Former world record holder Digital Ink heads the field for the Trav St Leger, a 3140m test of endurance for 4YOs in Aby tonight.
Stefan Melander’s Super Photo Kosmos colt, who was a surprise omission for the Swedish TravDerby, broke the world record for the 2140m trip in the Norrlands Grand Prix qualifier at Bollnas in July. The time was broken only last weekend by Mosaique Face when winning the European Derby at Solvalla.
Digital Ink has won 11 of his 22 races including a last start win the Sovallaserien VI, Four Year Old race where he beat some of Sweden’s top 4YOS, including 2012 TravKriterium winner Chelsea Boko (another mystifying TravDerby omission), European 3YO champion Noble Knight and rising German star Indigious – who is trained in Sweden by Stig Johansson.
Also in the Solvallaerien field was Barracuda River, the 3YO Breeders Crown winner who broke when being taken forward in his TravDerby heatby Lutfi Kolgjini and surprisingly missed a start in the final and who he will meet tonight in the St Leger.
In that heat Barracuda River lost perhaps 50 metres, and was passing horses with ease in the home straight finishing some six lengths from the winner and full of running.
That performance suggests he will find the 3140m trip no problems, as would his breeding, being by US stallion Express It, out of a half French mare Just About Enough. His only problem is that he does run hot and cold, so is always a risk as a betting proposition.
Jerry Riordan has Lou Guida’s Italian-bred Paolo America, one of three sons of French supersire Love You in the field.
Paolo America is a winner of nine minor races in 35 starts but very much in his favour is two wins at this distance including only two starts ago, and a placing in the same trip last start, and could be one for longer odds.
Another by the same sire is Norwegian Love You Fox broke in the heats for the Grand Prix de l’UET where he was driven by top Swedish reinsman Bjorn Goop who is again in the bike. Love You Fox is the winner of three of his 24 starts from the Anders Wolden stable.
The third Love You is also a specialist stayer, Erik Berglöf’s Val d’Amour has won eight races, the last a 3280m V75 4YO race, and has two other wins over staying distances in close to 2min time.
Germany is represented by For Pleasure As, who is trained by ex-pat German Conrad Lugauer at Jagersro and is the son of German superstar Abano As.
He is an improving horse with a second placing in the Group II Sommartravets Final at the beginning of August, a UET Master Series race and when keeps his feet on the ground has been in the money in all but two of his 13 starts. He has however broken stride three times.
SVENSKT TRAV ST LEGER
2013-10-03 4YO 3140m
1 Love You Fox (4h Love You - Sly Fox) Dr: Björn Goop Tr: Anders L Wolden
2 Tristan Toro (4h S J's Photo - Trissi Cougar) Dr: Veijo Heiskanen Tr: Veijo Heiskanen
3 Pine Cool (4h Pine Chip - Lindys Cool) Dr: Marcus M Melander Tr: Stefan Melander
4 For Pleasure As (4h Abano As - Frill Aas) Dr: Conrad Lugauer Tr: Conrad Lugauer
5 Digital Ink (4g Super Photo Kosmos - Laverda des Pres) Dr: Örjan Kihlström Tr: Stefan Melander
6 Val d'Amour (4h Love You - Lizzie Kemp) Dr: Erik Berglöf Tr: Erik Berglöf
7 Helacs Falo (4h Skogans Orlov - Helacs Fonda) Dr: Jörgen Sjunnesson Tr: Jenny Borg
8 Paolo America (4h Love You - Armbro Voice) Dr: Kenneth Haugstad Tr: Jerry Riordan
9 Barracuda River (4h Express It - Just About Enough) Dr: Lutfi Kolgjini Tr: Lutfi Kolgjini