by Thomas Hedlund
The $135,000 Prix Tenor de Baune for 5-year-olds and $270,000 Criterium Continental for 4-year-old trotters were held at Vincennes racetrack in Paris on Sunday, Dec. 23.
Two tickets for Prix d’Amérique were at stake, but after the two races, it seems like just one of the winners will make a serious step towards the great race to be contested on the last Sunday in January.
In the Prix Tenor de Baune, Jean-Michel Bazire’s Norwegian bred Looking Superb (Orlando Vici) made his second start for the new trainer and even if the bettors were alert (Looking Superb was second choice in the race), the fact that Looking Superb now is a horse for Prix d’Amérique is, in retrospective an upset for many fans. Norway can now, most certainly, put the trust in two horses in Prix d’Amérique since Lionel (Look de Star) has enough earnings for a place in the race and he has great experience from Vincennes since earlier attempts in Paris.
Looking Superb was served a cover trip behind leader Global Trustworthy and when Bazire attacked in the home stretch, Looking Superb exploded and cruised to a safe win in mile rate 1:58 over 1.7 miles.
Bazire had already qualified two other horses for Prix d’Amérique. Davidson du Pont and Belina Josselyn will make Looking Superb company at Vincennes in January.
In the Criterium Continental, Sébastien Guarato-trained Eridan (Ready Cash) sprinted to victory in strong mile rate 1:53.1 over 1.3 miles and the reason for the great winning time is spelled Vitruvio. The Italian horse had to sacrifice a lot of power to reach the lead after a quarter of a mile and driver Alessandro Gocciadoro never really slowed down the pace during the race.
Leader Vitruvio and Earl Simon, who raced first over, fought strongly but could not defend themselves when Eridan found open lane in the home stretch. Sébastien Guarato’s trotter cruised to the win, but soon after the race, French media announced that the trainer will pass a start in Prix d’Amérique in 2019.
Readly Express is back
Timo Nurmos trained Readly Express is back in Paris. The son of Ready Cash will try to defend his title in Prix d’Amérique 2019 and will race the third B-race, the $135,000 Prix de Bourgogne over 1.3 miles at Vincennes on Sunday, Dec. 30.
Nine horses will start from first line behind the gate and Readly Express will be one of them. Bold Eagle, Bird Parker, Belina Josselyn and Carat Williams are opponents from the same line and basically all of them have a spot in Prix d’Amérique, even if they haven’t all qualified via earlier B-races.
Qualified horses for Prix d’Amérique:
Prix de Bretagne:
Davidson du Pont, Delia du Pommereux, Bird Parker.
Prix du Bourbonnais:
Delia du Pommereux, Belina Josselyn, Bird Parker
Prix Tenor de Baune:
The last B-race, Prix de Belgique, is scheduled for Jan. 13, two weeks before Prix d’Amérique.