Prix de Bretagne, the hostilities commence
18 November 2023
Hooker Berry all set to start his 2023-24 winter campaign
First qualification race for the Prix d’Amérique, Sunday’s Gr.2 Prix de Bretagne kicks off the habitual highly-charged proceedings set to take place over the next two months between the principal protagonists vying to land the most coveted prize on the global trotting circuit. With three more ‘B’ races to follow, Round 1 already looks a classy affair.
Leading the way is last January’s showpiece winner, Hooker Berry, reined by Nicolas Bazire, and his runner-up, Ampia Mede SM, again entrusted to Franck Nivard. Priority no.1 for trainers is to ensure qualification as early as possible and, according to Jean-Michel Bazire, ‘Hooker Berry should be particularly competitive on Sunday’.
It will be no easy task though considering the quality the other H-generation (6yo) horses bring to the table. Winner of the Gr.1 Prix de Séléction when shod, Horsy Dream races with just front shoes this weekend and Eric Raffin will be confident of a big run. Hokkaido Jiel did beat him in the recent Gr.3 Prix des Cévennes though before being disqualified for interference, and must be regarded a serious threat.
Bretagne titleholder, Hip Hop Haufor, showed improvement earlier in the month and is expected to be significantly more performant at the weekend. Philippe Allaire appears to have made the necessary adjustments to get his Gr.1-winning Izoard Védaquais back on the right road, and having imposed in style last time out, now looks set to take on the elite of French trotters with legitimate ambition.
Runner-up in the 2022 edition, Hussard Du Landret left a very good impression when 3rd to Allaire’s horse here last month, but it is that day’s runner-up, Ganay De Banville, absent for all of 2022, who has the potential to upset the apple-cart.
Jump racing back in focus on the Riviera
Cagnes sur Mer