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French Trotting - Review of G1 Prix Rene Balliere

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Feature Race Review: The G1 Prix Rene Balliere.

Date Sunday 26 June 2022
Venue Vincennes
Race R8 – G1 Prix René Ballière (2100m)
Type Group One, driven autostart for four to ten-year-olds
Winner Vivid Wise As
Driver Matthieu Abrivard
Trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro
Breeding Yankee Glide x Temple Blue Chip
Second  Etonnant
Third  Hohneck


The massive Vincennes crowd on Sunday (arguably the largest since the Covid pandemic) were treated to a thrilling finish in the G1 Prix René Ballière (2100m) as Vivid Wise As and Etonnant had yet another great clash this year.

Ten runners contested the 2022 G1 Prix René Ballière (2100m) in what looked a high-class renewal on paper. The tempo didn't appear too strong in the early stages with Matthieu Abrivard settling Vivid Wise As in midfield maintaining his position on the inside from draw one. However, his main rival, Etonnant, went forward starting from gate eight and adopting the pace setting role taking the first left-handed turn.

Anthony Barrier steering Etonnant increased the pace rapidly down the far side passing the 1400m marker and the field were now racing in single file. Vivid Wise As was in fifth travelling nicely when gradually easing out two off the inside pegs and began to make headway from the 800m.

All were travelling strongly passing the inner-course intersection with the field bunched and every runner appearing to have a chance. From the final turn, Alessandro Gocciadoro's eight-year-old continued to make progress now one out and three back and upon entering the home straight was a close fourth only two lengths off the long-time leader and main threat, Etonnant.

At this point the Vincennes crowd were treated to a great spectacle as Vivid Wise As was angled three deep and began to peg-back Etonnant during the final 350m. However, Etonnant showed further acceleration and tried to kick on but his efforts were soon swept to one side as Matthieu Abrivard on Vivid Wise As came powering home from the outside making up an eye-catching amount of ground in a small period of time going head to head with Etonnant inside the final 100m. The son of Yankee Glide had his tail flashing up and down as he put his nose in front during the final couple of strides for a narrow victory landing the 2022 G1 Prix René Ballière (2100m) in what was a thrilling finish.

Since the start of the year, Vivid Wise As and Etonnant have provided French trotting fans with a thrilling clash of two great performers who have battled out Group One contests in style. Vivid Wise As produced an excellent fourth tackling the G1 Prix d'Amérique Legend Race (2700m) before winning the G1 Prix de France Speed Race (2100m) in early February. The duels started at Cagnes-sur-Mer in March when the pair contested the G1 Grand Critérium de Vitesse de la Côte d'Azur (1609m) where Etonnant went one nil up winning from Vivid Wise As in second.

Five weeks later at Enghien the form was reversed when Vivid Wise As made it one all when successful in the G1 Prix de l'Atlantique (2150m). Etonnant unsurprisingly was just denied into the runner-up position. The two trotting stars were then separated in the Elitloppet heats at Solvalla (Sweden) last month but re-opposed in the G1 Elitloppet Final (1609m) where Richard Westerink's eight-year-old Etonnant returned to winning ways beating last Sunday's victor into fourth. And last weekend the scorecard went to two all in the battle of Vivid Wise As and Etonnant.

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