A massive fire has destroyed several buildings at Solvalla trainer Timo Nurmos stables at Fituna last night. Luckily it appears that no people or horses were injured in the blaze which destroyed three stables and a corn silo, several Swedish news sources are reporting. Swedish harnessracing website TravNet reported that the fire alarm went off at 6pm on Wednesday evening . A dozen fire trucks rushed to Nurmos’ training facility at Fituna Farm outside Nynashamn, to the south of Stockholm. Sodertorn fire chief Per Delhage, said on Swedish TV that the fire was under control. Swedish police reported that no people were injured and that all the horses that were inside the burning building were evacuated and were unharmed. Horses in adjacent stables were also evacuated. Top Swedish racing paper TravRonden quoted neighbour Patrik Oscarsson as saying that it was inconceivable that the fierce blaze did not spread to other stables which were just metres away. He said it was too early to tell if any were damaged and that the district veterinarian was on the site inspecting horses. Neighbours helped capture and pen loose horses and traffic around Fituna was diverted. TravNet reports that what caused the fire was unclear and that other news sources claimed the fire may have started in a workshop building. Finnish national Nurmos trains 148 horses and currently leads Solvalla’s trainer’s championship. The hunt is already on for new stables for the trainer. Dave Sanders
Finland has punched above its weight for a long time in harness racing. Think of the great Commander Crowe, bred and originally owned and trained by Finn Petri Puro who has lived for many years in Halmstad Sweden, like many Finns do, to make a living out of the sport they love including until recently trainer Kari Lahdekorpi, from Huittenen, who was the champion Swedish trainer in 2007-8 and 2004 trainer of the year until his shock retirement this year. No one in Scandinavia has driven more winners then Swedish based Finn Jorma Kontio, while compatriot and long-time patron Timo Nurmos, is one of the top trainers in Sweden. Yet another Finn Tuomas Korvenoja is the breeder and owner of one of the rising superstars Brad de Veluwe, the European Derby winner last year, and runner up in the European Championship for five year-olds last week. Brad de Veluwe is by Andover Hall, himself owned by a Finn Erkki Laakkonen, although resident in the United States. Finland is also home to two champion US sires in Donerail and Like A Prayer, among others, and the rapid improvement of Finnish horses can be seen by the likes of She Loves You, who won the elite mares race at Solvalla on Elitloppet weekend last year. And on Sunday, the next crop of 3YOS will line up for the Finnish Trav Kriterium, where perhaps the next Brad de Veluwe will emerge triumphant, including his trainer Korvenoja who will present the promising Muscles Yankee colt Jonesy. Jonesy ran second to rising Italian star Rori Axe (Ready Cash) in the Group II Prix Emile Wendling at Vincennes two starts ago, beating the highly touted Jean Pierre Dubois Donato Hanover filly Tast Of Bourbon into third place. He was good enough to make the Group I E3 Final against the top Swedish 3YOs, where he was beaten into sixth place, following by one place last weekend’s Swedish Kriterium winner, Rokkakudo. He also has the fastest record in the field, 1.11.8 (1.55.2MR) which he acquired in Sweden. Brad de Veluwe’s sire Andover Hall is represented this year by Greenleaf Slim, who was one of the early favourites for the race and has won six of his nine starts, and he will be driven by Mika Forss for trainer Heuikki Korhonen. Nurmos will have Kontio (who has won this race five times, the first in 1979) aboard his Yankee Glide colt Zo Zo Hoss who has 4 wins from 8 starts in Sweden while he has another colt by dual Prix d’Amerique winning sire Offshore Dream in Dream Run who has had two wins from 4 starts in Sweden. Pekka Korpi, who first won a Finnish Kritierium with Guiding Star in 1981, has four entrants with Express Duo (Express Ride), who has won the most money in the field, and was second in the Ulf Thorensen Minnelop. Korpi also has Arctic Shot who is by Classic Photo, who sired the recent European Derby winner Mosaique Face, while he also has the filly Eden Duo by Orlando Vici who sired the European Championship for 5YOs winner Un Mec d’Heripre, while he also a colt by Finnish resident US sire Donerail in Good Dynamite. Markku Nieminen’s Kadabra colt Harmi's Frido has won 61,000 euros from eight wins in 15 starts, has a good draw at 2 and also has the third fastest record at 1.13.8kr (1.58.4MR). FINSKT TRAV KRITERIUM Teivo, 2013-10-05 Group I 3YOs 2600m 1 Big Headache (3g E L Mikko - Southwind Roselle) Dr: Tommi Kylliäinen Tr: Riikka Kosonen 2 Harmi's Frido (3c Kadabra - Glamour Jet) Dr: Markku Nieminen Tr: Markku Nieminen 3 Jonesy (3c Muscles Yankee - Ripley) Dr: Tuomas Korvenoja Tr: Tuomas Korvenoja 4 Greenleaf Slim (3c Andover Hall - Mabelese) Dr: Mika Forss Tr: Heikki Korhonen 5 Express Duo (3c Express It - Dolce Merett) Dr: Ari Moilanen Tr: Pekka Korpi 6 Good Dynamite (3c Donerail - Good Leasing) Dr: Kari Venäläinen Tr: Pekka Korpi 7 Arctic Shot (3c Classic Photo - Snowdeo Lynn) Dr: Antti Teivainen Tr: Pekka Korpi 8 Vice President (3g Oiseau de Feux - R.Sweet Hush) Dr: Peter Ingves Tr: Emma Bjerkås 9 Eden Duo (3f Orlando Vici - Irene Merett) Dr: Hannu-Pekka Korpi Tr: Pekka Korpi 10 Zo Zo Hoss (3c Yankee Glide - Decadent Pagan) Dr: Jorma Kontio Tr: Timo Nurmos 11 Moonlight Love (3f Love You - El Itsmadetoorder) Dr: Harri Koivunen Tr: Olli Lähtinen 12 Dream Run (3c Offshore Dream - Golden Harvest) Dr: Esa Holopainen Tr: Timo Nurmos Dave Sanders for harnesslink
The weekend's feature trots took place at multiple harness racing venues, some with predictable results. The Prix Saint Michel at Mekkeli (Finland) went to the 'Pippo' Gubellini trained and driven Owens Club (5m Duke Of York-Duse Tab) in a sharp 1.10.10kr (1:52.8) over the 1609 meter autostart course.
Last weekend provided much harness racing action at Paris-Vincennes, Kouvola and Boden, so much that other interesting development were too easily overlooked.
Saturday brings out many of the better currently racing European trotters as they contest the Gr. I International Norrbottens Stora Pris at Boden and the Kymi Grand Prix at Kuovola, Finland.
Nesta Effe (6m Naglo-Etna Sec-Viking Kronos) and Roberto Vecchione scored a come from behind harness racing win in the first Elitloppet heat, scoring in 1.10.7kr to defeat the hard fighting pacesetters Raja Mirchi (6m Viking Kronos-Dame Lavec-Quito de Talonay) for Lutfi Kolgjini and third finishing Timoko (6m Imoko-Kiss me Coulonces) and Joseph Verbeeck.
Benefitting from a head to head speed duel between Traveling Man (Untersteiner) and Monster Drive (Svanstedt), patient harness racing trainer/driver Pietro Gubellini sat second on the pylons with Italy's Owen's Club (5m Duke of York-Duse Tab-Sugarcane Hanover) until past the three quarter mile mark.
Today's top European trots, both mile heats (autostart), produced victories by well-respected six year-old harness racing campaigners.
Mack Grace SM (7m CC's Chuckie T-Ambro Grace SM) today won the 132,000 euro Gr. I Gran Premio Della Azzura at Torino Italy.
Beckman (6g Turbo Sund-Nina Palema-Alf Palema) with harness racing trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt up, held off a determined Raja Mirchi (6h Viking Kronos-Dame Lavec-Quito de Talonay) to win V-75 Gold Olympiatravet Last Chance event at Farjestad and with it secured the last entry to the April 20 Olympic Trot at Aby.
Meatballs have been withdrawn from stores throughout Europe as the international horse meat scare, which could include former harness racing horses, takes another turn - but shops in Canada and the USA are apparently not affected.
The border guard is probably still shaking her head. After all, she had just talked to a middle-aged sideburned person who told her he was in the return leg of a 1,000-plus-mile trip from Harrisburg, Pa., to watch his favorite harness racing horse race in Montreal.
European trotting is experiencing a turbulent time. France remains the leading nation in Europe. Swedish trotting is now facing a rough road ahead, having been a success story for the last three decades.
Ready Cash, the two-time winner of the prestigious Prix d'Amerique, returned to harness racing action on Saturday afternoon (July 21) in the French marathon race Prix de Buenos Aires at Enghien over the 2-3/8th mile distance.
The 9-year-old Swedish trotter Commander Crowe continued his winning streak on Saturday afternoon (June 16) in the Kymi Grand Prix at the Kouvola harness racing track in Finland.
New Zealand's Colonial Breeding Services has entered into partnership with a second European harness racing stud, Classic Equine of Finland and have secured one of that country's most popular young stallions, Anderberg (Andover Hall, 1.54.4).