Big dominance by Allaire at Vincennes

by Thomas Hedlund

Philippe Allaire was close to jackpot when Vincennes’ Sunday (Sept. 18) race card contained three $300,000 Criteriums, for 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds.

Criterium des 5 ans was the first big race on the card and Philippe Allaire had the first choice Hohneck among the participants. Hohneck was served a cover trip in fourth, fifth over, and followed Hokkaido Jiel three wide throughout the last turn, before driver Francois Lagadeuc attacked far outside as the stretch approached.

Between horses, big upset Hussard du Landret (Bird Parker) had been served a perfect trip by his trainer and driver Benoit Robin. Robin was eager to put his horse in a front position shortly after the start and Hussard du Landret had to travel first over for a while, until the uphill part of Vincennes’ track began at the back stretch. At that point, Robin let Horsy Dream make cover for him and Hussard du Landret never had to leave his position in second over until the home stretch, when the road to victory opened itself for him.

Hohneck sprinted quickly on the far outside, but Hussard du Landret had power to use and by a head he disarmed the favorite. The two front horses marked a mile rate of 1:56.2 over 1.6 miles and this was Hussard du Landret’s biggest win in his career so far.

Criterium des 5 ans replay here.

Allaire opened the day with a runner up performance by Hohneck, but wins were waiting later on and in Criterium des 3 ans, his charismatic trotter Just A Gigolo (Boccador de Simm) proved to be more or less outstanding in the French 3-year-old crop, which he has been several times before this season. Franck Nivard aimed for the lead a half mile into the race and after some changes in the front, Just A Gigolo was the final leader of the race as the field turned into the back stretch. In front, Just A Gigolo was too hard to beat and in safe style, Philippe Allaire’s horse held on to win in a mile rate of 1:57.3 over 1.6 miles.

Criterium des 3 ans replay here.

The three big Criterium races were collected on the same race card for the first time this year and the racing day at Vincennes was a big hit when the fans could follow future star trotters in a sunny September weather.

The Criterium des 4 ans closed the stakes races for the day and Allaire had his shots even in this race. The two most merited trotters in the race, Izoard Vedaquais and Italiano Vero, both belong in his barn and Eric Raffin, the driver behind Italiano Vero (Ready Cash) was determined to drive his horse in the lead after he reached that position after 600 meters. Stablemate Izoard Vedaquais connected on the outside after a half mile and the race was locked by that move. First choice Idao de Tillard, who has dominated many of the big races for 4-year-old trotters in France this year, seemed to struggle with the pace in his position in seventh over. When the attack was set in, three wide behind horses, Idao de Tillard lost his gait in the last turn and when Raffin stepped on the gas pedal in front, Italiano Vero left his opponents and won easily in a mile rate of 1:58.1 over 1.7 miles. Immarosa finished quickly far outside as runner up while Izoard Vedaquais held strongly as third.

Criterium des 4 ans replay here.

Allaire claimed two big stakes races and it’s proven that the French trainer is a master when it comes to conditioning horses in these type of categories, at least when it’s about 3- and 4-year-olds.

Criterium des 3 ans has been won by Allaire with horses such as Larabello (1980), Kesaco Phedo (2001), Ready Cash (2008) and Charly du Noyer (2015) before while he has won Criterium des 4 ans with Charly du Noyer (2016) and Bird Parker (2016). Hohneck was close to win Criterium des 5 ans and that would have been the first victory for Philippe Allaire in that race.