Top-flight card brings winter meeting to a close

1 March 2024

Prix d'Amérique winner Idao De Tillard

This Saturday, the curtain falls on the Vincennes winter meeting but not before it stages one of its most prestigious racedays, three Gr.1’s programmed as a last hiemal hurrah. Run over 2200m and 3000m respectively, the Prix des Centaures and Prix Henri Desmontils boast ‘classic’ status in the monté world, while the coveted Prix de Sélection, reserved for 4-6 year-olds, has drawn Prix d’Amérique winner, Idao De Tillard, back to the track.

And there is little doubting that Thierry Duvaldestin’s 6 year-old will be sent out prohibitive favourite, not only for winning his last 8 straight, but for he manner in which he has triumphed. He may never have competed over 2200m at Vincennes but this will pose little problem to one of the most versatile horses in the field. Choosing the main threat is the problem. Keenan De Joudes is a logical contender, given how he has progressed, in a similar fashion to Gr.1 Prix Ourasi runner-up, KsarKarlitoKana De Beylev and Jag Stryck are also in with a shout. 

Similarly run over 2200m, the Prix des Centaures is, like the Sélection, open only to 4-6 year-olds and has drawn a classy field. Idéale Du Chêne has done nothing but impress this winter, finishing 3rd in the Prix de Cornulier before finishing closest to Geisha Speed in the Gr.1 Prix de l’Ile-de-France. That being said, she will face a stiff challenge from Jean Balthazar who returns off the back of 2 successive Gr.2 victories, and Kaif Landia who won the Gr.1 Prix de Vincennes in mid-December. Ina Du Rib and Inshore are not to be underestimated. 

Covering 3000m and open to 4yo and upwards, the Prix Henri Desmontils has gathered an interesting bunch, Granvillaise Bleue arguably more appealing than others after having reestablished her credentials in the recent Prix de l’Ile-de-France. She will still come under pressure from Cornulier winner Esperanza Idole, and runner-up Hirondelle Du RibEdition Géma and Grâce du Digeon are two for the shortlist.

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