THE CHAMPIONS

For more than a century, the French Trotter has built up a strong reputation throughout the world, portraying a tough all-rounder displaying speed and stamina in both harness and mounted events. Here are the portraits of some of the key players that have contributed to that fame.
HORSES
ABO VOLO
Foaled in 1988 in the Calvados at Albert Viel's stud, Abo Volo was a bay colt sired by champion Lurabo (Prix d’Amérique) out of Grande Volo (Fandango). Trained and driven by Albert Viel's youngest son Paul, he displayed potential when he won on his debut at Vincennes as a 3yo, but his career was partially disrupted as he had problems with his legs.

BELLINO II
Bellino II was foaled in Haute Savoie in 1967 at Maurice Macheret’s stud in a region which was not particularly reputable for breedingtrotters, but that didn’t stop him from reaching the top of the ladder.

CANCANNIERE
Foaled in 1946 at Julien Guérin’s stud, Cancannière really caused an upset at 50/1when travelling up from the provinces to score on her Vincennes debut at the end of her third year, finishing 5seconds ahead of her nearest rival, driven by her owner Mr Gautier.

COKTAIL JET
When French-bred sire Quouky Williams (Fakir du Vivier) was crossed with US-bred Armbro Glamour (Super Bowl), the result was Coktail Jet, foaled in 1990 at Jean Etienne Dubois' stud in the Orne.

FANDANGO
Fandango was foaled in 1949 at owner Alphonse Martineau's stud. He was a handsome bay colt who quickly turned out to be a phenomenal horse under saddle after winning in harness events with his owner.

FUCHSIA
Foaled in the Manche region by breeder and owner Gosselin in 1883, Fuchsia is the taproot sire of the 'Trotteur Français' breed. A rather ordinary-looking animal, Fuchsia was led from fair to fair, but no one bought him.

GELINOTTE
Foaled in Croissanville in the Calvados in 1950 at Mr and Mrs Karle's stud, Gélinotte was a nervous filly who often went offstride as a 2 and 3yo, even if she won at Vincennes with her initial trainer, Marcel Perlbarg. He advised his owners to send her to his friend Charlie Mills, "the only one capable of settling her" he told them.

GENERAL DU POMMEAU
Général du Pommeau was foaled in 1994 in the Orne region at Jean Pichon's stud. He bought back his mother Actrice du Pommeau (the first trotter he ever bred) at the public sales for €1,700. The mare was in foal to Sebrazacand the result was Général du Pommeau.

IDEAL DU GAZEAU
Bred by Henri and Guy Fradin and foaled in 1974, Idéal du Gazeau was acquired as a yearling by Eugène Lefèvre for his owners - he looked a lot his sire Alexis III who Eugène Lefèvre had looked after when he was his lad. Idéal du Gazeau was very small and remained so until his adult age (1.57 m), but nevertheless had a lot of speed, capturing the Critérium des Jeunes at the beginning of this three-year-old campaign.

JAG DE BELLOUET
Bred in the Calvados by Jean Claude Monthéan, Jag de Bellouet was foaled in 1999 and turned out to be a rangy colt "who didn't show much outin the meadows" according to his breeder.Sold for €6,708 to Christophe Gallieron behalf of owner Mme Izard who leased the horse to Michel Gallier, Jag de Bellouet was sired by the remarkable stallion Viking's Way and is out of a daughter of Kronos du Vivier.

JAMIN
Jamin was foaled at the Haras des Rouges Terres in 1953 and sported Mme Olry Roederer's silks. He was son of the speedy Abner and through his dam was grandson of a thoroughbred who had scored on the flat at Saint Cloud ! But Jamin was a trotter, and a very fast one too, winning at Vincennes as a two-year-old.

KERJACQUES
Even if Kerjacques did not accomplish a champion's career, he nevertheless made his mark in the history of the French Trotter as he became a taproot stallion and was leading sire for 10 years.

MASINA
Masina was foaled in 1956 and bred and trained byHenri Levesque. He had acquired her dam Bellegarde III after striking up a deal with Albert Veslard because the broodmare was originally heading for Italy. Her daughter Masina (by Quinio) was a big chestnut filly (1.70 m) who debuted under saddle late in the season as a 3yo at Vincennes.

OURASI
Foaled in 1980, Ourasi was bred by Raoul Ostheimerin the Eure region. A dark chestnut son of Greyhound (Ura) and Fleurasie (a modest performer), he was a clumsy yearling who seemingly lacked vitality. But the nonchalance concealed an exceptional engine.

OZO
Daughter of a twin-mare who foaled her in 1958 when she was aged 20, Ozo was bred by Jules Vaultier in the Manche region. Her dam had already foaled two useful males by Vermont, but their full sister Ozo turned out to be of much higher class. Leased to Roger Massue, Ozodisplayed great potential as soon as she was broken in, winning at Vincennes in the summer as a 2yo before coming up against the best of her generation at 3.

READY CASH
Ready Cash was foaled in 2005 at Pierre Tébirent's stud (in partnership with Mr and Mrs Berthou). Son of Indy de Vive (Viking's Way) and Kidea (Extreme Dream), the colt "had a lot of energy and sometimes frightened me when he trotted full speed with his head between his legs in the pastures," his breeder related.

REVE D'UDON
Bred by Jean Boisard in the Orne region in 1983, Rêve d’Udon was the son of two small parents, Ejakval1’14’’ (Kerjacques) and Mavia du Vivier (Ursin L). But he was big, measuring 1.66 m, and showed real potential as a 4yo when landing the Prix du Président de la République with Jean Claude Hallais on board.

ROQUEPINE
Granddaughter of the champion and illustrious brood mare Sa Bourbonnaise, Roquépine was named after a street nearby the SECF’s head quarters in Paris. The filly revealed a lot of ability but was also very headstrong, so she was lightly raced by her owner-breeder-trainer Henri Levesque who debuted her in May when she was three.

TENOR DE BAUNE
Landing the Prix d’Amérique while previously remaining unbeaten seemed impossible before Ténor de Baune achieved the feat in 1991. That day, Jean Baptise Bossuet's champion colt easily beat Rêve d’Udon and Ultra Ducal on his 30thcareer outing to become one of trotting's legends.

TIDALIUM PELO
Foaled in 1963 in the Orne region and bred by Roger Lemarié, Tidalium Pélo was a big bay horse (1,73m), with long legs who had an impressive action thanks to his exceptional strides. His dam Hase Williams had the same grandsire as him, American-bred Sam Williams (inbred 2x2 on Sam Williams) even if his father was French-bred Jidalium.

UNE DE MAI
Hippolyte Bernereau bred Une de Mai at hisstud in Bournezeau in Vendée and was foaled in 1964. Knock-kneedand lacking good looks, she didn't really catch the eye as a youngster. But she was the daughter of Kerjacques who turned out to be a great stallion, and Pierre Désiré Allaire sought after his offspring

URANIE
Foaled in 1920 at Joseph Denis' stud, Uranie was a chestnut filly by illustrious sire-of-the-day Intermède 1'26'' "who was an exceptionally handsome animal," according to Albert Viel. Uranie had several thoroughbred bloodlines in her pedigree, notably through her mother Pastourelle (granddaughter of thoroughbred Assignée).

ABO VOLO
BELLINO II
CANCANNIERE
COKTAIL JET
FANDANGO
FUCHSIA
GELINOTTE
GENERAL DU POMMEAU
IDEAL DU GAZEAU
JAG DE BELLOUET
JAMIN
KERJACQUES
MASINA
OURASI
OZO
READY CASH
REVE D'UDON
ROQUEPINE
TENOR DE BAUNE
TIDALIUM PELO
UNE DE MAI
URANIE
HORESMEN
RENE BALLIERE
Son of Raoul Ballière (owner of champion trotter Jussy,) René Ballière (1884-1972) won notably with Jussy andApollon, but after serving as a stipendiary steward, he wasremembered above all for his 35-year mandate as President of the Société du Cheval Français from 1935 to 1970. He spearheaded the declarations system which improved the PMU’s modus operandi and also made it obligatory for trotters to submit breeding certificates, while the Haras Nationaux were responsible for identifying the dam’s offspring.

ROGER BAUDRON
Born in 1932 in Mayenne in Bourgneuf la Forêt, Roger Baudron learnt the ropes with his father Louis Baudron, even if he did two apprenticeships with Alfonse Sourroubille (1944 Prix d’Amérique winnerwith Profane). Turning pro in 1949, he quickly displayed immense talent as a driver and trainer.



FRANCOIS BROHIER
Born in 1933 in the Manche region, François Brohier is the nephew of Henri Levesque, with whom he worked with with for some time. Although accomplishing a few apprenticeships elsewhere(notably at Aimable Forcinal’s yard), he also competed in equestrian sports. He landed his first win under saddle in 1951 with Diane de Fontenay.

ROGER CERAN MAILLARD
His great size mirrored by his great talent, Roger Céran Maillard (1906-1974) quickly became one of the best trainer-drivers in France. Son of Hervé Céran Maillard, who owned an excellent breeding operation (Uriel V, Ovidius Naso), Roger Céran Maillard triumphed under saddle in the 1924 Prix du Président de la République on board Uriel V.

JONEL CHYRIACOS
The son of a Greek banker, Jonel Chyriacos (1907-1968) started off racing in amateur events where he became champion driver, before turning pro in Austria and subsequently returning to France to set up as trainer-driver. His charges wereoftenridden by Albert Libeer. He didn't have to wait too long before winning with the likes of Reine Charmeuse (Prix de Vincennes, Prix du Président de la République), Sa Bourbonnaise (Critérium des 4 et 5 ans, Prix du ‘Président’), Tamisot (Critérium des 4 ans) and Uli (Critérium des 3 ans).

GEORGES DREUX
Georges Dreux (1933-1980) was born in Mayenne at Saint Ouen des Toits, and like his brothers André Louis Dreux and Guy Maurice Dreux, he became a trainer-driver. Passing his high school diploma at 16, he loved to travel and find out what was going on in the sport elsewhere. Later on, he raced in the US (with Papyrus) and Russia (with Lutin II), but always spoke highly of French-bred trotters and France's trotting programme.

PIERRE GIFFARD
Born in Bihorel-les-Rouen, Pierre Giffard (1927-2003) was the son of a carpenter but was rapidly drawn to racing and started his apprenticeship at René Gayet’s yard. He scored his first win in 1944 with Torsade, which was a prelude to a fantastic career as jockey.

JEAN RENE GOUGEON
The eldest son of Marcel Gougeon (1922 Prix d’Amérique winner with Reynolds V), Jean René Gougeon is still Prix d’Amérique record-holder with eight winning drives: three with Bellino II (1975-1976-1977), two with Roquépine (1965-1968) and three with Ourasi (1986-1987-1988).

MICHEL MARCEL GOUGEON
Jean René Gougeon’s youngest brother Michel Marcel Gougeon was born in 1933 in the Orne. Son of Marcel Gougeon (1922 Prix d’Amérique 1922 with Reynolds V), as a youngster Michel was nicknamed ‘Minou’ and soon displayed an extraordinary talent as a rider.

ALFRED LEFEVRE
After setting out from scratch, Alfred Lefevre (1908-1992) became the biggest horse dealer in France. He bought and sold horses of all breeds, from the ‘percheron’ to the saddle horse (including Lutteur B who Pierre Jonquères d’Oriola was Olympic Champion with in Tokyo), not forgetting, of course, trotters. He owned some very smart performers whohesent to Charlie Mills’ yard, or had trained by Maurice Riaud, Ali Hawas, Yvon Martin, Patrick Thibout and Joël Hallais.

HENRI LEVESQUE
Henri Levesque (1908-1978) was born in the Manche region in Vindefontaine and, like his father, was originally a cattle breeder,while taking part in local horse races for pleasure. In 1930 he started driving as an amateur, then after the War he decided to set up a racing stable and turned pro, assisted by his nephew François Brohier.

JEAN MARY
Aged just 14, Jean Mary (1932-1986) bagged his first win under saddle on board Lady Céline. After a short spell with handlerFernand Bouchard, he joined Louis Baudron’s yard in 1953. At that time he teamed up with the tough Gardon who he rode to victory three times in the Prix de Cornulier (1955-56-57), the third time conceding a 50-metre handicap!

GERARD MASCLE
Born in 1941 in the Orne region, Gérard Mascle won his first race under saddle when he was 15 with Fardellière, and after a short stay at Jean Colombert’s yard, he completed his apprenticeship with André Louis Dreux. Following a few spells with some other trainers, he finally joined Georges Moreau’s stable in 1964, one of the biggest of the era.

CHARLEY MILLS
Born in Hamburg in 1888, Charlie Mills was of Irish descent. His father was a trainer and his grandfather a vet. Extremely gifted, he bagged his first win when he was 16, and by 1907 was already leading driver. He ended up capturing 18 champion drivertitles in Germany, five in Austria and two in France, i.e. a total of 25 times throughout his brilliant career, scoring 4,364 wins.

PIERRE DE MONTESSON
In 1953, Count Pierre de Montesson (1918-2015) founded SOCOPA, the biggest slaughterhouse and meat distributor in France.He declared his trotting coloursin 1957, and acquired some excellent performers such as Nicias Grandchamp (Critériums des 3 and 5 ans) and Pacha Grandchamp (Prix de Vincennes) that he owned jointly with Albert Rayon.

MARCEL PERLBARG
Marcel Perlbarg (1903-1994) was born in Paris where his father was a horse dealer. After the War, in 1925, he recorded his first win under saddle, then he was retained later on by André Gouin, one of the best trainers of the day.

FRANCIS RIAUD
Francis Riaud (1888-1967) was from a family of farmers, and after a stay at André Viel’s yard, was taken on by the Olry Roederer stables in 1913.Wounded during the war, on his return he joined the Haras des Rouges Terres and immediately displayed talent as a rider.

MAURICE RIAUD
Maurice Riaud (1915-1990) started his career at the Haras des Rouges Terres (Olry Roederer stables) with Stéphane Dejean and his uncle Francis Riaud.

JEAN RIAUD
Son of Francis Riaud, Jean Riaud (1931-2015) took over from his father as a trainer of the famous Olry Roederer stable while he was still young and almost immediately became a partner of the very smart Jamin.

LOUIS SAUVE
Louis Sauvé was born in 1933 in Bacilly in the la Manche region and competed in local races when he was only 12 years old. Beginning his apprenticeship at 14, he turnedpro two years later.

RAOUL CHARLES SIMONARD
Starting off as an apprentice at the Olry Roederer stables, Raoul Simonard (1902-1968) landed his first race after the war in 1919 with Quarantaine. Then he spent a bit of time with Thierry de Cabanes and Jules Gueroult (one of the era’s great trainers who had a fatal accident during a race), competing above all in mounted events before he took to the sulky, capturing the 1927 Critérium des 3 ans with Courcyon only his second outing in the speciality!

LEOPOLD VERROKEN
Of Belgian descent but born in France in the Pas de Calais, Léopold Verroken (1931-2005) began his apprenticeship with the great Jan Kruithof senior in 1945-1946, and won his first race at 16. He continued driving in harness races while managing a PMU betting outlet with his wife Geneviève in Arras. Later on, he rented a few boxes at Jonel Chyriacos’ yard in Pincevent who he subsequently took over from when he passed away, continuingTony M’s exceptional career (Prix de France, Prix de Paris, twice 2nd in the Prix d’Amérique).

ALBERT VIEL
Son of Paul Viel, Albert Viel (1915-1997) was one of the greatest owner-breeders in France, finishing up several times number onebreeder or owner during the 80s. As a driver, he won about 100 races, but he soon focussed on developing his breeding operation. He became president of the SECF in 1974 (succeeding Guillaume de Bellaigue) and completed the modernisation of Vincennes that his predecessor had undertaken.

PAUL VIEL
Son of Albert Viel, who rode under saddle (Prix Bayadère and the Derby de Rouen) and set up the Haras du Vast, Paul Viel (1881-1975), like his father, was a reputable breeder, owner and trainer. He scored his first win at 16 (with Royal Normand) and raced until he was 81, the age he won his last race at!

RENE BALLIERE
ROGER BAUDRON
FRANCOIS BROHIER
ROGER CERAN MAILLARD
JONEL CHYRIACOS
GEORGES DREUX
PIERRE GIFFARD
JEAN RENE GOUGEON
MICHEL MARCEL GOUGEON
ALFRED LEFEVRE
HENRI LEVESQUE
JEAN MARY
GERARD MASCLE
CHARLEY MILLS
PIERRE DE MONTESSON
MARCEL PERLBARG
FRANCIS RIAUD
MAURICE RIAUD
JEAN RIAUD
LOUIS SAUVE
RAOUL CHARLES SIMONARD
LEOPOLD VERROKEN
ALBERT VIEL
PAUL VIEL
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