On Sunday, the atmosphere at Vincennes was fabulous.
The champions started arriving at around 10am, with Timoko the first to arrive. His fans were lined up outside the parking lot in the cold, wearing blue Timoko caps and scarves, trying to catch a glimpse of him. Then the buses filled with yet more fans arrived… Half an hour later a calm-looking Ready Cash walked out of the lorry, under three blankets and the caring eye of his guardian angel Tristan De Genouillac. Twenty minutes later, Maharajah arrived covered by a Swedish flag placed on his back by his groom Lisa Skogh. He looked great and was very relaxed. On the parking lot, the champions successively showed up for the most important day of their year. As time went by, the competitors warmed up and got ready for the parade. They all paraded nice and quietly, Ready Cash was the only one to go off the track after the parade. The public got a little worried but nothing was wrong with last year’s winner. Thierry Duvaldestin had asked for a special authorisation so his protégé wouldn’t get stressed. Minutes from the start, the atmosphere was electric, with the tens of thousands of supporters all tense and waiting to see their favourite’s start.Seconds from the start – complete silence – false start. The second start was the right one. Only Quif De Villeneuve, the surprise winner of the “Cornulier” galloped from the outset. All the others started well.
Timoko was quickly into his stride as usual and took the lead. Lisa America and Punchy followed him, with Ready Cash and Maharajah never far away. Ready Cash’s driver Frank Nivard made the winning decision when he moved to two wide, leaving Maharajah three wide. Maharajah was Ready Cash’s principal rival and Frank Nivard knew very well that the Swedish horse needs to be covered up. Maharajah overtook Ready Cash and it looked like Frank Nivard and his partner would be stuck. But in the final straight, Mathieu Abrivard moved his partner Private Love who was getting tired aside and opened a gap for Ready Cash. Once he had room to move, the champion sprinted impressively and won by a short length. Ready Cash was just amazing, he finished really fast whilst the others had reached their maximum. Only The Best Madrik could continue his effort, Jean-Etienne Dubois’s partner found a clear run on the outside and finished strongly. The 80/1 shot made a great impression, having been completely ignored in the morning prior to the race. His groom Malin Bohlin walked him around quietly the whole morning without ever being approached by press or fans. Jean-Etienne Dubois has always thought highly of the five-year old and thinks The Best Madrik might be as good as his father Coktail Jet, winner of the Prix D’Amérique and Elitloppet. Roxane Griff was once again impressive, she finished second and her breeders were delighted but not surprised. But Ready Cash was once again unbeatable; he became the 16th horse to win consecutive editions of the Prix D’Amérique. Frank Nivard was excellent aswell, this was his third Prix D’Amérique win. Thierry Duvaldestin once again watched the race on tv from the stables. The surroundings of the champion all met on the track, they were euphoric and tears came to their eyes on the podium. Philippe Allaire, owner and former trainer thanked Thierry Duvaldestin for his great work. Thierry Duvaldestin thanked Philippe Allaire for trusting him with his champion. Everyone at Vincennes was moved and happy, the best horse won, a real phenomenon, that’s how it’s supposed to be.
Here is the video of the race :
The next step will now be the Prix De France in two weeks and the Prix De Paris another two weeks later but the field won’t be exactly the same. Ready Cash will be racing, he will try to complete the treble : Prix D’Amérique-Prix De France- Prix De Paris. Last time it was dine was in 1976 by the legend Bellino II. On Monday, Ready Cash’s groom Tristan De Genouillac said that his horse recovered well and that it looked like he wasn’t even tired. Timoko has recovered well but he won’t race until March the 3rd, he will defend his title in the Prix De Séléction. Richard Westerink will then hopefully race Elitloppet and the Critérium des 5 Ans with his titan. Lisa America will be absent, the pretty Italian mare will retire to stud following her injury. Lisa America hangs up her racing harness after 22 victories including five group ones and winning the “grand circuit international” in 2010. Oyonnax might miss his last chance to participate in these races as he was a bit lame when he left the track on Sunday. But one thing is sure, the show will go on in February!