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It has been discovered that Sunday’s €600,000 Elitloppet winner, Propulsion, may be disqualified from the victory because the horse was nerved in both front legs before coming to Europe. This has been reported by Truls Pederson on the harness racing website Trav og Galopp-Nytt in Norway. Nerving is in violation of Europe’s horse racing doping regulations. Propulsion’s earnings from winning the final of the Elitloppet was $321,261 US. Nerving is considered a “last resort” procedure performed on horses with caudal heel lameness syndrome or navicular syndrome that have not responded to therapeutic shoeing and medication. This is a temporary procedure that, in most cases, can relieve the horse of pain for two to seven years, and has helped thousands of horses to continue on in their careers, without the pain that had plagued them before. Nerving is allowed on racehorses in North American and once completed, a certificate is issued by the veterinarian to that breeds governing organization. Propulsion, who is sired by Muscle Hill from the Andover Hall mare, Danae, was bred by Fredericka Caldwell and Bluestone Farms in the USA. He is owned by the Brixton Medical Ab of New Jersey. Unraced at age two for former trainer Tony Alagna, Propulsion made a total of 21 starts in North America during his three and four-year-old career with eight wins and earnings of $86,178 before shipping to race in Europe. Propulsion is now age nine and while in Europe has made 79 starts with 39 wins and earnings of $3.677 million US. It has been listed on Propulsion's USTA information data also on Trackit the Standardbred Canada website that the horse was nerved. Copy of USTA data Copy of Trackit data Now in question will be if not only the purse money and the victory in the Elitloppet will be taken away from Propulsion, but whether all of his victories in Europe will be disqualified and all purse earning returned. This story will continue to be further updated. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Propulsion (9m Muscle Hill-Danae-Andover Hall) took the 2020 Elite Race (purse of finale 573,000€, 3,000,000SEK to the harness racing winner, 1609 meters autostart, eight starters) finale clocked in 1.10.2kr. Orjan Kihlstrom engineered a perfect from behind journey on the outer and rolled past seemingly tires rivals for Stall Zet and trainer Daniel Reden. He was off at 4.6/1 odds and bested 2.8/1 Cokstile (7m Quite Easy-Joystile) and pilot Christoffer Eriksson with 48/1 Attraversiamo (5m Kiss Francis-Rhythm Kronos) handled by Erick Adielsson. 41/1 Sorbet (9m Super Photo Kosmos-Altar Bound) and reinsman Per Linderoth earned fourth money. The 9/10 favorite Earl Simon finished second but was disqualified for interference in the upper stretch. Propulsion finished third in the second elimination parked three wide much of the way, in his first start since late January when unplaced in the Prix d’Amerique. Imported to Sweden in 2015 the great veteran now has a 39-15-9 slate in 79 career starts for earnings of 34,343,693SEK. He was bred in the USA by F.V. Caldwell and Bluestone Farms LLC. Propulsion The two elimination (each for purses of 47,750€, raced over 1609 meters autostart, eight starters) produced exciting action. Earl Simon (6m Prodigious-Tindrana) impressively took elim one timed in 1.09.5kr at 2.7/1 odds. Franck Ouvrie teamed the winner for Stall Skytten and trainer Jarmo Niskanen. 2.2/1 Missle Hill (5m Muscle Hill-India Hall) was second for Johan Untersteiner and the Reden/Stall Zet team. 20/1 Reden stablemate Sorbet was third ahead of 28/1 Milliondollarrhyme (6g Ready Cash-Nursery Rhyme) and F.B. Larsson. Earl Simon Elim two went to 1.09.4kr timed Cokstile that was off at 4.3/1 for Christoffer Eriksson, trainer Rocco Spagnulo and Santese Srl. 37/1 Racing Mange (7m Orlando Vici-Kara Kickan) was second for trainer/driver Joakim Lovgren ahead of 1.8/1 Propulsion that was super game. 7/1 Attraversiamo was fourth for Eric Adielsson. Cokstile Elitloppet 2020 program produced good online handle as no fans were present. In US$ the ATG handle exceeded $5,981,300 and the PMU network handle was over $337,000 with about 30% wagered on the Elite race finale The career stats of Propulsion are shown below, race summery, pedigree and siring results. Inbreeding Coefficient Breedly 14.08% Siring results to date, 71, with none at racing age. Many good mares have been bred to Propulsion. ATG, PMU, Breedly, Solvalla files/photos Thomas H. Hicks

This year's Elitloppet at Sweden's Solvalla race track took place without harness racing fans in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The winner was the brilliant son of Muscle Hill, Propulsion, coming from well back in the field to score an incredible victory over Earl Simon (who was disqualified). Cokstile was second with Attraversiamo finishing third.. 2020 Elitloppet Final 1 - Racing Mange - Joakim Lövgren 2 - Earl Simon - Franck Ouvrie 3 - Cokstile - Christoffer Eriksson 4 - Missle Hill - Johan Untersteiner 5 - Sorbet - Per Linderoth 6 - Propulsion - Örjan Kihlström 7 - Milliondollarrhyme - Fredrik Larsson 8 - Attraversiamo - Erik Adielsson First Heat Earl Simon overcame the outside starting post for a solid closing victory for driver Franck Ouvrie. For the replay click here. Second Heat The Christoffer Eriksson-driven Cokstile raced first up for the majority of the mile before hitting the wire first. For the replay click here.

The French stallion Orlando Vici, a winner of nine Group races and now a leading sire in France and Sweden, has the joint highest entry with three harness racing runners in this year’s Elitloppet, to be contested at Solvalla, Sweden on Sunday night (May 31). Orlando Vici’s three contestants in the ‘Sprint World Championship of Trotting’ are Chief Orlando, a seven-year-old Norwegian bred gelding, the brilliant Norwegian bred, Danish owned seven-year-old gelding Looking Superb, and the fast Swedish seven-year-old entire Racing Mange. Chief Orlando (barrier 5) and Looking Superb (7) will contest the first heat, while Racing Mange will start from the No. 6 gate in the second elimination. The three are all expected to be well in line for a Grand Final berth. Looking Superb captured the Prix Tenor de Baune in 2018 and the Prix de L’Atlantique in 2019 and finished runner-up to Belina Josselyn in the 2019 Grand Prix d’Amerique; Racing Mange has won Group races in Sweden, Denmark and Finland and is the fastest trotter in Sweden this year, while Chief Orlando has won at Group level in Finland and was narrowly beaten in last year’s Sweden Cup. Racing Mange is the fastest trotter in Sweden this year Besides his successes at the stud in Europe, Orlando Vici has made a spectacular start as a sire in Australia. In his first season he left 11 foals – now four-year-olds - and all 11 have raced, and 10 are winners.  They include the NSW Trotters Derby winner Xebec (Tr 1:58), Beau Garcon, winner of the Breeders Crown 2YO Silver), Deneuve Star (Tr 1:56.6), Just Believe Tr 1:59 (Vicbred 3YO Silver), Belltopperboy (Tr 1:59.2), the Melton winners Montpellier (Tr 1:59.8) and Brandlo Prince, and Orlando Storm (Maryborough Oaks). Orlando Vici’s frozen semen is available to breeders in Australia and New Zealand from Haras Des Trotteurs, where Love You, Quaker Jet and Volstead head a select sire list. By Peter Wharton

26 May 2020 - The Elitloppet at Solvalla racecourse - the largest event on the Swedish harness racing calendar - is set to attract betting interest from a record 18 countries, former racing monopoly AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) has said. In addition to Sweden, bets will be taken from Finland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Hungary, Greece, the UK, Malta, South Africa, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Bets from eleven of these countries will go towards the Swedish pari-mutuel pool, while the remaining countries’ bets will be part of their own racing pools. However, ATG did not say exactly which countries would be commingling, and which would be operating their own pools. “It is truly inspiring that the Elitloppet is attracting so much international interest,” Ylva Svensson, head of international at ATG, said. With sports and racing in many other countries suspended, ATG noted an increased level of international interest in Swedish harness racing, which has continued through the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. “We have taken our mission, to maintain interest in racing in Europe and the rest of the world during this crisis, as seriously as possible,” Svensson added. “The Elitloppet is one of the few sporting events that can be carried out this spring and so it’s receiving extra focus from many international gaming companies.” The race will take place on Sunday 31 May. Yesterday, Sweden’s Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi put forward an amended set of temporary restrictions on gambling in which he aims to make horse and sports betting exempt from an SEK5,000 (£401/€459/$495) weekly deposit limit. The exemption had previously been recommended by ATG in a consultation held on the original controls.

May 24, 2020  The 2020 Elitloppet draw is complete with its two harness racing elimination heats set for next Sunday. The first blue division includes Elian Web, Cokstile and Propulsion (from post eight). Billie de Montfort drew post two and is reunited with her pilot Gabriele Gelormini. The second green elimination includes probable favorite Vivid Wise As along with Missile Hill and Earl Simon (from post eight). Vivid Wise As was a recent transfer from Alessandro Gocciadoro to the Goop training stable. Thomas H. Hicks  

May 14, 2020 - Era de Lavadour (6f Flash de Cosse-Melba du Chatelet) took the Thursday GP Dynavena Maisagri (purse 30,000€, 2550 meters distance handicap, 18 starters) at Beaumont de Lomagne in this harness racing reopening week in France. The 3.3/1 odds winner was timed in 1.15.2kr as she won for the sixth time in 53 career starts for 183,770€. Mathieu Auvray owns, trains and drove Era de Lavadour. The 25-meter handicapped and 1.6/1 favorite Cap de Narmont (8m Islero de Bellouet) was second for Denis Brossard individually timed in 1.14.7kr. 16/1 Camiros du Goutier (8g Quido du Goutier) was third for Jerome Chavette. 26/1 Christmas du Cebe and 9/1 Boxing Day completed the top five with Boxing Day racing well timed in 1.14.8kr with his 25-meter handicap. Era de Lavador The 18 horse field in late race action Early in the week the veteran horseman Jean Pierre Dubois won twice with another second in his three drives. On May 11 at Le Croise-Laroche JPD was second with Hello Jo Darling (3m Bird Parker-Lets Go Along) in a three year old event and that was followed by a victory for Gospel Truth (4g Sam Bourbon-Rebelle) clocked in 1.15.4kr in the Prix de Wasquchal (purse 12,000€, 2700 meters autostart, an Open des Regions Grand Nord event). JPB breed this winner through his Scuderia Bolgheri Srl and J.A. Hernandez-Navarro is the trainer. Gospel Truth The next JPB winner was May 13 at Mareille Borely in the Prix de Septemes Les Vallons (purse 23,000€, 2300 meters autostart, an Open des Regions Sud-Est three year old contest). He scored with Headline (3f Brillantissime-Mara Bourbon) in 1.15.4kr, her third victory in the last five starts. Kevin Vanderschelden trains this nice filly that was bred by Dubois’ Ecurie Dream With Me. Headline On the Elitloppet front, Earl Simon and Sorbet have been added to invitee list. They join Cokstile, Makethemark, Looking Superb, Missile Hill, Tae Kwon Deo, Attraversiamo, Elian Web, Chief Orlando and Vivid Wise As. Earl Simon won this week at Caen easily defeating a good field that included Bold Eagle. Earl Simon We expect others to follow (five open spots remain) after Sunday’s Copenhagen Cup 2020 at Charlottenlund. Zacon Gio and Vitruvio will be ones to watch. Zacon Gio is conditioned by Holger Ehlert and was the 2019 Yonkers International winner.   Thomas H. Hicks  

May 13. 2020 - Earl Simon (6m Prodigious-Tindrana), with Franck Ouvrie up, powered away from his rivals to win today’s harness racing Prix des Ducs de Normandie (purse 110,000€, 2450 meters voltstart, 16 starters) at Caen in a quick 1.11.0kr. Off at 10/1 Earl Simon was away to the lead that he wrested from first leading Bold Eagle and then yielded to Bugsy Malone. Ouvrie then moved the winner to the front in early stretch and they jetted away to an easy victory. Jorma Niskanen trains Earl Simon for Ecurie Skytten and he now shows a 2-2-2 slate in six 2020 starts. He is 15 for 33 in the career. Enino du Pommereux (6m Coktail Jet-Noune du Pommereux) was second for pilot Mathieu Abrivard and trainer Sylvain Roger at 26/1. Stablemate Delia du Pommereux was third but disqualified for interference in mid stretch. That placed Bold Eagle (9m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) third at 12/1 with Eric Raffin up for trainer Sebastien Guarato. Feeling Cash (5m Ready Cash-Royale Star) was placed fourth at 134/1 and handled by David Thomain for Philippe Allaire. His 12/1 stablemate Bugsy Malone (9g Ready Cash-Night Captain) was placed fifth with Yoann Lebourgeois aboard. Ceylan Dairpet was a dq and the big favorite 3/10 Cleangame was unplaced. Cleangame was away toward the back on the far outside and moved up by the top of stretch before weakening. There was a “false depart” that appeared to have been Bold Eagle caused. Earl Simon Replay - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mbg0SJT04Xc   Racing in France resumed on Monday with a card at Vichy. Germany also opened with racing at Munich Daglfin. Next up for the top rung of trotteurs is May 17 at Charlottenlund with the Copenhagen Cup that drew a good field as shown below. Expect more Elitloppet invites to flow from this event to join the current invitees Cokstile, Makethemark, Looking Superb, Missile Hill, Tae Kwon Deo, Attraversiamo, Elian Web, Chief Orlando and Vivid Wise As. Thomas H. Hicks  

May 4, 2020 - Last week there were a host of good races as the pre-Elitloppet harness racing activity accelerates. One such example was the Solvalla April 29 card. The Mares feature that day (purse 12,244€, 2140 meters autostart, 10 starters) saw 14/1 odds Stoneisle Ocean (7f Revenue-Mamtaz Hanover-Sierra Kosmos) score impressively in 1.12.4kr with Hannu Torvinen aboard for trainer Isto Kuisma, her 13th career win in 37 starts. 10/1 Havefunwithme (6f Going Kronos-Zimba Boko-Yankee Glide) was second for Erik Adielsson. On the same program a conditioned race (purse 12,244€, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) resulted in a 1.13.1kr timed victory for 1.6/1 favorite Valley Brodde (7g Ready Cash-Valeris-SJs Caviar) with Orjan Kihlstrom up for Reden Trotting AB and trainer Daniel Reden. This was his third 2020 victory in as many starts and his 10th career win in 46 outings. 9/2 My Dream Art (6g Sinou Madrik-Ina Dreamcatcher-Dream Vacation) took second for Jorma Kontio. Valley Brodde The marathoners contested a conditioned stayer race (purse 12,244€, 3140 meters autostart, 12 starters) and itw as a well matched event with 2.3/1 Indy D (6g Ready Cash-Stefani Haniver-Muscles Yankee) first to the line timed in 1.15.4kr. Orjan Kihlstrom teamed this Roger Walmann trainee that SRF Stable owns. This was Indy D’s fifth 2020 victory in nine starts. Angel Raziel (5m Pastor Stephen-Promising Angel-Promising Catch) was second for Mika Forss. Indy D. In France it appears that racing will resume May 11th with reduced purses that follow from lost revenue during the Covid-19 shutdown period. The following is a translation of published statements. This Thursday, April 30, at the end of the day, a Board of Directors meeting was held, in order to answer the questions of all the socio-professionals in the sector (breeders, owners, trainers, trainers-owners, drivers/jockeys, volunteers of the racing companies. To date, the outlook is as follows: The races, which will initially be held behind closed doors, should be able to resume on Monday, May 11. Very specific organisational protocols have been sent to the 73 companies that are likely to host these meetings, knowing that the choice of racetracks will be based on the national decisions taken by the Government but also by the prefects at the departmental level. Starting Monday, May 4, LeTROT will publish a first calendar for the coming weeks. This is based on the programme originally planned before the pandemic, adding additional events through exceptional duplication, especially for F, G and H races. While maintaining its objective of excellence and selection, the will of the Board of Directors is indeed to ensure - in the current exceptional context - a principle of balance and solidarity between all the players of the discipline. 53% of the French Trot races were labelled "F, G, H" and contested by an overwhelming majority of coaches/trainers (88%), the Board of Directors, after consultation with the Programmes Commission, decided to preserve these categories as a priority. The total amount of endowments paid in these events (75 million euros in full year, or one third of the overall envelope) will thus be maintained, or even slightly increased according to duplication. The majority of socio-professionals will thus be "protected" by this measure. In return, group racing and "A and B" will see their envelopes decrease by 15%, and those of the "C,D,E" races by 9.6%. In Denmark, the 2020 Copenhagen Cup, scheduled for May 19, is a questionmark at this time. Italy’s Zacon Gio was expected to be a starter. The Gocciadoro matter in Sweden still swirls about, that due to the whipping of Zarina Bi by a stable training assistant. A number of Sweden based drivers have spoken out calling for Gocciadoro’s ban from racing there. Also, horses from that stable have been moved to other trainers, the most prominent being Elitloppet invitee Vivid Wise As that is now in the Bjorn Goop training stable. Ahead this week is the Algot Scotts Minne at Aby that could yield additional Elitloppet invitations. That race includes the veteran nine year old Franch mare Billie de Montfort that has earned over 2.1 million euro from 19 wins and a record of 1.09.2kr racing in the shadow of Bold Eagle. She is owned by her breeder Philippe Dauphin and last won the Grand Prix de Bourgogne on December 29. Earlier on May 6 a major race will be held for three year old females at Solvalla and i twill include Hill’s Angel from the Bondo stable and Riina Rekila’s well bred Finland. This should be a race worth watching. Missle Hill (5m Muscle Hill-India Hall) was named an Elitloppet invitee this day, as the Daniel Reden/Stall Zet student joins Tae Kwon Deo, Allraversiamo, Elian Web, Chief Orlando and Vivid Wise As in the first six of what will be be 16 horses to compete in the Elite race eliminations on May 31. Thomas H. Hicks  

Norways Chief Orlando (7m Orlando Vici-Muito Bonita-Felix Santana) was a game winner this day of The Onions (purse 19,674€, 1640 meters autostart, ten harness racing starters) at Solvalla, and likely earned a spot in the Elitloppet. Rikard N. Skoglund teamed the Pia Huusari trainee as the 3.8/1 second choice won for the first time this year in three starts. This was his 18th career win in 64 starts, now for 3,251,205€ earned. The 1.8/1 favorite Cokstile (7m Quite Easy-Joystile-Coktail Jet) was second with Christoffer Eriksson up. 3.1/1 Ferrari BR (7m Muscles Yankee-Bauxite-SJs Caviar) was third for Torbjorn Jansson after a death seat journey. Partizan Face and Lionel completed the top five. Race time was a sharp 1.09.8kr Chief Orlando   On the undercard was an event for four-year olds (purse 12,244€, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) that went to 7/10 favorite Amiral (4m Ready Cash-Mondeville-Kadabra) for the Orjan Kihlstrom, Daniel Reden, Stall Zet team. Scuderia Louisiana bred the winner in Italy and he now has three wins in nine career starts. This one was clocked in 1.12.9kr. 10/1 Mr. Marvelous (4g Ready Cash) was second for Ulf Ohlsson and third was 107/1 Rotate (4f Scarlet Knight) for pilot Jorma Kontio.   Earlier there were a host of three-year old events, led by the Ingaenide Kriterleserien (purse 39,108€, 2140 meters, seven starters).   Here the 1.13.5kr clocked winner was 8/1 Inas Prince (3m Chocolatier-Sobra-Pine Chip) for trainer/driver Per Nordstrom. 3.3/1 Global Badman (4m Yield Boko) and second and the 6/10 favorite Forever Melon (3g Infinitif) was third. Other three year old winners this day were Tiny Rocket (3f Djali Boko) timed in 1.16kr; Bombus Jet (3m Pine Chip-Solvalla Jet-Igor Font) in 1.17.3kr; and Sashay Kemp (3f Trixton-Aiken For Clay-Conway Hall) in 1.15.6kr, the latter trained by Stefan Melander and owned by his Stall TZ, Friday at Aby, the well-regarded Aetos Krosnos and Green Manalishi face off with nine others in the Konung Gustaf. See below.  Thomas H. Hicks   French Racing Could Be Ready To Resume By May 11 Horse racing in France has been suspended since March 17 due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, but it could resume from May 11. Racing would be behind closed doors and under strictly supervised sanitary conditions, just as other European countries are also preparing to gradually resume horse racing. Tens of thousands of French households live from the horse racing industry, from stud farms to training stables, taking care of the horses and seeing to their welfare. While the races were stopped, most of the work had to be done as horses, especially those trained for competition, cannot live in confinement. Training yards and stud farms continued to operate, without being able to get any resources from racing, their natural source of income However, the health and welfare of all those involved in the organization of racing meetings will be the main priority of France Galop and LeTROT. Racing would be conducted behind closed doors, as it was the last days before it had to be halted on March 17. This successful experience on the Oise racecourses in March showed our ability to ensure satisfactory sanitary conditions of all those participating in our race meetings. Very strict limitations will be enforced. For example, the connections of a horse declared to run will be limited to his or her groom, his or her trainer, and his or her jockey/driver. The staff in charge of the meetings' organization will also be very restricted. Access to the racecourses will be highly monitored, and all participants will be provided with the equipment necessary to work in good conditions without taking any risks. Shared spaces will be set up to avoid contact between those participating. In order to further minimize health hazard, horses trained abroad and jockeys holding a license issued in a country other than France (unless they are confined to France) will not be allowed to participate in French races, until the end of May at least. These restrictive measures will not allow the organization of all the race meetings initially scheduled, as certain racecourses do not have the facilities required to fully meet these precautionary requirements. Planning and relocation projects for local (PMH) meetings are being studied so as not to further harm stables more particularly involved in these programs. In terms of the program, in view of a resumption of activity from Monday, May 11, the Racing authorities have paid particular attention to respecting the balances between the different categories of horses, breeds and areas. France Galop and LeTrot will publish their program in the next few days. The allocation policy will depend on the outcome of a work in progress with the Government. Indeed, prize money and premiums are financed by the proceeds of betting, and if the races could resume on May 11, the PMU's network would still only be very partially reactivated, depriving the whole racing industry of most of its resources. The meeting held on Tuesday, April 21 between the Presidents of the racing associations and the involved Ministers proved to be constructive and everything is made to allow the racing industry to overcome the financial damage caused by this sanitary crisis. If France Galop and LeTrot are getting ready to resume racing at the national level from May 11, it all comes down to the evolution of the pandemic and the measures taken by the Government regarding the gradual exit from the lockdown. The French racing authorities stay alert and able to respond to any other constraints imposed by the Government.  

The 27.8/1 odds Dijon (6m Ganymede-Sonate d’Aunou-Coktail Jet) with Romain Derieux up for owner Mauricette De Sousa led gate to wire to victory in the Elitloppet harness racing final (3,000,000SEK first prize) timed in 1.10.3kr (fractions 1.08.1kr at the 500 meter mark and 1.09.9kr at the 1000).   He was off quickly and first from five post, placing second elim winner and favorite Aubrion du Gers (9g Memphis du Rib-J’Arrive du Gers-Baccarat du Pont) in the pocket.   Aubrion, handled by Jos, Verbeeck, vacated the pocket to avoid congestion, to follow Propulsion (8m Muscle Hill-Danae-Andover Hall) and he was shuffled some six lengths from Dijon when Propulsion, reined by Orjan Kihlstrom, stalled on the backstretch, necessitating a three-wide move. Aubrion rallied gamely in the lane finishing a diminishing second by a neck at the line.   ATG, Maharajah.se photos   Makethemark (6m Maharajah-Global Naughty-Conway Hall) and pilot Ulf Ohlsson finished third after a good trip on the pegs. Propulsion lasted for fourth and Milliondollarrhyme was fifth for Fredrik B. Larsson. The race was marred when then co-favorite Readly Express was a late scratch lame.   It was also quite obvious that the winning Dijon was pacing the final two strides but there was no inquiry.   Dijon won for 13 time in a 50 race career and now has earnings of 10,739,454SEK.   In elimination one (250,000SEK to the winner, 1609 meters autostart, eight starters) Readly Express (7m Ready Cash-Caddie Dream-Viking Kronos) scored in a rated 1.10.2kr for driver Bjorn Goop and trainer Timo Nurmos. Fractions were 1.08.4kr at the first 500 meters and 1.11.7kr at the 1000. Readly Express led throughout to score by a length over Makethemark and Looking Superb (6m Orlando Vici-Classical Pine-Silver Pine), that Ake Svanstedt drove for trainer Jean Michel Bazire.   Readly Express wins elim one   This one pressed the front from off the final bend and could not advance late in the lane.   Elim two had favored Aubrion du Gers as a front-end winner from post one for Jos. Verbeeck and owner/trainer Jean-Michel Bazire.   The victory was his 16 th in a row and 46 th for the career, and he was clocked in a rated 1.10.2kr (1.10.5kr at the 500; 1.10.7kr at the 1000 meter mark).   Aubrion du Gers takes elim two   When Verbeeck pulled the plugs late in the final bend he opened a three-length advantage and cruised home. Propulsion held second for Orjan Kihlstrom and Dijon rallied late for third driven by his trainer Romain Derieux.   As stated above, Readly Express was scratched lame just prior to the final and paraded before the fans, perhaps for a final time.   Thomas H. Hicks

May 24, 2019 - The demand for well-bred trotting stock was on display Friday in the ASVT Elitauktion in Sweden. Held in conjunction with the Elitloppet this sale cataloged 100 head and the average was up 32% from 2018 at 283,684SEK (26,519€). The average last year was 215,473SEK. Sale toppers are shown below with winning bids in Swedish krona. Catalogue link:  https://www.asvt.se/images/aktuellt/Elitkatalogen-2019.pdf The catalogue page of the sale topper is shown below, this one a colt by Ready Cash-Aisle Stand-Scarlet Knight. He brought 142,557€ from a bid by well-known horseman Lutfi Kolgjini. Thomas H. Hicks  

The 2019 Elitloppet harness racing field is now set as shown below for May 26 th at Solvalla.   The Jean-Michel Bazire trainees Looking Superb and Aubrion du Gers will be driven by Ake Svanstedt and Jos. Verbeeck respectively.   This pair are among the favorites along with Readly Express and Propulsion that drew in separate eliminations.   Elim 1 Elitloppet   Makethemark, Ulf Ohlsson Disco Volante, Jorma Kontio Double Exposure, Erik Adielsson Next Direction, Ilkka Nurmonen Looking Superb, Ake Svanstedt (JM Bazire trainer) Uza Josselyn, Gabriele Gelormini Readly Express, Bjorn Goop Sorbet, Carl Johan Jepson   Elim 2 Elitloppet   Aubrion du Gers, Jos. Verbeeck (JM Bazire trainer) Milligan’s School, Ulf Eriksson Bahia Quesnot, Junior Guelpa Day Or Night In, Johan Untersteiner Propulsion, Orjan Kihlstrom Milliondollarrhyme, Fredrik B. Larsson Heavy Sound, Kenneth Haugstad Dijon, Romain Derieux   The Sweden Cup lineup is set for May25 at Solvalla, with three eliminations. Cyber Lane. Arazi Boko, Dante Boko and Pastore Bob are among the likely favored starters.      

Big dreams are bubbling in Andy Gath’s harness racing stable as Tornado Valley’s Victorian domination lays the groundwork for a European tilt. The seven-year-old Skyvalley gelding continued his winning ways with victory at Tabcorp Park Melton in Saturday night’s Aldebaran Park 2019 Maori Mile, stopping the clock in a 1:54.1 mile rate, just 0.2 of a second outside the record set by Sparkling Success last year. Comparisons are noteworthy given Sparkling Success was set for a Yonkers campaign before injury cruelled John Meade’s trotter only days before he was about to head to New York, and now the international spotlight has fixed firmly on Tornado Valley. The former Kiwi trotter has been linked with the May 26 Elitloppet in Sweden, contested last year by fellow Victorian Maori Time, and interest is building as briskly as the Group 1 wins are being notched. Andy Gath told trots interviewer Paul Campbell he and Tornado Valley’s owner Norm Jenkin met with Harness Racing Australia chair Michael Taranto in the wake of Tornado Valley’s TAB Inter Dominion win. “Probably before then we didn’t have a lot of interest, but since we sat down, spoke to Michael we are pretty keen,” Gath said. “The timing of it’s perfect for him, because he’s not missing out on anything on this side of the world. We will get a few more big races and then sit down and work out which way we are going to go with him. “If he comes through it good, we’d love to go. There’s no doubt about that. It’s a great opportunity.” Principle among those “big races” is the January 26 Whatthehill Great Southern Star, the $250,000 trot that’s part of night one of the TAB Summer Of Glory. It will be an opportunity for Tornado Valley to add to his four Group 1 wins since joining Gath’s stable in February, success that has continued with his present eight-race winning streak. “He’s 18 out of 22 since we got him in Australia and a couple of times he got beat we had a few excuses for,” Gath said. “To keep getting the job done against quality opposition, it’s a great thrill to have a horse like him.” Those qualities were on display Saturday night when he found the front with ease and controlled proceedings, winning by 1.3m from Gavin Lang’s Save Our Pennys. “Obviously his gate speed’s such a great weapon and he used it again tonight. Such a beautifully gaited horse, he’s a pleasure to train, keeps winning these Group 1s and it’s lucky for us to have him.” Tornado Valley’s potential European bid is music to the ears of Aldebaran Park principal Duncan McPherson, whose stud sponsored Bendigo’s showcase trot. “A horse such as Tornado Valley can put Southern Hemispherical racing on the map around the world and follow in the footsteps of Maori Time and the opportunities offered to Sparkling Success,” Mr McPherson said. “To think that in the space of 12 months potentially there are three international invitations to our trotters. They are starting to take our product down here as a serious threat on a global scale and I think it’s just absolutely wonderful. “I’d love to see Tornado Valley take them on overseas, he’s got blinding gate speed and we saw that again tonight. That’s a weapon we should be able to use. The rest of the world was watching tonight and they were watching after the Inter Dominion. There are invitations there.” Trots Media - Michael Howard

It's been six years since Wilhelm Paal competed in the U.S. and his return will not go unnoticed. Paal, a 58-year-old native of Germany, is back to drive European standout Ringostarr Treb in Saturday's $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino's Yonkers Raceway. Ringostarr Treb, the winner of Sweden's prestigious Elitloppet in May, is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line behind Marion Marauder at 3-1. An 8-year-old stallion, Ringostarr Treb, a son of stallion Classic Photo, has won 30 of 86 career races and $1.57 million. He is trained by New England native Jerry Riordan, who won last year's International Trot with Twister Bi, and will represent Italy for owners E.V.A.M. Racing. "It's always a big honor to have a horse invited to this kind of race," Paal said. "I think we have a shot. He is a hell of a horse. I'm really happy to be with him. Hopefully he can do good on Saturday. "We are just proud to be here. This is what makes life. Not only the sport, life. What they do here at Yonkers brings people together. We should do that much more often. It's unique. It's a big thing." Paal, who has enjoyed a 40-year career as a driver and trainer, is no stranger to the International Trot. He drove Every Way to a sixth-place finish in the 1987 edition of the invitational, which was won by Callit. It was the last year the race, which began in 1959, was held at Roosevelt before moving to Yonkers. The race was discontinued following the 1995 edition, but resurrected in 2015. In addition to their Elitloppet triumph, Ringostarr Treb and Paal won this year's Group 1 Olympiatravet. "He's stepped up in class every year," Paal said of Ringostarr Treb. "When he went to Jerry, he stepped up in class again. I must say, the horse is a very smart horse. He can handle every kind of track and can do it either from the lead or with cover. It doesn't make a big difference. If I have cover, and I have a horse that sets the pace where he can come out the last quarter (mile), I think he is best that way." Paal grew up on a farm near Dusseldorf and started riding ponies at a young age before going into show jumping. At the age of 15, he began working with trotters. He won his first race in 1977. "I grew up step by step with horses," he said. After working in Germany, he opened a stable in Italy in 1989. Four years later, he won the Gran Premio Lotteria and Gran Premio Renzo Orlandi with Embassy Lobell and in 1995 he won four Group 2 events in Italy with Toss Out. Following additional successes in Italy, Paal opened a stable in France in 1999. He moved to the U.S. in 2006, while maintaining stables in Europe, and remained a presence in the States until the middle of 2012. He has operated a stable in Sweden since 2015. "I enjoy coming back to the United States and New York City," Paal said. "I liked a lot being here. It was a good experience. I'm proud that I tried it because it gives me a good feeling to know how it works in the United States. Now I'm in Sweden and we have pretty good horses." Capturing Sweden's most renowned race, the Elitlopp, was a thrill for Paal, who competed in the race seven times prior to his victory with Ringostarr Treb. "For me it meant a lot," Paal said. "You know the best horses in the world are getting an invitation. I could make it thanks to a great horse and thanks to great work that Jerry did. We are proud. "I'm working three years now in Sweden and it helps a little bit when you win the biggest race in the country where you work," he added. All of his experiences have Paal feeling like a man half his age. "I'm 58, but I feel like 30," he said, smiling. "Things are going good right now." Racing at Yonkers begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The International Trot is race No. 8 on the card and scheduled for 3:40 p.m. The day also includes the $250,000 Harry Harvey Invitational Trot, featuring the fastest trotter in history, Homicide Hunter, plus the $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace, featuring the continued rivalry between McWicked and New Zealand-bred Lazarus. Following is the field in post-position order for the $1 million Yonkers International Trot. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-3/1 2-Up And Quick-Jason Bartlett-Antoine Lherete-10/1 3-Ariana G-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/1 4-Ringostarr Treb-Wim Paal-Jerry Riordan-4/1 5-Pastore Bob-Johan Untersteiner-Johan Untersteiner-8/1 6-Cruzado Dela Noche-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-12/1 7-Will Take Charge-Tim Tetrick-Jeff Gillis-6/1 8-Arazi Boko-Alessandro Gocciadoro-Alessandro Gocciadoro-15/1 9-Lionel-Goran Antonsen-Daniel Reden-10/1 10-Slide So Easy-Flemming Jensen-Flemming Jensen-15/1 * Lionel and Slide So Easy start from the second tier. For more information, visit www.internationaltrot.com. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

YONKERS, N.Y. – Winning the Elitlopp this year with Ringostarr Treb was surreal for Jerry Riordan, but the trainer quickly realized the experience wasn’t for the claustrophobic. Just after the race, Riordan and driver Wim Paal led Ringostarr Treb up the track along the outside rail. The track apron at Solvalla is elevated from the racing surface and the thousands of fans along the fence leaned over and reached out. Their extended arms hung over the trainer, driver, and horse, enclosing them in a tunnel of humanity. The newly crowned Elitlopp winner took it all in stride. “If you have a horse that can deal with it, it’s always nice to bring them over to the public,” Riordan said. “The horse, he’s such a cool horse, an easy-going kind of a guy. At one point, there was an old lady in a wheelchair that reached up and grabbed his shadow roll and was pulling him over so she could pet him and he didn’t care. We had taken the sulky off, we were just letting him walk along. “I was with the horse and we have this entourage behind us and we were only going to do it for a little bit, but as we were going up the fence, there were people waiting for him,” Riordan continued. “That’s my biggest memory of the post-race celebrating on the track. The people here are so enthusiastic, and they’ve been watching races all their lives. It was just a real pleasure to be able to have that fun and have so many people patting me and Paal on the back and rubbing the horse between his ears. He was loving it, he was fantastic.” Riordan’s journey with Ringostarr Treb began after owners E.V.A.M. Racing transferred the trotter to his care from former conditioner Holger Ehlert. Although he was a claimer at 2 and 3, Ringostarr Treb won the Group 2 Sweden Cup for Ehlert before coming to Riordan. When the son of Classic Photo showed up in the barn, Riordan realized he knew little about the horse he’d been competing against for years before. “When I saw him, I had the wrong impression of the horse completely from racing against him. I just thought he was a horse that leaves fast and finishes really strong, and when he came to the barn, I went around the corner and saw him in his stall and he was this beautiful horse,” Riordan recalled. “He’s not very big, but he’s gorgeous, beautiful head, really intelligent looking. “For all the horse owners out there, they should always have hope. This horse was racing in a 10-claimer when he was 3 years old. Nobody claimed him,” Riordan said. “It just goes to show, once in a while, it happens.” Riordan stripped most of Ringostarr Treb’s equipment off and changed the horse’s racing style. Instead of gunning the lead in every start, Riordan raced Ringostarr Treb from behind. The changes worked. Ringostarr Treb won a Gulddivisionen trot in his debut for Riordan, finished second in the 2017 edition of the Group 1 Hugo Åbergs Memorial, and won the Group 1 Sundsvall Open Trot.  Despite Riordan’s early success with Ringostarr Treb, the stallion didn’t reach his full potential until after a bout in France competing at the prestigious winter meet at Hippodrome de Vincennes. Although he was only third in the Group 2 Grand Prix du Bourbonnais and was off the board in his next three starts, including a seventh in the Group 1 Grand Prix d’Amérique, Ringostarr Treb blossomed physically racing in the long distances of the French classics. “The biggest thing, when I saw the horse really improve was after that winter meet in Paris. The horse just came out of it like a bull,” Riordan said. “He had terrible luck, he was interfered with in the Prix d’Amérique. But the real positive was, after the winter meet down there, he just got so much stronger. Going those type of speeds over the long distance just really seemed to bring him to another level because this spring he was just really, really good.” Ringostarr Treb returned to Sweden a winner, taking the Group 1 Olympitravet in track record time April 28. He followed it up with his two-heat Elitlopp score, improving his record to 30 wins in 86 starts with 12.9 million Swedish krona earned.  Although Ringostarr Treb’s Elitlopp victory on the last Sunday in May was impressive – he beat Propulsion by a length in 1:51 – the star wouldn’t return to the races until the fall. He scratched out of the Oslo Grand Prix June 16 after getting an infection in a joint, which was initially only made worse with treatment. “He had an infection. The doctor injected an ankle and there was a reaction to it,” Riordan said. “It shouldn’t have been that big of a deal, but the clinic overreacted. It created a worse problem than the actual infection. That was what knocked him out for the whole summer, the reaction to the reaction.” Although Riordan won last year’s Yonkers International Trot with Twister Bi, with that trotter moved to a new stable by his owners and with Ringostarr Treb on the sidelines, the conditioner didn’t think he’d make it back to New York for this year’s renewal of the $1 million stakes. “Honestly, I never thought I’d be back with him,” Riordan said. “We never had any particular objective, but we knew it was possible to make Yonkers. We were ready.” With an International Trot invitation accepted, but without a race since May 27, Riordan entered Ringostarr Treb in a 1,640-meter overnight for winners of at least 475,001 Swedish krona at Solvalla September 26. Ringostarr Treb raced at the back of the pack early with Torbjörn Jansson at the helm. When he pulled three wide around the final turn and began to advance, Ringostarr Treb made a break in stride, finishing sixth. “When I raced him the other night, a lot of things combined to create the situation. The regular driver was suspended, it rained like hell and they put sand on the track. He’s a horse that will make a break every now and then if you don’t know him,” Riordan said. “When he tipped him out, he was really hanging onto him and he didn’t want him to go too fast, he was on the bit pretty good and he was going to win. He was three-wide and he touched himself and lost it.” Despite the break, Riordan was pleased with the effort. He saw an explosive move on the turn before Ringostarr Treb galloped and knew the horse still had his desire to win. However, once Riordan realized Ringostarr Treb would need a clean line to compete at Yonkers, he plotted his next move. He entered his star in a qualifier at Hamburg Trabrennbahn Wednesday (October 3). With Wim Paal back at the controls, Ringostarr Treb breezed around the track, putting down a clean line and getting another tightener over the 2,200-meter distance. “Probably it’s exactly what he needs, another start in the sulky. It’s like we went 6 furlongs with him last Saturday and now we’re going to give him a little longer workout. I think he’ll be coming to New York just right,” Riordan said. “We’ll put a good, clean line on him and it will pick him up a little more too, so everybody will be in a good mood when we put him on the plane to send him over.” Ringostarr Treb will face nine rivals in the Yonkers International Trot: Arazi Boko (Italy), Ariana G (United States), Cruzado Dela Noche (Sweden), Lionel (Norway), Marion Marauder (Canada), Pastore Bob (Sweden), Slide So Easy (Denmark), Up And Quick (France), and Will Take Charge (Canada). Riordan thinks the mare is the one to beat. “If Ariana G can get around the turns and can handle that extra quarter mile, it could be interesting with her in there,” he said. “It’s a nice field, it’s a balanced field. I’d like to think that ‘Ringo,’ if he’s in as good a shape as I hope he’ll be, can beat these. I think that Ariana G, with her speed and her form, she could be very dangerous.” The $1 million Yonkers International Trot is slated for Saturday, October 13 at Yonkers Raceway. The card will also feature a pair of $250,000 invitationals, the Harry Harvey Trot and Dan Rooney Pace. For more information on the event and its participants, visit www.internationaltrot.com. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

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