Jean-Michel Bazire says no to Elitloppet due to questionable Swedish whipping penalties

by Thomas Hedlund

Dorgos De Guez will not compete in the Elitloppet May 30 at Solvalla. The gelding’s French trainer Jean-Michel Bazire refuses to compete in Sweden after two questionable judgements regarding whipping penalties on Swedish soil in the past two weeks.

Eric Raffin’s penalty in the Paralympiatravet was and is a joke (full story here) and when Robert Bergh got suspendedin Umåker last Saturday (May 15), when he drove Hail Mary in a runner up performance, Bazire had seen enough. Though Dorgos De Guez was invited to participate in the Elitloppet, Bazire will not bring the trotter to Sweden due to Swedish harness racing’s rules.

Earlier, the entourage behind French-bred Elitloppet invitee Delia du Pommereux also said no to Solvalla and the 2021 Elitloppet due to the whipping penalty Raffin was handed at Åby.

As such, new names have been invited to compete in the Elitloppet.

Timo Nurmos trained, and American bred, Seismic Wave (Explosive Matter—Vanity Plates) made a strong runner up performance behind Heavy Sound at Solvalla last week and the 6-year-old gelding is now ready to battle against more merited trotters in the Elitloppet.

After the two French drop outs, 5-year-old Gelati Cut (Coktail Jet), trained by Romain Christian Larue, will participate under the French flag.

Johan Untersteiner’s Cyber Lane (Raja Mirchi) has been close to participating in the Elitloppet in previous years and earned an invitation for this year’s race after winning Sunday’s (May 16) $98,000 Copenhagen Cup in Denmark with an impressive wire-to-wire victory in a mile rate of 1:54 over 1.3 miles. The victory at Charlottenlund was Cyber Lane’s second triumph in Denmark’s biggest international race. He also won the Copenhagen Cup in 2018, but that victory didn’t qualify Cyber Lane for Elitloppet.

Cokstile (Quite Easy), who is title defender of the Elitloppet, seems to getting close to top shape at the moment and this week he received the pink ticket that tells that he is welcome to Solvalla next weekend.

Three spots remain before the Elitloppet is set. Here is the field, so far:
Aetos Kronos (Bold Eagle)
Cokstile (Quite Easy)
Cyber Lane (Raja Mirchi)
Ecurie D. (Infinitif)
Don Fanucci Zet (Hard Livin)
Gelati Cut (Coktail Jet)
Heavy Sound (Ken Warkentin)
Hickothepooh (Triton Sund)
Milliondollarrhyme (Ready Cash)
Moni Viking (Maharajah)
Seismic Wave (Explosive Matter)
Very Kronos (Ready Cash)
Vivid Wise As (Yankee Glide)

Prix de Paris winner best in Normandie

Richard Westerink’s Etonnant (Timoko) impressed when he won the $158,000 Prix des Ducs de Normandie in Caen, France on Wednesday (May 19) afternoon.

Driver Anthony Barrier used some of Etonnant’s power shortly after the start and the duo hit the lead in the first turn. When in front, Etonnant and Barrier could dominate the race pretty much as they wanted.

Bazire’s Davidson du Pont tried to challenge at the top of the stretch, but Etonnant was too strong over 2,450 meters (approximately 1.5 miles) and Anthony Barrier noted that he had everything under safe control at the end.

The mile rate of 1:53.2 over the actual distance is a strong achievement and it’s clear that Etonnant belongs in the top among European trotters this season. During the winter meeting in Paris, the 7-year-old claimed an upset win in a Grand Prix race, the $488,000 Prix de Paris, over 4,150 meters (approximately 2.6 miles). Wednesday’s Prix des Ducs de Normandie must have felt like a mile race for the strong trotter.