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FRANCE Franck Nivard superbly drove Swedish-bred mare Moving On to a massive upset in the Group I Prix de l’Atlantique at Enghien downing former winner and French champion Timoko, who could only finish third to Italy’s Princess Griff (Varenne) who provided trainer Fabrice Solouy with a highly prized international quinella. Trained out of Haras de Ginai by Fabrice Solouy, who has a large international clientele, Moving On got a tow into the race by Franck Anne’s  Vanika du Ruel and was able to successfully outsprint the pacesetting Timoko in the long slog up the Enghien straight. It was the daughter of Quite Easy’s  first Group 1 event of his career recording a 1’12’’9 km rate for the 2100m trip.

Princess Grif produced a withering sprint when clear to get up ahead of compatriot Robert Bi  (Toss Out) who had every chance. Souloy’s charges, Moving On and Princess Grif will now focus on Scandinavia, where the former should get a ticket to the Elitloppet in Sweden while the Copenhagen Cup (Denmark) and the Finlandia Ajo (Finland) are also major Group I targets. A change of tactic proved a winning one for Phillipe Alllaire’s Brillantissime who caused a huge upset by unbackable favourite (and close relative) Bold Eagle in the Prix Gaston Brunet (Group II, €120,000, 2100m), the final warm up race for the Criterium des 4 Ans at Vincennes on the weekend. Brillantissime was one of the early stars of the French crop of 2011 winning the only group race for 2YO colts, the Prix Emmanuel Margouty  and three of the first five group races for 3YOs as he fashioned a record of nine wins in his first 14 starts. But then along came Bold Eagle, like Brillantissime a son of Ready Cash, and from closely related dams  who has been one of the most dominant horses of modern times. Bold Eagle was attempting to win his 13th race in a row, including the previous seven group races for the B-generation  colts  and Brillantissime has been reduced to a support role.

But having tried to rein in his brilliant relation unsuccessfully after settling in the peleton in recent outings, Pierre Vercruysse shot Brillantissime to the front this time while Bold Eagle eventually worked his way to sit parked as the two sons of Ready Cash set the pace on Vincennes inner track.  But the effort told on  Bold Eagle and he was was gone by the top of the straight. Brillantissime kicked strongly as Franck Anne rallied Black d’Avril (Oceano Nox) but the son of Ready Cash was clear at the line for a well deserved win. Bocage d’Ortige (Mirage du Goutier)  was third while Bird Parker (another son of Ready Cash) was an encouraging fourth. For Bold Eagle’s connections, the reversal could not come at a worse time with the next race being the career pinnacle Criterium des 4 Ans, and while blood tests came back negative, the manner of the heat had the owners fearing the worst.

Joint owner  Peter Pilarski, told the Paris-Turf: “ I am disappointed, especially for the horse, as for people who bet on his chances. But we did a blood test, which was excellent. The horse was less well tonight, already in the heat, maybe because of the heat. I hope now that my representative is not sick because it would deprive him of the Criterium, which would be a shame.” The female equivalent, the Prix Gaston de Wazieres  went to brilliant mare Billie de Mountfort  (Jasmin de Flore) who took over early in the race and dictated proceedings. Bardane du Houlbet (jet Fortuna) made a move at the turn but Billie de Montfort just kicked away, winning with ease with Bambina Blue (Lucky Blue) rallying in the trail to take second. Bardane du Houlbet was clear third ahead of Blue Grass(Ready Cash)  fourth.  The time on the inner track for the 2100m was  1’14’’5 (1.58.2MR). A patient drive by Jean Michel Bazire got Vinci de l’Abbaye (Otello Pierji) home in the Group III Prix Alethia, staying on strongly in the straight to down pacesetter Uniaxe (Echo) and Vanna Coletto (Lejacque d’Houlbec). The winner recorded 1’13’’8 (1.58.4MR) for the 2875m trip which was raced on the outer track.

ITALY Two stallion sons of the great Italian Varenne fought out the latest race in the UET Masters Series where Pace Del Rio won the first Group 1 of his career in beating defending champ Napoleon Bar in the  Gran Premio Costa Azzura at Turin. Napoleon Bar had dominated the race for much of the journey but could not hold off the finish of Pace Del Rio who was superbly rated by  Santo Mollo, while Rue du Bac (Infinitif), trained in France Fabrice Souloy was a close third. Massimo Finetti’s six-year-old, who has won four races at Turin but not at this level covered the 1600m trip in 1’12’’2 km rate. Mineiro As (Lemon Dra) got up to take the fourth placed points from Owen Cr (Cantab Hall). Frederico Esposito guided Erik Bondo’s Savannah Bi to win the € 77,000 Gran Premio Citta' di Torino  for 4YOs at Turin on the weekend.   The daughter of Ganymede defeated the Pietro Gubellini driven Sharon Gar (Varenne) with another Bondo-trained runner Santiago d'Ete (Daguet Rapide) in the hands of Roberto Andreghetti third. Savannah Bi recorded 1’13’’9 for the 2060m trip.           

SWEDEN Oasis Bi continued his great recent form to completely dominate a high class field in the Gold Division final at Mantorp to book a ticket to next weekend’s Olympiatravet (Olympic Trot), the next leg of the UET Masters Series. Brilliantly driven by Johnny Takter, Oasis Bi (Toss Out)took control early and opened a up a big gap which proved too hard for the chasing bunch to close, although Traveling Man (Supergill) made up some ground in the straight to finish second ahead of Rocky Winner (Credit Winner).

NORWAY Well travelled Norwegian stallion Support Justice (Kadabra) easily won the the gold division final at the Bjerke race track for trainer Geir Vegard Gundersen. Danish-trained German-bred warhorse Classic Grand Cru (Supergill) was second for Steen Juul ahead of local trainer Frodre Hamre’s Winmecredit (Credit Winner). Last year’s European 5YO champion won in a time of 1’12’’9 for the 2100m journey.              FINLAND The stocks of Swedish-based stallion Quite Easy received another boost this weekend with promising mare Venice  wining the Best Lady  Trot at Lahti. Heikki Korhonen’s former Finnish Breeders Crown and Tammakriterium (Finnish Oaks) winner scored in a time of   1’14’’8 for the 2140m race picking up a purse of 10,000 euros.  Stoneisle Lilian was second well ahead of An-Lady  (Tag The Devil).


Prix de l'Atlantique

Prix Gaston Brunet

Prix Gaston de Wazieres

Gran Premio Costa Azzura

Mantorp Guilddivision