Ten trotters will race for a harness racing purse -- for the winner -- of $250,000 in the Oslo Grand Prix this coming Sunday (May 13), and Arch Madness and Windsong Geant will be flying the flags of North America.
Arch Madness, with trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer to be aboard, is the defending winner. The now 8-year-old gelding won the race last year in impressive style with Swedish driving champion Björn Goop in the bike.
Arch Madness will face a very classy field headed by Commander Crowe of Sweden, the chestnut gelding who finished third behind San Pail and Rapide Lebel in the Breeders Crown last year at Woodbine.
Commander Crowe recently won the Olympic Trot, and although Swedish bred and owned is trained in France by Fabrice Souloy.
Also representing France will be the tough mare Roxane Griff, who will make the flight to Oslo along with Timoko -- the best 5-year-old trotter in France. Both will be racing for the first time outside of France.
The home team consists of Yarrah Boko, who finished second to Commander Crowe in the Olympic Trot, and the 4-year-old Viking Frecel, who has won eight out of nine races so far in his career, but will definitely be stepping up in class on Sunday.
Arch Madness had a good draw -- he got post five -- while Windsong Geant, with Rick Zeron to drive, will have to overcome the outside post, number eight.
The distance raced in the European Grand Circuit fixture will be 1 5/16 miles, and here is the field:
The Oslo Grand Prix (PP - Horse, Country - Driver):
1 - Roxane Griff, France - Eric Raffin; 2 - Yarrah Boko, Norway - Kai Johansen; 3 - Quarcio du Chene, Sweden - Bjørn Goop; 4 - Timoko, France - Richard Westerink; 5 - Arch Madness, USA - Trond Smedshammer; 6 - Commander Crowe, Sweden - Christophe Martens7 - Viking Frecel, Norway - Vidar Hop; 8 - Windsong Geant, Canada - Rick Zeron; 9 - Beanie M M, Sweden - Johnny Takter; 10 - Joke Face, Sweden - Lutfi Kolgjini.
by Karsten BONSDORF, USTA Web Newsroom Correspondent
Arch Madness winning the 2011 Oslo Grand Prix: