Welcome To The Winter Meeting
21 November 2020
Each year from the end of October until early March, four consecutive months of the ‘Meeting d’Hiver’ (Winter Meeting) takes place at Vincennes. This season, ninety-four race meetings comprising 778 individual races will be run – 569 driven and 209 mounted.
The two Classic races to highlight the Festival will be the G1 Prix du Cornulier (2700m) under mounted on Sunday 24 January and then the big one – the G1 Prix d’Amerique (2700m), the greatest driven trotting race in the world.
Qualifying races for both contests will be run during the weeks leading up to both races.
Last Thursday week (12 November) the first key race for the Prix d’Amerique was conducted – the G2 Prix Marcel Laurent (four and five-year-olds) and was won by the 2020 winner of the Prix d’Amerique – Facetime Bourbon. The Prix Marcel Laurent is a race proven to be a good form-line to the Prix d’Amerique with previous winners going on to win the Classic including Offshore Dream, Ready Cash and Général du Pommeau.
To ensure a place in the Prix d’Amerique runners will be aiming for what is affectionately known as ‘the ‘four B’s’ are:
- Grand Prix de Bretagne - November 22
- Grand Prix du Bourbonnais - December 13
- Grand Prix de Bourgogne - January 03
- Grand Prix de Belgian - January 17
In addition, the winners of both the G1 Critérium Continental (restricted to four-year-olds) and Prix Ténor de Baune will gain an automatic entry into the Prix d’Amerique. Both races will be run on Sunday 27 December.
The major trial races for the Prix Cornulier are:
- Prix Joseph Lafosse - December 05 (winner qualifies)
- Prix Emile Riotteau - January 09 – (winner qualifies)
- Prix Du Calvados - January 10 – (the first three will qualify)
From mid-December through first week of March, in total, there will be eleven Group One races conducted:
- Critérium des 3 ans - 20 December (three-year-old Championship)
- Critérium Continental – 27 December (four-year-olds)
- Prix de Vincennes - 27 December (three-year-old, mounted)
- Prix de Cornulier - 24 January (four-year-olds and above, mounted)
- Grand Prix d'Amérique - 31 January (four-year-olds and above)
- Prix de l'Ile-de-France - 07 February (four-year-olds and above, mounted)
- Grand Prix de France – 14 February (four-year-olds and above)
- Prix des Centaures - 14 February (four, five, six-year-olds, mounted)
- Critérium des Jeunes - 21 February (three-year-olds)
- Grand Prix de Paris - 28 February (four-year-olds and above)
- Prix de Sélection - 06 March (four, five and six-year-olds)
Other feature races will include:
- G2 Final Grand National du Trot – 6 December
- G3 Prix du Luxembourg – Saturday 30 January – open to geldings and has been won by horses the calibre of Cleangame, Aubrion du Gers and Rapide Lebel
In total, there will be forty-three Group Two races.
An interesting and innovative addition to this years’ Festival will be the running of the inaugural G2 Prix Bold Eagle. This will be conducted at the Prix d’Amerique meeting, 31 January. It is an International Group Two for five-year-olds who have earned at least €38,000.
The event will replace the Prix de Montreal (Grade A) and has received a significant upgrade in status. Bold Eagle is one of the greatest trotteur-francais horses ever to race with his multiple wins including two Prix d’Amerique’s. His final Group One victory was recorded at Woodbine (Mohawk racetrack) in Canada in October 2019. Having retired last August, he is now a leading stallion across Europe.
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