Two days before the Prix de l’Atlantique, Ytonnan is one of the favourites. Is he ready for this meeting?
“Listen, it’s all right. The horse is currently with Frank Leblanc in Mayenne for the riding season, so he is very cheerful and excited. Otherwise, it remained very flexible and at the same time worked. So far we are not bad. »
The duel between Astonishing and Vivid Wise As will continue to fuel the debate. How do you prepare for a fight with an opponent you know very well, like Vivid Wise As?
“No, there are no special changes in preparation. The horse always works the same way. Amazing has reached maturity, we have nothing more to teach him. He has speed, hardness too. This service is well maintained more than anything else. »
What are the current advantages of Etonnant over Vivid Wise As?
“Hardness, of course. Compared to the Italian horse, he may have less agility and sheer speed, that’s a fact. But last time in Kanye, at the Grand Criterium de Vitesse, he proved that resilience was his forte. He is a horse who always gives his all, and this is important. »
Is number 5 right for you?
“The number is not a problem. Either way, you’ll have to adapt. Surprisingly, it can be very difficult if pulled too tight. It was better in Kanye, he is much more applied. No, to be honest, the number is not uncomfortable, we would have had 8, he was the same. The horse must remain focused and comfortable. It is important not to move him too much in the first few meters or he will die. The first few meters will be decisive. »
Prix de l’Atlantique 2021, on this Enghien course, you will finish second behind Vivid Wise As. What needs to be changed to better fit this track and get the best?
“Maybe our racing pace, I really don’t know. You know, he’s a horse that can get tense and clumsy very quickly. He must remain in a good mood. After that, the races go fast, you can be beaten in a racing incident. But he has nothing to envy anyone. »
As a driver and with many years of experience, is it still so exciting to prepare for this kind of meeting?
“Barely. We, drivers or jockeys, do this job to experience these moments. Throughout the year, our preparation is conditioned by such an encounter. Horses like Etonnant are rare and I am lucky to be associated with him, it’s great We never get tired of it, that’s for sure.”
You have many years of experience behind you, as well as a rich track record, what is missing in your trophy piggy bank?
(Laughs). “A lot is still missing, even more than I have acquired. But, of course, the Prize of America. When you have a horse like Etonnant, you want to win this race, especially since you were the favorite this year. Well, it didn’t go as planned, but it’s still a dream. »
Do you think it’s still possible to win the Prix d’Amérique Legend Race with Etonnant?
“Of course. As long as the horse stays where it is now, anything is possible. He’s capable of competing with the biggest ones, so yes, it’s still possible.”
That we can wish you all the best for the rest of the year?
“May the spring and summer campaigns go well. I will attack the European season with Ce Bello Romain. It is possible that Etonnant will also go to Sweden on Elitloppet, because he was invited there. It will depend on his race on Saturday. That’s all horses stay in shape to have good results. »