News
15/12/2015
Races
Man of the moment
Yoann Lebourgeois just as good in the bike as under saddle

Leading wire-to-wire in an enthralling battle all the way to the post, Yoann Lebourgeois has just captured the Critérium des 3 Ans for the first time in his young career thanks to Charly du Noyer.

Yoann Lebourgeois just as good in the bike as under saddle
 
Yoann Lebourgeois. © Scoopdyga
 
It was also Lebourgeois’ first harness Group 1 in France, a little more than a month after he landed the legendary Italian Group 1, the Prix Orsi Mangelli, with the same partner for handler Philippe Allaire, one of the most efficient trainers to have booked the driver so far.

Son of a trainer, Yoann did his apprenticeship with Pierre-Désiré Allaire and Joël Hallais, a pair who really set the standard in trotting. He landed his first mounted Group 1 on board Quincy Boy in the 2007 Prix d’Essai, then quickly made it two a few weeks later in the Prix de Normandie with Olga du Biwetz. In 2010, he notched up a number of wins riding Thorens Védaquais for Philippe Allaire, concluding the series by landing the Gr 1 Prix des Élites and finally finishing 3rd in the champion jockeys’ title that year (Étrier d’Or).

Up amongst the Elite

Two years later, he continued to endorse his role as one of France’s leading jockeys under saddle by lifting the most coveted mounted event around, the G1 Grand Prix de Cornulier, with Quif de Villeneuve. Fourth in the 2011 Étrier d’Or (the year he won his first Saint Léger des Trotteurs on board Up Market), he upset the hierarchy for the first time in 2012, scoring 74 wins under saddle and beating the cream of Vincennes’ top jockeys. The following year he did even better: 77 victories, but no Gr 1s. Nevertheless, trainers consistently kept snapping him up for rides. Then in 2014, he landed his third consecutive Étrier d’Or (72 wins), including 3 Gr 1s: the Prix des Centaures on Valdice de Mars, followed by the Saint-Léger des Trotteurs in May and the Prix de Vincennes in December, both on Bird Parker. Even if Eric Raffin seems too difficult to hold back this year, he is fighting for a podium in the champion jockeys’ title with 46 triumphs to date (albeit a bit lower profile compared to previous years).

First major harness wins

What’s new for Yoann is he is now driving some excellent harness performers. With Jos Verbeeck on the sidelines here in France, Philippe Allaire has booked him to pilot some of his best harness players. In the sulky, Lebourgeois has been bang on target in Italy and in the Critérium des 3 Ans with Charly du Noyer. His exceptional aptitude to set the pace while keeping enough gas in the tank for the home stretch means the driver from Normandy is definitely one to be reckoned with.

Check out his major career wins here:

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