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Summer Festival at Vichy

24 July 2020

Mid July and the height of summer also means the week-long Festival at Vichy. One of the largest provincial racecourses in France, the track boasts two winning posts, long straights – including a straight 1000m course – and sweeping bends. All three racing codes – flat, jumping, and trotting conduct multiple meetings throughout the spring and summer.   

Four black-type flat races were conducted this week with the highlight being the G3 Grand Prix de Vichy (2000m). The winner was the talented five-year-old mare Spirit of Nelson who won by a head from Top Max with Styledargent one length away on third. The first three over the line were the top three in the PMU market.   

Spirit of Nelson was a G3 winner last September and G2 placed at Lyon in June. She is trained in the south of the country by Jerome Reynier for prominent owner Jean-Claude Seroul.   

The three-year-old fillies were the highlight at the opening day of the carnival with the Prix Madame Jean Couturié where Tickle Me Green put up a strong performance to win narrowly and record a well-deserved victory. Trained by Francois-Henri Graffard, she originates from Germany and is the daughter of German Derby winner Sea The Moon. Following her first three starts in Germany, which included a G3 Baden-Baden placing, she was transferred to France and had two starts prior to Monday’s success. This included a G3 placing and contesting the G3 Poule d’Essai des Poulines.   

Settling at the rear of the field, she was able to take advantage of the long straight and ran home strongly to win by a neck over Directa with Light of Night third.   

Tuesday’s meeting saw the older horses contest the Prix Hubert Baguenault de Puchesse (2400m) where Good Question showed a lot of willingness to want to win scoring by a quarter length from Ateem with the favourite Sublimis a further neck back in third. This was Good Question’s first win since scoring in a Listed event at Cagnes-sur-Mer in February last year. Whilst consistent at this level, he was able to get his head in front on the line.   

The two-year-old feature of the week, run over the straight 1000m, was the highlight of racing on Thursday.  The Fabrice Chappet trained Acapulco Gold won the Prix des Rêves d'Or - Jacques Bouchara impressively by two and half lengths. Jockey Stephane Pasquier took the filly to the front immediately after the start and was never challenged racing clear. She went into the race having had only one start in a maiden at St Cloud at the end of June and was second favourite on the PMU starting at 3.7.   

The win provided stallion Bungle Inthejungle his fourth stakes victory.  


Picture: © APHR Spirit of Nelson