'Magnificent' Face Time Bourbon doubles up in Prix d'Amerique
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Face Time Bourbon toasted a rare double on Sunday when he claimed his second successive Prix d'Amerique to cement his standing as one of harness trotting's great champions.
Trained by Sebastien Guarato, with Swede Bjorn Goop again the driver, Face Time Bourbon led into the straight and then powered home to hold off his main danger, Davidson Du Pont, in a carbon copy of last year's finish.
This was Guarato's fourth win in the race that was first staged in 1920 in tribute to American soldiers who fought in World War I.
The one million euro ($1.2 million) showpiece was staged before empty stands at Vincennes hippodrome on the east of Paris for the first time in its 101-year history due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Whilst he was missing the 40,000-strong crowd that witnessed his 2020 triumph Face Time Bourbon had plenty of company on the track with 17 rivals trying too foil his title defence.
After two false starts the field regrouped and were sent on their way again with Swedish challenger Power prominent early on.
Approaching the final turn Goop sent Face Time Bourbon past Bahia Quesnot, the courageous 10-year-old mare aiming to add this to her success in the Prix du Cornulier at Vincennes last weekend.
Tracking the odds-on favourite though was Davidson du Pont but hard as he tried he was never in a strong enough position to jangle the nerves of all Face Time Bourbon's supporters watching from their homes or betting cafes around the world with the race being shown live in 36 countries.
"This one, he's not like the others," said Goop, after his third win in the 2700 metre showcase.
"I'm thrilled to have the chance to team up with such a horse! It's emotional, he was magnificent."
"He is calmer and easier to handle than before," the driver added, praising the work of Face Time Bourbon's stable team.
For Guarato "Bjorn produced a fine drive, he made the difference" in a tactical race.
Face Time Bourbon was emulating his sire, Ready Cash, the back-to-back winner in 2012-13.
After a trip to the Normandy seaside to freshen up his stable star at the start of the week Guarato had pronounced Face Time Bourbon "ready to retain his crown."
He wasn't wrong.
© 2021 AFP