by Thomas Hedlund
The winter is over in France. At least if the meeting in Paris, at Vincennes decides when a certain season begins and ends in the country. Saturday’s (March 6) race card with the $241,000 Prix de Selection for 4-, 5- and 6 -year-olds will traditionally close the racing at Vincennes for a while and champion Face Time Bourbon (Ready Cash) is in the race, now paired with Eric Raffin.
Sébastien Guarato’s trotter has been victorious in Prix de Selection the two previous years and it seems like the 6-year-old has a well suited task ahead of him even this year.
Last time Eric Raffin drove Face Time Bourbon was in April 2019, when the duo impressed a lot by winning $120,000 Prix Phaeton in a mile rate of 1:54.1 over 1.3 miles.
Björn Goop, who got fired as driver behind Face Time Bourbon after the runner up performance in Prix de France in February, has, among several other races, driven Sébastien Guarato’s horse in two consecutive Prix d’Amérique victories.
Prix de Selection 2021
Horse – Driver
Galilee des Pres – Maxime Bezier
For You Madrik – Benoit Robin
Foxtrot Sea – Cédric Megissier
Fairplay d’Urzy – Jean-Michel Bazire
Fric du Chene – Franck Nivard
Flore de Janeiro – Franck Blandin
Fakir du Lorault – Francois Lecanu
Frisbee d’Am – Alexandre Abrivard
Face Time Bourbon – Eric Raffin
Big upset in $482,000 Prix de Paris
Four kilometers — two laps on Vincennes’ hilly track — is the tough conditions that faced trotters in the $482,000 Prix de Paris at Vincennes on Sunday (Feb. 28) and this year’s marathon produced a big upset winner.
Richard Westerink, the trainer of world champion Timoko, tried his luck with his 7-year-old monté specialist Etonnant (Timoko) and few believed that Etonnant would take a safe wire-to-wire win in this gruelling race.
Anthony Barrier let Etonnant open quickly and the duo hit the lead in the first downhill part of Vincennes track. Barrier kept the pace at remarkably low levels, which made Etonnant hard to catch for the horses at the back of the field.
The 69-1 upset winner claimed his biggest trophy in the career so far and he did what his father Timoko once did during his active career: winning one of the three Grand Prix-races in Paris. Timoko claimed the title in the 2015 Prix de France.
Ahead of the 2021 Prix de Paris, Etonnant’s most prestigious victories were taken in monté races. The two biggest, the $145,000 Prix Olry-Roederer and the $145,000 Prix Legoux-Longpre, were both claimed in 2018.
First choice in Prix de Paris was Davidson du Pont and he went off stride at the back stretch during the last lap and Prix de France winner Delia du Pommereux ran out of power just before the home stretch.
Diable de Vauvert finished strongly as runner up and Moni Viking followed as third after an inside trip.