figure mark was broken at the February mixed sale earlier this month with Hardi Du Mesnil (Masterstroke), a winner on hurdle debut at Pau, sold for €250,000 to Robert Waley-Cohen. The owners’ silks have been represented by some notable French-breds, including G1 Cheltenham Gold Cup (5294m) winner Long Run (Cadoudal) and 2007 G3 Grand National (7200m) fifth Liberthine (Chamberlin). The new acquisition is a half-brother to recent G1 Novice Hurdle (4400m) winner at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown, Gaillard Du Mesnil (Saint Des Saints).  

French Jockey’s International Successes 

Japan  

On Sunday 14 February, Christophe Lemaire delivered a hat-trick of winners at the Tokyo meeting in Japan. He oozed class on Des Ailes, a daughter of Deep Impact out of Avenir Certain, who triumphed in the 2014 G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (1600m) and G1 Prix de Diane (2100m). The Yasuo Tomomichi-trained mare has won three of her six starts.  

Maxfield  

At Fair Grounds, Louisiana, Florent Géroux guided the Godolphin-owned son of Street Sense to victory in the G3 Mineshaft Stakes (1700m) and remains unbeaten from five outings. Godolphin have won the G1 Dubai World Cup (2000m) on eight occasions and could potentially send Brendan Walsh’s charge to the big event next month.  

Flavien Prat  

Superstition (Ghostzapper out of the Distorted Humor mare Grand Glory) landed her first stakes victory in the Wishing Well Stakes (1300m) at Santa Anita, scooting clear of her rivals under a well-timed ride from Flavien Prat. This capped a stellar day for the Frenchman, who registered a treble on the card and a total of 30 wins in their current meeting. This leaves him at the head of the jockey standings, one clear of Juan Hernandez, and is just two wins away from a milestone 1000 winners in North America.  

Sha Tin  

Another jockey showcasing his skills internationally is Christophe Soumillon, who won nine races in Hong Kong after a short riding stint this winter. He signed off with a double at Sha Tin on Sunday.  

Meydan  

At the centre point of Meydan’s Dubai Carnival, Mickael Barzalona seized the opportunity to ride a brace of winners last Saturday. The superstar guided Panadol and Monoski to victory and brought his UAE tally to seven wins this year.  

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