Highlight of the winter season on the Hippodrome of the Côte d’Azur, the Grand Criterium de Vitesse is a legendary event that saw the greatest triumph of trot cracks as Ourasi, Moni Maker, Varenne, Gigant Neo or Meaulnes du Corta. Mythical and a can’t-miss, run for the first time in 1958, the Côte d’Azur Grand Speed Criterium is a major event in the racing world, which certainly helped to raise the Hippodrome de la Côte d’Azur up the level of the major ones, and to raise its notoriety in the world rankings. The best trotters of the moment, the fastest in the discipline, come to compete on the distance of a mile in a pure speed competition. On March 10 at the Hippodrome Côte d’Azur, in front of thousands of spectators, including many foreigners, Dutch horse Timoko, race number 5, driven by Jos Verbeeck, won the Grand Speed Criterium Côte d’Azur. The 2013 edition of this spectacular high-speed racing was sponsored by Nice Matin, the great regional daily newspaper.
The 300-meter straight line is ideal to beat speed records, and this is what attracts the major cracks in the discipline. The Côte d’Azur Grand Speed Criterium is granted with a prestige that comes from the quality of the horses competing there. It is part of the international speed circuit. Records have been broken several times on the Hippodrome of Côte d’Azur and the Europe speed record is still held in Cagnes-sur-Mer. The event is the second race of the circuit, just behind the Prix de France at Vincennes. This year, € 200,000 of allowances were allocated by the Society for the Encouragement of the French Horse.
The Grand Criterium de Vitesse Nice Matin was run in the sixth trotting race that was to close the winter meeting, and after a draw few days earlier by the director of the racecourse, 14 prestigious participants such as Main Wise As, Save The Quick and The Best Madrick, all with around a million euro winnings, made the trip to participate in this mythical very high level race which was being run since 1958. During this race, the audience was held spellbound since, after getting rid of the favorite Main Wise As, disqualified shortly after the start for having been galloping, Timoko was leading into the first curve and then controlled the rest of the race. Timoko proudly crossed the finish line as winner before The Best Madrick and Rêve de Beylev.
In 1’10 and in 2/10, Timoko put its name on the roll of honour including prestigious names such as Une de Mai, Ourasi or Varenne. In the stands, the jubilant crowd shouted Timoko’s name cheering him as a rock star and fans were proudly wearing blue scarf to better support their champion.
Some animations peppered the afternoon: between races, spectators were able to admire the breathtaking Lorenzo. In front of the French Riviera public, the flying rider performed a breathtaking equestrian show. This exceptional jumper successed with the eye and voice to tame twelve Camargue mares. Standing on galloping horses, he realized with six pairs of horses some impressive jumps in front of a crowd stunned of so many exploits and complicity with the animal.
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