by Thomas Hedlund
The French winter meeting in Paris started on Wednesday afternoon and, as is tradition, the $100,000 Prix des Cevennes opened the prestigious meeting which contains 90 race cards, 746 races, 104 group races, including 11 Group 1 races at Vincennes racetrack. Four months of spectacular racing is ahead for the harness racing fans in Europe and the kick off on Wednesday afternoon seemed to be some kind of a déja-vu experience from last meeting.
Jean-Michel Bazire had four drives during the first day of racing and the champion driver won three of them, amongst them, the Prix des Cevennes with gelding star Cleangame (Ouragan de Celland).
And Cleangame didn’t get anything for free in his chase for his 10th victory in 2019. Bazire was not especially worried when he noted that he and his 7-year-old gelding had to do the first 2.000 meters three wide before the duo reached position outside of leader Bugsy Malone with a half mile to go in the 1.7-mile long race.
Cleangame was totally superior his opponents this day and, without a doubt, this horse belongs among the best trotters in the world. The mile rate over the heavy distance was 1:55.4.
French trotter Bold Eagle (Ready Cash) charmed the racing fans when Breeders Crown was held at Woodbine Mohawk last weekend and Cleangame is at least at the same level as the fresh Breeders Crown winner at this very moment.
And speaking about Bold Eagle, one of his owners, Thomas Bernereau, told French harness racing media Paris-Turf that Bold Eagle most probably will come back to North America next year and try to defend his title in Breeders Crown and even get a shot at the meeting in Lexington during next fall.