Day At The Track

At age 10 Commander Crowe still has trot!

06:27 AM 06 Sep 2013 NZST
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Commander Crowe, harness racing
Commander Crowe heads all-start field in France

He’s the grand old man of the UET Masters Series final field, but Swedish veteran Commander Crowe still has enough left in the tank to give this group of upstarts a run for their money, even at the age of 10.

Trained in France by Fabrice Souloy, the Swedish-bred son of French horse Juliano Star won the Group I Hugo Abergs Memorial three starts back, one of three wins this season, but he had a shock failure in the Grand Prix du Conseil General des Alpes, in which he was blown off the track by Timoko (who he faces on Saturday) and finished a disappointing sixth.

He has master reinsman Jean Michel Bazire back in the cart again for this race,  and he has won at Vincennes on this  type of distance, back in 2011.

And Commander Crowe, who is still owned in Sweden, and was bred by a Finn, Petri Puro is the winner of 55 races and just shy of 30 million SEK. This is also a former Elitloppet winner who started his career with 23 straight victories, and is also the fastest horse in the field with a record of 1.08.9 (1.50.4).

But does he have one more great performance in his legs, especially on this track, where there are no places to hide, and where there will be multiple attacks for position. Not to mention the testing uphill section and the long sweep into the straight which test every ounce of stamina.

Brad de Veluwe is the pride of Finland, a national hero in his homeland and demonstrably the best horse his country has produced.

One of only two horses in the field with pure US standardbred bloodlines, Brad de Veluwe is by Andover Hall (who is also owned by a Finn) and out of the Muscles Yankee mare Amazing Ride.

The winner of  23 of his 34 starts and more than €1million in his bank account, Brad de Veluwe was the best younger horse of his generation in Europe with a win in the European Derby (4YO)  which he added to the Finnish Derby  and the Swedish Sprintmasteren his three Group I successes at 3YO making it six in total.

It hasn’t been so easy in his first year in the elite grades for the Tomas Korvenoja’s 5YO  stallion who owns a record or 1.09.7(1.52.1MR), he made the final of the Elitloppet this year and finished a meritorious 4th, and the Vincennes track is sure to be a test for his bloodlines.

The other pure uS standardbred in the field is Main Wise As, an exile from his native Italy who has long been trained in France and has a very good record  in the republic as €1.47 million will attest.

A son of Yankee Glide, Main Wise As however, has not won in over 20 starts indeed his last victory was in the Prix Rene Balliere in June 2012,  on this track, where he has won six times. He has also won over 2700m at Vincennes and beat a great field  in the Prix Kerjacques in May last year including Roxane Griff and Reve de Beylev, who he meets on Saturday, and also Royal Dream who went on to win the Prix D’Amerique.

But he keeps popping up in earning positions in big races, and given a soft run, and a chance to get a last shot at them, he could win this. However, with the likes of Franck LeBlanc in the race on Save The Quick, and the likes of Timoko and Ready Cash in the field, this is more than highly unlikely. More like, ‘Tell em They’re Dreamin’.

Swedish entrant On Track Piraten, is drawn two and is the son of French stallion Kool Du Caux -  a Prix D’Amerique runner-up and winner of  Copenhagen Cup and Prix de France and more than €1.5million.

On Track Piraten won the  C Th Ericsson Memorial last start but his biggest victory was in October last year in the international Group 1 Groer Preis Von Deutschland, Germany’s biggest race. Although one of the rising stars, Hans Stromberg’s  Franco-American 5YO  gelding will be the rank outsider of the race.

Sanity is one of two Love Yous in the race, and another of the strong contingent of Scandinavian bred mixed bloods which are taking the world by storm. He won in Sweden two starts back and was second in the Jamtlands Stora Pris, to show he is in good form. The 7YO gelding is a tough customer and s a good earner on the Swedish V75 circuit, however this is a class above that and he will be lucky to make the top six.

German invitee Bagley probably got his ticket punched for the fact that he is owned and trained by German nationals Thomas and Dagmar Bosner and is trained in Sweden by fellow German Conrad Lugaeur.

The son of Italian stallion Bartoli Ok won the Jamtlands Stora Pris this season and a heat of the Olympia trot, one of Sweden’s biggest race, and finished fifth in the final to his former stablemate Maharajah.

The eight-year-old  has had a good year since he transferred from Travkompianet  trainer Stefan Hultman’s Solvalla barn where he would have been third or fourth cab off the rank to Maharajah and rising star Panne Moteur, to Lugaeur’s Jagersro stable this year – his sixth different conditioner.

Although drawn one, it will be a great surprise if he is able to foot it with the big guns on the testing Vincennes circuit, although he did run second on the track at his last outing in Group III company and was third to Commander Crowe in the Group I Hugo Abergs Memorial. He is in good form but this is a super field and he is likely to be at juicy odds.

by David Sanders

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