Day At The Track

STEINLAGER: NORWEGIAN NATIONAL HERO

02:21 AM 17 May 2005 NZST
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Ask a Norwegian who is the world best trotter, and you will get a quick reply: It’s Steinlager!

On Sunday (May 15), for the first time in 17 years, a Norwegian owned, trained, and driven trotter won Norway’s biggest international trotting race, the Oslo Grand Prix.

And although the 7-Year-Old Steinlager was actually foaled in Sweden, he is considered to be a full-blooded Norwegian by his fans.

“Last year we won the Aby Stora Pris in Gothenburg and finished number three in the Elitlopp, but this is much bigger,” an emotional Per O. Midtfjeld said after his win in Oslo Grand Prix with Steinlager.

“Right now, I’m the luckiest man in the world.”

Steinlager was in command right from start and had no problem fending off the winner of the last two editions of this race, Gidde Palema and driver Ake Svanstedt, when they attacked with a ½ mile left in the race.

Steinlager (by Good As Gold) won by 1 ½ lengths, and was followed to the wire by the Italian-owned Prime Prospect (Primrose Lane), who enjoyed a trip behind Steinlager for the entire mile.

Giant Diablo (Pine Chip) from Sweden finished third, and Gidde Pamela held on gamely and finished fourth.

The Argentinean-bred Chucaro Ahijuna, driven by Kevin Wallis, had a very difficult trip; for the first half-mile the duo was parked-out, three-wide, and never really got into the race.

Chucaro Ahijuna finished seventh and was beaten by about seventh lengths by the winner.

Steinlager is owned by 81-Year-Old Knut Olausson -- who bought his first trotter when he was 78.

The next start for Steinlager will be in the Elitlopp in Stockholm, where 5000 fans will travel from Norway to cheer him on.

It was a great day of trotting at the Bjerke Racetrack in Oslo on Sunday; here is a roundup of some of most important races:

ACE ONE, FOR 3-YEAR-OLDS:

The Italian-foaled First Wise AS (by Yankee Glide--Miss Clancy Ford) was favoured to win, but was rough-gaited and had to settle for a fourth place finish. Instead, Old Maid Hall (Conway Hall--Ocean Breeze), now Finnish owned and trained won very easily in 1.57.3.

ACE TWO, THE FIRST ELIMINATION FOR THE BJERKE CUP:

The Italian-owned Pickaflick (Mr Lavec---Miss Photogenic) won in 1.57.4, and was followed home by Mo Monet Hanover (Balanced Image--Monet Blue Chip).

ACE THREE, THE SECOND ELIMINATION FOR THE BJERKE CUP:

A Finnish entrant, Cold Hard Wind (by Southwind Pinnacle) was in a class of his own and won in 1.56.

ACE FOUR, CONTESTED AT NEARLY TWO MILES:

The Swedish mare Zoccer Wadd (by Running Sea) won by eight lengths, in 2.00.4 (mile rate).

ACE FIVE, FOR “KOLDBLOODS:"

The Swedish cold-blooded trotter Järvsöfaks was going for his 43rd victory in a row, but went broke with 600 yards to go, and Finland’s Saran Salama won in 2.10.

ACE SIX, FOR TOP 5-YEAR-OLDS:

Gazza Degato (by Alf Palema), the winner of the Swedish Trotting Derby last year, returned to form and won in 1.59 (mile rate).

ACE SEVEN WAS THE OSLO GRAND PRIX, AS REPORTED ABOVE.

ACE EIGHT, THE BJERKE CUP FINAL:

Though parked-out for the whole trip, Cold Hard Wind won in a new record of 1.55.1, and was followed home by Mo Monet Hanover and Pickaflick.

ACE NINE, FOR 4-YEAR-OLDS:

The Harald Lunde-trained Cincinnati Kid, driven by Norway’s Frode Fladen, was favoured to win, but went on a break at the start, came back, but tired in the stretch and finished third. Madison Hall (Garland Lobell--Melissa Hall) won in 1.55.3, and was followed by ENS Cresendo (Tagliabue--ENS Brittania).

A total of 15.883 fans were at the Bjerke Racetrack on Sunday.

Courtesy Of Karsten Bonsdorf, United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom Correspondent

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