Finland has punched above its weight for a long time in harness racing.
Think of the great Commander Crowe, bred and originally owned and trained by Finnwho has lived for many years in Halmstad Sweden, like many Finns do, to make a living out of the sport they love including until recently trainer Kari Lahdekorpi, from Huittenen, who was the champion Swedish trainer in 2007-8 and 2004 trainer of the year until his shock retirement this year.
No one in Scandinavia has driven more winners then Swedish based Finn, while compatriot and long-time patron Timo Nurmos, is one of the top trainers in Sweden.
Yet another Finnis the breeder and owner of one of the rising superstars Brad de Veluwe, the European Derby winner last year, and runner up in the European Championship for five year-olds last week.
Brad de Veluwe is by, himself owned by a Finn Erkki Laakkonen, although resident in the United States. Finland is also home to two champion US sires in and , among others, and the rapid improvement of Finnish horses can be seen by the likes of She Loves You, who won the elite mares race at Solvalla on Elitloppet weekend last year.
And on Sunday, the next crop of 3YOS will line up for the Finnish Trav Kriterium, where perhaps the next Brad de Veluwe will emerge triumphant, including his trainer Korvenoja who will present the promisingcolt Jonesy.
Jonesy ran second to rising Italian star Rori Axe () in the Group II Prix Emile Wendling at Vincennes two starts ago, beating the highly touted Jean Pierre Dubois Donato Hanover filly Tast Of Bourbon into third place.
He was good enough to make the Group I E3 Final against the top Swedish 3YOs, where he was beaten into sixth place, following by one place last weekend’s Swedish Kriterium winner, Rokkakudo. He also has the fastest record in the field, 1.11.8 (1.55.2MR) which he acquired in Sweden.
Brad de Veluwe’s sire Andover Hall is represented this year by Greenleaf Slim, who was one of the early favourites for the race and has won six of his nine starts, and he will be driven by Mika Forss for trainer Heuikki Korhonen.
Nurmos will have Kontio (who has won this race five times, the first in 1979) aboard his Yankee Glide colt Zo Zo Hoss who has 4 wins from 8 starts in Sweden while he has another colt by dual Prix d’Amerique winning sire Offshore Dream in Dream Run who has had two wins from 4 starts in Sweden.
, who first won a Finnish Kritierium with Guiding Star in 1981, has four entrants with Express Duo (Express Ride), who has won the most money in the field, and was second in the Ulf Thorensen Minnelop.
Korpi also has Arctic Shot who is by Classic Photo, who sired the recent European Derby winner Mosaique Face, while he also has the filly Eden Duo by Orlando Vici who sired the European Championship for 5YOs winner Un Mec d’Heripre, while he also a colt by Finnish resident US sire Donerail in Good Dynamite.
Markku Nieminen’s Kadabra colt Harmi's Frido has won 61,000 euros from eight wins in 15 starts, has a good draw at 2 and also has the third fastest record at 1.13.8kr (1.58.4MR).
FINSKT TRAV KRITERIUM
2013-10-05 Group I 3YOs 2600m
1 Big Headache (3g E L Mikko - Southwind Roselle) Dr: Tommi Kylliäinen Tr: Riikka Kosonen
2 Harmi's Frido (3c Kadabra - Glamour Jet) Dr: Markku Nieminen Tr: Markku Nieminen
3 Jonesy (3c Muscles Yankee - Ripley) Dr: Tuomas Korvenoja Tr: Tuomas Korvenoja
4 Greenleaf Slim (3c Andover Hall - Mabelese) Dr: Mika Forss Tr: Heikki Korhonen
5 Express Duo (3c Express It - Dolce Merett) Dr: Ari Moilanen Tr: Pekka Korpi
6 Good Dynamite (3c Donerail - Good Leasing) Dr: Kari Venäläinen Tr: Pekka Korpi
7 Arctic Shot (3c Classic Photo - Snowdeo Lynn) Dr: Antti Teivainen Tr: Pekka Korpi
8 Vice President (3g Oiseau de Feux - R.Sweet Hush) Dr: Peter Ingves Tr: Emma Bjerkås
9 Eden Duo (3f Orlando Vici - Irene Merett) Dr: Hannu-Pekka Korpi Tr: Pekka Korpi
10 Zo Zo Hoss (3c Yankee Glide - Decadent Pagan) Dr: Jorma Kontio Tr: Timo Nurmos
11 Moonlight Love (3f Love You - El Itsmadetoorder) Dr: Harri Koivunen Tr: Olli Lähtinen
12 Dream Run (3c Offshore Dream - Golden Harvest) Dr: Esa Holopainen Tr: Timo Nurmos
Dave Sanders for harnesslink