He has been thought of as a champion throughout his entire career, one of the greats who only come along every ten or twenty years. From the age of 3, he rose to the challenge of winning 3 Group I races and established himself as the undisputed leader of his generation. He has already won the Grand Prix d’Amérique twice (in 2011 and 2012) and will be looking to score a hat trick this January and take home his third World Champion title.
JAG DE BELLOUET
Jag de Bellouet was an exceptionally gifted trotter who exploded onto the scene in 2004, winning several Group I races and then racking up a string of victories in both the harness and mounted trotting disciplines. He reached the peak of his great career in 2005 by registering a double with the Grand Prix d’Amérique and the Grand Prix de Cornulier. He retired in 2007 and has since been pursuing a highly successful career as a stud.
Varenne was surrounded by an international team with a Finnish trainer, Swedish stable-lad, a French breeder, and an Italian driver and owners. He won two World Champion titles in 2001 and 2002, and as the record-holder for race winnings, with more than 6 million euros, he is now a highly sought-after stud.
TENOR DE BAUNE
This gifted horse was moulded by Jean Baptiste Bossuet, a calm, patient and poised man who shaped him into a force to be reckoned with in the trotting world. With care and pampering from his trainer, he gradually rose up through the ranks and became the leader of his generation: in 1990 he even managed to convince the Vincennes public for a while that he might snatch the win away from Ourasi. He didn’t quite manage to beat the seasoned veteran, but he did come back in January 1991 and win the holy grail of trotting racing, the race every trotter yearns to have on their prize list, the Grand Prix d’Amérique. Better still, it was his 30th win out of the 30 races he had run, a feat which had never been accomplished before and which remains a unique achievement in trotting history. Will his daughter Roxane Griff see her name on the prize list?
Ourasi was the most well-known, most loved and admired horse in France, and the superstar of trotting races in the 1980s. He won the Grand Prix d’Amérique four times, in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990 and he is the one and only quadruple winner of the Harness Racing World Championships. He died in January 2013 at the age of 32 and in June 2014 a statue was inaugurated in his honour at the Paris-Vincennes Hippodrome.
The son of Boum III,born in Haute Savoie and recognisable by his red hood, Bellino II was the archetypal good all-rounder. He would happily switch between mounted and harness racing and when he became Jean René Gougeon’s charge in 1974, he moved up a gear and began a vigorous and sweeping invasion on trotting races. At an age where others struggle, Maurice Macheret’s champion wiped the board and picked up three Grand Prix d’Amérique titles in a row, the last one at age ten and beating a devilishly plucky Eléazar. Today, he is still the last trotting champion to have won the triple crown (America, France, Paris) a feat which he pulled off in 1976.
Gelinotte was the first superb champion to emerge after the war. Her owner, Mr Karle, entrusted this nervy and capricious mare to a talented trainer and trotting master, the great Charley Mills. After winning numerous European races – which earnt her her nickname – she won the Grand Prix d’Amérique in 1956 and 1957 but also the triple crown on both of these years. She managed to stand out from the crowd as a broodmare as well, with her son Ura, father of Lurabo (winner of the Grand Prix d’Amérique 1984) and grandfather of Ourasi, the most popular champion of all time.
Uranie was the very first star in the history of trotting. This mare was the charge of the Italian Valentino Capovilla and a terrifying prospect for all her competitors on the cinder track of Vincennes in the 1920s. Her effortless wins caused so much discouragement among her fellow contenders that the organizers of the Grand Prix d’Amérique decided that she must have a minimum 50-metre handicap. She was the winner in 1926, 1927 and 1928 and on the starting line for two years after that but didn’t quite manage to make the distance. She was a genuine idol who ran at lightning speed and the admiration felt for her by the public knew no bounds.