Jean-René Gougeon was the official driver of the legendary Ourasi. Together, they have won the Prix d’Amerique three times, in 1986, 87 and 88. Health problems forced him to retire as a pilot. It was his brother Michel who took his place on the sulky of the “Lazy King” to lead him to his fourth victory in the World Championship in harnessed trotting, in 1990. He is one of the most famous examples of a couple of champions. The chemistry between an equine and its partner is essential for victory, especially at the highest level.
The choice of driver for a horse is often quite simple. The coach usually goes sulky. This is the case for example with Jean-Michel Bazire who owns both caps. He will most likely team up with Davidson du Pont in Prix d’Amérique Races ZEturf Legend Race. Junior Guelpa is in the same configuration with his beloved mare Bahia Quesnot. Other coaches are not pilots or more rarely get sulky. They give way to drivers who only exercise this activity, or have a reduced workforce under their responsibility. Since September 2018, Sébastien Guarato has entrusted his resident Face Time Bourbon to Björn Goop. The Swede has more than 7,000 races won and 12 best driver titles in a row in his country.
Most of the tandems competing in the Prix d’Amérique Races ZEturf are strong-willed, acquired, logical or have been in operation for quite a long time. This is the case of the associations Gabriele Gelormini-Diable de Vauvert, David Thomain-Feliciano, Junior Guelpa-Bahia Quesnot, Franck Nivard (the most successful driver in Prix d’Amérique with five successes)-Gu d’Héripré, Alessandro Gocciadoro-Vivid Wise As and Alexandre Abrivard-Féérie Wood. Other duets remain more uncertain or have yet to be defined. Pierre Vercruysse is expected to pilot Moni Viking, as Drôle de Jet, his usual partner, failed to qualify. It is still uncertainty for Délia du Pommereux (our photo), previously associated with Franck Nivard, who chose Gu d´Héripré, and David Thomain, selected on Feliciano. Sylvain Roger, mentor of the mare, does not want the driver. He could call on Matthieu Abrivard, who is free for the moment. As for Jean-Michel Bazire, he must find a driver for his other qualified protégé, Victor Ferm.