Enghien's tardy effort at Saturday's Harness Jewels workouts has the warning bells ringing with a deafening tone for favourite punters. The dominant two-year-old Ruby favourite was never comfortable behind the mobile and galloped away from the gate at Cambridge Raceway. His fractious performance was enough for co-trainer Greg Hope to admit he now has some serious concerns around the son of Love You's manners heading in to the $100,000 Group I next Saturday. So much so, Hope made a plea to move Enghien to the unruly because he thought he was a better chance of stepping away and was probably still good enough to win from there. But his request to give away his handy draw of barrier three was declined because punters had already bet into the post-draw market. Hope said he cannot give punters any guarantees and Enghien's post-barrier draw quote of $1.18 seems sure to drift when the Jewels markets re-open on Sunday. "I'm not overly confident with him now, more hopeful. "We've got some work to do with him during the week," Hope said. Hope officially trains in partnership with wife Nina but their son Ben, an integral part of their Woodend Beach operation, will also be working triple overtime in the next seven days. Enghien was still good enough to beat home Mortician, the only other runner in the heat, but he will not be winning the Jewels if he gives away 50m like he did at the workouts. "He trotted lovely afterwards, he finished it off really well but the start is a concern," Hope said. Everything centres around the start for Enghien – if he gets away safely it is most likely game over for his rivals. Enghien only arrived in the north on Thursday and Hope said it is a possibility the trip may have taken something out of the talented trotter and he may settle in this week. It was a morning of rocks and diamonds for the Hope team with four-year-old Ruby favourite Monbet looking every bit the champion he is with a leisurely jog in 2:00.6 for the mile on an easy-rated track. Hope cannot fault Monbet, a winner of six Group I races already this season, and was "really happy" with his hit-out. Meanwhile, any doubts around the health of Field Marshal have been put to bed. An impressive workout win has confirmed to punters what trainer Tim Butt already knew – a minor bout of colic on May 17 has done nothing to decrease his chances in the four-year-old Emerald. Field Marshal did a bit of work off the gate to lead all the way. He cut out the 2200m trip in 2:44.5 with a mile rate of 2:00.3 and closing sectionals of 58.1 and 26.6 to beat home Bettor Spirits by one-and-a-quarter lengths with a further two-and-a-quarter back to Chase The Dream. "It was probably the perfect trial for him," Butt said. A dual Group I winner in his last two starts when winning the Taylor Mile and Messenger, Field Marshal's chances of a third win on the trot at the elite level have only been helped by drawing the ace. Field Marshal can burn the gate and in the hands of Dexter Dunn will be going straight to the front and Butt is not cornered about leading all the way. "People have him as a speed horse, which he is, but he's put in some really tough runs too. "I'll leave it up to Dexter but when you draw there over a mile your hand is forced to try and lead all the way really," Butt said. Field Marshal's favouritism is likely to firm off the workout win, especially with main rival Titan Banner starting from the outside of the front-line. Mat Kermeen
Akido (6g Love You-Isba) took tonight’s Quinte+ Prix St. Sauveur at Vincennes with harness racing trainer Franck Nivard up. Ecurie Comte P de Montesson is the owner. The purse was €72,000 and 14 Europeans contested the event over 2700 meters with the winner timed in 1.13.7kr. 12/1 Alpha Saltor (6m Paris Haufor-Glory d’Ariane) was second for Matthieu Abrivard with 6/1 Duke of Greenwood (6m Otello Pierji-Nikki Groenhof) third for driver Hugo Langeweg Jr, and trainer Peter J. Strooper. On the same evening card the 3/2 favorite Begum Fromento (5f Meaulnes du Corta-Orminda) took the €55,000 purse Prix Dejanira (2700 meters, 12 starters) clocked in 1.13.7kr for trainer/driver Thomas Levesque. Pierre Levesque is the owner. 9/1 Belline d’Urzy (5f Otgello Pierji-Querida d;Urzy was next with Franck Ouvrie up and 11/1 Action du Chatelet (6f Opium-Olvera du Chatelet was third. Thursday’s (May 19) Lyon-Parilly feature was the Prix de Dax (purse €28,000, 2850 meters, 13 starters) and 5.7/1 odds Bonheur d’Occagnes scored timed in 1.15.2kr for Gabriel Gelormini, trainer Sebastian Guarato and owner J.P. Micholet. This five year-old son of Diamant Gede-Onaka defeated 6/1 Bolde Major (5m Hulk des Champs-Nuit de France). At Chartres the Prix Opal Chartres for a €35,000 purse (2800 meters, 16 starters, Pick5) went to the 1.6/1 favorite Victoire de Levres (7f LOntzac-Eve Linu) with Franck Nivard piloting. Timed in 1.13.7kr this winner bested 11/1 Tikuor de Beylev (9f Sancho Panca-Jasmine du But) with Vh. Dreux aboard. Third was 28/1 Soleil de France (10g Giant Cat-Histoire de France). Also at Chartres was the monte Prix Chartrexpo (purse €23,000, 2800 meters, 15 European participants). Eric Raffin rode 25/1 Toscan de Carel (9g Ipsun de Mormal-Kiwadatta) to the 1.14.9kr victory for owner/trainer Mlle. M-A Goetz. 11/1 Alezane d’Urzy (6f Oiseau de Feux-Jepes) was second ahead of 10/1 Voiseau Smiling (7g Oiseau de Feux-Milady d’Ombree). On Wednesday May 18 there was interesting trotting action at Solvalla and Jagersro. 1.9/1 My Gliding Angel (6f Yankee Glide-My Shooting Star-Malabar Man) won a mares event worth 80,000SEK to the winner as Kenneth Haugstad teamed the winner to a 1.13.2kr score over 2140 meters autostart. Bjorn Goop trains this one that defeated 4/1 Unique Julia (6f Juliano Star-Staro Unique-Supergill) that Ulf Ohlsson teamed for trainer Reljo Liljendahl. Flight Plan (3f Scarlet Knight-Dana di Ala-Supergill) took at three year-old filly event that earned her 40,000SEK first money. Owner/trainer/driver was Stefan Melander in this 2140 meter autostart contest that was off at 3.9/1. 10/1 Rio Rita Face (3f Joke Face-Musclesonbroadway-Muscles Yankee) was second for Ulf Ohlsson and trainer Liljendahl. The race was clocked in 1.15.7kr. Also at Solvalla an 80,000SEK first money event for four year-old mares went to 3/10 favorite Wild Honey (4f Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy-SJ’s Photo) with Orjan Kihlstrom up for trainer Daniel Reden, The winner was timed in 1.12.7kr and recorded her first 2016 win in her second start. Wild Honey’s career slate is 18-8-0 in 30 outings. Salmo Silvio (4f Ken Warkentin-Almo Silvio-Copiad) was second for driver Magnus Jakobsson. Shortly thereafter a 60,000SEK first money race went to Nato Dream (7m Donato Hanover-Nugget Dream-Pine Chip) for Per Lennartsson and trainer Melander, off at 13.5/1 amd timed in 1.12.3kr over 2140 meters autostart. Nato Dream increased his career earnings to 1,822,085SEK. 4/1 Blue Martini As (6f Allstar Hall-True Blue Victory-Valley Victory) was second for driver Kihlstrom and trainer Roger Walmann. At Jagersro a 70,000SEK first prize test over 1640 meters autostart went to even-money favorite Royal Fighter (8m Varenne-Froken Julie-Supergill) with Jennifer Tillman up for trainer Per K. Eriksson. The Per Rodent and Christina Nilsson owned veteran scored in 1.10.1kr to defeat 2.3/1 Spartan Kronos (5m Muscle Hill-Dame Kronos-King Conch) and trainer/driver Conrad Lugauer. Stand and Deliver was third for Birger Jorgensen ahead of Harry Haythrow, Kash’s Cantab and Rod Stewart. The winner scored career victory 15 in 70 starts for earnings of 2,564,500SEK. He’s been 1-2-3 in the last six starts and raced barefoot in this one and certainly seeks an Elitloppet invitation. Elitloppet 2016 Prep Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdYL6Ypx3CY Thomas H. Hicks
A busy month lays in wait for promising juvenile trotter, Enghien. And because of that busy schedule, the gelding’s co-trainer Greg Hope is quite happy to take every easy win he can get. Easy is probably the best word to describe the manner in which the son of Love You dealt to his rivals is today’s PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Series No.25 2YO Trot – winning by 12 and a half lengths, going close to breaking Sheemon’s national record in the process. “He just keeps getting better,” Hope, who trains with his wife, Nina, said. “His gait is improving all the time and he’s developing into quite a rounded tidy racehorse.” Driven confidently by Ricky May, Enghien worked to find the lead early but looked comfortable once he got there and when asked the question at the 500 metre mark he snuck away and put the race beyond doubt. “He really seems to enjoy that rolling type of race, he just keeps on going that one speed. “It’s a little bit like what Monbet could do at the same age really because only a few can do that at this age.” Enghien will return to Addington next week to tackle the Sires’ Stakes final, meaning a clash with rival Habibi Inta. Safely through that assignment it’s on to the Harness Jewels and a workout the week before at Cambridge. “It’s a lot of work for a horse in one month, especially with the travelling he’s got to do to get up North. “But he had that pretty easy today so hopefully it shouldn’t take too much out of him and we can keep him quite fresh.” On what has been seen so far it will be Enghien and Habibi Inta who fight for favouritism in the 2YO Ruby. The pair have looked head and shoulders above the rest of the crop since early on in proceedings. Raced by Hope and Richard Dellaca, Enghien is another product of the wonderful maternal line of Another Starlet. Bred by the late Carl Middleton and his wife, Heather, the gelding has a long family line of performers before him and even at this early stage he looks to have the credentials to go on and be the best of them. The Hopes and May combination were back in business in the very next race when Usain Colt made the most of a dream run in the trail to sneak up the passing lane and win his Super Series Final impressively. The early double took the Hopes to 49 winners for the season and into a firm third on the trainers’ premiership while May moved into fourth position on the drivers’ title race with 76 wins. Enghien HRNZ MEDIA
Weedon’s based trainer Nigel McGrath has set his sights on the Harness Jewels with smart 3yo Ears Burning. Well supported by punters at Addington today, the 3yo Grinfromeartoear colt didn’t disappoint his followers with a dominate win in the 7th race of the afternoon. “He’s won really nicely; we had to burn around to find the front but he was strong after that. There is a super series race for him next week and then hopefully a jewels start” said McGrath. Currently 12th on the Jewels leader board , Ears Burning will drop back to 13th with the return of the All Stars runner Chase The Dream who is making his way back to New Zealand after competing in the WA Derby. The Super Series race Nigel refers to is the C0 and Faster Mobile pace which Ears Burning sneaks into, while it is a preferential barrier draw meaning he will pick up an average draw, there wouldn’t be many, if any horses to fall into those conditions that are going as good as he is. Meanwhile, McGraths star colt and Jewels leader Classie Brigade has had a wee freshen up and is preparing well for his Jewels challenge. “He will have one trial and go to the Jewels” said McGrath. Ears Burning Great Things Happen put pay to a handy trot field today when he boomed up the passing lane for trainer/driver Gavin Smith. Today’s victory was the Love You geldings 5th in a row and 7th career win, and pushed him up to 18th in the Jewels standings, just under $3,000.00 shy of the 12th placed, Greg/Nina Hope trained Everybody Knows. Owned by E J Edwards and Sara Smith, Great Things Happens was the first foal out of 7 win S J’s Photo mare Calamity Gal, who was trained by Gavin for her last two career starts. Today’s winning time of 3.17.4 was impressive, but so was the run of runner up Harriet Of Mot, who’s amended time from her 30m back mark was 3.16.4 and put the writing on the wall for the 4yo mare to be very competitive at the Harness Jewels. Her performance capped off a great day for Noel Kennard’s GoHarness Syndication’s brand when recent purchase Order Online won for trainer Ken Barron and the GoHarness Buy Race & Sell Syndicate. The 3yo Washington VC gelding was purchased out of the Clark Barron stable earlier last month and delivered a great mothers day victory for some owners. GoHarness always have shares available so don’t hesitate to get in contact with them, their details can be found at www.goharness.co.nz. Great Things Happen Order Online Andrew Fitzgerald
This week showcased two harness racing Groupe events, first at Lyon-Parilly and then at Paris-Vincennes Action at Lyon-Parilly showcased the Gr. III Grand Prix du Centre-Est for a purse of €100,000 and contested by 11 over the 2850 meter distance. Franck Nivard teamed 3.6/1 Viking Va Bene (6m Rite On Line-Iriana du Mont) to victory clocked in 1.15.6kr. Fabrice Souloy trains this winner. 6.8/1 Truman Dairpet (9g Biesolo-Heloise Poterie) was a rallying second for trainer/driver Nicolas Ensch. Third went to 1.2/1 favorite Altesse du Mirel (6f Ready Cash-Ina du Mirel) with trainer Pierre Vercruysse up for owner Florence Allera. Lyon Parilly’s Prix de la Beauce (purse €25,000, 2000 meters, 7 starters) this day went to 6.6/1 odds Disco Darling (3m Sam Bourbon-Romance Darling) and driver Bjorn Goop for trainer Wm. Ruth timed in 1.16.1kr. 31/1 Delicatesse (3f Mercaneaire-Thalie dHaumoniere) took second ahead of 7/1 Danse de Bertramnge (3f Korean-Olga du Chateau) for owner/trainer/driver Thierry Busset. Also at Lyon Parilly was the Quinte+ Prix du Pays Picois (purse €30,000, 2850 meters, 18 European starters) and 19/1 Uge d’Urzy (8g Jasmin de Flore-Jepee) prevailed for Serge Peltier, the reinsman. 7/1 Vespa du Bourgogne (7f Echo-Gym du Bois Morin) took second for Pierre Callier with 4/1 By Air (9g From Above-Come Fly With Me) flying home for the third spot. The winner was clocked in 1.15.6kr. The Gr. II Prix Rene Palyart (purse €120,000, Gr. II monte with nine starters, 2175 meters) headlined this Paris-Vincennes program with the impressive win to 1.13.3kr timed, 2.3/1 odds Cyprin d’Erable (4m Prodigious-Quinine d’Erable) with David Thomain in the irons. The Y-A Briand trainee is owned by Ecurie du Haras d’Erable. 40/1 Candela (4f First de Retz-Ofara) was second in a close finish with the third place horse 4.1/1 Chanceliere Citrus (4f Goetmals Wood-Noblesse du Corta). The latter is owned by Jean-Pierre Barjon, trained by L.Cl. Abrivard and Alexandre Abrivard was up. Also at Paris-Vincennes the Prix Henri Chretien (purse €48,000, 2200 meters, 13 monte starters with apprentice lad jockeys) went to the 1.16kr timed, 7.4/1 odds Venicio Bello (7g Kiwi-Illicia Bella) reined by Leo Abrivard for trainer Benjamin Goetz and owner Jorma Niskanen. 4.7/1 Ardelot was a three-length beaten second ahead of 28/1 Valroy. The prior days (May 2 and May 1) there was solid action at other venues. On M<ay 2 at Enghien-Soisy was the Prix du Pont Charles de Gaulle (purse €56,000, 2875 meters, 14 European starters). 10/1 Baladin Hongrois (5g Bon Conseil-Relodie Hongroise) recored the victory for trainer/driver Arnaud Desmottes clocked in 1.14.9kr. Second went to the narrowly beaten 16/1 Best Buissonay (5m L’ecu du Vernay-Nyota Buissonay) hanlded by trainer\/driver Joel Van Eeckhaute with 4.2/1 Bily de Gaeriniere (5g Prodigious-Haldane) gaining the third spot in a close photo for driver/trainer Matthieu Abrivard. Easytowin (5f Offshore Dream-Victory My Way) at 5.1/1 rallied to win the Prix de Millau (purse €56,000, 2875 meters, 14 European starters) at Enghien timed in 1.15.2kr. Trained Dion P. Tesselaar piloted the winner for owner/breeder Gerrits Recycling BV. The Dutch-bred mare bested 23/1 Begum Fromento (5f Meaulnes du Corta-Orminda) driven by trainer Thomas Levesque for owner Pierre Levesque. Third in a blanket finish for that spot went to 46/1 Botanie (5f Rieussec-Prima Simardiere) handled by Alexandre Abrivard. On May 2 at Cholet the 12/1 odds Bon Copain (5m Love You-Haie) took the Prix GTA Toutlemonde (purse €33,000, 2800 meters, 18 European starters) for trainer/driver Thierry Raffegeau. Clocked in 1.15.9kr this winner bested 13.5/1 Un Charme Fou (8m Love You-Ma Crown), reined by Loic Guinoiseau for trainer Franck Leblanc, and third finishing 1.1/1 favorite Avenir de Blay (6g Hooper-Mira Belle de Blay) with owner/trainer/driver Tony LeBeller at the lines. On May 1 at Alencon the turf specialists were on display in the Grand Prix Super U. Alencon for a €32,000 purse and contested over the 2650 meter distance by 16 horses. The 1.19.5kr timed winner was 1.3/1 odds favorite Verrazano Bridge (7g Offshore Dream-Kuala Lumpur) with trainer Thomas Levesque teaming for owner Pierre Levesque. 4.7/1 Vulcanie de Godrel (7f Memphis du Rib-Julietta) took second for reinsman Franck Nivard and 41/1 Vallee d’Haufor (7f Oiseau de Feux-Kabylie du Relais) took third for Ch.J. Bigeon driving for trainer Christian Bigeon. Thomas H. Hicks
Everything went to plan for the four harness racing big guns tonight at the Auckland Trotting Club's meeting at Alexandra Park. Spanish Armada got things off to a flying start when she was successful in the $138,000.00 Group 1 Magness Benrow Sire Stakes Fillies Championship. Away nicely from barrier 6, co trainer and driver Natalie Rasmussen had the classy 2yo Bettor’s Delight in front and dictating after 300m. No one was keen to take the recent Caduceus Club Final winner on and she was allowed to stride along in front. While some punters who took the $1.30 around the favourite would have been nervous when the Mark Jones trained filly Delightful Memphis popped out of her 1-1 spot to issue a serious challenge, to wear the leader down to just a winner margin of a neck. The winner’s time for the 1700m trip was 2:02.3, Last mile in 1.55.7 – 800m 56.4 – 400m 27.7. The PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales 2yo Fillies Final set down for the 13th May will be the next clash of these two talented fillies. No doubt with a handy draw Delightful Memphis could turn the tables on the top seed Purdon/Rasmussen runner. Spanish Armada _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tonight’s Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby victory for Marcoola once again justified owner/driver Clint Ford’s decision to not sell his star 3yo colt. With an offer reportedly around the $250,000.00 mark, Ford was quick to make it clear that he wouldn’t be for sale. Since that offer Marcoola has won just over $120,000.00 in stakes, while adding the NZ Trotters Derby, Sire Stakes Trotting Championship and now the Northern Trotting Derby to his resume. A 3yo Colt by Champion sire Sundon out of the Ford Family’s handy race mare Arabess – Marcoola is the horse most people dream of breeding and owner themselves. A smart drive from Clint tonight got the chocolates as he once again showcased his class by demolishing a top class field. Allowed to settle early by Ford, Marcoola was then set around to find the top, this move left 2nd favourite High Gait in a world of trouble covered up four back the pegs. In a surprise move, High Gait’s driver Natalie Rasmussen was happy to stay tucked along the rail and was seen storming home for an unlucky 3rd. Marcoola went to the line, with plenty in the tank as Ford only flicked the reins at his charge in the home straight to score by 1 length in an overall time of 3:23.7, Mile rate of 2:01.4 – 800m in 58.2 – 400m in 29.6. The Harness Jewels looks his race to lose on the back of this 7 race winning streak. Marcoola _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Field Marshal was another short favourite to salute the judge, this time doing the sort after Taylor Mile/Messenger double. After a huge performance in last weeks Taylor Mile, Trainer Tim Butt was confident his top class Art Major 4yo would handle every part of the 2700m trip. Given a lovely trip by leading driver Dexter Dunn, Field Marshal was dominate beating Australia visitor My Kiwi Mate by 1 ¼ Lengths in a sizzling 3:15.8. With tonight’s victory, Field Marshal climbs over the $250,000.00 mark in stakes earnings, with a healthy record of 14 wins from just the 25 starts. While Field Marshal in a clear leader on top of the Harness Jewels leader board, Australian My Kiwi Mate catapulted himself into 22nd spot, just $10,000.00 short of the 12th place Captain Doimio. With connections chasing a jewels spot, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see My Kiwi Mate line up at Alexandra Park over the next few weeks in order to qualify. The 4yo Jewels invite is likely to go to the Amanda Turnbull trained Tact Tate, who will make their decision in the coming days. Field Marshal _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Superstar trotter Monbet was absolutely sensational in the 2016 Rowe Cup, winning from an awkward, inside the back row draw. Trained at Woodend Beach by Greg and Nina Hope, Monbet started one of the hottest favourites in history after arch rival Speeding Spur was stuck down by a suspensory injury that could see him sidelined for 10-12 months. Away nicely from the tapes, Monbet settled in before driver Ricky May sent the $1.11 favourite around to the lead with two laps to run. From there on after the 4yo Love You gelding never looks in danger. Owned by the Hopes and M J Molloy, they also turned down a reported offer of $600,000.00 a few weeks back. Since that offer Monbet has earn't a tidy $184,000.00. Co trainer Greg Hope confirmed last night that providing his charge recovers well they will look to take their place in the Cambridge Harness Jewels, where he will start one of the shortest jewels favourites ever. Waimate trotter Valmagne was the run of the race behind the winner. Co Trainer Josh Kennett was stoked with the performance of his stable star, “He has gone super, last week he broke just as he was getting into it” said Kennett. Monbet Andrew Fitzgerald
There is still plenty at stake for Monbet. The exceptional four-year-old trotting talent will start as a prohibitive harness racing favourite this Friday night in the Gr.1 $NZ150,000 Canam Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park, Auckland – the final leg of the 2015/16 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters. Following his scintillating victory in last week’s ANZAC Cup where he blew away Speeding Spur who was subsequently diagnosed with a season ending injury, Monbet can’t surpass his arch rival who gathered enough points to hold an unassailable lead heading into the final leg. Speeding Spur has 220 points while Monbet has 103 points prior to Friday’s feature. But there’s still plenty up for grabs for the Canterbury trained star. If Monbet proves successful in the Rowe Cup and then ventures to Cambridge in June for the Jewels and collects another Group One victory, he could easily claim the Trotter of the Year plus the overall Horse of the Year titles. The Love You gelding has already won five Group One races this season. On Friday night, Monbet will face twelve rivals in the grueling 3200m stand start feature including all bar Speeding Spur from last week’s ANZAC Cup. The Greg & Nina Hope trained performer is a stand start specialist but is foreign to the two mile distance range with 2700m being the longest he’s raced. Another intriguing factor to be considered this week for Monbet is his draw, the inside of the second-line. But if there is a scratching to his inside in the great race, Monbet will move from his inside second line draw to the outside of the front line, barrier nine, in direct contrast to what happens in mobile races. Most expect to him win regardless of where he starts from - front or second-line. And favourites have a great record in the race with the punters elect winning 7 of the last 9 editions, the exceptions being Stig in 2013 and I Can Doosit in 2011, the first of his two victories in the feature event. Champion reinsman Ricky May will once again handle Monbet and he is no stranger to success in the premier North Island trotting feature having won the race back in 1988 with Highwood. Key rivals this week include Sheemon, a runner-up in this event two years ago while the improving types of Blackguards Corner and Yagunnakissmeornot will also command respect. Realmein, Jag’s Invasion and Scarrymcleary all have upset chances on current form. Waterloo Sunset, Valmagne, Queen Kenny, Paramount Dream, Al Bundy and Quite A Moment will all require luck to claim the feature. The Canam Rowe Cup is race 8 on the program and scheduled to start at 9.13pm local time. Chris Barsby
Veteran and past Elitloppet winner Nahar (11g Love You-Mahonny Broline-Joie de Vie) returned to earlier form to win today’s V75 Gold Olympiatravet Trial at Umaker, Sweden with 200,000SEK to the winner. Trainer Robert Bergh teamed the 4/1 winner for owner Stall Sedin from post 11 in the 2140 meter autostart test, timed in 1.12.7kr. Nahar now has three wins in nine 2016 starts and 30 career victories in 121 outings for earnings of 12,457,015SEK. 9/1 Cool Keeper (6m Broadway Hall-Missys Go Go-Yankee Glide) landed second for trainer/driver Leif Witasp with third to 6/1 Ed You (9g Love You-Lancia Brick-Super Arnie) handled by Ulf Ericsson for trainer Bergh and Stall Sedin. The 3/1 Venkatesh (7g Varenne-Honey Face-Viking Kronos) was fourth for Orjan Kihlstrom. The 2016 Olympiatravet field now includesAnna Mix, B.B.S. Sugarlight, Mosaique Face, Nahar, On Track Piraten, Papagayo E., Sauveur, Spartan Kronos, and Your Highness This day’s V75 card also included the Berth Johanssons Memorial (200,000SEK first money, 2140 meters autostart) with victory to 3/1 Daley Lovin (5m Conway Hall-Dreamsmadeofthis-Dream Vacation) with Erik Adielsson iup for trainer Daniel Reden and Stall Zet. Bred in the US by Ann-Mari Daley, this winner recorded his second 2016 win in as many starts and 13th in 42 career starts. Favorite 2/1 Volstead (5m Cantab Hall-Madame Volo-Yankee Glide) was second for driver Orjan Kihlstom, trainer Stefan Melander and Stall TZ. The US import was bred by Arden Homestead Stable. 46/1 Exodus Hanover (5m Andover Hall-Exotic Destination-Dream Vacation) was third for Kenneth Haugstad and trainer Roger Walmann with fourth to 14/1 Al Dente (5m Scarlet Knight-Mollie’s Photo-SJ’s Photo) and driver Peter Ingves. Time was 1.12.9kr. The V75 Silver over 2640 meters autostart for 125,000SEK first prize went to 1.4/1 Propulsion (5m Muscle Hill-Danae-Andover Hall) for Orjan Kihlstrom. This one scored his second 2016 win in as many starts and 13th victory in 26 career appearances. Frederika Caldwell and Bluestone Farm bred the US import that is now owned by Stall Zet and trained by Daniel Reden. Alkalizer AM (6g Olimede-Alltid VG-Spotlite Lobell) was second for driver Adielsson.
Even-money favorite Montdore (6m Love You-Self Made Woman) captured Sunday’s Agen le Passage featured Grand Prix Baron d’Aedeuil in France that attracted 14 European starters vying for the €25,000 purse. Driver Dominik Locqueneux teamed the Robert Bergh trainee to victory clocked in 1.13.6kr over the 2575 meter distance. 143/1 outsider Utu de Tilou (8g Kaisy Dream-Java de l’Iton) landed second with third to 21/1 Saphir du Gite (10g Derby du Gite-Jeunesse Doree). The race was a Pick5 event. The €32,000 purse Grand Prix Dynavena Marsagri Duran, also a Pick5 wagering event, went to 28/1 Tiburse de Brior (9g Ganymede-Macapu du Vivier) timed in 1.14.3kr over the 2625 meter distance with 16 European participants. Nils Pacha teamed the winner for trainer Matthieu Abrivard. 51/1The Au Lait (9g Nuage de Lait-Kalfouny) was second with 71/1 Una Lisa de Crouay (8f Jet Fortuna-Nikita de Crouay) home third as longshots prevailed. Tiburse de Brior At Chartres, the apprentice drivers contested the Prix du Bar PMU “Le Triangle” Mainvilliers for a purse of €13,000 over 2850 meters with 13 starters. The 4/1 Angel Dark (6g Look de Star-Quadrata des Jipes) scored the victory for driver Jorgen Berggren, trainer Anders Lindqvist who is co-owner with Peter Gerry of USA’s Arden Homestead Stable. Angel Dark was timed in 1.16.4kr for his seventh win in 36 outings, now for €88,430 earned. Gerry earned two second place finishes in Billings Amateur Series action the same evening at Pompano Park, Florida. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink
Top trotting action took place Saturday at Solvalla with a number of V75 contests with 200,000SEK or more to the winners. The Grabber’s Pixies race for mares (200,000SEK first prize) went to 1.9/1 Donna de Quattro (6f Love You-Whoopie As-SJ’s Photo) for harness racing driver Bjorn Goop and trainer Tomas Malmqvist timed in a quick 1.10.9kr. Langebro Konsult AB owns this winning mare. 3.1/1 Windy Ways (6f Conway Hall-Southwind Flanders-Lindy Lane) took second for Erik Adielsson, trainer Daniel Reden and Stall Zet. Third was 1.8/1 favorite and US-bred Blue Martini As (6f Allstar Hall=True Blue Victory-Valley Victory) with Orjan Kihlstrom up for Roger Walmann, training for AB Svensk Reklamfinans. The Finn-Tack Silver Final (2140 meters autostart for 220,000SEK first money) went to 2.4/1 Fridericus (6g Allison Hollow-Friderica-April Victory) timed in 1.12.3kr. The Denmark-bred winner was reined by trainer Veijo Heiskanen for owner Firma Stall Preussen. Italy’s Navigator Sib (9g Civil Action-Shoguns Parisienne-Shogun Lobell) took second for Orjan Kihlstom and trainer Jorgen Westholm, with third to Vasterbo Paymyday (7g Credit Winner-Vasterbo Daylight-Spotlite Lobell) and teamster Bjorn Goop for trainer Reijo Liljendahl. The Solvalla feature this Saturday was the Tritun Sunds Gold Final with 250,000SEK to the winner. 2.1/1 odds favorite On Track Piraten (8g Kool du Caux-Monrovia-Rite On Line) scored the victory for Johnny Takter ahead of 7.1/1 Dreams Take Time (7m Andover Andover-B My Honey-Viking Kronos) and reinsman Peter Untersteiner. Third was 4.4/1 Spring Erom (11m Gentle Star-Springflickan-Prince Mystic) and driver Bjorn Goop. Time was 1.11.6kr and the win was the fourth straight for the winner, now with 25 career wins in 83 starts for earnings of 10,279,211SEK The 200,000SEK first money Benders Tamla Celebers for mares (2140 meters voltstart) went to 11.2/1 odds Noomi Skift (5f Goetmals Wood-Avelone Skift-Alf Palema) with trainer Hans-Owe Sundberg driving. Grappa Boe (5f Couch Doctor-Honey B Boe-Atlas Rocket) landed second for Tony Wallin, ahead of Marta Chip (5f Adrian Chip-Haulover Tan-Dream Vacation) with Peter Ingves up for trainer Petri Puro. Seven of the 15 starters took a 20 meter distance handicap and none of these earned top three finishes. Completing the Solvalla top races was the Bronze Final with 200,000SEK to the winner of the 2140 meter autostart contest. Ochongo Face (5g Kiss Francis-Jubel Kemp-Joie de Vie) at 6.6/1 recorded the victory for Erik Lindegren, defeating Bartender IN (6g Muscles Yankee-Garfish Face-Viking Kronos) and Panoramic (6g Scarlet Knight-Carttolina Spin-SJ’s Photo), the latter driven by Orjan Kihlstrom for owner/trainer Stefan Melander. At Aby on Saturday the 2140 meter autostart Breddlopp went to Jerry Riordan’s trainee Sonny Bull (5m Uronometro-Miss Morique-Spotlite Lobell) for Italian owner Mauro Prospero at 17.5/1. The scored his ninth career win in 36 starts, timed in 1.14.8kr. Hertig Rolls (by Coktail Jet) was second ahead of Spider Blessed (by Igor Font) driven by Jorgen Wallin for trainer Wilhelm Paal. The winner earned 10,000SEK in this event. Thomas H. Hicks
Tuesday's qualifying session at Caen (Normandy) was the fastest since the beginning of the year for harness racing 3-yo. French trotters. Sebastien Guarato's Dear Lover (Love You) passed the test in 1'16''4 kr (2:03.0 mr) which is the record of the year co-held with Delicatessen (The Best Madrik). The colt was imitated later during the morning by Dis Moi Tout (Prince Gede) who passed the test in 1'16''5 kr (2:03.1 mr). The colt is trained by Vincent Renault. Further down the list, Destin de l'Oree (Nuage de Lait) took advantage of following a 4-yo. candidate and passed the exam in 1'16''8 kr (2:03.3 mr). All three qualifiers figure among the top-10 fastest 3-year-olds of the year. A total of 104 colts and fillies gathered at Caen on Tuesday morning and 37 qualified. Qualification sessions are held over 2,000 metres. Minimum time is 1'20''5 kr (2:09.3 mr) for 3-year-olds, but will change to 1'20 kr (2:08.4 mr) from April onwards.
The first of the classics for the two year old trotters this season is the $25,000 New Zealand Two Year old Trotting Stakes which was run at the harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway tonight. The unbeaten Love You colt Habibi Inta from the Paul Nairn barn looked the horse to beat after two effortless wins in his leadup races even though he had drawn a bit wide at barrier seven. Enghien was expected to test the favourite after a bold second to him at Methven while Miracle Rising and Di'z Luck were others to have shown up on raceday. Habibi Inta came out trucking for Blair Orange from barrier seven and grabbed the lead from Custodian and David Butt. At this point Enghien and Ricky May went for a gallop, losing all chance. Habibi Inta kept up a solid tempo in front with Miracle Rising in the death and her stablemate Di'z Luck in the one by one. With the good tempo up front there was no mid race moves and on the last corner Habibi Inta looking to be travelling the best. The only danger appeared to be Custodian in the trail who slowly closed the gap on Habibi Inta the whole way up the straight but was still a nose in arrears at the finish. The two did get close in the last 50 metres and the siren went post race but the protest was not progressed with. Di'z Luck finished on well for third in front of her stablemate Miracle Rising. Habibi Inta ran the 1950 metres in 2:30.3, a mile rate of 2:04 with closing sectionals of 59.3 and 29.4 Before tonight Habibi Inta looked a class above above his rivals on the two year old trotters scene but Custodian showed tonight that the gap is not as big as some thought and that should make the upcoming races amongst the juveniles really worth waiting for. Harnesslink Media
Bolero Love (5m Love You-Orelady) took today’s featured harness racing Q+ Gr. I Prix de Selection (purse €240,000, 2299 meters, 14 starters) at Paris-Vincennes. The Sebastien Guarato trainee was driven by Franck Nivard for owner Antonio De Sousa. Off at 5.5/1 odds the winner scored in 1.10.8kr to defeat 2.4/1 favorite Amiral Sacha (6m Ganymede-Nostalgique Sacha) and reinsman Gabriele Gelormini. 9.4/1 Billie de Montfort (5f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort) landed third for Eric Raffin. She raced forwardly placed with cover but the Guarato trained mare could not threaten the top two that traveled the last 500 meters quickly after a 1.11.7kr clocking at the 500 to go post. The Gr. II Prix de l’Union Europeenne (purse €160,000, 3000 meters, 11 starters) went to the 1.14.4kr timed and 1.1/1 favorite Ustinof du Vivier (8g Look de Star-Melba du Vivier) for driver Mathieu Abrivard, trainer Sebastien Guarato, and owner St, Szwarc. 3.8/1 Scarlet Turgot (10f Dahir de Prelong-Noella de Massy) held second for Alexandre Abrivard and trainer Yannick Alain Briand with 83/1 Tom Rush ending in the third spot. Thomas H. Hicks
A fine harness racing card today at Paris-Vincennes included three groupe contests and the Q+ race of the day. The Q+ with a jackpot of €3.4 million was the Prix Amile Allis Courboy for a purse of €82,000 contested over 2700 meters by 16 European trotters. The 1.13kr winner was 51/1 outsider Tellement Haufor (9f Ganymede-Mamba d’Haufor) with Ch-J Bigeon up for owner/trainer Christian Bigeon. 12/1 Universal Rider (8m Nahar de Beval-Hansica) was second for pilot Mathieu Mottier and 7/1 Valleo Jenilat (7m Kepler-Perle du Roc) landed third for Genny Delaume and trainer Sebastien Guarato. The first groupe event was the €120,000 Gr. II Prix Ali Hawas over 2700 meters for 12 monte filly participants. Favorite at 3/5 was Docha Vedaquarse that was a dq leading to a victory by 12.5/1 Diva Charentaise (3f Prince Gede-Jessie Charentaise) timed in 1.16.8kr for jockey Francois Lagadeuc and trainer/owner Jean Michel Baudouin. 8/1 Dons de Bailly (3f Scipion du Goutier-Ninon de Bailly) was a distant second for Eric Raffin ahead of 48/1 Diebara (3f Pad d’Urzy-Ulla du Goutier) with Mathieu Abrivard in the irons. The Gr. II Prix Felicien Gauvreau (purse €120,000, 11 colt monte starters) went to 1.17kr timed winner Dreamer Delo (3m Ready Cash-Reverie d’Ar) at 1.3/1 odds and teamed by Eric Raffin. Sebastien Guarato trains this winner for Scuderia Winner Stable. 1/9/1 Dhikfi Vedaquais (3m Thorens Vedaquais-Marie Blanque) was a good second for Yoann Lebourgeois and trainer/owner Philippe Allaire. Another Allaire trained pupil was 7.5/1 Deuxieme Souiffle (3m Polerol de Laumac-Quorelia du Gite) that was third for Mathieu Abrivard. The Gr. III Prix Vandex (purse €95,000, 2700 meters, nine starters) was won timed in 1.13.2kr by front-stepping Cap Matyss (4m Love You-Ode Matyss) at 3/2 odds for teamster Jean-Michel Bazire and trainer Franck Leblanc. Elevage Marjea own the winner that defeated 5/1 Clif du Pommereux (4m Love You-Noure de Pommereux) with trainer Sylvain Roger aboard. 5.9/1 Caid de Jumilly (4m Oiseau de Feux-Ravenna) was a nosed-out third for David Thomain. The second place finisher raced gamely in parked position the entire well and held on well in the drive. Fractions were steady (1.13kr at 1500 meters to go; 1.13.4kr at 1000; 1.13.5kr at 500). The Prix de Marmande (purse €65,000, 2700 meters, 10 monte starters) again showcased the monte performers and 1.8/1 Brisbane du Bourg (5f Jasmin de Flore-Nistelle d’999Aveze) scored in 1.15.4kr for jickey Steeve Lambert for owner/trainer Sebastien Guarato. 23/1 Baraka Gede (5f Repeat Love-Gagnante Gede) was second for Mathieu Abrivard and third was 2.2/1 Bellaya (5f First de Retz-Kalaya). The next weekend at Paris-Vincennes showcases major events including the monte Gr. II Prix Louis de Bourg for €120,000, the Gr. I Prix de Selection for €240,000 (includes Cobra Bleu, Amiral Sacha, Booster Winner and Bille de Montfort), the monte Gr. II Prix Henri Desmontils for €120,000 (with Torre Crepin, Orione Degli Dei and Dyson de Houelle at the start) and the Gr. II Prix de l’Union Europeenne for €160,000 (Scarlet Turgot, Swedishman, Kadett CD and Ustinoff du Vivier among the starters). Thomas H. Hicks
Today at Enghien the €80,000 Prix de Lure was the harness racing feature and a Pick5 wagering contest. 13 European starters went 2875 meters with the 1.14.6kr winner being 0.5/1 favorite Call Me Keeper (6m Pine Chip-Eliza Keeper) with Franck Nivard up for Daniel Reden training for Stall Zet. 23/1 Radieux (6g Love You-Dordogne) was second for Eric Raffin and owner/trainer Lutfi Kolgjini with 6/1 Auch (6g Niky-Migraine) third to the line for owner/trainer/driver Christian Bigeon. Denmark’s Pingus Vang (9g SJ’s Photo-New Wonder) took the day’s Quinte + (€3.35million jackpot) at Enghien, the Prix de Sedan over 2150 meters autostart. 16 European eligibles were at the start. The winner scored in 1.15.6kr at 8/1 odds to defeat 22/1 Utelo de Carentone (8g Kiwi-Maeva d’Harcouel) and third finishing 9/1 Vivaldo Bello (7m Love You-Enfilade) driven by Franck Nivard for trainer Thierry Duvaldestin. The dam Enfilade also produced double Prix-d’Amerique winner Offshore Dream. Comtesse Flore (4f Sam Bourbon-Topaze de Fael) took today’s Prix de Marennes at Enghien as 15 starters battled for the €48,000 over the 2875 meter distance. Tony Le Beller teamed the 3.6/1 odds winner timed in 1.16.66kr for owner Jean-Pierre Dubois. 5/1 Comtesse (4f Oiseau de Feux-Oeniades) was second for Mathieu Mottier and third went to 3/1 favorite Cadeace (4f Scipion du Goutier-Orchidee Rouge) with J-M Bazire up for trainer Franck Leblanc. Yesterday at Mons Ghlin Capitole (7g Offshore Dream-Extra Dry) took the Prix Capelle Belgique over the 2300 meter autostart course for a purse of €5,760. 16 International starters were at the start with the 1.2/1 odds favorite home on top in 1.15.6kr for trainer/driver Hugo Langeweg Jr. On the same card the Prix Journal Eurotierce for €7,200 over 2850 meters was contested by nine international participants. The 1.16.2kr winner was the 9/10 favorite Trailing Edge (7m Scarlet Knight-Veda Sund) driven by Dominik Locqueneux for trainer Robert Bergh and Ecurie Rally. On the last weekend solid action took place in Italy. On February 27 at Aversa the €45,100 purse Gr. II Gran Premio Andreani went to the 1.13.4kr timed Telecomando OK (4m Love You-Flavia Kronos-SJ’s Photo) for Enrico Bellei. The victory over 1660 meters on the half-miletrack was number eight in 15 starts for earnings now in excess of €123,000. Tobias Del Ronco (4m Love You-Leonor Del Ronco-Supergill) was second for G.P. Minnucci with third to Tulum (4m Algiers Hall-Image OM-Lemon Dra). On Sunday February 28 at Firenze’s 1000 meter track the Gr. II Prix Ponte Vecchio for €45,100 went to Radiofreccia FI (6f Ganymede-Castilia-Lemon Dra) for Enrico Bellei timed in 1.13.5kr over 2020 meters. Rum E Coca Day was second ahead of well-regarded Ringostarr Treb (6m Classic Photo-Farsalo Egral-Supergill). The race winner recorded her 15th victory in 55 starts now for over €395,000 earned. Veteran Mack Grace SM (10m CC’s Chuckie T-Ambro Grace SM-Armbro Goal) has made two recent starts in Italy after eight months away from the races. On January 28 he scored a 1.13.2kr victory at Albenga over 1600 meters and on February 28 the classy old-timer finished second at Milano timed in 1.13.9kr. He’s earned €3,668 in those two efforts. It was also reported that Prix de Paris winner Lionel will get a short rest to be ready for a next start in mid-April at Enghien in the Prix de l’Atlantique. The son of Look de Star, he by Coktail Jet, would then likely return to Norway for the Oslo Grand Prix, a Gr I International test at Bjerke Racecourse on June 12, a race to which Lionel has already been invited. Oslo GP 2016: http://www.bjerke.no/Bjerke/OGP/2016/4siders%20A4%20folder_2016_korrektur3.pdf Thomas H. Hicks
As a breeder, for you are to have consistently good results at the yearling sales each year, then you really need a good crystal ball on top of everything else. When the vendors were planning what mare to breed to what stallion to produce the yearlings they sold at the sales this year, they had to make a judgement call on which stallions they thought would be in demand two and a half years down the track and which wouldn't be in such demand. It is an incredibly hard thing to get right and the margin for error is huge. It was with some satisfaction then that Studholme Park and Brian West produced the only two yearlings by Love You at the yearling sales this year. The stock of Love You are the hottest item in town on the trotting stallion front and Studholme Park was duly rewarded for its foresight with both yearlings selling for big money. First up was Lot 294, a Love You colt from a race winning half sister to the dam of I Can Doosit 1:55.5 ($1,455,774) named Thank You. Appropriately, Thank You was knocked down to two of the biggest supporters of Love You in New Zealand in Greg and Nina Hope who outlaid $50,000 for the good looking chestnut colt. Greg and Nina have had a lot of success with the stock of Love You from Monbet to the The Earth Moved and it was no surprise to see them have a nibble at the second Love You colt from the Studholme Park draft. Catalogued as Lot 334, the striking chestnut colt is named Paramount King and is a half brother to the outstanding age group trotter in Paramount Geegee 1:57.3 ($561,342) and a full brother to the Harness Jewels winner in Paramount Queen 1:59.7 ($122,612) while another half sister in Paramount Dream (8 wins) is heading for open class in the north. The bidding was fierce from the moment Paramount King walked into the ring and never let up until suddenly $110,000 became the ceiling for the buyers chasing him. Prominent Invercargill owner Ben Calder signed for the colt but he had already started the process of putting together a syndicate to race the colt before the auction. So Studholme Park grossed $160,000 for their two Love You colts which just goes to show how important that stallion choice is two and a half years out from the yearling sales. Harnesslink Media