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Today’s Criterium des 3 Ans (Gr. I, purse 200,000€, 2700 meters) at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes  saw 1.9/1 odds Gunilla d’Atout (3f Ready Cash-Topaze d’Atout-Coktail Jet) the nose winner timed in 1.13.4kr with Bjorn Goop aboard. Sebastien Guarato trains the now eight-time winner in 10 starts for Ecurie Saint Martin. Gunilla now sports 287,900€ in career earnings. SCEA du Beaumanoir bred this full-sister to 661,113€ winning Eridan. The 5.2/1 Gu d’Heripre (3m Coktail Jet-Vedetta d’Heripre) was a gallant second for reinsman Franck Nivard, owner Ecurie Rolling and trainer Philippe Billard. 22/1 Galilea Money (3f Bold Eagle-Uturn Money) took third money handled by Jean-Michel Bazire for breeder/owner Yvan Bernard. The 15/1 Gallant Way (3m Ready Cash-Queen Flore) was fourth reined by David Thomain and trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Jacques Pauc. Gunilla d'Atout is surrounded by well-wishers in the winner's enclosure LeTrot’s Comte de Ballaigue and newly named LeTrot President Jean-Pierre Barjon presented the trophies to the winning connections. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Sweden provides an opportunity for stayers to gain valuable UET Masters Series points at Orebro on Saturday night, also doubling as the last leg of the V75. Swedish Masterskap winner On Track Piraten off a 40 metre handicap to the front runners is the class runner in the race. The altered son of French stallion Kool du Caux, is a group one winner over a staying distance having won Germany's top race last year, the Grosser Preis Von Deutschland, at Hamburg over the 2720m distance. Hans R Stromberg's gelding is also the winner of the CL Mullers Memorial over 2640m at Jagersro and the Masterskap or Swedish Championships at Aby over the same distance, both races carrying group two status. His sire Kool de Caux was second in the Prix d'Amerique (2700m) but also had a good turn of speed with victories in the Group one Copenhagen Cup (2011m) and the Prix de France (2100m) in a stellar career in which he won 1.5 million euro and took a record of 1.09.8 (1.52.2MR). "The Pirate's" major opposition will come from the likes of last year's winner New Line a Danish-bred son of King Conch who was trained in the victory by Ake Svanstedt, who of course is now resident in the United States but has transferred the horse to son Anders' stable. New Line has true staying credentials, not only winning this event last year but placing in the Harper Hanovers Lopp, the staying test on Elitloppet weekend, and the Malmo Stads Pris, another 3km marathon. Another with claims is Mellby Viking, the royally bred son of Viking Kronos, who relishes the longer distance. He has a super French pedigree, being from the family of Romee, the foundation mare for a family which includes Prix du Cornulier winner Dream With Me, Indy de Vive, the sire of Ready Cash, Italian Derby winner Daguet Rapide - another highly successful sire - Lazio du Bourg, who won the Criterium des 3 Ans, and Giesolo de Lou, who won just shy of 2 million euro to name but a few. Mellby VIking is very lightly raced, with just 22 starts for 13 wins and two placings, but 3 of the wins are at this distance, and one suspects trainer Timo Nurmos has some choice French missions ahead for the six-year-old stayer who is off the 20m handicap. Porthos Amok is also one who could figure prominently. He is a son of Orlando Vici, a French sire whose son Un Mec D'Heripre is one of the rising stars in his native land. Orlando Vici has also Great Success in Sweden, with Pato a TravKriterium and TravDerby winner while Porthos Amok, himself, was second in last year's Swedish TravDerby. Another Swedish Travderby winner Beau Mec is actually in the race. Robert Bergh's a son of Jag de Bellouet, one of the true greats of the French scene, winning 4.4million euros on the back of victories in both the Prix d'Amerique and Prix Cornulier, the top races in France in harness and under saddle, and each race of the French triple crown. Beau Mec has won twice in France but apart from his Group one Travderby success, has largely been a bit part player since that win as a 4YO. OREBRO INTERNATIONAL 03/05/14 SE Group II Int UET Masters Series 3140 all 91 000 1 Kemas Magic (h Kadabra - Gold Dust) Dr: Fredrik Persson Tr: Fredrik Persson 3140 2 Super Photogenic (g Super Photo Kosmos - Foreign Fortune) Dr: Niclas Stenqvist Tr: Bo Hellkvist 3140 3 Diamond of Ace (h Turbo Sund - Catch the Moment) Dr: Leif Witasp Tr: Leif Witasp 3140 4 Corleone Shark (g Capetown Hall - Charlatan Shark) Dr: Pekka Korpi Tr: Risto Airaksinen 3140 5 Ciske de Rat (g Castleton Bass - Keetje Tippel) Dr: Björn Goop Tr: Bas Crebas 3140 6 Bar Plombier (g Tony Oaks - Francine Bar) Dr: Torbjörn Jansson Tr: Eric Martinsson 3140 7 Jupiter Rodney (h Skogans Orlov - Judy Rodney) Dr: Palle Günther Tr: Bo Örberg 3140 8 On Hold (g Valley Victor - Kill Time) Dr: Erik Adielsson Tr: Berne Gustafsson 3160 9 Narold Vox (g Orlando Vici - Bonnie Vox) Dr: Ulf Ohlsson Tr: Krister Jakobsson 3160 10 Sem Jafet (g S J's Photo - Persilja) Dr: Peter Untersteiner Tr: Peter Untersteiner 3160 11 Mellby Viking (h Viking Kronos - Naomi de Lou) Dr: Jorma Kontio Tr: Timo Nurmos 3160 12 On Track Piraten (g Kool du Caux - Monrovia) Dr: Hans R Strömberg Tr: Hans R Strömberg 3180 13 Beau Mec (h Jag de Bellouet - Extreme Lady) Dr: Robert Bergh Tr: Robert Bergh 3180 14 New Line (g King Conch - På'en Igen Frökjär) Dr: Anders Svanstedt Tr: Anders Svanstedt 3180 15 Porthos Amok (h Orlando Vici - Baroness Amok) Dr: Örjan Kihlström Tr: Stefan Melander 3180 by David Sanders, for Harnesslink.com

The A generation males line up for the Prix Phaeton on Saturday, the traditional warm-up race for the Criterium des 3 Ans which takes place early next month. Like the female equivalent, the top earning stallions (geldings are ineligible for classic races in France) have elected to sit this one out, with Akim de Cap Vert, Aladin d'Ecajuel and Atlas de Joudes mixing stud and racing duties for the first time this year. You can be sure they will be lining up in the first of major Criterium of the spring meeting, but in their absence it will probably be Mathieu Abrivard's Aldo des Champs, the winner of the Prix Kalmia (G2) who will be the favourite in an even field. Aldo des Champs was a fine third in his last start, the Group one Prix de Selection inter-age classique, where he followed home Aladin d'Ecajeul and Uhlan du Val. Admittedly off the front mark, he nevertheless beat home the likes of Village Mystic, Univers de Pan and Voltiguer de Myrt, all of which are the acknowledged rising stars in French trotting as their burgeoning stud careers attest. American Eagle, a son of dual Prix d'Amerique winner Offshore Dream is a placegetter under saddle in his only start in a group race to date. But the winner of three of his 23 starts, was a winner of a group three under harness last start in February and has been a steady improver for Jean Etienne Dubois. Sebastien Guarato's Astor du Quenne has won 10 races out of 22 but all but the last three were at a very low level in the provinces. However he showed he could foot it at Vincennes when he won three in a row in the hands of Eric Raffin, including the group two Prix Ephrem Houel, in his first group race two starts back. It earned him a start in the Prix de Selection but, with Raffin on stable star Aladin d'Ecajeul, master driver Jean Michel Bazire took the reins to no avail. Despite a brilliant beginning, and setting the pace, the short-striding rather diminutive son of Opus Viervil galloped just after the turn after having been swamped by the first three placegetters. It was nevertheless a promising run, and he will not have the same quality of opposition bearing down on him this time. Philippe Allaire fronts up with yet another promising son of boom sire Ready Cash in Arlington Dream, the winner of four of his twelve starts, with a second and a third. Every other start has ended in a gallop, including his last one at the end of January. This is his first group race and he has Yoann Lebourgeois in the bike. Adio Josselyn also usually runs a high placing if he trots all the way round, and with Jean Michel Bazire in the bike, the son of breed-changing stallion And Arifant also comes into the equation. PRIX PHAETON 05/04/14 FR Group 2, Nat 2850m 4M 120 000 1 Arlington Dream h (Ready Cash - Ialla Clairchamp) Dr: Yoann Lebourgeois Tr: Philippe Allaire 2850 2 Athos des Elfes h (Ganymede - Lazio du Bourg) Dr: Joel Van Eeckhaute Tr: Joel Van Eeckhaute 2850 3 All Feeling h (Otello Pierji - Quelle Cerencaise) Dr: Christophe Martens Tr: Mickael Lemercier 2850 4 Airport h (Love You - Pivoine) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Ake Kristoffersson 2850 5 Adio Josselyn h (And Arifant - Queda Josselyn) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Hedi Le Bec 2850 6 Africain h (Oardo - Kamine) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Vincent Collard 2850 7 American Eagle (h Offshore Dream - Paradise's Key) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois 2850 8 Astor du Quenne (h Opus Viervil - Qualinka du Quenne) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato 2850 9 Aldo des Champs (h Prince d'Espace - Noumea des Champs) Dr: Mathieu Abrivard Tr: Matthieu Abrivard 2850 Avila handicapped in Prix Paul Legeurney Brilliant Ready Cash mare Avila will give the rest of the field of the Group two Prix Paul Legeurney a 25m head start at Vincennes on Saturday. The race is the first of two female warm ups for the Criterium des 4 Ans, which takes place next month and Avila is the undoubted star of the field, which is minus several other leading A-generation female candidates such as Axelle Dark, Anastasia Fella, and Arca des Jacquets, Avila is a dual group one winner already having taken the first of her generation’s Criteriums (des Jeunes) last season and then prevailed in the intergenerational Prix de Etoiles in September. However she was overshadowed in the Criterium des 3 Ans, where she broke when under pressure on the final turn  and her last start was an average sixth (and third filly home) in the group two Prix de Tonnac-Villeneuve, a race in which she was fourth favourite. This is her first race since that early January start, and it will be interesting to see how she deals with a field of lesser or emerging lights of the four-year-old crop. Atlessima and Alesia d’Atout definitely fall into the latter category, both running second and third in the group two  Prix Ephrem Houel last month. Atlessima is a group one winner under saddle but the member of the powerful Ecurie Victoria Dreams stable has two of her four wins under saddle, to go with her group two placing. She is a daughter of Rocklyn, a son of Love You and will probably start the race as favourite. Africaine is a grand-daughter of Prix de Selection winner Autour d'Aunou, one of the top mares of the previous A generation. From the stable of Jean Etienne Dubois, she has been somewhat eclipsed by the deeds of Avila, Anastasia Fella and Axelle Dark as most of this age group have. But the daughter of Oiseau de Feux has quietly accumulating some solid form for Jean Etienne Dubois, winning an 85,000 euro event in Vincennes in early February, and backing that up with a second to Cedric Megissier’s  Athena de Vandel (another up and comer) last start in the 95,000 euro Prix Vindex. This pair look to be on the improve and have significant support in the early market.   Alesia d’Atout showed her class when she was the first filly home in the Criterium des 3 Ans, eclipsing the once all conquering trio of Avila, Axelle Dark and Anastasia Fella. Danielle Mottier’s talented  daughter of Defi d'Aunou has already  won two group twos and amassed 261,260 euros and will also be right in this. PRIX PAUL LEGUERNEY 05/04/14 FR Group 2 Nat 2850 4F 120,000 euros 1         Agora  (Prodigious - Ibiza des Brisants)   Dr: Mathieu Abrivard   Tr:  Alexandre Buisson     2850     2         Agneska  (Quaker Jet - Pocahontas)   Dr: Gregory Simon   Tr:  Jean Etienne Dubois     2850     3         Agrippine   (Hasting - Moqueuse)   Dr: Laurent Claude Abrivard   Tr:  Laurent Claude Abrivard     2850     4         Adelie   (Ganymede - Linea Dream)   Dr: Alexandre Abrivard   Tr:  Laurent Claude Abrivard     2850     5         Athena de Vandel  (Prince Gede - Maelia de Vandel)   Dr: Cedric Megissier   Tr:  Cedric Megissier     2875     6         Aquarelle de Fael   (Look de Star - Nadia Pierji)   Dr: Franck Nivard   Tr:  Thierry Duvaldestin     2850     7         Africaine  (Oiseau de Feux - Italienne)   Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois   Tr:  Jean Etienne Dubois     2850     8         Alizea du Kastel  (Quaker Jet - Kalida Jet)   Dr: Emmanuel Allard   Tr:  Emmanuel Allard     2875       9         Alesia d'Atout   (Defi d'Aunou - New York Jet) Dr: Mathieu Mottier   Tr:  Dominique Mottier     2850       10         Atlessima  (Rocklyn - Noblessima)   Julien Dubois   Tr:  Philippe Moulin     2850     11         Avila   (Ready Cash - Encombevineuse)   Thierry Duvaldestin   Tr:  Thierry Duvaldestin     2875  Roxane Griff heads Masters series monte field Roxane Griff heads a star studded monte field for the UET Masters Series international group two Prix Theophile Lallouet at Vincennes on Saturday, over 2700m. The Prix du Cornulier winner’s last start was a courageous third in the Grand Prix de Paris, the gruelign 4.1km marathon and the third leg of the French triple crown. She had run fourth in the first leg, the Prix d’Amerique. But it has been under saddle that  Sebastien Guarato’s 9YO daughter of Tenor De Baune, who has earned 2.25 million euros from 17 career victories,  has found a new lease of life recently, winning three of her four monte races in the recently completed Winter Meeting including the 700,000 euro  world championship (Prix du Cornulier) in late January in the hands of regular rider Eric Raffin. She will face stiff opposition from the likes of Mike Lenders grand old campaigner Quarry Bay, who  won his last start, the 120,000 euro Prix Henri Desmontils, at the start of the month, defeating Rapide du Digeon, Torre Crepin  and Utoky who he meets again here. The 10YO son of Cygnus d'Odyssee is the second favourite on the early tote Former age group star Utoky is also well supported.  The winner of both monte group ones for 3 and 4YOs (Prix de Vincennes and Prix du President de la Republic) is trained by Franck Leblanc in the famous light blue colours of Comte Pierre de Montesson, who will be remembered by older US harness racing folk as the owner of Une de Mai. The son of  Cygnus d'Odyssee also mixes racing with stud duties at the Lebanc’s Haras d’Avireau establishment.  Torre Crepin  is one of those horses who has just taken a long time to reach the top level,and one wonders how he would have fared in any other country where patience is not so fully rewarded . It took the altered son of Capriccio 64 starts to reach the prizemoney level to get a start in a group two just six months ago, indeed he didn’t win his first race until his 34th start – and remarkably his 30th attempt under saddle.  Remember they pay down to seventh placing in France, and so fourth place in 100,000 euro events can pay the bills, and some, and Torre Crepin has had four fourth placings and a win in the seven starts since he raced in his first group two in October last year. From a slow start, over the past couple of years  he has been a gradual improver and he has now won eight races and as a consistent placegetter as he made his way through the intermediate events at Vincennes has now  amassed the not insignificant sum of 470,330 euros. Thierry Raffegeau’s  Rapide du Digeon is also well supported while the next in the market is the Italian bred gelding Nene'Degli Ulivi from the stable of  Vincent Lacroix.     PRIX THEOPHILE LALLOUET 05/04/14  Int (Group 2)monte UET Masters Series  2 700 5-10 120 000 1         Decarone (10h   Supergill - Spinoni Bell)   Philippe Masschaele   Rd:  Tr:  Mme G Masschaele     2700    2         Rescousse de Barb (9m   L'As de Viretaute - Gaie Melodie)   Rd:  Pierre Yves Verva   Tr:  Guillaume Moinon     2700    3         Nene'Degli Ulivi (7g   Uconn Roc - Maureen Lobell)   Rd:  Alexandre Abrivard   Tr:  Vincent Lacroix     2700    4         Remember Jihem (9h   Jag de Bellouet - Feriana)   Rd:  Fabien Gence   Tr:  Jean Marie Monclin     2700    5         Torre Crepin (7g   Capriccio - Lanaka)   Rd:  Adrien Lamy   Tr:  Bruno Marie     2700    6         Utoky (6h   Cygnus d'Odyssee - Epopee)   Rd:  Franck Nivard   Tr:  Franck Leblanc     2700    7         Rapide du Digeon (9g   Urfist des Pres - Gerveine Barbes)   Rd:  Damien Bonne   Tr:  Thierry Raffegeau     2700    8         Riglorieux du Bois (9g   Indy de Vive - Glorieuse du Bois)   Rd:  Quentin Seguin   Tr:  Henk Grift     2700    9         Risque Tout (9g  Giant Cat - Little Pearl)   Rd:  Julien Raffestin   Tr:  Gerard Paille     2700    10         Quarry Bay (10m   Cygnus d'Odyssee - Barcarolle)   Rd:  Camille Levesque   Tr:  Mike Lenders     2700    11         Roxane Griff (9m   Tenor de Baune - Julia Mesloise)  Rd:  Eric Raffin  Tr:  Sebastien Guarato     2700    By David Sanders, for Harnesslink.com

France's top four-year-olds take centre stage on Saturday's card at Vincennes in the Group two Prix Ephrem Houel over 2850m with Akim du Cap Vert looking to bounce back from an unfortunate gallop at the start of his last outing in the Prix Charles Tiercelin run at a slushy Vincennes on Prix d'Amerique day. Franck Anne's star 4YO son of First de Retz was a heavily backed favourite that day and gave the field the best part of 70metres head start and put in a supreme effort to catch the peloton and eventually run seventh. If he steps away, and this is from the starting shute and not from the mobile gate as it was last start, he has a great chance of winning his fourth group two, and his second this year following his success in the Prix De Tonnac-Villeneuve in January. The winner of the Prix Charles Tierclin was Alesia d'Atout, a tough daughter of Defi d'Aunou who held off a brilliant finish from Aladin d'Ecajeul to claim her second group two. Dominique Mottier's mare has blossomed into a genuine talent in the earlier shadow of the star trio of Axelle Dark, Avilla and Anastasia Fella, and also has the group two Prix Ozo to her name, and even more importantly for her stud career, classique status through a third placing in the Criterium Des 3 Ans. She holds the fastest record in the race with a 1.12.2kr Axelle Dark was third in the Prix Charles Tiercelin but was several lengths in arrears of the first two. The slushy track was known to have upset a lot of the horses, and whether this has been a factor in the daughter of Ready Cash's lack of dash of late is open to conjecture. Owner Philippe Allaire also has Atlas de Jourdes entered in the race, a richly bred son of his retiring superstar who was sixth in the Prix Charles Tiercelin and slated to start stud duties in a few weeks time. Jean-Philippe Dubois' Atlessima is a group one winner under saddle but has yet to best this generation under harness, being prominent in the Prix Charles Tiercelin before trotting roughly and breaking. The son of Rocklyn is talented but may be being set for the Prix Louis Le Bourg on the last day of the Winter Meeting on March 1, while the best in harness of the crop will be competing in the group one Prix de Selection. PRIX EPHREM HOUEL Vincennes 08/02/14 FR Group 2 2 175m 4YOS € 120 000 1 Athena de Vandel (s Prince Gede - Maelia de Vandel) Dr Cedric Megissier Tr: Cedric Megissier 2 Adio Josselyn (h And Arifant - Queda Josselyn) Dr Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Hedi Le Bec 3 Africain (h Oardo - Kamine) Dr Franck Nivard Tr: Vincent Collard 4 Ausone du Kastel (h Gros Grain - Lancee) Dr Emmanuel Allard Tr: Emmanuel Allard 5 Astor du Quenne (h Opus Viervil - Qualinka du Quenne) Dr Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato 6 Alesia d'Atout (s Defi d'Aunou - New York Jet ) Dr Mathieu Mottier Tr: Dominique Mottier 7 Atlessima (s Rocklyn - Noblessima) Dr Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 8 Aldo des Champs (h Prince d'Espace - Noumea des Champs) Dr Mathieu Abrivard Tr: Matthieu Abrivard 9 Akim du Cap Vert (h First de Retz - Prima du Cap Vert) Dr Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 10 Axelle Dark (s Ready Cash - Queen des Charmes) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Philippe Allaire by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com

Outstanding mare Anastasia Fella will be looking to get back on the winning track in the Prix de Pardieu, the first of three big monte races this weekend at Vincennes, which will be capped off by Sunday's Prix de Cornulier. Fabrice Souloy's brilliant daughter of Goetmals Wood won her classique status with a win in the group one Prix des Elites under saddle in October on her way to three group wins in succession - the latter two against her own gender. But she found the going too tough as the males of her crop finally found their mojo in the Criterium des 3 Ans and broke under pressure. The females of this crop, which had won every classique contested previously reasserted themselves in the monte equivalent, the Prix de Vincennes but once again Anastasia Fella rolled into a gallop at the business end of the race. The winner on that day, Ecurie Victoria Dreams' Altessima, is absent here but the runner-up Laurent Claude Abrivard's Agrippine is a close second favourite in just her 12th career start and only third at group level. The daughter of Hasting will be ridden by Alexandre Abrivard. The strongest challenger though is perhaps Asana Trembladaise who won the group two Prix Raoul Balliere and Prix Louis Tillaye in mixed company earlier in this Winter Meeting. Anthony Dollion's daughter of Kuadro Wild made a mistake in the Prix de Vincennes but is rarely out of the top money in her age group's big monte races. Thierry Duvaldesti's Aquarelle de Fael has had five wins in her 13 career starts and was second in the group two Prix Louis Tillaye in November, her first start in group company. The daughter of Look de Star galloped in her next start and was fifth in her last start, in an age group monte on Christmas Day. She will be ridden by Damien Bonne. Daniel Delaroche's Alexia du Cherisay a daughter of Le Big Boss, is a group two winner under saddle and a consistent performer, and although she has made two breaks in the big races just passed, but handicappers have kept her onside. The up and comer in the field is A Nous Deux, another daughter of monte king Goetmals Wood in the stable of Ronny Kuiper. A Nous Deux is having her first start in group company after a win and two cheques since switching to monte three starts ago and has support despite the step up. 18/01/14 FR PRIX DE PARDIEU Vincennes  Group II monte 4F 2175m 120 000 1 Altair des Brouets (s Quiz des Brouets - Luanda des Brouets) Rd: Jonathan Vanmeerbeck Tr: Pascal Daulier 2 Aventure des Isles (s Espeyrac Sun - Josetina) Rd: Alexis Garandeau Tr: Gilles Delacour 3 Amande Amere (s Mister President - Orange Amere) Rd: Anthony Barrier Tr: Alain Roussel 4 Anna Maria (s Love You - Mahana) Rd: Celine Leclercq Tr: Patrick Chevrier 5 Aureness (s Mercenaire - Ornaise de Morgane) Rd: Francois Lagadeuc Tr: Romain Christian Larue 6 A Nous Deux (s Goetmals Wood - Nina Madrik) Rd: Nathalie Henry Tr: Ronny Kuiper 7 Aurea Vikland (s Prince de Montfort - Kettina de Monti) Rd: Pierre Yves Verva Tr: Guillaume Moinon 8 Agilite Jenilou (s Love You - Quemilla Jenilou) Rd: Olivier Touvais Tr: Louis Baudron 9 Anne de Neulliac (s Magnificent Rodney - Onise de Neulliac) Rd: Bruno Chanonat Tr: Sylvain Roger 10 Antara Buissonay (s Le Retour - Judelle Buissonay) Rd: Pierre Edouard Mary Tr:Joel Van Eeckhaute 11 Agrippine(s Hasting - Moqueuse Alexandre Abrivard) Rd: Tr:Laurent Claude Abrivard 12 Aquarelle de Fael (s Look de Star - Nadia Pierj) Rd:i Damien Bonne Tr:Thierry Duvaldestin 13 Alexia du Cherisay (s Le Big Boss - Precious Thing) Rd: Eric Raffin Tr:Daniel Delaroche 14 Asana Trembladaise (s Kuadro Wild - Passion d'Alban) Rd: Anthony Dollion Tr:Anthony Dollion 15 Anastasia Fella (s Goetmals Wood - Jeanne's Fella) Rd: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com   

The precocious stars of the A generation have very much been in the limelight in recent weeks, with the first two Group Ones of the Winter Series, the Criterium des 3 Ans and Prix des Vincennes having been the headline acts of December's racing at Vincennes. But French racing gives all those with genuine talent a chance to shine, and some of the A-generation's later developers will front for the group III Prix de Croissanville (72,000 euros) over 2175m. This race has recently been where many of future stars of the track get their first get a taste of the big time, this year's renewal is one of two feature events on Thursday's card at the Temple du Trot. The richest horse of the U-generation Univers de Pan won this race in 2012 while Criterium des 5 Ans winners Roc Meslois (winner 2009) and the ill-fated Scoop d'Yvel (runner up 2010) are recent graduates of the race. The most likely in this group to go onto bigger things is Alcest du Goutier,the winner of six of just 12 starts since beginning his racing with a second in a 3YO race in Durtal, west of Paris in March last year. He then won three in a row for trainer Jacques Bruneau before a fourth in his first visit to Vincennes in May. After a 3 month break he resumed with a win in Vincennes which has elevated him to the lucrative intermediate ranks, and he gained his first win in the higher grades last time out on December 21, a performance which has seen him installed as an early favourite. Vying for early favouritism is Frank Anne's Atout du Lerre., who has won four of his first ten starts. Anne who is well known for his ability to win big races with young horses, has used a patient approach with the son of Oakwood du Closet). However being a gelding he is also not eligible for the Classiques, and so his appearances have been naturally restricted. Another interesting runner from one of the more prominent stables is Jean Etienne Dubois' American Eagle who was second in a 76,000 euro race in Vincennes three weeks ago. The son of Offshore Dream has won two of his 20 starts, with his last win in July in Cabourg. Dominique Lefaucheux' Amazar de Florange is another attracting early money, although he has only won once in his first 20 outings, but French handicappers would have been encouraged with his second placing behind Alceste du Goutier last time of asking. The co-featured event is the Group III Prix de Mauriac, a 78,000 euro race for 5YO mares over 2700m with Sylvain Rogers' Valse Mika being the early favourite. The daughter of NIky was a last start winner, her sixth victory in only 24 attempts early in her 5YO career. Vuelta de Lys has won two of her last four starts, including last time out in Vincennes at the end of December, and is also attracting a lot of early money. The daughter of Insert Gede has won four of her 15 starts for trainer Jean-Luc Bigeon. Master reinsman Jean Michel Bazire has also brought Vadapolina gradually through the grades in his usual fashion, and with a win two starts back, her fifth in 21 starts, handicappers have been quick to support her chances. The richest mare in the race is Daniel Delaroche's Via de Villeneuve has amassed earnings of 141,790 euros despite having only won one race in 31 attempts. PRIX DE CROISSANVILLE Vincennes  09/01/13 Group 3 2175 4 € 72 000 1 Arno de Bossens (4h One du Rib - Quaifa du Rib) Dr: Jean Loic Claude Dersoir Tr: Joel Hallais 2 Ambre Atout (4g Coktail Jet - Maya d'Atout) Dr: Pierre Belloche Tr: Pierre Belloche 3 Athos des Elfes (4h Ganymede - Lazio du Bourg) Dr: Joel Van Eeckhaute Tr: Joel Van Eeckhaute 4 Alpha Galbe (4h Nomade du Digeon - Nereide Galbe) Dr: Benoit Robin Tr: Laurent Leduc 5 Amazar de Florange (4h Echo - Paoleta) Dr Franck Nivard: Tr: Dominique Lefaucheux 6 Ajaccio de Bengale (4h Mentor du Goutier - Orange de Bengale) Dr: Pierre Yves Verva Tr: Sebastien Guarato 7 Arginio des Godins (4g Norginio - Oceane Fiere) Dr: Baptiste Masseguin Tr: Francisco Criado 8 Ambrogoal des Baux (4h Ouragan de Celland - Milady des Baux) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato 9 American Eagle (4h Offshore Dream - Paradise's Key) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois 10 Alceste du Goutier( 4h Quido du Goutier - Matsuyama) Dr: Matthieu Abrivard Tr: Jacques Bruneau 11 Acteur de Larre (4h Paisy Dream - Qasidamika) Dr: Sylvain Roger Tr: Sylvain Roger 12 Atout du Lerre (4g Oakwood du Closet - Haquikmie) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne PRIX DE MAURIAC Vincennes  09/01/13 Group 3 2700m 5m 74,000 1 Vadapolina (4m Quaro - Miska des Rondes) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Jean Michel Bazire 2 Vuelta du Lys (4m Insert Gede - Ivresse du Lys) Dr: William Bigeon Tr: Jean Luc Bigeon 3 Vallee Secrete (4m Goetmals Wood - Libre Allure) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 4 Vodka Lemon (4m Full Account - Pink Panther) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Julien Rosenzweig 5 Venus de Bailly (4m Chaillot - Oceane de Bailly) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Bruno Bourgoin 6 Vanna Coletto (4m Lejacque d'Houlbec - Paloma du Donjon) Dr: Anthony Barrier Tr: Eric Clouet 7 Vignia la Ravelle (4m Diamant Gede - Jirania la Ravelle) Dr: Eric Gilles Blot Tr: Eric Gilles Blot 8 Valse Mika (4m Niky - Ellamika) Dr: Sylvain Roger Tr: Sylvain Roger 9 Vigna Nobile (4m Goetmals Wood - Envieuse) Dr: Louis Baudron Tr: Louis Baudron 10 Valeska Jet (4m Nuage de Lait - Ocarina Jet) Dr: Jean Etienne Dubois Tr: Jean Etienne Dubois 11 Via de Villeneuve (4m Jet Fortuna - Akara) Dr: Pierre Yves Verva Tr: Daniel Delaroche by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com   

The feature race at Vincennes on Sunday, the Prix du Calvados is used by some as a leadup to monte’ racing’s greatest race, the 700,000 euro Prix de Cornulier, which is held on January 19, a week before the Grand Prix d’Amerique. Last year's Prix de Cornulier winner Singalo was unplaced in this race last year, indeed only three horses have won both in the same year since 1980, with Dream With Me the last to do so in 1998. Vive Ludoise (1994) and Reine du Corta (1990) also did the double. One reason for this is that unlike the Prix de Cornulier, the Prix de Calvados is open to geldings, which comprise almost half this year's field. Last year's Prix du Calvados winner Pinson, a two time winner, will however not be back to defend his title having to forcibly retire having just turned 11. Singalo is however back in this year's field, beginning off the 25m mark. As a group one winner and with earnings of 1.17 million euros, Singalo finds himself ineligible for the mid-year monte races and his formline would not elicit much confidence from a casual handicapper. But there are two definite Singalos - and the one under saddle bears no resemblance to the one in a cart. Singalo hasn't actually placed in 14 sulky races since April 2010. If he's not galloping he is running well down the track. But under saddle, If Louis Baudron's son of Goetmals Wood doesn't gallop, and he does that about once in every four or five starts, 75 per cent of the other times he wins, and his worst performance is a single fourth place. That is a remarkable record of 15 wins two seconds and two thirds. Singalo will however start around third favourite to rising star Ulysse, who will be making his first outing in an open age race . Mike Lenders son of Love You's last start was also in the bike, so it can be safely discarded as anything more than a training run. But he was right in form in the Prix Joseph Lafosse, where he beat the best of his age group once again under saddle.. Second favourite is Vagabondu Mag, who will be making his first monte start in more than 12 months, but has very good form under saddle, with four wins and no finish further back than third if he trots all the way. He has been performing very well in the bike in recent outings with four wins in six starts including two in group three company - and given his liking for monte, handicappers are being quick to get on. The other horse unsurprisingly getting a lot of early money is monte specialist Sourire de Voutre, a Gazoullis gelding who has won 15 times under saddle in 26 appearances. The pupil of Franck Leblanc's last six starts have been three wins and three gallops, all in group company. Leblanc’s other entrant Utoky is another leading Prix de Cornullier candidate entered, but there are a string of others preferring another route, and so we are missing the likes of Quarry Bay, Tango Quick, Tiégo d’Etang and Uppercut du Rib while Vision Intense raced on Saturday and Anastasia Fella will no doubt  target the Prix De Pardieu for 4YO fillies after her failure in the Criterium des 3 Ans. The dark horse might be Joel Hallais' Nice Love mare Taiga du Rib, the mount of Yohan Lebourgeois and a group two winner under saddle. PRIX DU CALVADOS Vincennes 2014-01-05 Group II monte € 150 000 1 Unikaranes (6m Montecatini - Pivoine des Hayes) Rd: Alexandre Abrivard Tr: Laurent Claude Abrivard 2 Vagabondu Mag (5g Ozio Royal - Perle du Ravary) Rd: Mathieu Mottier Tr: Bruno Bourgoin 3 Uppercut du Rib (6h Quadrophenio - Galinette Cendree) Rd: Jean Loic Claude Dersoir Tr: Joel Hallais 4 Ulysse (6h Love You - Loctudy) Rd: Thomas Levesque Tr: Mike Lenders 5 Utoky (6h Cygnus d'Odyssee - Epopee) Rd: Franck Nivard Tr: Franck Leblanc 6 Ramsey du Ham (9g Indy de Vive - Ufania du Buisson) Rd: Pierre Edouard Mary Tr: Yvonnick Dousset 7 Rapide du Digeon (9g Urfist des Pres - Gerveine Barbes) Rd: Damien Bonne Tr: Thierry Raffegeau 8 Son Alezan (8h First de Retz - Kelle Ile) Rd: Adrien Lamy Tr: Franck Leblanc 9 Sourire de Voutre (8g Gazouillis - Goella) Rd: Eric Raffin Tr: Franck Leblanc 10 Taiga du Rib (7m Nice Love - Galinette Cendree) Rd: Yoann Lebourgeois Tr: Joel Hallais 11 Quinio du Relais (10g Kitcho d'Ecajeul - Gabriella) Rd: Matthieu Abrivard Tr: Sebastien Hardy 12 Risque Tout (9g Giant Cat - Little Pearl) Rd: Sebastien Emmanuel Pasquier Tr: Gerard Paille 25m 13 Singalo (8h Goetmals Wood - Ingala) Rd: David Thomain Tr: Louis Baudron 25m Dave Sanders  

These mid winter V75's do not attract the best fields, but they also therefore pay very good money if you manage to strike them. Last week we struck the second leg with Persos Amrula and leg 4 with Lovelock but those were the only two in a tough week at the office. Even in France, we missed out as a rank outsider won the first race, and the favourite got up ahead of our choice in the second. Halmstad V75-1 Klass I 1640m: Bear Dancer (4) looks like the one here, with the Divine Miss F (1)as the alternate. Selection 5 V75-2 Klass II 2640m: I'm going wide here with Everywhere (10), Sheer Bliss (3), Staro Harlequin (7), Jula in Focus (6) and the Chosen One (5). Selection 10-3-7-6-5 V75-3 Gold division 2140m: Kash's Cantab (1), Global Investment (7) and Capello Bob (4) are the three to fight it out here. Selection 1 V75-4 Larlingslopp 2640m: El Rapide (1) should get the lead from this slot and that makes him very tough to beat. My anchor. Selection 1 V75-5 Mares race 2140m: Going wide in this mare's race with Cairo (7), Liberty (2), Clara R.C. (10) and Stirling Allstar. Selections 7-2-10-6 V75-6 Silver division 1640m: M T Harmony (2) should get to the front from the draw and will be hard to beat from there. Selection 2 V75-7 Bronze Division 2140m: Vasterboonthenews (5) was super last time out when winning the V75 final and is our first pick here while Big Bill Bac (1) is our alternate. Selection 5 (1) Vincennes R3 Prix De Tonnac-Villeneuve 2175m: There are four in this with Aladin d'Ecajeul (7), Akim du Cap Vert (8), Avila (9) and Axelle Dark (10) a class above the others. But Aladin d'Ecajeul won the Criterium des 3 Ans and looks the horse on the rise. R6 Prix Leon Tacquet 2175m: The French handicappers are willing to forgive Vision Intense (10)here indiscretions, for there is no doubt that she has the class to beat any monte field. Valse Castelets (9) has been the form horse, however, and I think she will prevail here while I think Vaillant Cash (4) is a good place bet, and will pay a nice dividend. TOTAL COMBINATIONS 60 - Cost $5, +1 alternate $10, + 2 alternate $20 Also here are my win wagers from Halmstad. Halmstad SINGLE WAGERS $2 Race 5 Bear Dancer (4) Race 6 Everywhere (10) Race 7 Kash's Cantab (1) Race 8 El Rapide (1) Race 9 Cairo (7) Race 10 M T Harmony (2) Race 11 Vasterboonthenews (5) Vincennes Race 3 Aladin d'Ecajeul (7) Race 5 Valse Castelets (9)  

The A generation step out for their first run as 4YOs in the Prix de Tonnac-Villeneuve, a group two over the sprint distance of 2175m at Vincennes on Saturday. Heading the field is Criterium de 3 Ans winner Aladin d'Ecajeul, who has been the undoubted star of the Winter Meeting for this age group. Sebastien Guarato's stallion will be shooting for his third win in a row after capturing the classique and also the Group II Prix Abel Bassigny on the first week of November, his second win in his third try at the level. The son of Quaker Jet has now won seven of his 14 race starts, for earnings of 304,940 and will start the favourite in this event. The Criterium des 3 Ans was a brutal reminder that racing gives reputation scant respect with the three favourites failing to finish a race where the attrition rate was more than 50 per cent. Frank Anne's Akim de Cap Vert was an early casualty of a tight squeeze of the peleton as the entered the downhill straight from the starting area, while Philippe Allaire-owned horses trio Atlas de Joudes and the much vaunted fillies Avila and Axelle Dark also failed to cope with the intensity of the race. Akim de Cap Vert, Avila and Axelle Dark have also come in for heavy early support, with handicappers giving them a chance to redeem themselves, in this the major race for 4YOs in January. Runner up in the Criterium was Ausone du Kastel, the winner of just five career starts, the last being in his first try at group company in August, which was the culmination of a three-win streak. Although second in the Criterium, Emmanuel Allard's son of Gros Grain was third in a lesser field in the Prix de Chateau Chinon on Christmas Day. Third in the Criterium was Alesia d'Atout, another with just one group victory, back in May, and will probably be tested in this, with just four wins in 15 starts. Alberic was fourth home in the Criterium but at massive odds, and with just three wins in 17 starts he will struggle for support, especially with a failure in the Prix de Chateau Chinon on Christmas Day. Artiste de Joudes was fifth home in the Criterium, but Philippe Allaire's fourth entrant is a perennial also ran, although he does have a penchant for slotting into one of the money-bearing places in big races hence his 178,150 euro bankroll, despite only two wins. PRIX DE TONNAC-VILLENEUVE Vincennes 04/01/14 FR Group II 2175m 4YOs € 120 000 1 Ah Quel Micha (4h Rocklyn - Oceane du Phare) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 2 Alberic (4h Goetmals Wood - Oublies Moi) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 3 Artiste de Joudes (4h Prodigious - Memory de Joudes) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Philippe Allaire 4 Alesia d'Atout (4m Defi d'Aunou - New York Jet) Dr: Mathieu Mottier Tr: Dominique Mottier 5 Ausone du Kastel (4h Gros Grain - Lancee) Dr: Emmanuel Allard Tr: Emmanuel Allard 6 Atlas de Joudes (4h Ready Cash - Queschua Love) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Philippe Allaire 7 Aladin d'Ecajeul (4h Quaker Jet - Nancy d'Ecajeul) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato 8 Akim du Cap Vert (4h First de Retz - Prima du Cap Vert) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 9 Avila (4m Ready Cash - Encombevineuse) Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 10 Axelle Dark (4m Ready Cash - Queen des Charmes) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Philippe Allaire by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com 

The Criterium Continental is the season finale for Europe's top entires and mares, a group one over 2100m and for a purse of 240,000 euros. French horses have dominated this event for the past 12 years, with the winners all coming from the Republic in that period including super young sires Prodigious and Love You, who both have progeny in the race. Criterium des 4 Ans winner Voltigeur de Myrt heads a field which includes no less than nine horses who competed in the French classic including second placed Volcan d'Urzy and third placed Vigove and which also includes six of the first seven home which speaks volumes for the quality of this field. Furthermore Vaux le Vicomte, who was third in the Grand Prix de l'UET is also in the field as is Prix de Selection (Group I) winner Village Mystic who won the Prix Octave Douesnel earlier in the meeting, with Voyage de Reve and Vigove, who are also both entered here, following him home. The there is former Criterium 3 Ans winner Vanika du Ruel, who has not won in more than 12 months, and seems to have gone off the boil after sweeping all before her as a juvenile and 3YO, winning four group ones. The favourite though will be Danielle Mottier's mare Victoire, who is starting to live up to the promise she showed when third in the Criterium des 3 Ans, this time last year. She beat much of this field, including the internationals, in the Prix Marcel Laurent at the beginning of the winter meeting, and then followed it up next start with a win in the Prix Ariste Hemard. The last non-French horse to win this event was the German superstar Abano As, and this year there is another German-bred entry Indigious (German Breeders Crown winner), who is a son of previous winner Prodigious. Coincidentally, he is trained in Sweden by Stig Johansson, who also trained Abano As for a time in his career, although he won the Criterium Continental from the stable of Gerd Holtermann. Sweden is also well represented by Dreams Take Time (Grosser Preis Von Deutschland, Group I), and the well performed System Performance (E3, Group I winner) and Porthos Amok (Swedish Travderby runner-up). Italian Derby winner Pascia' Lest who is now trained in France by Thierry Duvaldestin is another who is hoping to make the switch from 1000m sprint racing to success on the unique test which is Vincennes, and this shorter distance will suit his breeding. A son of Italian former Prix d'Amerique winner Varenne, and very talented, he is one of the early favourites for the race although it remains to be seen whether he can reverse the perception that horses with predominantly US bloodlines struggle to cope with the undulating test which is Vincennes with two downhill and one testing uphill sections. Another international runner with claims is Italian group one winner, Princess Grif, who was a brave third to Save The Quick in the European Mares Championship at Solvalla, which was won in World Record time. She is also now in a French stable, that of Fabrice Souloy. CRITERIUM CONTINENTAL Vincennes 22/12/13 Group I Euro 2100m 4YO €240 000 1 Princess Grif (4m Varenne - Fauve Grif) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 2 Village Mystic (4h Love You - Netchka d'Orgeres) Dr: Louis Baudron Tr: Louis Baudron 3 Vanika du Ruel (4m Jardy - Jacarandine) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 4 Victoire (4m Kitko - Juventa Blue) Dr: Mathieu Mottier Tr: Danielle Mottier 5 Pascia' Lest (4h Varenne - Superiors Sun) Dr: Enrico Bellei Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 6 Voltigeur de Myrt (4h Opus Viervil - Myrtille des Bois) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Roberto Donati 7 Vera Pierji (4m Otello Pierji - Odyssee Pierji) Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 8 Vaux le Vicomte (4h Nahar de Beval - Nina du Beauvoisin) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Jean Michel Bazire 9 Dreams Take Time (4h Andover Andover - B.My Honey) Dr: Johnny Takter Tr: Lars I. Nilsson 10 Porthos Amok( 4h Orlando Vici - Baroness Amok) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Stefan Melander 11 Indigious (4h Prodigious - Indication) Dr: Erik Adielsson Tr: Stig H. Johansson 12 Votka Bleue (4m Jasmin de Flore - Joyeuse Bleue) Dr: Anthony Barrier Tr: Emmanuel Ruault 13 Voyage de Reve (4h Password - Kiocalba) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 14 Volcan d'Urzy (4h Password - Jabotte d'Urzy) Dr: Jean Philippe Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 15 Viking de Val (4h Baccarat du Pont - La Forge de Val) Dr: Eric Lambertz Tr: Eric Lambertz 16 System Performance (4m Scarlet Knight - Hermit Lady) Dr: Franck Ouvrie Tr: Stefan Melander 17 Vigove (4h Gazouillis - Govive) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Franck Leblanc 18 Viva Island* (4m Goetmals Wood - Island Dream) Dr: Jean Pierre Dubois Tr: Jean Pierre Dubois by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com   

It'd be a brave handicapper who would punt against crack filly Anastasia Fella in the Group I monte, the Prix des Vincennes on Sunday being raced for the princely sum of 240,000 euros. The imposing daughter of Goetmals Wood may have been a costly failure in the Criterium des 3 Ans when sent out favourite in her last start, but she was the brilliant winner of the group one Prix des Elites in her first and only start under saddle at the end of October. It was a commanding performance, defeating as she did the best monte exponents of the two preceding generations, although from a generous 50m handicap advantage. But the key to this race was the fact that the next of her generation to figure in the results was Asana Trembladaise who was more than a second in arrears in seventh place, and has proven herself a very good monte horse. Fabrice Solouy has brought Anastasia Fella from a bit part in the Axelle Dark-Avila show to the leading light of the A generation's amazing crop of fillies. She convincingly beat her rivals (both daughters of boom sire Ready Cash whose colts quinellaed Friday's Prix Emmannuel Margouty) in her next two starts to take the favouritism from the Phiippe Allaire pair in the season 3YO classique in the bike. This is the monte equivalent, and none of the colts who were her vanquishers on December 8 are in this field, the only one saddling up from the Classique is Alizea du Kastel, the winner of the Prix Roquepine in February. The main rival though is going to be the aforementioned Asana Trembladaise who was coming off the back of two monte victories, including a dominating win in the Prix Raoul Balliere, which is held on the same weekend as the Criterium de 3 Ans. Anthony Dollion trains and rides the daughter of Kaudro Wild who will be the second favourite no doubt. Michael Jean Ruault's colt Aston Fly was second in the Prix Raoul Balliere and third in the Prix Louis Tillaye recently, and was also third in the group one Prix d'Essai - the winner of which Arcana des Jacquets has not reappeared for the Winter Season. The son of Hermes de Montfort will need some improvement if he is to challenge the two fillies, although the colts in the Criterium des 3 Ans showed that the much maligned male component of generation A are starting to finally emerge from their shells with their first group one success. Sebastien Guarato's Atwood Griff was third in the Prix Louis Tillaye, but the minor placings may go to a couple of emerging talents under saddle, with Alpha Saltor having two recent monte wins in emerging company for trainer Daniel Bethouart. But the surprise packet may just be Atlessima, a filly from the first crop of Love You son Rocklyn, who is from the powerful Ecurie Victoria Dreams barn of Jean-Philippe Dubois and trained by Philippe Moulin. She won her last star under saddle, the Prix Urgent, beating home Aston Fly and Al Capone Jet, who are entered here and the previous start was fifth in the group two Prix Annick Dreux in the bike, only half a second behind the super trio of Anastasia Fella, Avila and Axelle Dark. A filly on the way up, and as anyone who has followed the A-generation, it is the fillies who have ruled thus far. Other fillies who may figure in the money are Emmanuel Allard's consistent Quaker Jet daughter Alizea du Kastel and Laurent Claude Abrivard 's Agrippine, a daughter of Hasting while top jockey Yoann Lebourgeois is aboard the colt Airport who has a win last start under saddle and may be another one on the rise. PRIX DE VINCENNES Vincennes 22/12/13 FR Group I monte 2700 3YO €240 000 1 Avireau de Houelle (3c Coktail Jet - Irina de la Frette) Rd: Mathieu Mottier Tr: Franck Leblanc 2 Aventure Jets (3f Paisy Dream - Plume Jets) Rd: Anthony Barrier Tr: Christophe Clin 3 Airport (3c Love You - Pivoine) Rd: Yoann Lebourgeois Tr: Ake Kristoffersson 4 Altesse du Surf (3f Chaillot - Lady du Surf) Rd: Martial Viel Tr: Andre Henri Viel 5 Apollon de la Lys (3c Ouragan de Celland - Hillary de Pierji) Rd: Richard Joly Tr: Stephane Meunier 6 Alto de Mai (3c Millenium Wood - Gazelle de Mai) Rd: David Thomain Tr: Sebastien Leblond 7 Agrippine (3f Hasting - Moqueuse) Rd: Alexandre Abrivard : Tr:Laurent Claude Abrivard 8 Alpha Saltor (3c Paris Haufor - Glory d'Ariane) Rd: Damien Bonne Tr: Daniel Bethouart 9 Al Capone Jet (3c Jag de Bellouet - Passion de Morgane) Rd: Matthieu Abrivard Tr: Nicolas Raimbeaux 10 Aston Fly (3c Hermes de Montfort - Quie Daidou) Rd: Jonathan Carre Tr: Michael Jean Ruault 11 Atlessima (3f Rocklyn - Noblessima) Rd: Eric Raffin Tr: Philippe Moulin 12 Atwood Griff (3c Goetmals Wood - Qualane Griff) Rd: Pierre Yves Verva Tr: Sebastien Guarato 13 Alizea du Kastel (3f Quaker Jet - Kalida Jet) Rd: Julien Raffestin Tr: Emmanuel Allard 14 Asana Trembladaise (3f Kuadro Wild - Passion d'Alban) Rd: Anthony Dollion Tr: Anthony Dollion 15 Anastasia Fella (3f Goetmals Wood - Jeanne's Fella) Rd: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com 

Last week was a tough one in the V75, I think ours led into the straight in almost every race but somehow found someone to beat us. But that is why this series is so popular, outsiders get up on a very frequent basis such is the evenness of the racing and that leads to the big payouts.The V75 is taking place in Vermo, Finland this weekend, and so we will take a break from it and concentrate on some wagering in France, where the Winter Series is getting serious with the first of the Classiques this weekend, the Criterium des 3 Ans. Saturday R3: Prix Ariste Hemard (Group 2) 4YO Mares 2700m: Vanika du Ruel (9) looked like a superstar earlier in her career, with 4 group one wins but has fallen off her pedestal since an upset in the Criterium des 4 Ans. Victoire has been improving and won the most recent group two for this age group but there are two up and comers in this field who might figure at longer odds, in Votka Bleue (4) and Viva Island (5). It is a good punting race and I'm going for Jean-Pierre Dubois' Viva Island to win this. Selection: 5 R4: Prix du Bourbonnais (Group 2) 4-9YO H&M 2850m: This is the second of the B races and has all the big French guns turning out against the cream of several crops including a couple of European raiders. This should be between Ready Cash (15), Royal Dream (13), Timoko (14) and Texas Charm (10) even though there are up and comers like Prix de Bretagne winner Uhlan du Val (2) and Italian Derby winner Pascia'Lest (7) in the race. Ready Cash has won this race the last two times, and I'm picking he will make it three. Selection: 15 R6: Prix Raoul Balliere (Group 2) 3YO monte 2175m: This A crop is highly unusual in that it has thus far been completely dominated by fillies, and I'm picking that Asana Trembledaise (6) will continue that trend in this race although Aquarelle de Fael (8), Adio Josselyn (7) Atwood Griff (9) and Aston Fly(5) all have claims. Selection: 6 Sunday Prix Octave Douesnel (Group 2) 4YO H: 2700m: Village Mystic (9), Vaux le Vicomte (7), Vigove (6) and Voltigeur de Myrt (8) should fight this one out. Vaux le Vicomte has not won at group level, he is the form horse and this is his best chance of finally doing so. Selection: 7 Criterium des 3 Ans (Group 1) 3YO C&F 2700m: This is the biggest race on the calendar for 3YOs and this crop has been dominated so far by the super trio of fillies Axelle Dark (15), Anastasia Fella (12) and Avila (14). Colts Akim de Cap Vert (13) and Aldo de Champs (10) have been improving rapidly and actually doing faster times than the fillies in the A-generation races over the Winter Series so far. But I think Anastasia Fella just seems to have gone up a level recently, and provided she is handy, will be able to stare down any challenge. Selection: 12  

It is rare for a harness racing filly to win the Criterium des 3 Ans - there have only been five winners in the last 40 years, although it was won by the brilliant Vanika de Ruel last year and three of those winners have been in the past ten years. But this A-generation is so dominated by fillies that there is the possibility that the first three home in Sunday's Criterium des 3 Ans could be one of the fillies who have dominated every one of this crop's "Classique" races. In fact you have to look as far back as 1975 to find fillies finishing one-two-three in this race when Gamellia beat home Garinella and Girl Blanche. But for the first time this year, all six group one races - the Criterium de Jeunes (Avila), Prix Albert Viel (Axelle Dark), Prix d'Etoile (Avila), and the monte races the Prix des Elites (Anastasia Fella), Prix d'Essai (Arca Des Jacquets) and the Saint-Leger des Trotteurs (Almira Marancourt) - have been won by a filly. The seventh could very welll fall to either Fabrice Souloy's Anastasia Fella, or Philippe Allaire's brilliant duo Axelle Dark or Avilla who is trained by Thierry Duvaldestin and who provided the first three home in both the Prix Reine Du Corta and Prix Annick Dreux, the two 3YO fillies races earlier in this Winter Series. Franck Anne's Akim du Cap Vert and Vincent Collard's Africain have finished second and third respectively to Aladin d'Ecajeul (Prix Abel Bassigny) and Aldo Des Champs (Prix Jacques De Vauloge) in both 3YO male races of this Winter Series, which were run in quicker times than their female equivalents, suggesting that the colts might be catching up. But so far no colt has managed to top this trio when it counted in the bike - Matthieu Abrivard's Aldo Des Champs was second in the Prix Albert Viel, while Allaire 's two colts Atlas de Joudes was third in the Prix de l'Etoile and Artiste de Joudes managed a third in the Criterium des Jeunes although has done little since and will be at long odds. Interestingly, three of Allaire's entrants are by Ready Cash, who is making his first start of the Winter Series the day prior in the Prix de Bourbonnais. The only other stallions with more than one entrant, is another whose first crop are 3YOs, Quaker Jet and Goetmals Wood. As it stands the fillies have all the black type, withAvila having two group one wins to her credit, with victories in the Criterium des Jeunes and Prix de l'Etoile while her stablemate Axelle Dark won the Prix Albert Viel. Anastasia Fella was second in the Prix de l'Etoile and won the Prix des Elites under saddle and has also seemingly gone up a gear since that win, having been unbeaten since and will be favourite for this race. Axelle Dark and Avila will also be at single figure odds, while Akim de Cap Vert and Aldo de Champs will be the colts carrying most of the wagering money and the most likely to strike a blow for male pride. CRITERIUM DES 3 ANS Vincennes 08/12/13 FR Group 1 3YOs 2700m €240 000 1 Avenir de Blay (3c Hooper - Mirabelle de Blay Tony Le Beller Tony Le Beller 2 All Feeling (3c Otello Pierji - Quelle Cerencaise Christophe Martens Mickael Lemercier 3 Ausone du Kastel (3c Gros Grain - Lancee) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Emmanuel Allard 4 Alberic (3c Goetmals Wood - Oublies Moi) Dr: David Thomain Tr: Fabrice Souloy 5 Africain (3c Oardo - Kamine) Dr: Yann Gerard Tr: Vincent Collard 6 Alesia d'Atout (3f Defi d'Aunou - New York Jet) Dr: Mathieu Mottier Tr: Dominique Mottier 7 Artiste de Joudes (3c Prodigious - Memory de Joudes) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Philippe Allaire 8 Alizea du Kastel (3f Quaker Jet - Kalida Jet) Dr: Emmanuel Allard Tr: Emmanuel Allard 9 Aladin d'Ecajeul (3c Quaker Jet - Nancy d'Ecajeul) Dr: Eric Raffin Tr: Sebastien Guarato 10 Aldo des Champs (3c Prince d'Espace - Noumea des Champs) Dr: Matthieu Abrivard Tr:Matthieu Abrivard 11 Atlas de Joudes (3c Ready Cash - Queschua Love) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Philippe Allaire 12 Anastasia Fella (3f Goetmals Wood - Jeanne's Fella) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Fabrice Souloy 13 Akim du Cap Vert (3c First de Retz - Prima du Cap Vert) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 14 Avila (3f Ready Cash - Encombevineuse) Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 15 Axelle Dark (3f Ready Cash - Queen des Charmes) Dr: Jos Verbeeck Tr: Philippe Allaire Dave Sanders

Village Mystic heads an even field of nine 4YO stallions in the harness racing Group two Prix Octave Douesnel over 2700m at Vincennes on Sunday. Louis Baudron's son of Love You is a group one winner having prevailed in the Prix de Selection, the inter-generational classic held annually around the beginning of March each year. He won the Prix Jules Thibault (Group II) in August and ran sixth in his first start back from a spell in the Prix Marcel Laurent a month back when he was sent out third favourite behind the winner Victoire. Village Mystic was the well-beaten favourite in the Criterium des 4 Ans, and is currently fourth in the V-generation earnings behind precocious mare Vanika de Ruel and monte stars Vanishing Point and Vision Intense. Also in the Prix Marcel Laurent field was Jean Michel Bazire's Vaux le Vicomte who was second favourite, and ran fourth but is something of a perennial groomsman - although in pretty esteemed company. The son of Nahar de Beval was a credible third in the European Derby or Grand Prix De l'Uet (Gr1) in Sweden two starts back in October and was also second in the Criterium des 3 Ans held at this very meeting 12 months ago. Vaux le Vicomte won four of his first six starts but has only won once in his last 20, which says a lot about the calibre of the opposition. Still French trotting amply rewards its higher class horses with decent stake money down to seventh place (and a 10 per cent bonus to the breeder) and has earned a respectable 333,000 euros - which places him 12th in the V-generation rankings. Roberto Donati's Voltigeur de Myrt was a somewhat surprising winner of the Criterium des 4 Ans - it was just his fifth win in what at that point been 25 starts and he started at 16-1 odds in a pretty open field. The son of Opus Viervil has not won since and went into a "grand galop" in the Prix Marcel Laurent, the second time in a row he had broken stride. Vigove is another five-win trotter, and being by Gazouillis, is probably bred more to the saddle than the bike, although he has only started in one monte and showed little aptitude for it. But Franck Leblanc's stallion is a very useful performer with two group two wins and a third in the group one Criterium des 4 Ans, after finishing in the same position in the leadup race, the Prix Phaeton. However he has not placed higher than sixth in three starts back from a five month break although he does possess the fastest record in this field (1.10.9 or 1.54MR). Ecurie Victoria Dreams has two sons of Password entered, the first of which, Volcan d'Urzy is the only one in the field who commenced stud duties this season and is a half-brother to Leader Chip who finished second in both the Danish Travkriterium and Travderby. The Criterium des 4 Ans runner up has won five of just 19 starts including the group two Prix Kalmia and was also runner-up in two group one Prix Albert Vie and will be driven by Jean Philippe Dubois. Coincidentally his sire Password, a son of Goetmals Wood out of a mare by US Champion 2YO Workaholic, also won the Prix Kalmia and was runner up in the Prix Albert Viel. The other Password progeny is Voyage de Reve, who has six wins including the group two Prix Jacques De Vauloge. But that was 12 months ago and he has struggled in this higher grade so far, with just two more placings. Julien Dubois is his driver. PRIX OCTAVE DOUESNEL Vincennes 08/12/13 Group two 4M 2700m €120 000 1 Vulcain de Vandel (4h Jag de Bellouet - Ophelia de Vandel) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Franck Nivard 2 Valentin du Gite (4h Iton du Gite - Oh Biche Jolie) Dr: Bernard Piton Tr: Jean Lelievre 3 Viking de Val (4h Baccarat du Pont - La Forge de Val) Dr: Eric Lambertz Tr: Eric Lambertz 4 Voyage de Reve (4h Password - Kiocalba) Dr: Julien Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 5 Volcan d'Urzy (4h Password - Jabotte d'Urzy) Dr: Jean Philippe Dubois Tr: Philippe Moulin 6 Vigove (4h Gazouillis - Govive) Dr: Pierre Vercruysse Tr: Franck Leblanc 7 Vaux le Vicomte (4h Nahar de Beval - Nina du Beauvoisin) Dr: Jean Michel Bazire Tr: Jean Michel Bazire 8 Voltigeur de Myrt (4h Opus Viervil - Myrtille des Bois) Dr: Dominik Locqueneux Tr: Roberto Donati 9 Village Mystic (4h Love You - Netchka d'Orgeres) Dr: Louis Baudron Tr: Louis Baudron Dave Sanders

Vanika du Ruel is the richest 4YO in French trotting but Franck Anne's star has had a less than stellar 2013 and gets a chance to get back to winning ways in the Prix Ariste Hemard, a 2700m group two for 4YO mares at Vincennes on Saturday. As a 3YO she was without peer, winning the two Criteriums (des Jeunes, 3 Ans) and also picking up the Prix Albert Viel and Prix De l'Etoile as other group one trophies to go with a swag of 3YO group two victories as she won 11 out of her first 17 races. She started off the year with a start in the Prix d'Amerique, a rare foray for a 4YO mare, but things have not gone right since. In fact she has not won in over 12 months, and this year she has found horses to beat her in all the major races culminating in a very disappointing Criterium des 4 Ans where she finished down the track. She reappeared for the first time in six months in the Prix de Bretagne a fortnight ago, and that was always a big ask against the mature horses, and she finished ninth. But back among her age group and gender, and she should be able to get back to winning ways. Danielle Mottier's Victoire won the group two Prix Louis Tillaye earlier in the meeting and is a horse in good form. The Kitko mare was third in the Criterium des 3 Ans last year, and has amassed an impressive record of nine wins in 24 starts and has only been five times out of the money . Thierry Duvaldestin has another strong competitor in Vive Daidou who won the Prix Guy le Gonidec in August, against a similar field to this. He has galloped inhis last two outings but if he trots all the way he will be a factor in this. The trainer of Ready Cash also has former group one runner up Vera Pierji (Prix de l'Etoile) in this field and although she has not won since her sole group two victory in the Prix Guy Deloison in August last year, she had a fourth last start, and she is not running against the colts this time. Emmanuel Ruault's Votka Bleue has been rising the ranks impressively lately and may be a factor, while Jean Pierre Dubois fronts up with one of his immaculately bred mares in Viva Island (Goetmals Wood-Island Dream), who has been winning as she likes in provincial company and may be ready to step up. 07/12/13 FR PRIX ARISTE HEMARD (G2) Vincennes 2 700 4F 120 000 Vincennes 2013-12-07 Prix Ariste Hemard € 120 000 N:r Plac. Häst Härstamning Kusk Tränare Tid Dist. Pris 1 Vanina des Baux (Orlando des Baux - Lune de Talonay) Dr: Marion Hue Tr: Marion Hue 2700 2 Version Star's (Prince d'Espace - Planete Rapide) Dr: Bernard Piton Tr: Emmanuel Varin 2700 3 Vive Majyc (Baccarat du Pont - Mammy Blue) Dr: Louis Baudron Tr: Louis Baudron 2700 4 Votka Bleue (Jasmin de Flore - Joyeuse Bleue) Dr: Franck Nivard Tr: Emmanuel Ruault 2700 5 Viva Island (Goetmals Wood - Island Dream) Dr: Jean Pierre Dubois Tr: Jean Pierre Dubois 2700 6 Vive Daidou (Ouragan de Celland - Orange Douce) Dr: Thierry Duvaldestin Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 2700 7 Vera Pierji (Otello Pierji - Odyssee Pierji) Dr: Mathieu Abrivard Tr: Thierry Duvaldestin 2700 8 Victoire (Kitko - Juventa Blue) Dr: Jean Philippe Mary Tr: Danielle Mottier 2700 9 Vanika du Ruel ( Jardy - Jacarandine) Dr: Franck Anne Tr: Franck Anne 2700 Dave Sanders

The late scheduling of the €135,000  UET 3YO Championship  which conflicts with the buildup races to their 3YO classique the Criterium des 3 Ans means there are no French horses entered in the group one race over 2100m which makes its first appearance in Norway since 1996. In the French absence, Scandinavian powerhouse Sweden looks  to have the upper hand with two of the best of their crop, Peter Untersteiner’s  Attack Diablo (Blue York Yankee), who was runner up in the Swedish Trav-Kriterium and  Tomas Malmqvist's   Tiberius F (Going Kronos), a Group one winner of the E3 sprint final. Norway, as the host nation is represented by five horses with Norwegian Fillies Kriterium  winner  Glad Hall T (Boardwalk Hall), who tops the rankings Norwegian ahead of  group two winner Sir Benjamin (Jägermeister) the best of their chances. Denmark has two representatives the beautifully bred Crazed colt  Tumble Dust who was third in the Trav Kriterium and Tano Bork (Great Challenger) who was fourth in the same race and has Swedish driving ace Johnny Takter in the bike. Finland, which  has punched above its weight internationally recently has Kadabra colt  Harmi’s Frido who won two Finnish group races this year - the  Oulu Express and Seppeleajo . Realistically though Markku Nieminen’s colt  is probably not among the top Finnish colts with a ninth placing  in the Finnish Trav Kriterium. Netherlands fine crop of 3YOs is represented by Ken Warkentin filly  Danae F Boko, who was third in the Dutch Derby, and third in the Fokkers Trophy and Dream Vacation colt Dream With Me who is trained by Swede Lutfi Kolgjini, and whose five wins have all been at the sprint distance. Italy’s top ranked Robert Bi has withdrawn but there are two representatives in two representatives of their superstar sire Varenne headed by Jeanette Hansen’s Red Rose America, the fourth ranked filly. UET 3-YEAR OLD CHAMPIONSHIP Bjerke 20/11/13 NO UET (G1) Int 2 100 3 €135,000 (NOK 1,000,000) 1 Danae F Boko (NED) (3f Ken Warkentin - Shae Boko) Dr: Robin Bakker Tr: Paul Hagoort    2 Harmi's Frido (FIN) (3c Kadabra - Glamour Jet) Dr: Markku Nieminen Tr: Markku Nieminen    3 Attack Diablo (SWE) (3c Blue York Yankee - Chanson d'Inverne) Dr: Peter Untersteiner Tr: Peter Untersteiner    4 Tano Bork (DEN) (3c Great Challenger - Frederikke Bork) Dr: Christian Lindhardt Tr: Christian Lindhardt    5 Glad Hall T. (NO) (3f Boardwalk Hall - Glad Suit) Dr: Björn Garberg Tr: Björn Garberg    6 Red Rose America (ITA) (3f Varenne - Armbro Voice) Dr: Kenneth Haugstad Tr: Jeanette Hansen    7 Tumble Dust (DEN) (3c Crazed – Affinity) Dr: Johnny Takter Tr: Tomas Malmqvist    8 Tiberius F (SWE) .(3c Going Kronos - Peace Kronos) Dr: Stefan Söderkvist Tr: Helena Burman    9 Sir Benjamin (NO) (3c Jägermeister - Evening Scarlett) Dr: Per Oleg Midtfjeld Tr: Per Oleg Midtfjeld    10 Riki d'Asolo (ITA) (3c Varenne - Mccall Magic) Dr: Vidar Hop Tr: Arnold Mollema    11 Dream With Me (NED) (3c Dream Vacation - Jolly Jane) Dr: Adrian Kolgjini Tr: Lutfi Kolgjini    12 Viking Va Bene (NO) (3c Rite On Line - Iriana du Mont) Dr: Geir Vegard Gundersen Tr: Sigbjörn Kolnes      Dave Sanders  

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