19 January 2021
The highlight on Thursday at Cagnes-Sur-Mer was the G3 International Prix de la Côte d'Azur (2900m) for five to eleven-year-olds. Freyja du Pont set a strong pace in the first circuit but did not have the stamina to see the journey out and galloped on the final turn. Eventual winner Golden Bridge had been settled in a great position in a close fifth. With 200m to go, driver David Thomain had ten lengths to find but the determined five-year-old son of Ready Cash was able to steal the prize off Valzer Di Poggio for trainer Philippe Allaire.
The headquarters of Trotting, Vincennes, hosted two excellent days of sport over the weekend and the brown sand turned white on Saturday due to the heavy snowfall.
Jean-Michel Bazire dominated in the G3 Prix du Forez (2700m) for seven to eleven-year-olds. As the field joined the main track, it appeared Coach Franbleu started to buck and eventually threw the driver, Yoann Lebourgeois to the ground (he subsequently picked himself up showing no obvious injury). The barefoot nine-year-old Colonel found a clear way through racing down the straight and demonstrated a sudden burst of speed in the final 100m to score.
Jean-Philippe Dubois and trainer Philippe Moulin teamed up in the G2 International Prix Gélinotte (2700m) for three-year-old fillies. Inoubliable joined pace setter I Wanna Be Queen at halfway to increase the tempo even further. Both were head-to-head as they took the final turn with the daughter of Prodigious, Inoubliable stretching clear in the final 200m for an authoritative success. This win came in the very early stages of the three-year-old campaign, she is open to further progression and could be a future star.
The highlight on the card was the G2 International Prix de Croix (2850m) for five-year-olds, showcasing the best Europeans in that age group. Grand Art ensured it was a test of stamina with a strong pace when leading with a circuit to go, about twelve lengths ahead of the backmarker and eventual winner, Power. Go On Boy was another who wanted to be prominent and lead the procession in the back straight.
The G1 Grand Prix de l'U.E.T. (2100m) winner of last October made eye catching progress on the final bend under driver Eric Raffin for trainer Robert Bergh to be in a great position for the final effort. This gave Power, the Swedish raider, another narrow margin Vincennes victory from the staying on Gelati Cut.
Twenty-four hours later, the snow had thawed away ahead of a key Sunday in the Winter Meeting.
The highlight was the sixth and final qualifier for the G1 Grand Prix d'Amérique (2700m) with the running of the G2 International Prix de Belgique (2850m) for four-to-eleven year olds. The first three would gain automatic qualification into three Group One races – Grand Prix d'Amérique (2700m), Prix de France Speed Race (2100m) and the Prix de Paris Marathon Race (4150m).
Feliciano (who is already qualified after finishing runner up in Qualifier one – G2 Prix de Bretagne (2700m) took up the running with a circuit to go from Looking Superb and Billie de Montfort.
The field raced slightly off the inside in some areas of the contest and at the halfway stage, Frisbee d'Am made headway to join the leaders. At the same time, Jean-Michel Bazire caught the eye when asking his horse, Davidson du Pont, for a response and began creeping into contention. Despite starting at the back of the field, with 800m to go he was a close fifth, three lengths off the leader.
The eight-year-old son of Pacha du Pont continued to show speed and headway on the final turn to be third into the straight. Then there was the battle between three runners - Délia du Pommereux, Moni Viking and Davidson du Pont – in the final 200m. The excellence of Bazire showed again as he produced a perfectly timed challenge to breeze past Délia du Pommereux in the last few strides for glory.
Last year’s G1 Grand Prix d'Amérique (2700m) runner up left it very late this time around to be qualified but eventually at the fourth time of asking he has now made the Prix d’Amerique field. The question is, can he go one place better in the 2021 renewal in a fortnight’ s time?
A key event for the three-year-old division started the Black Type action on Sunday with the G2 International Prix Maurice de Gheest (2700m) for three years old. There was a surprise mid-race as the well fancied and one of the runners and short priced favourite Italiano Vero galloped halfway. In The Money assumed command for Thierry Duvaldestin and was able to keep the lead all the way for a narrow victory to go one place better than the G2 Prix Emmanuel Margouty (2175m) on Boxing Day.
Thirty-five minutes later, Hokkaido Jiel found success in the G3 Prix Reverdy (Prix de Ribérac) (2700m) for four-year-olds. Hatchet Man set the pace early however was stalked by the eventual winner under driver Pierre-Yves Verva. On the final bend, the son of Brillantissime was sandwiched on the inside with luck required to win. However, that came when Huwaga galloped, leaving a clear gap for Hokkaido Jiel to duel with Hatchet Man but the latter also broke stride in the final ten metres handing the win to the Jean-Luc Dersoir trained four-year-old.
The Mounted discipline hosted the G3 Prix Djérid (2200m) for six- to eleven-year-olds with the race run on the inner course. Again Jean-Michel Bazire added another winner with barefoot eight-year-old Dreambreaker who took the lead where the two tracks intersect and sprinted clear for an easy victory despite the advantage being eroded in the final 100m. Dreambreaker clearly enjoyed the return to this sphere after not been in Mounted racing since November 2019. A versatile performer, he is a name to keep in mind in both disciplines.
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