by Thomas Hedlund
The $121,800 Prix de Bourgogne at Vincennes racetrack in Paris, France was held on Dec. 29 and the race, which is the only one of the four B-races ahead of Prix d’Amérique that uses the starting car and is held over the shorter distance of 1.3 miles, saw an upset winner in 8-year-old mare Billie de Montfort (Jasmin de Flore) paired with Gabriele Gelormini.
The Sébastien Guarato-trained mare was served a perfect calm trip by her driver and there is no doubt that this iron lady is in the right condition for the moment. Billie de Montfort had already saved her spot in the PdA by finishing second to Delia du Pommereux in the $121,800 Prix du Bourbonnais on Dec. 8, so the new names for the big battle were Bahia Quesnot and Vivid Wise As.
Bahia Quesnot (Scipion du Goutier) and Vivid Wise As (Yankee Glide) both attacked three wide with a mile to go and held strongly in the home stretch. Winner Billie de Montfort could save her speed after a trip fourth on the inside and when Gelormini found space in the last turn, the stablemate of leader Bold Eagle sprinted to a safe win in a mile rate of 1:53.3 over 1.3 miles.
Bold Eagle made a strong performance to finish fifth in this race. Eric Raffin pushed the Ready Cash son to the front with 600 meters to go and then let Bold Eagle run away from the chasers in the last turn. That move made the great champion trotter a bit tired in the stretch and he was excused for his fifth-place finish.
Qualified horses after three B-races
Prix de Bretagne, Nov. 17
Davidson du Pont
Chica des Joudes
Prix du Bourbonais, Dec. 8
Delia du Pommereux
Billie de Montfort
Prix de Bourgogne, Dec. 29
Billie de Montfort
Vivid Wise As
Qualified horse from Criterium Continental, Dec. 22
Face Time Bourbon
Qualified horse from Prix Tenor de Baune, Dec. 22
$121,800 Prix de Belgique, Jan. 12
Raffin shares the record in France
French driver and jockey Eric Raffin had a great 2019 and when the last race card was over in Paris, Raffin noted that he reached 345 victories, which is the same number as Jean-Michel Bazire attained in 2006.
Raffin won 285 races in the sulky and 60 in the saddle.
HRU will list the best drivers and trainers from Europe in 2019 in Sunday’s edition.