by Thomas Hedlund
Fabrice Souloy-trained mare Ampia Mede SM (Ganymede) didn’t get anything for free in Sunday’s (Feb. 12) $420,000 Prix de France and when she disarmed leader Don Fanucci Zet via a first over trip and held attackers behind her in the finish.
The Italian-bred trotter followed up her runner-up performance in Prix d’Amérique with a great victory in one of the world’s biggest 1.3 mile races for trotters and she established her position as one of the best mares in Europe. Ampia Mede SM had a successful meeting in Paris last season and this year has been even better for her. After the two bronze medals in Prix de Bretagne and Prix de Bourgogne, respectively, Fabrice Souloy hit the highest possible level with his 7-year-old trotter in the big grand prix-races at Vincennes.
Driver Franck Nivard was eager to put Ampia Mede SM in a spot in front of the Prix de France field and when the 18 horses found their positions, she had to settle outside the leader.
The pace wasn’t set at an extremely high level, which was favorable for the winner.
Leader Don Fanucci Zet was beaten already with a quarter of a mile to go and even if Vivid Wise As finished strongly as second, the victory became very safe for Fabrice Souloy’s horse.
Ampa Mede SM came home in a mile rate of 1:53 and the Italian success in the race was completed by Vivid Wise As’ runner up performance. Philippe Allaire trained Hohneck finished third.
GREAT WEEKEND FOR DUVALDESTIN
The 4-year-olds battled in Saturday’s (Feb. 11) $125,000 Prix Ephrem Houel at Vincennes and the race became a spectacular show with the horses from positions sixth and seventh over fought for the win.
Juninho Dry, who was the race’s second choice, made a break immediately behind the gate and opened up for two other strong ”J-horses” in the French 4-years-old crop. Joyner Sport attacked from sixth over in the last turn and behind him, Thierry Duvaldestin’s Juliet Papa Bravo (Ready Cash) followed. Driver Clément Duvaldestin had plenty of power as the field turned for home. Juliet Papa Bravo flew in the stretch after Joyner Sport gained advantage of the race approaching the wire. But Juliet Papa Bravo put his nose first at the line. The mile rate over 1.3 miles was 1:54.4.
Only seven 5-year-old trotters gathered when Sunday’s (Feb. 12) $125,000 Prix Ovide Moulinet was on the menu at Vincennes, but some of the best trotters in the crop tried to capture the trophy, and Prix d’Amérique favorite Idao de Tillard was one of them. Clément Duvaldestin hit the lead at an early stage and got toughest opponent Italiano Vero on the outside. The fitful pace in the race didn’t bother the leading favorite Idao de Tillard and on the stretch, Duvaldestin let his horse use the great capacity that he possesses. The win became safe in a mile rate of 2:00.2 over 1.6 miles and it was probably a smart move to remove Idao de Tillard from the entries list in Prix de France the same day.
ERIC RAFFIN INJURED
France’s best driver, Eric Raffin, injured his back during a race on Tuesday’s (Feb. 14) race card at Vincennes and after being examined by doctors, it was found that Raffin incurred fractures of the vertebrae. According to zoneturf.fr, Raffin will be out of competition for at least four weeks.