Harmless & Mariafoot open the 2020 French Pattern program

9 February 2020

Harmless & Mariafoot open the 2020 French Pattern program

Archive pictures: scoopdyga.com

The first two Listed races of the French flat season took place this Sunday on Cagnes-sur-Mer's all-weather track.

Six horses aged 4 and over gathered at the start of the 2,000m/10f Grand Prix de la Riviera-Côte d´Azur (L), Prix Jacques Bouchara. Diamond Vendome (Style Vendome) lead the field in a single file and Harmless (Anodin), who'd followed him for this seasonal comeback, won by 3/4 of a length over the favourite Aubevoye (Le Havre), long held back, and Pump Pump Palace (King's Best), who had followed the winner.

Harmless was also starting for the first time under the silks of Nadia Michaud after sporting those of Josiane Rovisse, the mother of Chantilly-based trainer Ludovic Rovisse (picture on the right), who claimed the gelding for her in October in Compiègne by bidding € 25,555 against three underbidders. Until then, Harmless had raced for the Wertheimers, notably winning the Prix Roland de Chambure (L) at 2. Harmless had been sold to them at the Arqana V2 yearling sales for € 35,000. He earned around € 100,000 before his claim and as much since then thanks to this Listed success and the French Owners premiums program.

As the horse's breeder, Sydney Vidal has pocketed nearly € 29,000 in breeders' Premiums. Harmless's dam Snowbright (Pivotal) did not run but her dam is a Listed winner and her second dam is the good Snow Princess (Ela Mana Mou), second in the Prix Royal-Oak (Gr1) and also dam of the the Two Thousand Guineas (Gr1) second Snow Ridge (Indian Ridge). Sydney Vidal bought Snowbright for £ 26,000 at Tattersalls in 2014, and sold her in December 2017 for € 29,000 full of Dabirsim. Bred by Antoine Gilibert and Jean Biraben, the proceeding filly born the next year was sold for € 70,000 at Arqana breeding sales in December 2018, and exported to Ireland.

The Prix de la Californie (L), the other stakes of the day, returned in a very tight finish to Mariafoot (Footstepsinthesand), homebred by Jean-Claude Seroul (pictured) and trained by Jérôme Reynier, who had supplemented her in the race after having, according to his statement live on Equidia, "made sure that she had fully recovered from her previous race, only three weeks earlier". After following the leaders, she barely resisted Jedha Man (Dandy Man), second by a short head.

Lindy Lou (Sidestep), not very lucky in running either by the rail, finished third beaten a short neck.

Mariafoot was bred by her owner, who bought her dam Maria Gabriella (Rock of Gibraltar) at the Deauville sales from the Niarchos family consignement for € 80,000. A Listed winner then, also second in the Prix Chloé (Gr3), the mare gave eight foals including Marianabaa (Anabaa), placed with a handicap mark of 84lbs who ran in a claimer but was not sold, fortunately for her connections: mated to Footstepsinthesand, who is also the sire of Mariafoot, she gave Marianafoot, triple Listed winner, one of which at Doha - a Group 2 in Qatar is considered a Listed at international level - where he must race again in two weeks for a new attempt!

After Mariafoot, Maria Gabriella foaled a Lawman colt named Sapiens who is in training with Jérôme Reynier and is now 2.

The next stakes races at Cagnes are scheduled for Saturday, February 15, with the Prix Saônois (L), for aged horses over one mile on the all-weather, and the following Saturday, February 22, the Grand Prix du Département 06 (L), for aged horses too but on turf and the “long” distance of 2,500 metres, that is 12.5 furlongs.

The Paris flat meeting will resume with a few all-weather meetings in Chantilly and Deauville before the opening of the actual turf season at Saint-Cloud on March 6.