Day At The Track
The Elitloppet at Solvalla in 2019

Elitloppet receiving record international interest

26 May 2020 - The Elitloppet at Solvalla racecourse - the largest event on the Swedish harness racing calendar - is set to attract betting interest from a record 18 countries, former racing monopoly AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) has said. In addition to Sweden, bets will be taken from Finland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Hungary, Greece, the UK, Malta, South Africa, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Bets from eleven of these countries will go towards the Swedish pari-mutuel pool, while the remaining countries’ bets will be part of their own racing pools. However, ATG did not say exactly which countries would be commingling, and which would be operating their own pools. “It is truly inspiring that the Elitloppet is attracting so much international interest,” Ylva Svensson, head of international at ATG, said. With sports and racing in many other countries suspended, ATG noted an increased level of international interest in Swedish harness racing, which has continued through the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. “We have taken our mission, to maintain interest in racing in Europe and the rest of the world during this crisis, as seriously as possible,” Svensson added. “The Elitloppet is one of the few sporting events that can be carried out this spring and so it’s receiving extra focus from many international gaming companies.” The race will take place on Sunday 31 May. Yesterday, Sweden’s Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi put forward an amended set of temporary restrictions on gambling in which he aims to make horse and sports betting exempt from an SEK5,000 (£401/€459/$495) weekly deposit limit. The exemption had previously been recommended by ATG in a consultation held on the original controls.

Zeal di Girifalco, harness racing

Kincsem Park racing returns

May 23, 2020 - Trotting action returned on May 23 (Saturday) at Kincsem Park with a competitive 12 race harness racing program. The featured Lajos Matucza Memorial (600,000Huf purse, 1960 meters distance handicap) went to the 1.1/1 odds favorite Zeal di Girifalco (5m Igor Font-Inviata d’Italia-Varenne) clocked in 1.17.2kr for his pilot amd trainer Veljko Mazsity. This was his 17th career win in 20 starts and his first in 2020 following an eight for 10 slate last year. He overcame a 20-meter handicap as he rallied to victory over another 20 meter handicapped performer, Milady Amok (7f Scarlet Knight) with Csaba Lakatos up. Third to the line was Unika Vik (7f Cantab Hall) for Goran Zolnaji. Zeal di Girifalco Earlier in the program were two events for three-year olds each raced over 1800 meters autostart and each for a 400,000Huf purse. The first went to 3/2 favorite Bolide Lakamy (3m Conway Hall-Nina di Jesolo-Supergill) with trainer Veljko Mazsity at the lines, his first 2020 victory in two outings. Race time was 1.19.9kr with the Berill Lady (3f Maximus Lindy) and Bombay (3m Vanito) next home. The second division saw 5.9/1 Borutica (3f Illetmeny-Night Lady-Tony Oaks) score for Hico and trainer/driver Tibor Hajnal clocked in 1.20.9kr. This was her first career victory and results from a fine pedigree. Bonaparte Boss (3g Napoleon) and Beautiful Yankee BD (3f Yankee Mustang) trailed the winner. The schedule has been released for major races in June and July. June 13 will be the date for the Janos Brody Memorial and Laszlo Ferge Memorial, both usually high class races. Thomas H. Hicks    

Dorgos de Guez, harness racing

70,000€ Groupe events at Mauquenchy

May 22, 2020 - Two Groupe level events graced the Vincennes at Mauquenchy harness racing program on Friday. The Prix du Crepuscule (Gr. III, purse 70,000€, 2150 meters autostart, European eligibles) saw Dorgos de Guez (7g Romcok de Guez-Landy Fromentro) score in 1.11.8kr with Alexandre Abrivard at the lines. Jean Michel Bazire trains this winner for Ecurie Vautors. Dorgos recorded his 22nd career victory now for 605,680€ earned. The classy mare Chica de Joudes (8f Jag de Bellouet-Queschua Love) was second for owner/trainer/driver Alain Laurent. Third went to Detroit Castelets (7m Neoh Jiel) handled by David Thomain for trainer J.L. Dersoir. Dorgos de Guez The Gr. II Prix Ozo (purse 85,000€, 2850 meters, 10 starters all three year olds) went to a game 5/10 favorite Havana d’Aurcy (3f Royal Dream-Avila) timed in 1.17.5kr with Alexandre Abrivard up for trainer Jean Michel Bazire and breeder/owner Cyril Lelarge. 9/2 odds Havanaise (3f Ricimer-Version Philo) took second with F.P. Bossuet the trainer/driver. Third was 15/1 Hirondelle Sibey (3f Gazouillis) for Eric Raffin. Havana d’Aurcy The day before turf action for the trotteurs was at Avignon-Le Pontet at Nimes. There, the Prix de la Ville du Pontet (purse 11,000€, 2850 meters distance handicap, three-year olds on the turf) went to Hede Wood (3f Niky-Care Mia Wood) in her first career victory, with David Bekaert aboard. She was timed in 1.24.3kr for breeder/owner Jean Pierre Dubois. Stablemate and 25 meter handicapped Horchestro (3g Sam Bourbon-Alismada Corta) was second for trainer Kevin Vanderschelden and of course breeder/owner JPD. The 25-meter penalized High Machine (3f Goetmals Wood) was third for Y.A. Briand and breeder/owner Ecurie des Charmes. Hede Wood (inside) Thomas H. Hicks  

2020 Elitloppet

Elitloppet 2020 draw complete

May 24, 2020  The 2020 Elitloppet draw is complete with its two harness racing elimination heats set for next Sunday. The first blue division includes Elian Web, Cokstile and Propulsion (from post eight). Billie de Montfort drew post two and is reunited with her pilot Gabriele Gelormini. The second green elimination includes probable favorite Vivid Wise As along with Missile Hill and Earl Simon (from post eight). Vivid Wise As was a recent transfer from Alessandro Gocciadoro to the Goop training stable. Thomas H. Hicks  

May 23, 2020 - Racing Mange (7m Orlando Vici-Kara Kickan-Alf Palema) held the front gamely to win the harness racing featured Gr. II STL Gold – Vagen till Elitloppet (purse to winner 300,000SEK, 1609 meters autostart, 10 starters) and earn an Elite Race ticket. Joakim Lovgren reined and trains the now 11th career winner that has earned 4,388,942SEK. It was his first 2020 victory in four outings, this timed in 1.09.7kr. He was off at 5.22/1 odds and trainer Lovgren previously handled an Elitloppet winner, Brioni. The blanket finish had Conrads Rodluva (5f SJs Caviar-Moviestar-Juliano Star) second for Orjan Kihlstrom and third went to Billie de Montfort with Bjorn Goop aboard. Billie was away from post one and settled briefly in third before vacating for a second over position. Past the thee quarter park she attacked but ended three wide as Conrads Rodluva pulled the pocked between horses. Racing Magne  Racing Mange accepted his winning auto invite to the Elite Race and now the field of 16 is set as he joined late invitees Milliondollarrhyme, Disco Volante, Billie de Montfort and Propulsion. They joined Earl Simon. Sorbet, Cokstile, Makethemark, Looking Superb, Missile Hill, Tae Kwon Deo, Attraversiamo, Elian Web, Chief Orlando and Vivid Wise As to form the group that will draw to compose two elimination dashes.   Elite Race oddsboard The Gavle undercard this day saw the STL Silver (purse 125,000SEK to the winner, 2640 meters autostart, 12 starters) go to 1.12.5kr timed Heading Reference (6g Scarlet Knight-Vista d’Eronville-Offshore Dream) reined by Daniel Wajersten. He was off at 67.9/1 odds in winning for the second time in five 2020 appearances, and defeated Viking Brodde (5g Muscle Hill-Vasterbo My Melody-Super Arnie) with Jorma Kontio up. Third was From The Mine (8g From Above-Kalmans Tap Girl-Tap In) with Magnus Djuse up. Heading Reference Earlier the STK Bronze (110,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters voltstart, 12 starters) went to 1.87/1 favorite Vikens High Yield (6m Love You-Primadonna Tuna-Viking Kronos) with Per Lennartsson up for trainer Robert Bergh. Race time was 1.13.1kr and the winner took his fifth 2020 victory in six starts, this his fourth straight score. Ribaude (7g Conny Nobell) and Concrete Dee (5g Donato Hanover) trailed the winner. Vikens High Yield Mixed in between these events was the coldblood featured Gunnar Walbergs DubbelCupen (200,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters voltstart distance handicap, 14 starters). 7.58/1 odds Gott Klirr (5m Asajerven) scored for teamster Mats E. Djuse and trainer Jan-Olov Persson, he of Jarvsofaks fame. Of note, this winner is part owned by Ake Svanstedt Inc. Thomas H. Hicks    

May 23, 2020 - Saturday harness racing action in France was at Laval, the card moved from Enghien due to shutdown of the populated Red areas. Here, the Quinte+ Prix de l’Obelisque (purse 56,000€, 2050 meters, 16 starters) went to 6.9/1 Dostoievski (7g Ganymede) clocked in 1.11.6kr. Eric Raffin drove this Jean Michel Bazire trainee for Ecurie des Charmes. This was his ninth career victory in 46 starts now for 325,980€. 5.2/1 Dream de Lasserie (7g Orlando Vici) was second for trainer/driver Romain Derieux and third went to 9/1 Cyriel d’Atom (8g Otello Pierji) for Franck Nivard. 36/1 Cash du Rib and 1.2/1 Dayana Berry completed the top five leading to a Q+ exact order payoff of 35,537.40€ Dostoievski On the undercard was the Prix du Rhone (purse 50,000€, 2050 meters autostart, 15 starters) with the 1.12.1kr timed victory to 16/1 Equinoxe Jiel (6m Rancho Gede-Themis Jiel) for pilot Gabriele Gelormini. Ecurie Luck owns the winner that is conditioned by J.L. Dersoir. 57/1 Eliseo (6g Timoko) and 61/1 El Diablo d’Aut (6m Saxo de Vandel) completed the top three. Equinoxe Jiel Ahead on May 26 is the Prix Victory Cavey (Gr. II monte, 2950 meters, purse 85,000€, five-year olds) to be raced at Mans due to Red area shutdown. This great field includes Fleche Bourbon, Flicka de Blary and Fidele Royal. It should be a super event. Thomas H. Hicks  

May 24, 2020 - Astor de Rozoy (10m Ready Cash-Natacha de Rozoy) overcame a 25-meter handicap to win today’s fifth leg of the harness racing Trophee Vert series raced at Villeneuve Sur Lot as the Prix de l’Agglameration du Grand Villere (purse 40,000€, 2600 meters distance handicap). The winner scored in a quick 1.14.7kr over the turf with L.J. Legros teaming for owner J.P. Lemelletier and trainer J. M. Legros to record his 19th career victory. Astor’s life earnings reached 256,570€ with the victory. The 25-meter handicapped Derby du Dollar (7m Rodrigo Jet) was second for pilot Cedric Terry and trainer Sylvain Roger with Darse Melody (7f Niky) third with Guillaume Martin at the lines. 50-meter penalized Aribo Mix was fourth followed by Calvia, both of these conditioned by Dominik Cordeau. Astor de Rozoy   Thomas H. Hicks  

Action returned this day to Le Croise-Laroche for the fifth harness racing leg of the Gr. III Grand National du Trot Paris-Turf for five to ten year olds (purse 75,000€, 2825 meters distance handicap). The impressive Fleche du Yucca (5f Prodigious-Vincenza) took a give and go strategy to rally for victory timed in 1.14.1kr. Jean Philippe Dubois teamed the Ecurie Victoria Dreams mare that Philippe Moulin trains to her 12th career victory now for 269,170€ earned. She has a 1-1-1 slate in her four 2020 appearances. This unchecked mare raced without front shoes. The 25- meter handicapped Drole de Jet (7m Coktail Jet-Likely Jet) was a game second timed in 1.13.6kr for trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse. The 25-meter penalized Frisbee d’Am (5m The Best Madrik) was third for Alexandre Abrivard and trainer Richard Westerink. 25 meter handicapped Fric du Chene (5m Nobody du Chene) was fourth for Francois Lagadeuc and fifth was Altius Fortis (10m Ganymede) with Philippe Masschaele aboard. attacking for the lead Watch the Replay here Ready Cash turned age 15 this week and recently Varenne reached 25. Two great champions!!! Ready Cash Varenne There are still five positions left to fill for the 2020 Elitloppet eliminations. Saturday May 23 will be a last chance to shine as the Gr. II International V75 Gold (300,000SEK to the winner, 1609 meters autostart) field will face the mobile at Gavle. We will see who joins Earl Simon, Sorbet, Cokstile, Makethemark, Looking Superb, Missile Hill, Tae Kwon Deo, Attraversiamo, Elian Web, Chief Orlando and Vivid Wise As. Zarenna FAS Scheduling changes have been implemented in FR from now to month end as co-called RED Covid19 areas are again banned from racing. The premier cards from May 22-29 have been moved as follows: May 22 – Vincennes to Mauquenchy May 23 – Enghien to Laval May 24 – La Capelle to Chartres May 25 – Amiens to Mauquenchy May 26 – Vincennes to Mans May 27 – Reims to Lyon Parilly May 29 – Vincennes to Laval Yesterday was groupe level action at Paris-Vincennes on this last day of racing there this month. There were three top races starting with the Prix Camilla (Gr. III, purse 60,000€, 2850 meters, four-year olds with Europeans eligible). Victory went to Girolamo (4m Uriel Speed-Seduction d’Anama) with Franck Ouvrie up timed in 1.12.8kr. This Sylvain Roger trainee that Noel Lolic owns now has a 2-1-1 slate in four 2020 starts and five career wins for 148,170€ earned. Stablemare Gimy du Pommereux (4m Coktail Jet-Noune du Pommereux) was next for Mathieu Mottier for the same connections and Lolic was the breeder. Gelati Cut (4m Coktail Jet-Variety Cut) took third with Alexandre Abrivard up for trainer R.C. Larue. Girolamo The Prix Heraclite (Gr. III, 2850 meters, four-year old European females) was next with All Wise As (4f Varenne-Temple Blue Chip) the 1.14.1kr winner for Gabriele Gelormini, trainer H.E. Bondo and owner Peter Wilhemsen. This was her first win in FR and her career earnings are now 140,103€. Gamme de Busset (4f Brillantissime-Ovelinotte d’Ylea) held on gamely for second with David Thomain up for trainer Philippe Allaire, with third to Greyline (4f Sam Bourbon-Si Seulement) for owner/trainer/driver Julien Dubois. All Wise As The Gr. II Prix Kalmia (purse 85,000€, 2700 meters, three tear olds) went to Helgafell (3m Charly du Noyer-Baaria) was an impressive 1.13.8kr timed winner for Eric Raffin, trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Ecurie Normandy Spirit. Helgafell has a 2-1-0 slate in four starts this year. Hooker Berry (3m Booster Winner-Osaka Berry) was second with trainer Jean Michel Bazire up for owner Michel Aladenise. Hugh de Banville (3m Akim du Cap Vert-Sissi de Banville) took third for owner/trainer/driver Franck Anne. Helgafell Watch the replay here. It was a good day of racing and much more will soon follow.   LeTrot, ATG files/photos Thomas H. Hicks

Just over two weeks after trans-Tasman equine flights resumed following a COVID-19-enforced shutdown, exports from New Zealand to Australia have been suspended indefinitely yet again, this time due to a possible case of equine piroplasmosis. On May 20, New Zealand's Ministry of Primary Industries informed exporters that shipments to Australia had been suspended with immediate effect. A flight Tuesday night was prevented from leaving the country, and another shipment, scheduled for Friday night, is also expected to be held over as the department negotiates alternative arrangements with their Australian counterparts, the Department of Agriculture. Friday's flight, though, was still scheduled to depart as of Wednesday night; a number of owners with horses set for that shipment had not been informed about any potential delay. Equine piroplasmosis has never been identified in New Zealand before, but MPI director for animal health and welfare Chris Rodwell confirmed that a mare tested positive to equine piroplasmosis in a pre-export blood test. The mare had arrived in New Zealand last year from a European Union country that is known to harbor the tick-borne disease. Further testing is expected to confirm that the horse is infected with Theileria equi, one of two known parasites to transmit equine piroplasmosis. Rodwell told ANZ Bloodstock News: "Further blood tests have been taken from the mare, and we expect confirmation of whether the horse is negative or positive for the disease by the end of this week. "Theileria equi is a blood disease that causes anemia and is spread from animal to animal by ticks. The horse in question was imported to New Zealand from the EU early last year for breeding. No signs of disease in the animal have been reported in its time here." While the disease cannot be passed from horse to horse without the ticks known to transmit the parasite—with those tick species not found in New Zealand—most veterinary agreements with other countries require that equine piroplasmosis has not been present in the exporting country for a certain period of time. For Australia, the requirement is three years—meaning that, under the current certification process, trans-Tasman exports would be banned until 2023. While other arrangements are likely to be determined as a matter of urgency, it is a blow to the beleaguered New Zealand industry at a time when it is already under tremendous pressure. Even a temporary ban has the potential to upset spring preparations and breeding plans for New Zealand-based mares in Australia. On Wednesday night, MPI was moving to reassure horse owners that they were working as fast as possible with an aim to find a quick solution. "MPI is aware this situation may cause some concern to those in the equine sector, and work is underway to resolve things as quickly as possible to ensure ongoing horse exports are not interrupted," Rodwell said. "Some countries, including Australia, that import horses from New Zealand require certification that New Zealand is free of Theileria equi. This current suspect test result has meant that MPI cannot currently provide that assurance of country-freedom status. The ministry's market access specialists are working with Australian authorities to explore alternative assurance options to allow exports to continue." Biosecurity New Zealand has already started an investigation to confirm that it is an isolated case of equine piroplasmosis, but questions remain as to how a case could not only have occurred in New Zealand but how it could have gone undetected for so long. "The horse met MPI's importing requirements in that it had received a negative test for Theileria equi within 30 days of shipment," Rodwell said. "Before shipment, horses are quarantined and treated to remove any ticks that may be present. They are also further inspected and quarantined on arrival." According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, either of the two parasites that carry equine piroplasmosis—Babesia caballi and Theileria equi—can be found on most continents, including much of Europe. The Theileria equi parasite has also been reported in Australia in the past; the most recent case was an outbreak in the Southern Highlands region of New South Wales in 1976, but it did not take hold, and Australia is now considered to be free of equine piroplasmosis. The official zoosanitary certificate, which must be certified prior to export to Australia, states that New Zealand must have been free of 16 diseases for a three-year period prior to export; equine piroplasmosis is on that list, along with the likes of African horse sickness, equine influenza, and glanders. MPI's Dr. Emma Passmore stated in an email to exporters: "The export certificate for horses traveling to Australia, either for transit or permanent import, requires MPI to certify that no clinical, epidemiological, or other evidence of equine piroplasmosis has occurred in New Zealand within the three-year period immediately prior to export. This can no longer be certified, and exports to or via Australia are suspended with immediate effect." While Australia is the biggest market to be affected and also has notoriously strict quarantine laws, exports to other countries will also be potentially compromised. Macau requires the exporting country to have been free of equine piroplasmosis for two years, and Singapore asks for extra tests and treatments to be completed if the country has not been free from equine piroplasmosis for 12 months. The United States also requires that the country has been free of equine piroplasmosis for 12 months. Japan has no time frame but also requires a piroplasmosis-free environment. However, Hong Kong's requirements are less stringent, simply requiring a horse not to have completed its pre-export quarantine on premises where equine piroplasmosis has occurred in the 60 days prior to export. Exporters on Wednesday night were digesting the ban and the potential implications that may follow if it is prolonged beyond the next couple of weeks. Most suggested that the immediate suspension of exports to Australia was an unfortunate but required step. "This is very disappointing news, but the suspension is totally necessary at this time," Equine International Airfreight managing director Cameron Croucher said. "Just as flights were starting to operate across the Tasman after the COVID-19 shutdowns, outcomes of this nature will be very disappointing to owners and trainers who now face a further delay in relocating their bloodstock. "I'm sure that both government departments in New Zealand and Australia will work very hard to find a quick solution to resume services once confirmatory testing is completed. Also, a proper investigation is needed into how this has been allowed to occur, which could have a massive impact on the New Zealand Thoroughbred industry if the suspension is prolonged, especially leading into the Southern Hemisphere breeding season." In the past week, a number of New Zealand horses have been confirmed as relocating to Australia, and Cambridge Stud last week announced that a number of its fillies would join the Te Akau assault on the Melbourne spring. In addition, almost 200 mares crossed the Tasman from New Zealand for breeding purposes in 2019, with a similar number expected this year. By Andrew Hawkins/ANZ Bloodstock News Reprinted with permission of Bloodhorse

May 17, 2020 - Ble du Gers (9g Quinoa du Gers-Moorea-Baccarat du Pont) rallied three wide early in the last lap from his 40 meter handicap to win the harness racing Summer Meeting Stayer (purse to the winner 100,000DKK, 2950 meter distance handicap, voltstart, 14 starters) at Charlottenlund. He scored timed in 1.14.8kr and went off as the 2.33/1 favorite. There were four false starts. This Jean Michel Bazire trainee was reined superbly by Joseph Verbeeck. Ble du Gers won for the first time in three 2020 appearances and now shows a 21-13-6 slate in 70 career starts. His life earnings increased to 8,935,242DKK. Tuxedo Bi (8g Love You-Iberia Bi-Supergill) was second with a strong late run for pilot Rick Ebbinge and far back third was Peakadilly (6m Mythical Lindy) with trainer Steen Juul aboard. Ble du Gers Replay http://sportech.webstream.dk/player_vod/?date=2020-05-17&countrycode=DK&track=ch&race=11&checksum=f7f94276a73cb84bddbce0f08657ab215885f476 Thomas H. Hicks  

May 17, 2020 -The 27/1 outsider Heart Of Steel (5g Cantab Hall-Angel Heikant-Open The Sky) took today’s harness racing Menhammar Copenhagen Cup (purse to the winner 250,000DKK 2011 meters autostart, nine starters) held at the Charlottenlund racecourse. Timed in 1.12.3kr, this Peter Untersteiner trained and reined performer won for the first time in three 2020 starts and it was his 14th career victory in 48 outings. He rallied late along with second finishing Milligan’s School (7m Yankee Glide) with Ulf Eriksson up and third finishing Mister F Daag (5m Conway Hall-Miss Love-Love You) for Robin Bakker, as this group along with Makethemark descended on then pacesetting heavy favorite Zacon Gio (5m Ruty Grif). Zacon Gio, a winner of ten straight going in, was very rank in the scoring and after settling third on the pegs, surged three-wide past the quarter to what appeared to be a commanding lead. However, late in the final bend he showed signs of tiring and then weakened in late stretch under urging. The other well-regarded Italian invader Vitruvio was a miscue dq. Heart Of Steel The Copenhagen Cup began in 1928 and has staged some impressive victories by the likes of Robert Bi (1.10.0kr in 2015), Victory Tilly, Moni Maker, SJs Photo, Meadow Roland (three time winner), Ideal du Gazeau, Walter Dear (twice), Roquepine, Gelinotte, Elaine Rodney and Mara Bourbon. Thomas H. Hicks

May 16, 2020 - Ecurie D (4m Infinitif-Too Soon-Muscles Yankee) won today’s Ina Scots at Mantorp (purse to winner 250,000SEK, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) from post 12, timed in 1.12.2kr with Bjorn Goop at the lines for Global Glide AB, Smart Repair and trainer Frode Hamre. He scored at 2/1 odds for the ninth time in as many career starts. His life earnings are now 1.595,525SEK. This colt was bred in Denmark by Jean Pierre Dubois and represents Franco-American pedigree as shown below. Ecurie D raced in the death seat throughout albeit he took a very brief two-hole off the final bend behind the second finishing Armour As (4m Varenne-Southwind As-Turbo Sund) and Stefan Persson for trainer Jerry Riordan. Third was Rally Hans (4m Scarlet Knight-Loveletter-Love You) for Mika Forss and trainer Stefan Melander. Ecurie D Goop also scored in the Arne Erikssons (110,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters voltstart, 14 starters) with his trainee Karamel Hill (6f Juliano Star-Fredrika Kemp-Alf Palema) that was bred in Norway and is now owned there by Jorn Stamm. This was her second win in three 2020 starts and her life earnings are now 658,387SEK. Off at 1.8/1 she overcame a 20-meter handicap and defeated Millie Millionaire (7f Jacose-Melby Tempo-Varenne) that was handicapped 40 meters and reined by Orjan Kilhstrom. Third went to 40-meter penalized Vikens Fingerprint (5f Prodigious) for Oskar J. Andersson. Karamel Hill Robert Bergh won the V75 Gold (150,000SEK, 2640 meters autostart) with his trainee 2.7/1 Mindyourvalue WF (7g Hovding Lavec-Mind Your Manners-Dahir de Prelong) timed in 1.13.1kr. Handsome Brad (6m Dream Vacation-Emma Rose-Andover Hall) was a good second for Carl Johan Jepson and Dreammoko (4h Timoko) was third for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop. MIndyourvalue WF   Goop’s other winners this day were with Zap di Girifalco in the V75 Bronze, Ale’ Pride Gar in a four year old event, and Hidalgo Heldia in a three year old race.   Thomas H. Hicks  

May 14, 2020 - Era de Lavadour (6f Flash de Cosse-Melba du Chatelet) took the Thursday GP Dynavena Maisagri (purse 30,000€, 2550 meters distance handicap, 18 starters) at Beaumont de Lomagne in this harness racing reopening week in France. The 3.3/1 odds winner was timed in 1.15.2kr as she won for the sixth time in 53 career starts for 183,770€. Mathieu Auvray owns, trains and drove Era de Lavadour. The 25-meter handicapped and 1.6/1 favorite Cap de Narmont (8m Islero de Bellouet) was second for Denis Brossard individually timed in 1.14.7kr. 16/1 Camiros du Goutier (8g Quido du Goutier) was third for Jerome Chavette. 26/1 Christmas du Cebe and 9/1 Boxing Day completed the top five with Boxing Day racing well timed in 1.14.8kr with his 25-meter handicap. Era de Lavador The 18 horse field in late race action Early in the week the veteran horseman Jean Pierre Dubois won twice with another second in his three drives. On May 11 at Le Croise-Laroche JPD was second with Hello Jo Darling (3m Bird Parker-Lets Go Along) in a three year old event and that was followed by a victory for Gospel Truth (4g Sam Bourbon-Rebelle) clocked in 1.15.4kr in the Prix de Wasquchal (purse 12,000€, 2700 meters autostart, an Open des Regions Grand Nord event). JPB breed this winner through his Scuderia Bolgheri Srl and J.A. Hernandez-Navarro is the trainer. Gospel Truth The next JPB winner was May 13 at Mareille Borely in the Prix de Septemes Les Vallons (purse 23,000€, 2300 meters autostart, an Open des Regions Sud-Est three year old contest). He scored with Headline (3f Brillantissime-Mara Bourbon) in 1.15.4kr, her third victory in the last five starts. Kevin Vanderschelden trains this nice filly that was bred by Dubois’ Ecurie Dream With Me. Headline On the Elitloppet front, Earl Simon and Sorbet have been added to invitee list. They join Cokstile, Makethemark, Looking Superb, Missile Hill, Tae Kwon Deo, Attraversiamo, Elian Web, Chief Orlando and Vivid Wise As. Earl Simon won this week at Caen easily defeating a good field that included Bold Eagle. Earl Simon We expect others to follow (five open spots remain) after Sunday’s Copenhagen Cup 2020 at Charlottenlund. Zacon Gio and Vitruvio will be ones to watch. Zacon Gio is conditioned by Holger Ehlert and was the 2019 Yonkers International winner.   Thomas H. Hicks  

May 13, 2020 - The Prix Calvados (monte, purse 35,000€, 2450 meters voltstart, 16 European eligibles) began the excellent monte harness racing action this day at Caen with two groupe level tests on the stage. The 1.13.0kr timed winner of the monte kickoff was 6.9/1 Diamant de Treabat (7g Kuadro Wild-Sud Africa) handled by Clement Frecelle. The 1.9/1 favorite Emir de Rebomard (6g Kepler-Ufania de Guez), with Julien Raffestin up took second, and 9/1 odds Chalimar de Guez (8g Nahar de Beval-Phoebe de Guez) was third with J-Y Ricard aboard for trainer J.M. Bazire. Diamant de Treabat The Gr. I Prix Saint-Leger des Trotteurs (monte, purse 100,000€, 2450 meters voltstart, 14 starters) was quite a contest with the top three at the finish together, all clocked in 1.15.6kr. The winner was 37/1 Hopla des Louanges (3f Gazouillis-Jolie Lily) with Adrien Lamy in the irons for trainer Franck Leblanc. This was her second 2020 victory in six starts (the year and career). 9/1 Happiness Ellis (3f Opus Viervil-Belle de Cahot) was next for Mathieu Mottier, with 91/1 Hera Landia (3f Ludo de Castelle-Tina des Loups) third handled by P. Ph. Ploquin. Hispanen and Hytte du Terrior completed the top five. Six of the 14 starters were fillies. The Prix Henri Balliere (Groupe II monte, purse 85,000€, 2450 meters voltstart, 14 starters) wrapped up the groupe level monte action this day, with victory to 1.14.3kr timed and 6/1 odds Guide Moi Forgan (4m Neutron du Cebe-Trajane) with jockey Christopher Corbineau in the irons. This was her second 2020 victory in four starts and fourth lifetime win in 13 outings. The 12/1 Gainsborough (4m Bird Parker-Redemption Song) was second for Yoann Lebourgeois and trainer Romain Derieux. Third went to 9/1 Gemme de Busset (4f Brillantissime-Overlinotte d’Ylea) with David Thomain at the lines for trainer Philippe Allaire. Grace de Fael and Gatsby Perrine followed the top three. Guide Moi Forgan Thomas H. Hicks  

May 13. 2020 - Earl Simon (6m Prodigious-Tindrana), with Franck Ouvrie up, powered away from his rivals to win today’s harness racing Prix des Ducs de Normandie (purse 110,000€, 2450 meters voltstart, 16 starters) at Caen in a quick 1.11.0kr. Off at 10/1 Earl Simon was away to the lead that he wrested from first leading Bold Eagle and then yielded to Bugsy Malone. Ouvrie then moved the winner to the front in early stretch and they jetted away to an easy victory. Jorma Niskanen trains Earl Simon for Ecurie Skytten and he now shows a 2-2-2 slate in six 2020 starts. He is 15 for 33 in the career. Enino du Pommereux (6m Coktail Jet-Noune du Pommereux) was second for pilot Mathieu Abrivard and trainer Sylvain Roger at 26/1. Stablemate Delia du Pommereux was third but disqualified for interference in mid stretch. That placed Bold Eagle (9m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) third at 12/1 with Eric Raffin up for trainer Sebastien Guarato. Feeling Cash (5m Ready Cash-Royale Star) was placed fourth at 134/1 and handled by David Thomain for Philippe Allaire. His 12/1 stablemate Bugsy Malone (9g Ready Cash-Night Captain) was placed fifth with Yoann Lebourgeois aboard. Ceylan Dairpet was a dq and the big favorite 3/10 Cleangame was unplaced. Cleangame was away toward the back on the far outside and moved up by the top of stretch before weakening. There was a “false depart” that appeared to have been Bold Eagle caused. Earl Simon Replay - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mbg0SJT04Xc   Racing in France resumed on Monday with a card at Vichy. Germany also opened with racing at Munich Daglfin. Next up for the top rung of trotteurs is May 17 at Charlottenlund with the Copenhagen Cup that drew a good field as shown below. Expect more Elitloppet invites to flow from this event to join the current invitees Cokstile, Makethemark, Looking Superb, Missile Hill, Tae Kwon Deo, Attraversiamo, Elian Web, Chief Orlando and Vivid Wise As. Thomas H. Hicks  

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26 May 2020 - The Elitloppet at Solvalla racecourse - the largest event on the Swedish harness racing calendar - is set to attract betting interest from a record 18 countries, former racing monopoly AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) has said. In addition to Sweden, bets will be taken from Finland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Hungary, Greece, the UK, Malta, South Africa, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Bets from eleven of these countries will go towards the Swedish pari-mutuel pool, while the remaining countries’ bets will be part of their own racing pools. However, ATG did not say exactly which countries would be commingling, and which would be operating their own pools. “It is truly inspiring that the Elitloppet is attracting so much international interest,” Ylva Svensson, head of international at ATG, said. With sports and racing in many other countries suspended, ATG noted an increased level of international interest in Swedish harness racing, which has continued through the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. “We have taken our mission, to maintain interest in racing in Europe and the rest of the world during this crisis, as seriously as possible,” Svensson added. “The Elitloppet is one of the few sporting events that can be carried out this spring and so it’s receiving extra focus from many international gaming companies.” The race will take place on Sunday 31 May. Yesterday, Sweden’s Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi put forward an amended set of temporary restrictions on gambling in which he aims to make horse and sports betting exempt from an SEK5,000 (£401/€459/$495) weekly deposit limit. The exemption had previously been recommended by ATG in a consultation held on the original controls.
May 23, 2020 - Trotting action returned on May 23 (Saturday) at Kincsem Park with a competitive 12 race harness racing program. The featured Lajos Matucza Memorial (600,000Huf purse, 1960 meters distance handicap) went to the 1.1/1 odds favorite Zeal di Girifalco (5m Igor Font-Inviata d’Italia-Varenne) clocked in 1.17.2kr for his pilot amd trainer Veljko Mazsity. This was his 17th career win in 20 starts and his first in 2020 following an eight for 10 slate last year. He overcame a 20-meter handicap as he rallied to victory over another 20 meter handicapped performer, Milady Amok (7f Scarlet Knight) with Csaba Lakatos up. Third to the line was Unika Vik (7f Cantab Hall) for Goran Zolnaji. Zeal di Girifalco Earlier in the program were two events for three-year olds each raced over 1800 meters autostart and each for a 400,000Huf purse. The first went to 3/2 favorite Bolide Lakamy (3m Conway Hall-Nina di Jesolo-Supergill) with trainer Veljko Mazsity at the lines, his first 2020 victory in two outings. Race time was 1.19.9kr with the Berill Lady (3f Maximus Lindy) and Bombay (3m Vanito) next home. The second division saw 5.9/1 Borutica (3f Illetmeny-Night Lady-Tony Oaks) score for Hico and trainer/driver Tibor Hajnal clocked in 1.20.9kr. This was her first career victory and results from a fine pedigree. Bonaparte Boss (3g Napoleon) and Beautiful Yankee BD (3f Yankee Mustang) trailed the winner. The schedule has been released for major races in June and July. June 13 will be the date for the Janos Brody Memorial and Laszlo Ferge Memorial, both usually high class races. Thomas H. Hicks    
May 22, 2020 - Two Groupe level events graced the Vincennes at Mauquenchy harness racing program on Friday. The Prix du Crepuscule (Gr. III, purse 70,000€, 2150 meters autostart, European eligibles) saw Dorgos de Guez (7g Romcok de Guez-Landy Fromentro) score in 1.11.8kr with Alexandre Abrivard at the lines. Jean Michel Bazire trains this winner for Ecurie Vautors. Dorgos recorded his 22nd career victory now for 605,680€ earned. The classy mare Chica de Joudes (8f Jag de Bellouet-Queschua Love) was second for owner/trainer/driver Alain Laurent. Third went to Detroit Castelets (7m Neoh Jiel) handled by David Thomain for trainer J.L. Dersoir. Dorgos de Guez The Gr. II Prix Ozo (purse 85,000€, 2850 meters, 10 starters all three year olds) went to a game 5/10 favorite Havana d’Aurcy (3f Royal Dream-Avila) timed in 1.17.5kr with Alexandre Abrivard up for trainer Jean Michel Bazire and breeder/owner Cyril Lelarge. 9/2 odds Havanaise (3f Ricimer-Version Philo) took second with F.P. Bossuet the trainer/driver. Third was 15/1 Hirondelle Sibey (3f Gazouillis) for Eric Raffin. Havana d’Aurcy The day before turf action for the trotteurs was at Avignon-Le Pontet at Nimes. There, the Prix de la Ville du Pontet (purse 11,000€, 2850 meters distance handicap, three-year olds on the turf) went to Hede Wood (3f Niky-Care Mia Wood) in her first career victory, with David Bekaert aboard. She was timed in 1.24.3kr for breeder/owner Jean Pierre Dubois. Stablemate and 25 meter handicapped Horchestro (3g Sam Bourbon-Alismada Corta) was second for trainer Kevin Vanderschelden and of course breeder/owner JPD. The 25-meter penalized High Machine (3f Goetmals Wood) was third for Y.A. Briand and breeder/owner Ecurie des Charmes. Hede Wood (inside) Thomas H. Hicks  
May 24, 2020  The 2020 Elitloppet draw is complete with its two harness racing elimination heats set for next Sunday. The first blue division includes Elian Web, Cokstile and Propulsion (from post eight). Billie de Montfort drew post two and is reunited with her pilot Gabriele Gelormini. The second green elimination includes probable favorite Vivid Wise As along with Missile Hill and Earl Simon (from post eight). Vivid Wise As was a recent transfer from Alessandro Gocciadoro to the Goop training stable. Thomas H. Hicks  

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