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October 10, 2017 - Harness racing youngsters battled this evening at Paris-Vincennes with a three year old Ready Cash colt winning the Gr. III Prix Kruse, as Espoir Prestance was timed in 1.14.7kr for reinsman Christophe Martens and trainer Vincent Martens. Favorite Classic Connection led throughout for catch-driver Franck Nivard and went off stride as the wire approached. Paris-Vincennes – Prix Kruse (Gr. III, purse €80,000, 2100 meters autostart, nine three year old starters) Race time 1.14.7kr 3.1/1 Espoir Prestance (3m Ready Cash-Quelle Prestance), Christophe Martens driver, Vincent Martens trainer, Joseph Vanduffel owner/breeder 9.1/1 Ecume de Reville (3f Hand du Vivier-Perle Villetrot), Eric Raffin up, Frederic Prat trainer 14.7/1 Valchiria Bar (3f Napolean Bar-Gwendalina Bar), Roberto Andreghetti up for Scuderia Stecca Srl Note – the leading favorite Capital Connection was a dq for miscue nearing the line The two year olds contested the Prix Phedra and undefeated Roc Meslois colt Fairyland remained so with an easy victory timed in 1.16.3kr. Matthieu Abrivard piloted the now three time winner for trainer Jacques Bruneau. Paris-Vincennes – Prix Phedra (purse €46,000, 2200 meters, eight two year old starters) Race time 1.16.3kr 2/5 Fairyland (2m Roc Meslois-Opontia), Matthieu Abrivard up, Jacques Bruneau trainer, Ecurie JYR 7.3/1 Fabriz du Gite (2m Tabriz du Gite), Franck Ouvrie driving 4.7/1 Fakir de Vindecy (2m Un Amour d’Haufor), Eric Raffin driver, Philippe Allaire trainer Note – Fairyland now undefeated in three career starts Next up of interest on October 15 is the  40th Grand Prix du Sud Quest raced at Beaumont de Lomagne, a Gr. II European Masters Series contest raced over 2400 meters autostart for a €200,000 purse. On October 13 at Paris-Vincennes are two upper class events, the Prix Bohemia for €75,000 and the Gr. III Prix Gordonia for €82,000. Thomas H. Hicks  

January 6, 2016 - Friday’s harness racing action was at Cagnes sur Mer headed by the Prix de la d’Argent (monte, purse €32,000, 2825 meters, 12 starters). The 1.14.7kr timed open-lengths winner was 5.2/1 Veritable Crack (8g Little Crack-Narvale Somolli) ridden by F. Desmigneaux for trainer Vincent Martens. Second was 2/1 Verdi de Carrelis (8g Nahar de Beval-Mine de Tillard) with R. leCreps up. Third was 38/1 Volnico la Vallee (8g Le Retoru-Nora du Cadran) handled by R. Thonnerieu. The Prix Jain de Beval (purse €26,000, 2925 meters, 15 starters) went to 6.8/1 odds, 1.16.4kr timed, Urion de Piervive (9g Chaillot-Nestoria Marceaux) reined by trainer/driver Junior Guelpa. Second was 2.7/1 Arthus Mijoro (7g Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree-KJoline Jamas) with Christophe Martens up for trainer Vincent Martens. 70.2/1 Voici de Lahaye (8g Meaulnes du Corta-Pearl du Boscail) was third for J.Ch. Feron, also the trainer. Cagnes sur Mer races trot and gallop during the spring season, often in conjunction with Paris-Vincennes, where the races of the two venues are off every 15 minutes on the simulcasting networks. Shortly after completion of the FR Triple Crown (Amerique, Paris and France) the spectacular Cagnes sur Mer hosts groupe international mile distance classic. Thomas H. Hicks

November 10, 2016 - Today’s top flight harness racing action at Paris-Vincennes began with the Q+ Prix de Cognac (purse €55,000, 2850 meters, 18 starters) and 44.4/1 And de Saint-Prest (6g Othello Pierji-Queen Madone) was victorious timed in 1.14.2kr for Christophe Martens, trainer Vincent Martens and owner Erik Lepine. 3/1 Arturo Boy (6m Le Retour-Guyane) was second for driver/trainer/owner/breeder Yves Dreux. Second in a dead heat was 25/1 Asis Bot Eur Moel (6g Pagalor-Lora du Niel for trainer/driver Arnaud Desmottes. Azura d’Eva was fourth at 2.2/1 (the favorite) and fifth was 191/1 Utelo de Garentone. The day’s co-feature was the Gr. II Prix Olry-Roederer (monte, purse €120,000, 2100 meters, nine starters). Even-money favorite Canadien d’Em (4m Ready Cash-Kanadia) scored for Mathieu Mottier, trainer Franck Leblanc and owner Laurent Edin. The winner held off charging 27/1 Talisker Horse (4f Pine Chip-Ira Horse) with Camille Levesque up for trainer Thomas Levesque. Third was 5/1 Celina Polka (4f Kool de Caux-La Canella) for Alexandre Abrivard and owner/trainer Joel Van Eeckhaute. Thomas H. Hicks

Zongulak (7g Love You-Heartenings Crown) with harness racing driver Christophe Martens up took today’s Grand Prix Dynavena Maisagri at Beaumont de Lomagne. The winner was timed in 1.15.1kr in this event with a purse of €25,000, over 2550 meters with 12 European starters. Vincent Martens trains this one that defeated 9.1/1 Un Roi d’Atout (8g Ganymede-Guinilla) with Damien Bonne up and 23/1 Titan du Lieuvin (9g Gogo-Milady de Paris) with Cedric Terry at the lines. At Carentan the turf specialists were in action in the Prix de Pommeay Busney (purse €32,000m 2850 meters, 16 starters) and 3.1/1 Agathe des Ruettes (6f Hulk des Champs-Mutine des Ruettes) scored for owner/trainer/driver Jean Francois Popot. 14/1 Urkan des Landers (8g Echo-Neva Star) took second ahead of 7/1 Alplove du Rib (6f Opium-Rockeuse du Rib) and teamster J,L,Cl, Dersoir, trainer Joel Hallais and Ecurie Rib. Winning time was 1.19.4kr over the grass course by the shoeless winner. On Saturday at Cagnes sur Mer the Prix Bilto (purse €56,000, 2925 meters, 10 starters) went to 1.15.8kr clocked and 2/5 favorite Dijon (3m Ganymede-Sonate d’Aunou) with trainer Romain Derieux aboard. 18.9/1 Davina du Capre (3f Magnificent Rodney-Quelria du Capre) took second for David Bekaert and 16.5/1 Dauphin du Lot (3m Laetenter Diem-Qualite du Poche) took third for Christophe Martens. Thomas H. Hicks  

Italy’s Romanesque (6m Love You-Guantanamera) took the Quinte+ Enghien featured Prix du Parc des Princes (purse €65,000, 2150 meters, 16 European starters) this day at 1.7/1  odds. Harness racing driver Christophe Martens teamed the Vincent Martens trainee for Stall Campus RPF, clocked in 1.14.9kr. 11/1 Arazi Boko (9g Varenne-Laura Kemp) was second for Franck Nivard, Ecurie Pirat (SWE) and trainer Fabrice Souloy. 6.8/1 Varus du Bocage (7m Paisy Dream-Noria du Bocage) was third with Mathieu Abrivard at the lines. Franck Anne, trainer/driver, and 20/1 Concerto du Ruel (4g Prince Gede-Jacgarandine) recorded a 1.15kr victory in the Prix de Jonquieres (purse €65,000, 2875 meters, 13 starters) at Enghien. The winner bested 26/1 Chicago Blues (4m Prodigious-New Orleans), trained by Thierry Duvaldestin and reined by Ch. Duvaldestin. 6/1 Curly Light (4m Redlight Jet-Orphea de Monci) landed third for driver Franck Nivard. Also at Enghien, the Prix d’Uzes (purse €39,000, 2150 meters autostart, 15 entrants) went to 3.2 favorite Catch One (4m Prodigious-Possession) with Franck Nivard up. The Sebastian Guarato trainee scored in 1.15.4kr for owner Ecurie Victoria Dreams. 11.4/1 Campo Grande took second for Alexandre Abrivard and third was 16/1 Casimir de Survie driven by J-P Maillard. Berlin-Mariendorf had four races this day on the PMU wagering schedule with the Prix d’Enghien (purse €4,500, 1900 meters autostart, eight starters) leading off for victory by 9.4/1 Fantasia Newport (4f Andover Hall-Giant Emotion) with Michael Nimczyk up for owner PS Ter Borgh. The winner’s dam is a sub-1:55 daughter of Giant Victory from Trolley Square by Speedy Somolli, she dam of Hambletonian winner Deweycheatumnhowe.  1/5 favorite Bellevue (4f SJ’s Photo-Belle Arnie) was a narrowly defeated second for trainer/driver Thorsten Tietz and 7.4/1 Dukenightstar VS (6g Look de Star-Vanja Limburgia) took third for reinsman Michael Honeman and owner/trainer Jens Niklas. Mariendorf’s Prix de Cabourg, over 1900 meters autostart, drew eight starters for the €4,500 purse. The 0.5/1 favorite Lighten Up Today (6g Love You-Celebrate Light) scored clocked in 1.14.4kr for Michael Nimczyk. Mr Smith held second for Gerhard Mayr. Thomas H. Hicks

Friday at Paris-Vincennes featured the €60,000 purse Prix Amalthea over 2100 meters autostart. 15 European starters ware in this harness racing contest and the 1.13.6kr winner was 8.4/1 Sahara Fairytale (7f Viking Kronos-Sahara Shadow) with Christophe Martens up for trainer Vincent Martens and owner Manocapo AB in this Quinte+ event. 9.6/1 Varus du Bocage (7m Paisy Dream-Noria du Bocage) was second for Matthieu Abrivard and 2/1 Unbridled Charm (8m Password-Intense Action) ended third for Jean-Philippe Dubois, trainer Philippe Moulin and Ecurie Victoria Dreams. 11.3/1 Rooibos (7m Rotation-Miss Tessami) was fourth in this blanket finish for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop ahead for 86/1 Winning Love (10m Love You-Falin Amber Dance) with Pierre Vercruysse driving for trainer Sofia Aronsson. The Quinte+ jackpot this day was €4.1 million. Ervin Boko (5m Make It Happen-Tina Boko) won Friday’s Championnat d’Hivier Finale at Wolvega at 15/1 and timed in 1.15.3kr for trainer/driver Dion P. Tesselaar and owner Une de Mail BV. The 2100 meter autostart test carried a purse of €9,900 with 10 horses in the battle. 1.1/1 odds favorite Toscanini Font (4g Conway Hall-Dora Parx) was second beaten four lengths with Robin Bakker up for trainer Paul Hagoort and owner J.A.C. Vanduffel. 7.2/1 Ever For Ever WS was third. Thomas H. Hicks

At Kuurne this day the featured Grand Prix d’Hiver (Mardi Gras) Belgique for a purse of €30,000 went to 9.3/1 Une de Bannes (8f Vroum d’Or-Jeune de Bannes) timed in 1.16.32kr for driver Christophe Martens. The 2325 meter event had 17 International starters. Vincent Martens trains the winner for BVBA Campus RPF. 2.8/1 Ru de l’Airou (11g Cygnus d’Odyssee-Cour d’Intheville) was second for driver/owner Sven Hoste and trainer Jean-Marc Chaineux. Well regarded Artiste Joudes at 9/10 odds was disqualified for driver Joseph Verbeeck and trainer Philippe Allaire. At Cagnes-sur-mer the Prix Grace Ducal (quinte+ with jackpot €3.95 million, purse €58,000, 2925 meters, 15 European starters) went to 3.3/1 odds Kalle (8g Smok’n Lantern-Burning Desire) driven by trainer Robert Bergh. He was timed in 1.15kr to defeat 2.3/1 Vitinou (7g Jet Fortuna-Hircea) and driver Junior Guelpa with third to 10.3/1 Udine du Dazert (8f Le Retour-License To Win) for trainer/driver Denis Bekaert. Also at Cagnes-sur-mer the Prix Henri Callier (purse €40,000m 2925 meters, 10 starters) went to the 1.17.5kr timed, 41/1 Calicot du Vivier (4g Repeat Love-Kalika du Vivier) for driver Kevin Vanderschelden. Yves Boireau trains the winner for owner Jean-Pierre Dubois. Stablemate 9/2 Clarabelle (4f Ready Cash-Rebelle) was second driven by Jean-Pierre Dubois for trainer Boireau. 6.9/1 Colibri du Vivier (4m Oiseau de Feux-Iguine du Vivier) was third for Yannick-Alain Briand. Thomas H. Hicks  

March 6, 2015 - Racing at Hippodrome de la Cote d’Azur (Cagnes sur mer) this weekend features Sunday’s Criterium de Vitesse, but the Friday evening seven race card began the festivities with five events at the 1609 meters autostart (one mile) distance. European performers won the first four races for the sprinters. Leticia Bi (10f Sugarcane Hanover - Amerique Top - Coktail Jet) took the Prix de Naples (€18.000, European starters) in 1:57.91 as the  0.8/1 favorite. Trainer Edoardo Moni teamed the Italian invader to victory for owner Scuderia Pari, her 38th career win for €336.692 earned. Marshal Hackstable (10m Power to Charm - Melodic Hackstable - VIP Tilly) took the Prix de Padoue (€32,000, European eligibles) at 6.2/1 for Bjorn Goop driving for trainer Sofia Aronsson. The Frakstad Lantbruss AB owned mare from Sweden scored in 1:55.87 for her eighth career win good for €147,450 earned. The Prix de Pise (€25,000, European females) went to Italy’s Princess Kronos (6f Donato Hanover - Malibus Princess - Malabar Man) timed in 1:56.96 for reinsman Christophe Martens, trainer Vincent Martens and owner Ecurie du Domaine du Pak. The even-money favorite recorded her 10th career win for €98,355 earned. The Prix de Bologne (€25,000, European males) went to 12/1 Pacha dei Greppi (6m Juliano Star - Dresda dei Greppi-Cougar Lobell) with Antonio Greppi up for trainer Holger Ehlert and owner Nicola del Rosso. This Italian raider scored in 1:56.42 for career win 20 and €94,312 earned. The Prix de Modena (€8,000, Amateur drivers) ended the evening of speed with a 1:57.29 victory by Ultorius (7g Biesolo - Novelty - Lutin d’Isigny) and teamster Sophie Blancheiere. Yannick A. Briand trains the winner, favored at 1.4/1, for owner Ecurie Aime Gavin, that recorded career win seven for €75,710. Thomas H. Hicks

January 24, 2015 - The Prix Ready Cash (€60,000 purse, 2850 meters, 18 European harness racing six year-old males and geldings) went to Rooibus (6m Rotation-Miss Tresami) ) in 1.14.6kr for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop. Off at 5/1 the winner handled another 5/1 shot, Italy’s Paparazzi (6g Infinitif-Emily di Jesolo) with Adrian Kolgjini up. 2.3/1 favorite Princes di Paggio (6m Varenne-Moon Shadow) was third for Franck Nivard. The Prix Varenne (€55,000 purse, 2175 meters, monte with eight European starters) went to Scoot To Score (6g Quite Easy-Twilight Sund) at 19/1. Vincent Martens trains the winner and Jonathan Carre was up as he scored in 1.14.4kr to defeat Valentino Neige (6g Norman Jet-Notre Neige) and Mathieu Mottier. Viking Dream was third for Eric Raffin. Bjorn Goop teamed the Daniel Reden trainee Call Me Keeper (5m Pine Chip-Aliza Keeper), at 1.2/1 odds, to victory in the Prix de Chateaubriant (€50,000 purse, 2700 meters, 18 European starters). Stall Zet owns the winner. Lionel (5m Look de Star-Aurora Sign) was second for Frank Nivard, trainer Fabrice Souloy and owner Goran Antonsen, ahead of Aventin Belri (5m Fortuna Fant-Kolarkie) at 13/1. Time was 1.14.5kr. The Prix Offshore Dream (€70,000 purse, 2700 meters, 11 European monte starters) went to 1.7/1 Argan du Loulay (5m Jam Pridem-Ma Bella Ile) with Alexandre Abrivard up for J-M Bazire, trainer. The winner scored in 1.14.1kr over As de Godisson (5g Gai Brillant-Deese de Godisson) and David Thomain. Astre Blanc was third at 26/1 for Mathieu Mottier and trainer Sebastian Guarato. The final of the sunny afternoon at Paris-Vincennes (Prix Moni Maker) was the second drive of the day for US reinsman Yannick Gingras and first at the volt start. Teaming Franck Anne’s Bahira Buissunay at 22/1, Gingras found an excellent starting spot and was away nicely until the false-start siren sounded. On the second start the mare was among a cluster of horses trying to depart from the inside and she was forced toward the back. The race developed with three tiers and when Gingras  sought to make a backside brush on the petite piste his mare made a miscue and was disqualified. At least he had two volt experiences and will likely have a bit more luck when it counts tomorrow. Thomas H. Hicks

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