This weekend, Vincennes will host the Prix des Elites. A mounted event for three to five-year-olds, the contest has been run since 1943 and is the equivalent of last week’s Prix des l’Etoile run at Vincennes where a new record was established when Face Time Bourbon continued on his winning ways recording his eleventh Group One victory in a track record of 1’09”4 for the 2200m.
On Sunday, only a small, but select, number of three-year-olds have been entered for the race. Thirteen of the past twenty running’s of the race have been won by the younger age group, whilst four-year-olds have three wins and five-year-olds four victories. The record for the race is 1’11”4 and this was set two years ago in 2018 by Elladora de Forgan.
Three-year-olds receive a fifty-metre start, so race over 2150m.
There is only one last start winner engaged in the race – five-year-old mare Flamme de Goutier. What an eye-opener she has been at her past two races! Elevated to Black-Type races for the first time two starts ago at the end of August in the driven G1 Criterium des 5ans (3000m), she surprised everyone when finishing third behind Face Time Bourbon starting at a price of 141/1 on the PMU. Flamme de Goutier followed this up having her first start in a mounted race two weeks later in the G1 Prix de Normandy (3000m) [for five-year-olds] and won defeating Fleche Bourbon and Feeling Cash, both who reoppose in the race on Sunday. The win also gave jockey Antoine Wiels his maiden Group One victory.
The main dangers to Flamme de Goutier are fellow five-year-olds and the placegetters in the G1 Prix de Normandy (3000m), namely Fleche Bourbon and Feeling Cash.
Fleche Bourbon is the winner of two Group One mounted races – both as a four-year-old – the Prix du Président de la République (2850m) and this race last year when conceding fifty metres and starting an odds-on favourite on the PMU.
Feeling Cash has yet to win at elite level but has been placed an incredible eight times in Group One contests including the G1 Prix du Cornulier (2700m) in January and in this race last year.
Of the younger generation winner of the G1 Prix d'Essai (2200m) in June Hudson Vedaquais looks to be the best chance. The placegetters from that race - Hera Landia and Hispanien - are both listed to reoppose.
The race looks to be an interesting generational clash but on known form, it looks like being a year for the five-year-olds.
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Next week is the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Weekend of Group One racing action. Highlighted by the 2400m Classic for three-year-olds and above, both Saturday and Sunday's racing will feature elite level racing complemented with Group Two contests and competitive handicaps. Will Enable be able to create history by winning a third 'Arc' or will it be the younger generation headed by the outstanding filly Love that will be able to reign over their older rivals?
Saturday’s highlight will be the G1 Prix du Cadran (4000m) for the stayers. Call The Wind will be attempting to win the race again (victory in 2018) after being narrowly defeated last year.
Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe race card, apart from the feature Classic race over 2400m, will witness seven Group One races and a competitive handicap. Apart from the great race, the Prix de la Forêt (1400m) has assembled an intriguing renewal where One Master will be going for her third successive victory in the race but will be up against formidable competition headed by Earthlight.
The sprinters will contest the only Group One over 1000m run in France in the Prix de l’Abbaye, whilst the two-year-old will be racing against their own sex in two 1600m races – the Prix Jean Luc Lagardère for the colts and Prix Marcel Bussac for the fillies. The fillies and mares are looked after in the Prix de l’Opera (2000m) and the Pure-Bred Arabians will be racing over 2000m in the Arabian World Cup.
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