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April 13, 2020 - Today’s Halmstad harness racing feature was the Yngve Larssons Memorial (18,814€ purse, 1640 meters autostart, 12 starters) and the red-hot Disco Volante (7g Scarlet Knight-Glorify-Super Arnie) scored again, his sixth in seven 2020 starts, this one timed in 1.11.2kr. Ulf Ohlsson was the pilot for trainer Stefan Melander and owner Stall Courant AB. He was off the 0.3/1 favorite as he scored for the 25th time in 60 career starts. His earnings in Swedish krona are now 4,292,915SEK. 26/1 Ghazi BR (6m Cantab Hall-Fiery Chip-Pine Chip) was second and 13/1 Speedy Face (6m Joke Face-Feelin Fiesty-Yankee Glide) took third. MS Triple J and Heart of Steel took positions four and five. Orterc (4m Cantab Hall) had no trot from post nine and was unplaced in this his second European start. He was a competitor in USA Grand Circuit events last year. This race was the Quinte+ race on the PMU network and the exact order payoff was 3,383.40€. Disco Volante  The Quick Woods Wangen Cup (purse 8051€, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) saw 26/1 Nobella Winner (7f Conny Nobell-Scorpions Winner-Armbro Scorpion) score in 1.15.7kr with Henna Halme at the lines for trainer Bo Orberg. This was her first 2020 victory in seven starts and only her fourth in a 54-race career. 21/1 Valnes Havanna (7f Infinitif-Samba Kosmos-Mr. Vic) took second for William Ekberg and 38/1 Alibi (5f Zola Boko) was third handled by Klas Olsson. Nobella Winner  

Finland bred harness racing gelding Elian Web (8g Like A Prayer-E.L. Dolly-Conway Hall) captured today’s Paralympiatravet Leg 3 at Romme, covering the 2140 meter autostart course in 1.13.1kr. Jorma Kontio teamed the Katja Melkko trainee to his third win in four 2020 starts and raised his career slate to 25-10-10 in 63 outings.   His life earnings are now 6,756,367SEK, He was off at 9.36/1. Sorbet (9m Super Photo Kosmos) was second for Orjan Kihlstrom and Milliondollarrhyme (6g Ready Cash) took third for trainer Fredrik B.Larsson.   The undercard’s V75 Silver saw 3.57/1 Coogan (6g Donato Hanover-Warrawee Lassie-Kadabra) scored in 1.14.1kr over this 2640 meters autostart distance. Orjan Kihlstrom teamed the Daniel Reden trainee to his third straight win in as many 2020 appearances.   Coogan                                                        -PMU photo   This was also his 12 th career win now for 1,088,873SEK earned. Mellby Glader (5g Going Kronos) was second for Per Lennartsson and pacesetter Grainfield Aiden (6g Andover Hall) was third for Hannu Korpi. This race followed heavy rain the required track conditioning.   Earlier was the STL Klass I (110,000SEK first prize, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters). Here the 2.6/1 Don Fanucci Zet (4m Hard Livin-Kissed by the West-Western Terror) scored easily for the Kihlstrom/Reden team.   Don Fanucci Zet                                               -PMU photo   Stall Zet owns the six time career winner in only eight starts that is a double winner in 2020. He was clocked in 1.13.4kr and was impressive. Note he is from a pacing mare that was acquired in 2012 by Brixton Medical. She is an unraced daughter of the US$207,523 winner Kissed By A Fool by Jennas Beach Boy. This one took a record of 1:53.1f. Trailing the winner today was Big Shot (4g Maharajah) and Next Limit (6g SJs Caviar).   Bon Ego (6f Maharajah-Stella Beova-Gigant Neo) took the STL Bronze (110,000SEK to the winner, 1640 meters autostart, 12 starters) after the heavy rains mentioned before, clocked in 1.13.1kr, for Jorma Kontio and trainer Bjorn Rocklinger. This was his ninth career win in 28 starts now for 928,000SEK earned. She was off at 10/1 and bested Jefferson Dotcom (8g Olimede) and Click Bait (4m Cantab Hall).   Earlier was an STL Klass I event (3140 meters autostart, 110,000SEK to the winner, 12 starters) and the gate to wire impressive winner was 1.15.4kr timed Tengil Face (5g Joke Face-Makeasignofpeace-Life Sign) with Erik Adielsson up for trainer Adrian Kolgjini. This was his second 2020 victory in eight starts.   Tengil Face                        -PMU photo Tengil’s pacing dam took a record of 1:55.3 in the USA winning US$90,495 all on the pace. Lutfi Kolgjini acquired her in 2010, she from the maternal family of legendary Countess Adios, but she produced little when bred to pacing stallions in America. Today, GRJs Wolverine (6g Yield Boko) and Naughty Boy (8g Scipion du Goutier) trailed the winner.  

On April 10 Swedish harness racing action was at Farjestad with the featured Prins Carl Phillips Jubileumspokal (total purse 47,609€, 1640 meters autostart) being on center stage.   This race winner was 1.10.4kr timed Missile Hill (5m Muscle Hill-India Hill-Garland Lobell) with Orjan Kihlstrom up for Stall Zet and trainer Daniel Reden.   This was his first 2020 start and his seventh career victory in 36 starts for this USA import that last raced there in October 2018. Zarenne FAS (5m Varenne-Miss Muscle FAS-Muscles Yankee) was second for Rikard N. Skoglund and trainer Jerry Riordan.   Forfantome AM (5m Muscle Hill-Tamla Celebar- Cantab Hall) took third for  Borbjorn Jamsson and trainer Roger Walmann for SRF Stable.   Her dam was a superb mare that also impressed during a short tour in America.   Other winners at Farjestad       Thomas Hicks

French horse racing giant Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) has been hit with a 900,000€ ($983,000US) fine from France’s Competition Authority after it was found to have failed to maintain its commitment to splitting online and retail liquidity. While the operator has upheld the commitment first made in 2013 - then mandated by the Authority in February the following year - to keep betting pools for each channel separate for domestic racing, it has maintained shared pools for international racing. This prompted complaints from Betclic Everest Group’s Betclic brand and Zeturf, which argued that PMU was flouting the February 2014 agreement. PMU has commingling agreements in place to offer coverage of South African, Irish, American, Norwegian and Swedish racing. Betclic and Zeturf noted that these are currently offered with identical odds and prize pools on its website and in retail outlets. The combined online and offline pools are then combined with those of its foreign partners to offer a single, large jackpot under the terms of these commingling agreements. “Therefore, within the framework of these partnerships, PMU is able to offer betting on foreign racing on its website and in its retail network on equally attractive terms,” the Competition Authority explained. “[This] corresponds directly with the situation for [French] horse race betting, before it committed to [splitting online and offline liquidity] in 2014.” The Authority, however, said that the order in 2014 to split online and retail liquidity was “unambiguous”, and covered all racing, rather than just domestic events. This 2014 ruling stated that by combining its online and retail pools - following a complaint from Betclic - PMU had an unfair advantage over other operators offering horse racing pools. The decision to split the pools was therefore taken to ensure consumers were offered a diversified range of betting options. France’s igaming regulator, L’Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) supported this assessment, while PMU was also warned that pooling liquidity may not be factored into any commingling agreements. Indeed, the Authority added, PMU had drafted the commitment itself, meaning there was no possible way that it could have been permissible to having a separate set of rules for betting on foreign racing. “Even if, at this time, commingled foreign racing pools only constitute a small part of PMU’s horse racing betting revenue, the breach is all the more serious since the commitment to split liquidity was a key component of the arrangement to prevent the operator’s PMU.fr site from benefiting from its retail monopoly,” it explained. The dispute between PMU, the undisputed horse race betting market leader in France, and challengers such as Betclic and Zeturf stretches back to the opening of the country's regulated igaming market in 2010. As well as forcing the operator to split its online and retail pools, this has also seen the French courts order PMU to pay Betclic Everest an unspecified sum in compensation for anti-competitive practices. With files from the France Competition Authority

April 5, 2020 - Top harness racing action on the weekend was Saturday at Jagersro and Sunday at Umaker. First at Jagersro was the V75 Silver for a purse of 24,496€ and raced over 2140 meters autostart. Prosperous (6g Prodigious-Glorify-Super Arnie) was victorious timed in 1.13.5kr for pilot Bjorn Goop, trainer Henk Grift and owner Draviet Stables. This 3.5/1 odds winner scored from post 12 in this his fourth straight victory. Niky Flak (7g Love You) and Can Lane (7g Pastor Stephen) trailed Prosperous. On the L.C. Peterson-Broddas Minne 2020 (purse 29,272€, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) the 4.2/1 odds Cyber Lane (7g Raja Mirchi-Sybaris Hanover-Cantab Hall) scored in 1.11.4kr with trainer Johan Untersteiner at the lines. Levaux AB owns the winner that was making his first start this year. Velvet Gio (6g Nad Al Sheba-Mind Wise As-Lemon Dra) was second for Carl Johan Jepson and Tae Kwon Deo (5m Muscle Hill-Brigham Dream-Kaisy Dream) was third for Adrian Kolgjini. Cyber Lane There were several other interesting winners on the program. Rajesh Face (7g Raja Mirchi-Nippy Girl-Ginger Somolli) took the Summer Meeting Monte (purse 8,767€, 1640 meters autostart) in a quick 1.11.8kr with Sofia Adolfsson the jockey. The Derby Trial 2020 (purse 29,271€, 2640 meters autostart, four year olds) saw a 1.15.7kr timed victory to Upset Face (4m Joke Face-Iona LB-Supergill) reined by trainer Adrian Kolghjini. Power (4m Googoo Gaagaa) was second for Robert Bergh. The Klass I event (purse 21.679€, 1640 meters autostart) went to 1.11.7kr timed and 2.1/1 odds Van Gogh ZS (6m Love You-Oyapock Oaks-Andover Hall) with trainer Robert Bergh the pilot. In an event for three-year olds (purse 12,367€, 2140 meters autostart) the 2.8/1 odds Gilmore Trot (3m Muscle Hill-Caddie Geisha-Love You) scored in 1.16.6kr for trainer/driver Peter Untersteiner. This was his second straight victory in as many outings. Looking ahead, on April 10 at Farjestad is the Prins Carl Philips Jubileumspokal and it has drawn ten entrants including Italy’s Varenne Fas in a likely competitive group. On April 5th racing at Umaker was center stage with a host of good races. Shown below are Amperage Hanover and the Tap In roan daughter Redhot Tap Dancer. Trotting in Sweden has continued and has drawn excellent following on the ATG and PMU networks. Resumption of racing in France has been rumored to begin April 21, however, prominent industry players question that rumor. Amperage Hanover Redhot Tap Dancer   Thomas H. Hicks  

This is a normal day in the Third, but it is not. Stallbacken is the closest to the desert, and at the gates of the controlled, strictly who is allowed to enter. As travsporten (Sweden) - now-without an audience - is counted as one work, the harness racing continues, despite the decision of the government on the meetings, with a maximum of 50 people. As the Horses come off the track after the first lap, and Örjan Kihlström, handed over the reins to an attendant, who will be running. Despite the fact that it's cold out there, so he is happy that the races can do it. " We would be terribly affected if we were to stop the run, so we should be grateful to them for as long as we can keep going. We have a huge advantage with that we are looking at large areas, and most of the people that are working with it, it's out there on the farm, and don't meet too many people. When it comes to the risk of cross-contamination is a very good one if we say so." ”the Racetrack is also unique in the way” The Routines of the kuskarna look a bit different after the coronavirusets the outbreak. No alkotester is carried out, as is customary prior to the event. The test is to be taken only if the track officials see something suspicious. In addition, there is a kuskarna were asked to change clothes in the car or on the trailer. It is usually skojas that the horse lovers would rather spend time with the horses than the people, and for once in your life, it can be seen as an advantage. "We are close to the animals, and not particularly close to other men, and on the balcony. The racetrack is also unique in the way it is because it is possible to still be running, say, the Emilia and Leo. "It is more than that of which not so much, and also from France, for example, to hear people, to ask about the horses. You don't want to take advantage of a bad thing, but if we can get a few more people to get interested in horse racing and that we can continue to run as it is the gun, if it comes to that. Emilia, Leo, says that she has noticed an increased interest from players who are not accustomed to playing in the american travsport Europe as a Whole hästnäring hang on In any of the countries in which the travsporten is the most going on right now, no races on the basis of their respective restrictions. The Norwegian travsporten have been hit hard financially by their stand and their survival depends largely on the Swedish horse racing at the moment. Andrew Garman, managing director of the Norsk Rikstoto foundation, said in an interview with the Norwegian broadcasting corporation (NRK the other day, that almost the whole of Europe, hästnäring right now, hang on, it is possible to betting on horses in Sweden. One of the tävlingskvällens coach, Kenneth Haugstad, is he, and tells her that he had a new job in a couple of months in the future, as travexpert in Norway in order to teach them about american harness racing. "There's nothing else to play right now, and people want to play. They want the thrill, so I hope to be able to keep it together here, "says Kenneth Haugstad, and stresses the importance of the sport rolling: "It's very important that we have a little bit of income. This is what we live by and we don't have the money to run on, so it will be a difficult one. When the tire hästägarna and don't want to have to have a horse in training. Since there are many people who would find it difficult. this is One of the newest additions to the Swedish established the kuskelit is, Richard N, Professor. He says, and points to a people of no stallbacke, and said: "It's just that it's almost here. There are more people inside the bus in Stockholm, sweden than there are here. The reason is, I think, that there is no reason that we shouldn't be driving. Then it's a good thing that we are running, so that people have something to look at. Also in the Channel, with 75 employees, hold itself at arm's length when they are interviewing are active in the stallbackenStor the increase in net sales in the streckspelen Tonight's the big streckspel, V86, put in the time and the course switch, between the Third and the Åbys trotting track in Mölndal, Sweden. Startbilen rolls, while a stand of oak trees, up to The lighter for the game. V75 this Saturday had a turnover of more than 113 million people – the equivalent of today last year had a turnover of sek 99 million, and the jackpot. "First and foremost, we would like to make the point very clearly that this is a situation that we wish we had never been in. The situation is really difficult and hard for everyone in the community, "says Nicklas Johansson, who is responsible for the play of the horses at the online betting company of ATG, said: "However, we are aware of the growing interest in a variety of ways. The net sales of our most popular horse games go well, and more and more customers than they normally are in the atg.make sure to check out the start lists, read the news, and in order to play. On the other hand, the decrease in our sports games, as all of the leagues and competitions that have been closed due to the pandemic. So, we are very grateful to the game of horses, can compensate for the loss. Startbilen release of one of the evening's line-up in the face of the blank läktar – the racetrack is now considered to be a arbetsplats Stjärnkusken: ”This is surreal” Erik Adielsson just won a race at the legendary trainer Stig H Johansson. He sits down on the stone wall outside of the entry and catch our breath. Solvallakusken is cautiously optimistic to the idea of trotting off. "It is clear that there is a great interest in the races. There is no doubt about it. This is great for the racetrack, but I have to say that you are humble in the situation, though. We know so many who are suffering physically, losing a job, and so on. It is a very unique situation. He also emphasised on the importance of travsporten continue to roll thanks largely to the vast open spaces of the competition area, and the interactions that the loading / unloading of the horses, basically only happens in the outdoors. "If it is possible, I think it's a good thing if we can continue to drive, in order for us as a sport, and then you notice among the friends, and then they find that it's fun to have something to adhere to. As long as we can be, it is clear that we are going to do it. "But I have a hard time to stand up and shout out with a fanfare and the shouting of a good sales it is because you dont know how it will affect the whole of society and around the world. It's just surreal. By Tagesanzeiger Reprinted with permission of the Indo and New York

The harness racing veteran Sorbet (9m Super Photo Kosmos-Altar Bound) took the Tuesday featured Prix la Fee at Eskilstuna (purse 8,051€. 1640 meters autostart) timed in 1.09.8kr. Orjan Kihlstrom teamed the Daniel Reden trainee for Stall Zet.   Off at .3/1 odds this favorite bested Diamanten (7m Adrian Chip-Iata Kall) and pilot Erik Adielsson and third finishing Nappa Scar (8m Scarlet Knight-Butterfly Player) with trainer Per Lennartsson up. Dreammoko (7m Timoko-Uranie d’Atout) was fourth for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop.   At Jagersro, the Prix Nipp Girl (purse 12,368€, 2140 meters autostart, 13 starters) went to 2.2/1 Caitriona (3f Readly Express-Glorify) with trainer Conrad Lugauer up for Stall Rom-Easy. 40.8/1 Tiny Rocket (3f Djali Boko-Sandbar Hanover) was next foe Per Nordstrom and third to 20.9/1 Vanessa Face (3f Joke Face) for trainer/driver Adrian Kolgjini.   Thomas H. Hicks  

Darren, let’s go way back to where it all started for you. What was it that ignited your love for the sport of horse racing? I was five years old and it is one of my earliest lifetime memories. Grand National Day 1973 when Red Rum beat Crisp in probably the best horse race you’re ever likely to see. I remember my Dad saying ‘what do you want to bet in the National?’. He used to get the ‘Horse & Hound’ and ‘The Field’, two magazines. There was a photo of Spanish Steps on the cover of one of them, and I said ‘I’ll back Spanish Steps’. I had 10p each-way on him, and he finished fourth. Red Rum beat Crisp as we all know. I always remember my Great-Grandfather, he was a first-world war veteran, he lived with us, I was 12 when he died. Now he backed Crisp, and I always remember him cursing Red Rum. I was just captivated by the whole thing, remember in those days we would have watched this in black and white. My Dad and my Mum bought me a rocking horse, and on a Saturday afternoon I used to sit on this rocking horse. My Great-Grandfather would have a bet, we used to watch ‘World Of Sport’ so we’d see the racing, and he used to love the wrestling afterwards. I was just hooked from five-years-old. When I was in primary school, I’d be rushing home to watch the last race on the television. Jumping came first obviously, it was the Grand National and the Cheltenham Festival. I quickly got into flat racing as well, and I was just hooked. Most lads in the summer holidays would be playing football on the green, not me I’d be sitting at home watching the racing. It wasn’t betting, I wasn’t interested in betting. It was just the spectacle and the sport itself. You used to have a football bag or a sports bag, and I was more into football then than I was now. I’m not that into it now, but in those days I used to be a big Manchester United fan. I always remember having a Man U sports bag to take to school, but I used to write the names of racehorses on mine. I had Red Rum, Spanish Steps, Sea Pigeon and Greville Starkey. When you decided race calling was the career path you wanted to go down, how did you go about turning that dream into a reality? I suppose the race calling bit came seriously when I was in High School. Your career teachers would be asking what you’d like to do as a living, and I was captivated again by Peter O’Sullevan. I just thought ‘god, that’s an exciting job’. I remember my Dad wrote to Peter O’Sullevan when I was 10 or 11, and got a letter back in which he gave me some advice. On a Saturday afternoon and in the school holidays, I’d be watching the racing with the volume turned down to practice the commentary. On a Friday night I would draw the colours out for Saturday’s racing. I would get the felt tip pens out and I had a list of the owners. I would practice and then record myself doing the commentaries during my high school days. Living in North Wales, we used to pick up RTE radio, the Irish radio. I’d listen to Michael O’Hehir doing the Irish racing on a Saturday afternoon, and in the 80’s they recruited Aussie Jim McGrath. That was the first time I’d heard ‘Aussie Jim’ around about ’84. I thought ‘God, he was bloody good’, so that’s where I got the interest in race calling from. My Mum and Dad would go to the careers advisors at school, and they used to put me off saying ‘that’s not a job, that’s not a career’. I’d love to go back there now and stick two fingers up at them! Can you remember the first race or race meeting you called? Describe the emotions you were feeling leading up to it? When I left school, I got a job in a furniture store and funnily enough the guy in charge of the store was an ex-jockey. The guy in charge of the printing company who did all the work for the furniture shop became a friend of the proprietor, and one of his jobs was to print racecards at the local harness racing track. There was a grass field and they used to race there from late-May to early-September, once a week on a Wednesday night. I wasn’t really into it but he came in one day and said they were looking for somebody to replace their regular commentator who was missing a couple of meetings to go on holiday. He asked whether I’d be interested to go there and have a bit of a trial. I went there and I think the trial might have been the day Reference Point won the Derby. The first race I called was a three-runner harness race, and I was shaking in my boots. That was my first broadcast, and I started getting a few harness meetings as a result of that. I used to go from North Wales to York on a Saturday night. I would get the train to Manchester and a lift from there. I’d get £15, that’s all it was, but I just wanted the experience. Then what happened was when a neighbour of mine heard a promotion on BBC Radio 2 looking for an amateur sports commentator. So I entered this competition, and the country was split into eight regions. There were five regions of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. What you did was chose your sport. There were eight events and fortunately horse racing was on that list. I went to BBC Radio Wales HQ in Cardiff, and Steve Ryder was one of the judges. He hated horse racing, absolutely hated it. I’d won the regional final and so had qualified for the National final in early-December. It was at The Oval, and my late Grandfather came with me. Along with Steve Ryder, John Inverdale was another one of the judges. In the National final I had to call Nashwan in the King George, then there was a tie-break and I had to do a piece of radio commentary on a Wimbledon final. Well that was an absolute disaster. I had no interest in it whatsoever, and finished third. But as a result of that, I started getting work every now and then for BBC Radio Wales. I called the Welsh National won by Bonanza Boy. I used to do some of the Saturday meetings at Chepstow over jumps, and by doing that I bumped into some of the guys who used to work for the old Excel service which was just about to be taken over the Press Association. One of the guys who used to work for them was Mark Slater, and through him I met Martin Harris and then Dougie Frazer. Now they said to me ‘when there’s a lot of racing in the summer, our boss is sometimes looking for extra cover so we’ll take your name’. This was in February. I then heard nothing till about June, and got a phone call out of the blue inviting me to a trial at York. I was full of cold, but I went and he invited me back on the Saturday. Mid-July they started giving me regular work and I was on their rota. They had five regulars, four of them had regions and there was me filling in the gaps. One week I could be in Scotland, and then the next down at Lingfield. I used to do about five or six days a week and that lasted for about two years. I started getting work for the Racing Post and the Sporting Life. I had to leave harness racing for about two years, and then I went back to it. I read that SIS were looking to recruit about two of three commentators. Wolverhampton had a harness track on the outside and they wrote to SIS on my behalf saying they should look at me, so that’s how I became a racecourse commentator in 1998. You are now a well respected commentator, and out of the many races you have had the pleasure of calling, which one gave you the greatest sense of job satisfaction? Well certain races you always remember. Obviously doing my first Grand National for BBC television, that meant an awful lot. When I got that gig with the BBC I was part of the commentary team when Amberleigh House won in 2004. When I was a kid I always said I had two ambitions, to be a race caller and to call the Grand National. I had to pinch myself that day. I’ll be honest, I was shaking in my boots, I really was. I was as nervous as hell, it’s the most nervous I have ever been in my life. Everywhere you looked, it was Grand National day and I thought ‘bloody hell, millions are going to listen to me this afternoon’. I remember parking up at Aintree that day thinking ‘now come on, shake yourself. This is what you’ve always wanted in your life.’ The night before I had a missed call from Graham Goode. He said to me ‘you’ll be fine tomorrow, just take a deep breath’, and I’ll never forget that. It was a monumental day. I so wanted to get those words out: “there crossing the Melling Road”. I got a lot of satisfaction out of that, a lot. Given the current situation we find ourselves in at present with the coronavirus, would you agree this is a huge blow for the industry? Well it is, but at the end of the day we’ve got to give ourselves a reality check. There are people dying out there. Admittedly, we’re a massive industry, but what is sport? Sport is a great triviality isn’t it? In the grand scheme of things, that’s all we are. We tend to get wrapped up in our little cocoon, in our own little world, wondering when racing will return. On the topic of the coronavirus, the flat season schedule is up in the air at the moment. How would you like to see it reintroduced when the time comes? Well first of all let me just say, regarding proper racing, it’s a good job we got three-quarters of the season done. It’s a major blow to racing that our biggest event can’t take place next week. Let’s not make a big issue out of this, the National is the biggest event, not Cheltenham. Regarding the flat season, it’s very important for the bloodstock industry that the three-year-olds have their chance on the big stage in the classics. At the end of the day, the bloodstock industry is a cog in the wheel. I’m convinced what will happen is that when racing does return, and I don’t think there will be an explosion of meetings, I think the BHA and the European Pattern Committee will need to discuss a revamped pattern for the 2020 season. They’ll have to work back from the Autumn I.e. Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe and Champions Day to try and salvage the season. Let’s say for example we’re in a position to resume racing in July. Races like the Eclipse would obviously fall by the way side. A starting point for the pattern would be the Guineas with a three-week break to the Derby. If they could get the Derby run by early-August, I see no reason why the Juddmonte at York couldn’t take place. You could always reschedule the King George to September. I certainly think you could try and save a few of the=ose weight-for-age races. Out of the many racecourse you’ve visited, which is your favourite and why? Major soft spot for Aintree, because I just love the National. At the end of the day, the National is our shop window, don’t care what anyone says. Whether you’re the biggest flat aficionado going, the Grand National is our shop window. One of my pet hates is when people run scared of the National. People almost want to stand there and apologise for the National, there’s no need to do that at all. We should be proud of it, it’s the race that sells British racing. It’s the only race that matters to the man in the street. To youngsters coming through wanting to gain a position in racing media, what golden piece of advice would you give them? Follow your dreams, follow your ambitions. Devote an awful lot of time, seek as much advice as possible but most of all practice. Practice. You’re luckier in the age we live in that you always have access to race footage. Back in my day we were relying on BBC, Channel 4, ITV to show racing. We had no racing channels. By Liam Hedgecock Reprinted with permission of Sportsbyte Sunderland

March 28, 2020 - The weekend Solvalla feature was the V75 Gold Paralympia (purse to winner 300,000SEK, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) and 2.2/1 Disco Volante (7g Scarlet Knight-Glorify-Super Arnie) was a gate to wire winner for harness racing driver Ulf Ohlsson, trainer Stefan Melander and owner Stall Courant AB. Disco won for the fifth time in six 2020 starts and raised his life earnings to 4,192,915SEK. The victory was career win 24 in 59 appearances. He overcame that belief of some that he could only win at 1640 meters, a distance that he won four straight races entering this contest. Race time was 1.10.9kr (mile rate 1:54). Reckless (10m Ready Cash-Haver-Supergill) rallied for second with trainer Bjorn Goop the pilot. Gareth Boko (7m Make It Happen-Vanilla Boko-Pine Chip) was third, reined by Marc Elias for trainer Conrad Lugauer. The next leg of the Paralympic qualifiers is at Jagersro on April 4. Legs of the Paralympic Trot 2020 Saturday March 28 - Solvalla Saturday April 4 - Jägersro Saturday April 11 - Romme Saturday April 18 - Umåker 'Last chance' Final will be held at Åby Saturday April 25. On the same card fast class mares contested the STL Mares Pixies (220,000SEK to the winner, 1640 meters autostart, eight starters) with victory to late closing and 22/1 I Love Paris (10f Steinlager-Marie Dulcinea-Egyptian Gentleman) handled by her trainer Bjorn Goop. The victory increased her life earnings to 3,938,294 with this her 14th career win. Unique Juni (7f Uptown Yankee-Staro Unique-Supergill) was second for Jorgen Westholm and Hevin Boko (6f Going Kronos-Welat Boko-Garland Lobell) took third for Rikard N. Skoglund. The favorite and leading Ultra Bright made a miscue. Earlier on the program were four year old divisions of the Margaretas, each for 300,000SEK to the winners, each raced over 2140 meters autostart. In the filly division 2.2/1 Alaska Kronos (4f Trixton-Illinois-Donerail) scored timed in 1.13.9kr for Orjan Kihlstrom, trainer Daniel Reden and owner Stall Zet. Ganga Bae (4f Muscle Hill-Alexia As-Conway Hall) took second for Jorma Kontio The colt division of four-year olds saw 15.8/1 Untion Face (4m Joke Face-Croix d’Am-Love You) score for trainer/driver Adrian Kolgjini over the Kilhstrom teamed Digital Summit (4m Super Photo Kosmos) clocked in 1.12.7kr. The two three-year old divisions were won first by the filly Clockwork (3f Zola Boko) at 10.3/1 odds and clocked in 1.14.5kr for reinsman Ulf Eriksson. The male division saw 3.4/1 Forever Melon (3g Infinitif-Easter As-Dancers Victory) score in 1.15.7kr with Orjan Kihlstrom up. The main SWE race programs as also being offered by PMU while the FR tracks are closed due to Covid19. PMU is offering an e-Quinte+ wager each day on one SWE race. Thomas H. Hicks  

March 18, 2020 - Zanzibar Effe (5f Donato Hanover-Ema Sec) took the Jagersro Executive Caviars race for mares (purse 11,343Sek, 1640 meters autostart) clocked in 1.12.7kr. Off at 4.37/1 from post 10, this Jerry Riordan trainee was teamed with Stefan Persson for the victory. Riordan co-owns Zanzibar with AB Trotcore. 5.17/1 Gor lobal Wireless (5f Donao Hanover-Sail On By) took second for pilot Johan Untersteiner and 19.6/1 Majors Carona (5f SJs Caviar-Keep Out) was third for Conny Gustafsson. At Solvalla was the Kentucky Fibbers (purse 206,000Sek, 2140 meters autostart). The 1.6/1 favorite Makethemark (7m Maharajah-Global Naughty-Conway Hall) scored timed in 1.13.4kr for Ulf Ohlsson and trainer Salmela Petri. Ragazzo da Sopra (7g From Above-Larome-Comets Pride) at 6.3/1 was second for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop. 121/1 Cupido Sisu (8g Judge Joe-Dream Hanover-Pine Chip) was third for Tomi Haspin. Former Hambletonian winner Perfect Spirit was fourth. Makethemark Racing in Sweden will occur this weekend at Bergsaker and Farjestad as most of the world’s racetracks are closed. Thomas H. Hicks  

March 19, 2020 - Last week the great nine year old harness racing mare Uza Josselyn (9f Love You-Tezira Josselyn-Ganymede-Ezira Josselyn-Royal Prestige) was retired by her owners/trainers Rena and Barbara Aebischer. She retired with 33 career victories in 79 starts for 1.274,678€ earned plus 11 times second and four times third. Ecurie Yvan Bernard bred this classy mare that became the Swiss champion with a Gr. I victory in the Gran Premio Milan. She was second in the 2019 Prix de France and the Prix d-Atlantique. She recorded a 1.09kr time at Enghien in the Prix de Washington, becoming one of the fastest mares in Europe. She last raced at Cagnes sur Mer in the Criterium de Vitesse in early March. Uza’s female competitor Belina Josselyn, also a daughter of Love You, is at home of the farm and readying to be bred to Ready Cash. Belina Josselyn Thomas H. Hicks

March 17, 2020 - Saturday’s Jatozi DIJ (purse 400,000Huf, 1900 meters autostart) saw 10.7/1 Aurora (4f Frullino Jet-Lezer-Baltic Bet) rally from far back after a second tier start to win this harness racing event timed in 1.19.6kr. Gyorgy Horvath teamed this winner for trainer Imre Fazekas to her second career victory. 6.7/1 Agnella (4f Maximus Lindy-Diatomea PL-Friendly Face) held second for Balazs Juhasz and 53.7/1 Zarkozz! (5f Racino-Gyorsuj!-Witsends Speedy) took the third purse check. Aurora The featured race of the day was the Joker DIJ (purse 600,000Huf, 1960 meters distance handicap) and the 1.19.6kr clocked winner was 2.1/1 Zolta (5m Naglo-Gazza Jet-Supergill) with trainer Veljko Maszity. The 20 meter handicapped and 14.4/1 Kings Call (7g SJs Photo-Marina Emre-Adams Hall) was second for Emese Vezer and 10.9/1 Lingot AT (5m Jasmin d’Odyssee) took third for Balazs Juhasz. Zolta Kincsem Park subsequently announced that it will not host live racing until further notice. This day was the 146th birthday of the birth of national icon Kincsem, and also the 133rd anniversary of her death. Considered one of the best thoroughbred ever, Kincsem won 54 times in as many times over various distances and weights and died after having five winning performers. Her statue is presented at entry to Kincsem Park. Thomas H. Hicks

Calle Crown (6m Great Challenger-Hillary Crown) rallied to win the Grand Prix de Vincennes (Gr. III, purse 80,000€, 2925 meters, International) at Cagnes sur Mer timed in 1.14.2kr. Pierre Vercruysse reined this Tomas Malmqvist trainee that now has two wins and a second in his last three for owner Easy KP. His career earnings are 286,404€. Dream de Lasserie (7g Orlando Vici) was second for Romain Derieux and Ecurie Daidou. Third was the 25-meter handicapped Brooke du Boscar (9f Look de Star) with Yves Hurel aboard.Callie Crown On the undercard were two upper level races. First, the Prix de Syracuse (purse 29,000€, 2925 meters, European) went to 5.6/1 odds Making Love (9g Ken Warkentin-Nouvelle Action) reined by Pierre Vercruysse for owner Measurable Success AB and trainer Daniel Parling. This was the winner’s first win in France and it raised his life earnings to 110,648€. Emiliano (6m Love You-Quarda du Rib) was second with Dominik Loqueneux the pilot for Ecurie des Charmes and trainer Yannick Alain Briand. Third was the Steve Stefano teamed Batum des Bruyeres (9g L’Eau du Vernay) for trainer J.M. Roubaud. Making Love The undercard also included the Prix de Saint-Malo (purse 33,000€, 2925 meters, European) and Pierre Vercruysse was again the winner, teaming Eden Basque (6g Singalo-Janga) to the 1.14.3kr victory. Nicolas Ensch trains this now nine-time winner for Ecurie Castagniccia. Eden raised his life earnings to 177,890€. Delmonica (7f Prince d’Espace) was second for Stephane Cingland and trainer Anthony Muidebled. Third was the Jean Charles Feron trainer and reined Belle au Vent (9g Jag de Bellouet). Eden Basque Vercruysse posted three consecutive wins this day at Cagnes sur Mer, as reported above, and his trainee Moni Viking took the feature at Enghien. The Winter Meet at CSM showcased the Grand Criterium de Vitesse that went to Vivid Wise As from the Gocciadoro stable. The other results from the winter meet are shown below.   TOP 3 HORSES (excl. Grand Critérium de Vitesse Nice-Matin) Elsa de Belfonds - 108 200€ Good Morning - 64 800€ El Villagio - 58 170€   TOP 3 TRAINERS- MEETING 2019-2020 Romuald Mourice - 33 victories Yannick-Alain Briand - 30 wins Vincent Martens - 24 wins   TOP 3 DRIVERS - MEETING 2019-2020 Christophe Martens - 25 victories David Bekaert - 21 wins Yannick-Alain Briand - 12 wins LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink    

March 13, 2020 - The 5/2 odds Moni Viking (7m Maharajah-Jeanesse d’Oree) took the Enghien harness racing featured Prix de Pierrefitte sur Seine (purse 58,000€, 2150 meters autostart, European) clocked in 1.13kr with Bryan Coppens at the lines. He began from post 14 and was at the back until a huge move to engage the leader and then gain the lead. He won for the seventh time in France for trainer Pierre Vercruysse and owner Jan Lyng, and he now has career earnings of 293,241€. Divine Mesloise (7f The Beat Madrik) was a game second for Gabriele Gelormini and trainer Pierre Belloche. Third was Datcha (7f The Best Madrik) for Yoann Lebourgeois, trainer Emmanul Ruault and owner Ecurie Comte P de Montesson. Thomas H. Hicks

March 11, 2020 - The 2.1/1 harness racing favorite Viking d’Hermes (11g Sancho Panca-Norina Way) scored at Laval in this day’s Grand Prix Consel Departemental Mayenne (purse 49,000€, 2850 meters distance handicapped, International) timed in 1.12.6kr. Eric Raffin teamed this 25-meter handicapped winner for trainer J.M. Roubaud as he scored for the 18th time in a career that has produced earnings of 501,800€. Fun Quick (5m Carpe Diem-Activity Quick) was second for Alexandre Abrivard, trainer Maik Esper and owner Ecurie Quick Star. Baron d’Aidou (9g Saxo de Vandel) took third for Cyril Chenu. Thomas H. Hicks

March 12, 2020 - Bugsy Malone (9g Ready Cash-Night Captain) returned from a four month vacation to score at Caen in the harness racing Prix de Cauvicourt (purse 31,000€, 2200 meters autostart, European) with Yoann Lebourgeois up. Off at 2.5/1 the winner recorded his 29th career victory now for 885,230€ earned. Philippe Allaire owns and trains the veteran campaigner that is especially talented on the turf in summer season. Ce Bello Romain (8g Jam Pridem-Miss Echo Bella) was second and Eriden (6, Ready Cash-Topaze d’Atout) took third, this one with David Thomain up for trainer Sebastien Guarato. Bel Avis was an unplaced starter. Thomas H. Hicks

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