by Thomas Hedlund
It’s a well-known fact that French trainer Philippe Allaire dominates the high-staked races for younger French-bred trotters in his home country. The numbers of star trotters that have been produced under Allaire’s management are countless and his grey and red, almost burgundy owner’s colors are very recognizable at the track of Vincennes as soon big races approaches.
The $225,000 Criterium des Jeunes for the 3-year-old trotters was held Sunday (Feb. 20) at Vincennes and Allaire had his shots. Betting favorite Just A Gigolo (Boccador de Simm) has started his career showing great willingness to win races and he entered the Sunday’s race with six wins in eight starts in his back.
Driver Franck Nivard didn’t have his best day of work at Vincennes on the day before Prix d’Amérique in January. He was paired with Just A Gigolo that day and the charismatic 3-year-old never found the rhythm behind horses 100 meters into the races. A break destroyed the day and Just A Gigolo couldn’t show that he most probably is the king of the crop, so far. At least not that day.
In the meantime, when the crown of Just A Gigolo’s started to wiggle, just a bit, another talented 3-year-old trotter took top shares of the market. Jazzy Perrine dominated the $135,000 Prix Gelinotte and the $135,000 Prix Roquepine ahead of the Criterium and she was obviously the big threat for the first choice on Sunday.
Nivard sent Just A Gigolo to the lead at an early stage while Jazzy Perrine found a spot in third-fourth over, far back in the field. Eric Raffin gave Jazzy Perrine a nice cover trip throughout the last turn, but when Nivard saw that attacks were made far outside, he pushed leader Just A Gigolo a little bit more and at mid-stretch the game was over. Jazzy Perrine’s fabulous finish was a high grade performance, but she couldn’t reach the leader Just A Gigolo, who won in mile rate 1:59.4 over 2,700 meters.
It’s early to tell, off course, but Just A Gigolo and Jazzy Perrine are two very charming trotters that most certainly will get the fans of Vincennes excited many times this season.