The world’s most prestigious monté race, the Prix De Cornulier takes place this Sunday at Vincennes. The race has existed since 1931; it is named after the Marquis Jean De Cornulier who bred trotters in Normandy and was a racing steward. Later he became President of the Société Du Cheval Français.
The best monté horses of the last months won’t be racing because most of them are geldings like Roi Du Lupin, Sourire De Voutré, Quemeu D’Ecublei and Riglorieux Du Bois; Scipion Du Goutier is hurt. Other horses that are missed are Pinson and Picsou De Villabon. These champions won’t have the honour to participate in this edition of the world’s biggest monté race.
Here are the lucky contenders and their jockeys:
1 Royale du Perthois - Jean Loïc Claude Dersoir
2 Paladin Bleu - Mathieu Mottier
3 Recia du Closet - Pierre-Yves Verva
4 Tango Quick - Anthony Barrier
5 Trotting Race - Nathalie Henry
6 Quif de Villeneuve - Yoann Lebourgeois
7 Robert Keeper - Ludovic Mollard
8 Queroan de Jay - Anne Barthelemy
9 Yarrah Boko - Richard Joly
10 Quilon du Chatelet - Franck Nivard
11 Opale du Gaultier - Estelle Dessartre
12 Save The Quick - Eric Raffin
13 Punchy - Julien Raffestin
14 Private Love - David Thomain
15 Paris Haufour - Damien Bonne
16 Rombaldi - Matthieu Abrivard
17 Prince de Montfort - Antoine Wiels
18 Oyonnax - Pierre Edouard Mary
This edition of the monté world championship is quite special, 6 horses will race under the saddle for the first time: Quif De Villeneuve, the winner of the GNT will be ridden by Yoann Lebourgeois, a very talented jockey who will try to claim his first Prix De Cornulier. Robert Keeper is trained by Jean-Michel Bazire, he beat Ready Cash in the Grand Prix De La Ville De Caen over 4400m in October. Axel Lenoir trains Queroan De Jay and Quilon Du Chatelet, their monté tests were very good. Punchy is a very tough horse but he raced a lot last year.
Yarrah Boko came to France to Jean-Michel Bazire’s stable but was moved to Anders Lindqvist’s stable. His first work under saddle was at Vincennes before the Prix De Bourgogne, it was good but his work this Monday was not as pleasing, he galloped several times. After that, the choice of jockey changed from Alexandre Abrivard to Richard Joly who will ride his first Cornulier. Yarrah Boko is a tall and strong horse by the French stallion Coktail Jet, so long in France he has either won or been disqualified. Hopefully he’ll show his best side on Sunday!
Two five-year olds will race, the last 5 year-old to win was One Du Rib in 2007. Only nine horses have won the race at the age of 5 : One Du Rib (2007), Voici Du Niel (1992), Kaiser Trot (1981), Tabriz (1968), Quovaria (1965), Prince Des Veys (1964), Ol Est B (1963), Masina (1961) and Fandango (1954).
Tango Quick, one out of three Leblanc trained horses (the two others are Save The Quick and Quif De Villeneuve) will be ridden by the rising star Anthony Barrier, he won the last edition on Olga Du Biwetz. Tango Quick might be walking in One Du Rib’s footsteps; they have both won beforehand the Prix Leon Tacquet and the Prix Du President De La République.
Trotting Race is massive; she is ridden by Nathalie Henry. Trotting Race is a daughter of Goetmals Wood and the best monté filly of her generation at the moment. If she wins, she would be the third five year old filly only to join the winners list. It is also the first time Jean Baudron trains a Prix De Cornulier contender.
The limit of horses racing is 18, five horses were sorted out of which Santa Rosa France. She only lacked about 2000€. The Prix De Cornulier was her goal this winter but sadly it will have to change, she will go for the Prix Du Luxembourg, the day before the Prix D’Amérique.
Only two thirds of the horses racing have experience in the discipline, though Paladin Bleu has only raced once and he was not very convincing. Royale Du Perthois is trained and ridden by Jean Loïc Claude Dersoir, a monté specialist. The mare is also a monté specialst but her last victory was the 19th December 2009! Recia Du Closet discovered the discipline last February and has been successful, she is very fast but she usually is at her best on a shorter distance. Opale Du Gaultier had some health problems but was amazing in the Prix Djerid last Sunday. Save The Quick is a very classy mare and has a very good chance to win, she will definitely be the favourite. She has three career starts under the saddle for three easy wins. Private Love did her début in the Prix Du Calvados in the beginning of January, by a good 5th place. Paris Haufor has trained well and Christian Bigeon is a man who aims right but the horse has been better. Rombaldi is struggling with health problems and has a hard time getting back to his best level but he is a talented horse. Prince De Montfort is better on smaller tracks, he has been very good in Scandinavia.
Oyonnax seems to have a good form; the winner of the Prix D’Amérique 2010 has had some nice prep races and hasn’t raced without shoes since his fourth place in last year’s Prix D’Amérique. Since he is the most experienced horse and the elite of monté are absent, Oyonnax will have a nice card to play and a great chance to get another great victory to his name.
It might not be the best edition ever of the Prix Du Cornulier but we should expect a great race on Sunday anyway.