The temperature was like spring for the crowd who had chosen the pre-dinner races over the races, the latter on New Year’s Eve of course. Connoisseurs were around…
The temperature was like spring for the crowd who had chosen the pre-dinner races over the races, the latter on New Year’s Eve of course. Connoisseurs were around the presentation ring for the jumpers of the Paul Fournier prize, the meeting’s best endowment, and with good reason: it was a preparation for the great steeplechase for 4-year-olds, “Palaminy”, contested at the end of the meeting.
At the end of the race, the eight-length winner would have been thought to have cleared the air and accounted for the five starters. Indeed, drafted in Royan by François Nicolle and linked by Angelo Zuliani, Tipperary Sunset, despite a slight reluctance on the bullfinks, has established itself as the generation’s possible leader on the “big” this winter. At a distance, Vision du Rheu closed under his heavy load, leaving his follower Joli Look also eight lengths behind.
Thirty minutes later, the Prix Roger de Vazelhes did not escape his favorite Gitano. It could have been a repeat of the finish at Mont-de-Marsan if outsider Hakante Trois, who started the steeplechase as winner, had not escaped Manitopark after jumping the final hurdle. A nice compensation that this victory of Mickaël Mingant, saddled by Thomas Fourcy. The jockey had just come off a layoff (10 days) after too much leniency, which cost him second with Gamsoul in the Prix Hubert de Navailles on Sunday 18 December.
The beautiful cross to return
The traditional cross-country skiing gave rise to a very nice competition. It is true that this Prix du Pau Hunt Races was another preparatory race for the Grand Cross Reverdy on February 19th. Finally, party favorite Hip Hop Conti made his comeback, having not appeared in competition since February 9, the date of his victory at Pont Long during a cross on the same course. He caused a great fright to his contestants by tails at the start. But James Reveley did not panic and quickly brought the 5-year-old closer to Emmanuel Clayeux, while Jonathan Plouganou placed Uniketat in the lead as in his best days. Clearly the horse has regained both bite and morale from his new trainer as he only gave up two and a half lengths on the flat against the onslaught of his younger brother. Hip Hop Conti promises to be a candidate for the queen event of the season, but Uniketat will be another candidate for the crowning.
Another returnee, Riskman animated the debates and showed himself to be at fault in the Petit Passage de Route while not conceding much. He also held a short lead over another competitor, Netcam, who had been waiting in the field.
Third resident of professional from Moulins, Thatsmyseat, fifth by three lengths to his pitmate, did not deserve it. Beau Val and Ever Forget Me ended up together a little longer. Fausta Lauro had thrown her jockey out on Volpoom. Feu du Large, no doubt hampered by a floor (very soft, 4) which he would have liked to be heavy, was disappointed.
In the following races, Klichko de Bellair let Kilian Dubourg secure his bronze whip, while Clément Lefebvre in the saddle of the revelation (21/1) Louis Malpic signed his 500th victory. He will be silver whip for the fourth year in a row, and James Reveley is guaranteed gold.