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No shortage of surprises on Vincennes Champion’s Day

24 June 2018

With no fewer than four G.I races on its Sunday card, it was no wonder that Vincennes drew the crème of French trotters for the midsummer highlight and the first top-tier contest threw up the biggest surprise of the day with the Matthieu Mottier-trained 123/1 shot Fighter Smart picking up the Prix Albert Viel, just the colt’s third career success and his first at G.I level.
Not one of the favourites managed to make the first three a half-hour later in the Prix du Président de la RépubliqueElladora De Forgan belied her odds of 22/1 to provide the Franck Leblanc - Franck Nivard tandem with yet another top-flight victory. Outsiders Etoile De Bruyere and Emilius De Play finished second and third respectively.
Some sense of order was restored later in the afternoon as Bold Eagle put his Elitlopp misadventure behind him to win the Prix René Ballière for the third year in succession. It was no mere formality though since Sébastien Guarato’s charge had been drawn wide on the front line but Nivard played a cool hand to secure the race in 1’10”3, holding off an impressively reinvigorated Uza Josselyn, and Belina Josselyn.
Fado Du Chene maintained his extraordinary run of form to claim the Prix d’Essai, the final G.I on the programme. Winner of the G.I Saint-Léger des Trotteurs at Caen mid-May, Julien Le Mer’s colt doubled up in good order and can now claim to be the leading monté horse of the three year-old generation.
Picture: Bold Eagle and Nivard heading back to the winners enclosure after Sunday's victory