Nesta Effe looks to repeat in Finlandia-Ajo

10:41 PM 09 May 2014 NZST
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Nesta Effe, harness racing Philippe Allaire, harness racing
Can Nesta Effe repeat in the Finlandia-Ajo?
Paris Turf Photo
Philippe Daugeard trains and drives Univers de Pan
Paris Turf Photo
Defending Finlandia-Ajo champion Nesta Effe faces a stiff challenge to his crown from rising French star Univers de Pan and Swedish star Sanity at Vermo , Saturday night.

The group one Finnish race is over the mile distance and Holger Ehlert will have his Italian-bred chestnut journeyman primed for a race in a country in which he has excelled.

Neste Effe not only won this race last year,but he also won the Prix Etain Royal the first of the Scandinavian big spring races which was won this year by Warkentin mare Prussia in stunning fashion.

She lines up again, but there is a feeling that on paper, last year's was a much stronger field, perhaps due to the untimely clash this season with the Copenhagen Cup.

Mr Picolit, who ran third last year is defending his Copenhagen Crown, while Monster Drive who was fourth, chose a trip to Italy last weekend for the Lotteria where he made the final.

Commander Crowe, who also appeared in both races last year, has not also reappeared for his 11th season.

So this leaves the big three, really looking a class above the opposition in this race.

Malin Lofgren's Sanity won four races in France over the lucrative winter period, and also finished second and third, and has a win and two second since he returned to Scandinavian racing. The son of Love You is just a super tough competitor and demands the ultimate respect here.

Philippe Daugeard's Univers de Pan is one of the French elite ranks, and the fact that he is racing on the 1000m Scandinavian is something of a coup for the organizers of the race.

A true French bred son of Kenya du Pont, the only American bloodlines in his pedigree ironically stem from his sireline, his great-great grandsire being Star's Pride. He is the only one of his fifth line 32 descendants who is American. Not one of the other five lines of pedigree is of US breeding.

But that is of interest only to the breeding buff, he was second in the Prix de France and has no less than four group two victories. On a wide open track he'd street this field.

The fact that he is putting his credentials on the line on a 1000m track, and an acknowledged hard track at that, speaks of a greater goal. A fast mile time, perhaps with the lucrative Swedish breeding market taking not of performance above such a "French" pedigree.

This is a race which has been run since 1980, and is regarded as Finland's biggest trotting event.

A few facts

Horses with most wins

2 - Giesolo de Lou (1999, 2000)

2 - Napoletano (1988, 1989)[3]

Drivers with most wins

3 - Jean-Michel Bazire (2005, 2008, 2009)

3 - Stig H. Johansson (1988, 1989, 2004)

3 - Jorma Kontio (1985, 1986, 2007)

2 - Olle Goop (1983, 1987)

2 - Joseph Verbeeck (1998, 2003)

Trainers with most wins

3 - Fabrice Souloy (2003, 2008, 2009)

2 - Jean-Etienne Dubois (1999, 2000)

2 - Stig Engberg (1988, 1989)

2 - Olle Goop (1983, 1987)

Sires with most winning offsprings

2 - Biesolo (Giesolo de Lou, Oiseau de Feux)

2 - Quick Pay (Atas Fighter L., Born Quick)

2 - Texas (Grades Singing, Copiad)

2 - Super Bowl (Davidia Hanover, Napoletano

Countries, number of wins

10 - United States

9 - France

7 - Sweden

4 - Finland

Fastest winners

1:10.6 (km rate) - Quarcio du Chene (2010)

All winners of Finlandia-Ajo[edit]

Year Horse Driver Trainer Winning horse's native country Winning time

2013 Nesta Effe Roberto Vecchione Holger Ehlert Italy 1:10.9

2012 Sebastian K Björn Goop Björn Goop Sweden 1:11.1

2011 Commander Crowe Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy Sweden 1:13.7

2010 Quarcio du Chene Björn Goop Björn Goop France 1:10.6

2009 Igor Font Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy France 1:11.8

2008 Oiseau de Feux Jean-Michel Bazire Fabrice Souloy France 1:11.3

2007 Opal Viking Jorma Kontio Nils Enqvist Sweden 1:10.8

2006 Hot Shot Knick Thomas Uhrberg Kari Lähdekorpi Sweden 1:11.5

2005 Kart de Baudrairie Jean-Michel Bazire Franck Leblanc France 1:12.2

2004 Rotation Stig H. Johansson Stig H. Johansson United States 1:12.5

2003 Kiwi Joseph Verbeeck Fabrice Souloy France 1:12.0

2002 H.P. Paque Trond Smedshammer Trond Smedshammer United States 1:11.7

2001 B.W.T. Magic Ahti Antti-Roiko Matti Salmi Finland 1:11.2

2000 Giesolo de Lou Jean-Etienne Dubois Jean-Etienne Dubois France 1:11.2

1999 Giesolo de Lou Pierre Vercruysse Jean-Etienne Dubois France 1:11.6

1998 Dryade des Bois Joseph Verbeeck Jean-Baptiste Bossuet France 1:12.5

1997 Zoogin Ã…ke Svanstedt Ã…ke Svanstedt Sweden 1:12.1

1996 Isla J. Brave Aki Antti-Roiko Petri Klemola Finland 1:12.5

1995 SJ's Photo David Wade David Wade United States 1:13.3

1994 Copiad Erik Berglöf Erik Berglöf Sweden 1:12.5

1993 Born Quick Tommy Hanné Tommy Hanné Finland 1:12.1

1992 Otto-Mani Antti Teivainen Esa Aronen Finland 1:13.7

1991 Atas Fighter L. Torbjörn Jansson Torbjörn Jansson Sweden 1:13.5

1990 Florida Jewel William Fahy John Holloway United States 1:13.3

1989 Napoletano Stig H. Johansson Stig Engberg United States 1:12.9

1988 Napoletano Stig H. Johansson Stig Engberg United States 1:14.1

1987 Grades Singing Olle Goop Olle Goop United States 1:14.1

1986 Davidia Hanover Jorma Kontio Per Eriksson United States 1:14.7

1985 Keystone Patton Jorma Kontio Antti Savolainen United States 1:14.1

1984 Shane T. Hanover Per Henriksen Per Henriksen United States 1:14.9

1983 Speedy Magnus Olle Goop Olle Goop Sweden 1:13.2

1982 Dartster F. Olle Hedin Olle Hedin Sweden 1:13.9

1981 Ideal du Gazeau Eugene Lefevre Eugene Lefevre France 1:14.3

1980 Ejakval Jean-Claude David Jean-Claude David France 1:15.6

by David Sanders, for Harnesslink.com

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