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Marcus Melander's name will be on the U.S. Harness Writers Association's 2018 Rising Star Award, but the 27-year-old trainer says the recognition extends beyond one person. "It's a great accomplishment, but it's not really just my award," Melander said. "It's my whole barn. If I didn't have all these people working with me, I wouldn't do any good. That's why we've been having success; it's a lot because of them. We have a good team. And then you need to have owners that support you. That's very important, too. I'm lucky to have owners that support me a hundred percent." Melander, who joined Nancy Johansson as the only trainers to receive the Rising Star Award in the past 20 years, saw his stable earn $2.86 million in purses last year, good enough to finish 15th among all trainers in North America despite having the fifth-fewest starts (219) among all trainers in the top 50. His top horse was undefeated male trotter Gimpanzee, who saw his 9-for-9 campaign at age 2 rewarded with the division's Dan Patch Award. Gimpanzee's victories for owners Anders Ström's Courant Inc. and Lennart Agren's S R F Stable included the Breeders Crown and New York Sire Stakes championship. Melander's stable also saw 2-year-old male trotter Green Manalishi S win the William Wellwood Memorial and finish second in both the Breeders Crown and Peter Haughton Memorial. Another male 2-year-old trotter, Greenshoe, won the New Jersey Sire Stakes title. "We had a really good year, especially with the 2-year-olds," Melander sad. "We didn't have that many 3-year-olds, but the 2-year-olds did great." In addition, older trotters Cruzado Dela Noche and Crazy Wow -- both July additions to Melander's stable -- posted top Grand Circuit triumphs, with Cruzado Dela Noche capturing the Yonkers International Trot and Crazy Wow the Maple Leaf Trot. Those wins came at odds of 30-1 and 31-1, respectively. "We had a little luck getting Crazy Wow and Cruzado Dela Noche in the middle of the summer," Melander said. "You've got to have a little luck in the races, but both those horses raced great on those particular days." Melander, who employs a staff of a dozen people, enters 2019 with 60 horses in training and is looking to build off last year's success. "(Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S) are doing very good," Melander said. "I brought them back in early December so they've been training for over a month now. They filled out very nicely. They're probably going to grow a little bit more during the winter. I'm very happy with how they're feeling so far." Greenshoe, Gerry, and Demon Onthe Hill add depth to Melander's group of male 3-year-old trotters. Greenshoe was limited to four starts last year because of immaturity and sickness while Gerry and Demon Onthe Hill both were winners on the Pennsylvania-stakes circuit. "Hopefully (Greenshoe) will mature more during the winter and develop a little bit too," Melander said. "He's a very fast horse, probably the fastest of any of my horses out of the 3-year-olds, but he was a little too anxious last year. He's been very quiet here at home. He's doing good. I couldn't be any happier with him at this moment. We'll see in three months. "The 3-year-old colts look really good. Gerry was a really good horse last year and Demon Onthe Hill is a nice horse too. He might be a little bit under the best, best ones, but I think we have at least four of them that could be top Grand Circuit horses." Among Melander's 2-year-olds are two high-priced female trotters, Fifty Cent Piece (who sold for $500,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale) and Bellareina Dolce ($400,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale). Both are owned by Lennart Agren's S R F Stables. Melander, the nephew of trainer Stefan Melander, came to the U.S. from Sweden less than six years ago and worked for trainer Jimmy Takter before starting his own stable in late 2014. He is based in New Egypt, N.J., at a farm that was home previously to each the legendary Stanley Dancer and Continental Farms stables. He got his first Grand Circuit win in 2016 with trotter Long Tom, who was a 2-year-old at the time. The following year, Long Tom was joined by 3-year-old Enterprise and 2-year-old Fourth Dimension in adding to Melander's Grand Circuit resume. Fourth Dimension, who was injured last year and retired, ended 2017 as the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. "We built (the stable) up, no rush really," Melander said. "The first year we had 10 horses, then 25, then 40 to 45 and now we have 60. And you get better horses. It really started that year we got Long Tom and Enterprise. They had success. And then we had Fourth Dimension. Those horses really put you on the map. "Everything has been developing great, really. I'm still developing too. I still have things to learn, it will come with age. Hopefully I've got many years left in this sport." Melander will be among the honorees at the U.S. Trotting Association's Dan Patch Awards banquet on Feb. 24 at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla., at which time Trotter, Pacer and Horse of the Year will be revealed. For more information about the resort and banquet visit the U.S. Trotting Association's website.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com @harnessracenews @HarnessKenW      

YONKERS, N.Y. – When Sabine Kagebrandt came to work as the Racing Manager for Anders Ström’s Stall Courant AB, she did so on one condition. Accustomed to working with and being around harness racing horses, the former groom of Prix d’Amérique winner Gigant Neo would take the office job if she could have one horse to look after in her spare time. “I started at the office, I did all this paperwork and stuff like that, but I’m used to working with horses. If I’m going to do all this paperwork, I need one horse,” Kagebrandt said.  Ström let Kagebrandt pick any horse in his barn. Out of about 60 trotters, she selected Cruzado Dela Noche. Then a stakes-winning 3-year-old with a penchant for making breaks, Kagebrandt saw something special in the bay son of Muscle Massive. “When I started to work there, the first trip I made was when Cruzado Dela Noche was third in the Peter Haughton and then we went to Lexington, so I followed him all the time. I knew I wanted to take that horse when he came home,” she said. “First of all, he was really cute, he had a nice attitude, and he had this charisma. When you’re around him, you just get happy because he gives so much to the people around him. I really fell in love with him. He’s such a nice horse.” Cruzado Dela Noche shipped to Sweden to compete in the country’s rich 4-year-old program. Kagebrandt developed a bond with the horse while he raced in Stefan Melander’s stable, winning the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Deutschland, the Group 1 Copenhagen Cup, and the Group 2 Norrlands Grand Prix. He also placed third in the Group 1 Sprinter Mästaren Final. However, this June, Ström began pointing Cruzado Dela Noche toward a fall campaign in the United States with a focus on the $1 million Yonkers International Trot and the Breeders Crown Open Trot. Cruzado Dela Noche shipped stateside to trainer Marcus Melander and groom Mikaela Melander in August and prepared for the International with two qualifiers at Pocono Downs in September. Being away from Cruzado Dela Noche was difficult, but Kagebrandt lessened the parting with frequent visits. “I’ve been in the States a lot, so I’ve followed him here. When he came here, I was here. Then I came here for the qualifications, so I’ve been here a little bit,” Kagebrandt said. “He was really good. He got better every qualifier he did because he needed time to be a little more in form. We tried to do the same schedule when he should do the qualification like we made with him at home. We tried to do as much the same as at home as possible.” With just two qualifiers on his card and off a June layoff, Cruzado Dela Noche started as a 30-1 outsider in the Yonkers International Trot. Still, Kagebrandt felt confident in the 6-year-old stallion and in Hall of Fame driver Brian Sears.  “Always when you race him, you know he always has a chance because he’s so strong and he has a good head and a strong will to win. He never gives up, that I knew from the beginning,” Kagebrandt said. “When he had the six hole and the other good ones had inside, then I thought it could be a little tricky. I was very confident in the horse and Brian, because he knows this track like his own pocket.” While rivals Pastore Bob and Ringostarr Treb makes breaks in stride on the opening turn and Arazi Boko forged to the lead from post eight, Sears was patient with Cruzado Dela Noche. He raced in sixth 5 ½ lengths from the top and followed Lionel on the outside behind a :28.1 opening panel. Ariana G pulled the pocket on Arazi Boko around the second turn and made the lead at the top of the backstretch, but Marion Marauder quickly ranged up to assume command in a :57.1 half-mile. The move left Lionel uncovered in third and Cruzado Dela Noche got a perfect trip in his wake. Marion Marauder led through 6-furlongs in 1:27 and a mile in 1:55.3. With a quarter-mile to race, Lionel ratcheted up the pressure, advancing to put his white-blazoned nose in front entering the final turn. Sears tipped Cruzado Dela Noche three-wide and the trio charged around the bend on even terms. Watching the action unfold from a perch in the paddock, Kagebrandt’s heart began to race as she realized her horse had a chance. Lionel put away a spent Marion Marauder at the top of the stretch as driver Gøran Antonsen snuck a peek over his right shoulder to see Cruzado Dela Noche looming. Antonsen went to the whip right-handed and implored Lionel while his gaze darted frantically between the finish line and his opponent.  Sears let the lines hang loose in his left hand and went to the stick with his right. He timed the move perfectly and Cruzado Dela Noche surged at the wire to win by a head in 2:24.3. Up And Quick shook loose late to be third while Ariana G was fourth. “We won,” Kagebrandt said as a smile crept up on her face and she let out a satisfied laugh. “Actually, we didn’t see much of the stretch. First, we thought he was going to be third, but we thought, ‘that’s OK, third is really good in the International. That’s amazing.’ Then we thought he was going to be second. We were screaming and cheering. Then we realized he actually won. They didn’t announce at first it either, so we weren’t sure if he won or not, so it was totally crazy. It was really crazy. “It means very much. To bring him over and he handled the trip and everything, I think it’s amazing. It’s a really big race,” she said. Cruzado Dela Noche’s victory in the Yonkers International Trot improved his record to 15 wins from 56 starts and boosted his earnings to $1,202,771. Cruzado Dela Noche is Sweden’s fourth representative to win the International, joining Callit, Atas Fighter L., and His Majesty. With the International under his belt, Cruzado Dela Noche will head to the Breeders Crown next and Kagebrandt will be along for the ride. “This was the first race he did here. Now I think he’s starting to get in shape. It’s going to be really nice to go to Pocono,” she said. “I love him so much.” For more information on the $1 million Yonkers International Trot, visit www.internationaltrot.com.  by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

November 4, 2017 - Nuncio (6m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane) rebounded from a disappointing last out to easily win today’s Hilda Zonetts V75 Gold at Bergsaker, timed in 1.12kr over 2149 meters autostart. Stefan Melander was the pilot of the 3/10 favorite , he also the owner/trainer. Nuncio left from post six and made the front from a three wide position on the backside of lap one and he was a length winner from Tobin Kronos (5f Muscle Hill-Zamia FC-Sugarcane Hanover) driven by Orjan Kihstrom for trainer Daniel Reden. Third was Poochai (7m Make It Happen-In Vino Veritas-Express Ride) for Erik Adielsson for trainer Svante Bath. Nuncio now has a 42-13-4 slate in 62 career outings for 28,610,230SEK earned. Today’s first prize was 150,000SEK. Other good winners on the card included Valeur (8g Love You-Steffi Bob-Lindys Crown) for Sandra Nordemo in the V75 Silver and Bryssel (5m Ready Cash-Spacelane-Lindy lane) took the V75 Bronze handled by his trainer, Bjorn Goop. Thomas H. Hicks

Nuncio has received an invitation to the harness racing $1 million International Trot (World Cup) at Yonkers Raceway on October 14th. "We received an invitation in the mailbox on Friday. Now let's take a stand if we are going or not, "says Stefan Melander. Previously, Jerry Riordan's Twister Bi has both been invited and thanked for the environmental dollar race in New York. On the other hand, both Bold Eagle and Timoko have already refused to participate and Nuncio is the second trainer, trained in Sweden, invited to Yonkers International Trot ($1,000,000) over the 2,011 meter distance. For Stefan Melander, the race is no news. He won the World Cup in 1995 with Swedish-born His Majesty. "There are many things I need to keep in mind before I decide, but it's definitely interesting to go to Yonkers. Nuncio feels still strong in training and now I have to wonder if we are going to the United States and then continue to the French winter meeting, or if we just aim at Vincennes or the United States, "says Stefan Melander. Nuncio has previously celebrated success on the Yonkers Raceway. As a three-year-old, he won both trials and finals in Yonkers Trot ($ 500,000) with John Campbell in sulky. By Claes Freidenvall Reprinted with permission of Sulky Sport

July 29, 2017 - Harness racing driver Johnny Takter teamed the Stefan Melander trained Volstead (6m Cantab Hall-Madame Volo-Yankee Glide) to victory in Saturday’s Hagmyren V75 Gold (150,000SEK to the winner, 1640 meters autostart, 12 starters) clocked in a sharp 1.10kr. Volstead now has 19 wins in 53 outings for 4,687,824SEK earned in his racing career. Magic Tonight (8m Andover Hall-Miss Possessed-Self Possessed) was second for Orjan Kihlstrom ahead of Francais du Gull (10m Jag de Bellouet-Tantiem Gull-Lindy Lane) and driver Torbjorn Jansson. The USA winner was bred by Arden Homestead Stable of Delhi, NY. The undercard included a victory in the V75 Silver (125,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) by Zenit Brick (6g Make It Happen-Exi Svard-Super Arnie) timed in 1.11.9 for Mika Forss and trainer Timo Nurmos. Serious Try (6g Crazed-Miss Volo-Yankee Glide) was second for Henrik Svensson, also the trainer. Thomas H. Hicks

May 27, 2017 - What a beginning to the Elite Weekend! Huge crowd, fantastic weather, great harness racing…nothing could be better. Stefan Melander’s owned and trained Volstead (6m Cantab Hall-Madame Volo-Yankee Glide) took the Sweden Cup Final (Gr. II, UET Masters Series, 600,000SEK to winner, 1640 meters autostart, nine starters) in Europe’s fastest time of the year 1.09.3kr with Orjan Kihlstrom aboard. The winner traveled in the death seat, as he did winning elimination #3, and eased past chief rival and pacesetter Vasterbo Highflyer (9g Look de Star-Vasterbo Highclass-Pine Chip) and driver Johan Untersteiner nearing the line. The 3.6/1 favorite won his elim, the third, timed in 1.09.7kr ahead of Buzz Mearas, Gabriel Gelormini driving, and Trendy OK with Alesssando Gocciadoro up. Third in the final was Ringostarr Treb (7m Classic Photo-Farsalo Egral-Supergill) with Wim Paal up for trainer Holger Ehlert, and the next two were Spitcam Jubb and BBS Sugarlight. Ringostarr was the 3/1 winner of elim two clocked in 1.10.1kr, defeating aforementioned Spitcam Jubb (6h Campbell Hall-Lola Spit-Super Arnie) and Fire To The Rain (6g Yankee Glide-Adelaide Hall-Conway Hall). The elims were worth 100,000SEK to those winners. The other elim, the first, was taken by 12/1 Briedablicks Nubbe (5m Lindy Lane-Wildgirl Boshoeve-Starchip Entrprise), shown below, for driver /trainer Conrad Lugauer timed in 1.09.5kr, that time equaled the European season record when made. Vasterbo Highflyer and BBS Sugarlight were the next two home in that elim. Volstead Undercard action included a victory by the Tom Dillon USA bred Seaside Illusion (4f Muscle Hill-Seaside-Yankee Glide) in a conditioned event for four year-old mares, with 100,000SEK to the winner of the 2140 meter autostart event. She was timed in 1.11.9kr for driver Erik Adielsson and trainer Frode Hamre. Gisela de Veluwe and Tour Knight were next.Seaside Illusion Mares also battled in the Ladt Snarts (200,000SEK to the winner, 140 meters autostart) and the quick 1.10.3kr timed winner was 7.7/1 Shadow Gar (6f Pine Chip-Lady Killer Gar-Varenne) handled by Pietro “Pippo” Gubellini for trainer Erik Bondo and Allev. Garigliano. She made a huge three wide sweep in the final bend and zoomed away to an easy win over Galactica and the tiring Wild Honey. Shadow Gar and Gubellini Thomas H. Hicks    

May 14, 2017 - Cruzado Dela Noche (5m Muscle Massive-Alidada-Credit Winner) rallied from between harness racing rivals to win today’s Gr. I International UET Series Broline Copenhagen Cup 2017 (375,000DKK to the winner, 2011 meters autostart) at Charlottenlund racecourse. Race time was 1.11.1kr at driver Per Linderoth prevailed with the Stefan Melander trainee owned by Stall Courant AB. In Vain Sund was alongside the winner on the line, as shown below, but was off-stride and this disqualified. Nadal Broline (7g Yankee Glide-Aimee’s Promise-American Winner) held on after being the pacesetter and was placed second , with Ulf Ohlsson up for trainer Reijo Liljendahl. Third placed was Buzz Mearas (6g Dream Vacation-Dance of Joy-Malabar Man) with Gabriel Gelormini up for trainer Vincent Lacroix and owner Pierre Pilarski, the Bold Eagle owner. The winning Cruzado Dela Noche now has 12 wins in 40 career starts for 4,783,580DKK earned. The undercard was a dandy too. The V75 Silver (100,000DKK first money, 2000 meters autostart) went to Re Doc (7g Love You-Glenga AL-Bon Vivant) for Christoffer Eriksson, trainer Robert Bergh and Stall Robero KB. Just missing and a good second was Germany’s Cash Hanover (5m Love You-Impasse-Enjoy Lavec) with Michael Nimcyk. Third home in the 1.12kr timed event was Photo Lavec (5m SJ’s Photo-Joyful Lavec-Enjoy Lavec) for Bjorn Goop, the catch-driver.  The four year-old Fyrodringslopp (150,000DKK first money, 2000 meters autostart) went to 1.12.9kr timed Shotproof (4m Yankee Glide-Chorine Hanover-Malabar Man) with trainer Flemming Jensen driving. Earlier the Summer Meeting Mares was held for 125,000DKK to the winner and this group of ten traveled 2000 meters autostart. The 1.13.1kr timed winner was Patricia Hastrup (10f Great Challenger-Isabella Hastrup-Sugarcane Hanover). Lars Anvar Kolle teamed this mare to her 33rd career win in 129 outings; Diadora BR (5f Ken Warkentin-Bauxite-SJs Caviart) took the second spot for Christophe Martens. The day’s race program is worth a look, full of history and sponsors ads. Copenhagen Cup - Charlottenlund http://www.travbanen.dk/media/2757855/CC2017.pdf Thomas H. Hicks    

March 22, 2017 - Harness racing trainer Stefan Melander’s Nuncio (6m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane), off at 1.09/1 odds,  recorded his second straight 2017 victory tonight at Solvalla for teamster Orjan Kihlstrom clocked in 1.12.2kr. The race was the Kentucky Fibbers with 80,000SEK to the winner over the 1640 meter autostart course. Nuncio led throughout during modest fractions (1.14kr at the first 500 meters; 1.13.7kr at the first 1000) and held off fast closing 9.67/1 Volstead (6m Cantab Hall-Madame Volo-Yankee Glide) by a short length, the latter reined by Erik Adielsson for trainer Melander. Arden Homestead Stable bred Volstead and Russell Williams (new USTA President) bred Nuncio, now with a career slate of 39-12-2 in 53 starts for 27,803,230SEK earned. Nuncio was a perfect 11 for 11 in 2016. 12.9/1 Coldtown (8g Cantab Hall-Brylin Starlet-Balanced Image) landed the third spot. Nuncio tonight took the next step toward the 2017 Elitloppet. Thomas H. Hicks

February 18, 2017 - Nuncio (6m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane) record an easy, and well-rated. front end harness racing victory tonight in the V75 Gold at Axevalla in Sweden. The Orjan Kihlstrom driven and Stefan Melander trained and owned (Stall TZ) champion was timed in 1.15.7kr (fractions: 1.17.3kr at first 500 meters; 1.18.3kr at the first 1000; 1.18.1kr at the 1500) over 2140 meters autostart to earn 150,000SEK first prize. Nuncio last raced September 18, 2016 at Bjerke. Russell C. Williams of Hanover, PA bred Nuncio, the 1.07/1 favorite that bested 30.79/1 Bruno di Quattro (9m Broadway Hall-Ussel-Speedy Soma) with Kenneth Haugstad up and 31.88/1 Art On Line (9g Rite On Line-Fleur-Backstreet Guy) for Johnny Takter. Winmecredit and Spring Erom were fourth and fifth. Nuncio’s career slate now stands at 38-12-2 in 52 starts for 27,723,230SEK earned. He is now 12 for 12 in 2016-17. This night Nuncio was eased to the front, faced a challenge deep in the last bend, and then drew off for a four length score. Nuncio (Ö.Kihlström/S.Melander) Thomas H. Hicks  

Nuncio was named Horse of the Year in Sweden Friday night (Feb. 10) at the Swedish Galla night in Stockholm. Unbeaten in 11 races last year, the North American bred son of  Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle, received 86 percent of the votes. Nuncio has not raced since Sept. 18, but is in training and Stefan Melander expects to bring the now 6-year old trotter back in action in late March. The first big target for Nuncio could be the Olympic Trot to be raced in Gothenburg late April. While Nuncio has been resting another top trotter, Bold Eagle is busy at the racetracks and on Sunday (Feb. 12) Bold Eagle, driven by regular driver Franck Nivard, will race in the Prix de France at Vincennes. The Prix de France is raced over 1-5/16 miles, which is the shortest distance races are carried out at Vincennes. The total purse is $425,000. Bold Eagle won this race last year when he beat Timoko, driven by Bjorn Goop, to second. Timoko will also race tomorrow. Bold Eagle will also take on North American breds Propulsion, driven by Ôrjan Kihlström and Wild Honey, driven by David Thomain. by Karsten Bønsdorf, USTA Senior Internet Correspondent

Nuncio returns to action next Wednesday at Solvalla, where the Stefan Melander trained and owned harness racing champion will be teamed with regular pilot Orjan Kihlstrom in the Gosta Nordins. A field of seven will race over 2140 meters autostart (field below). Divisionist will also take part in the Gunnar Nordins on the card. Nuncio may be pointed toward the Prix d’Amerique the last week in January. December 7, 2016 – Solvalla - R7 Gosta Nordins 2140 meters autostart Nuncio - Kihlstrom Knows Nothing - Ohlsson Attack Diablo - Eriksson Nato Dream - Haugstad Partout Simoni - Kern Charrva Forlan - Goop Claes Boko - Adielsson   R4 Gunnar Nordins 2140 meters autostart Floyd Fortuna - Adielsson Camelot Sisu - Goop Barthechocoate - Haapio Divisionist - Kontio Global Satisfaction - Ohlsson Cupido Sisdu - Kihlstrom   Thomas H. Hicks  

Friday night at Orebro Sweden was the 201 Najos Minne (100,000SEK to winner, 2100 meters autostart) and the winner was 4.41/1 Cruzado dela Noche (4m Muscle Massive-Alidade-Credit Winner) reined by Bjorn Goop and timed in 1.11.1kr, a record for the distance on a 1000 meter harness racing track. Stefan Melander trains the Stall Courant AB Stockholm owned and Hanover Shoe Farms bred winner, that has a 2016 slate of 5-1-2 in 14 starts for 2,137,690SEK. He has 10 wins in 36 career starts for 4,081,566SEK earned. Twister Bi (4m Varenne-Lorraine Bi-Lemon Dra) was second for Christoffer Eriksson, trainer Jerry Riordan and owner Pasuale Ciccarelli. This Biasuzzi bred trotter bested third finishing Divisionist (4m Andover Hall-Only Lonely-Yankee Paco-Too Good For You-Yankee Glide-Little Miss Queenie) with Jorma Kontio driving. Uncle Lasse (4m Donato Hanover-Solveig-Yankee Glide) was fourth for Orjan Kihlstrom and fifth went to Billy Flynn (4m Cantab Hall-Zeta Jones) with Erik Adielsson aboard. Nahar Takes Mohawk Preferred Saturday evening’s Mohawk (Ontario) featured trot was the weekly Preferred (purse C$34,000, one mile autostart) and veteran former Elitloppet winner (at age eight)  Nahar (11g, Love You-Mahonny Broline-Joie de Vie) was an easy five-length winner clocked in 1:53 for driver Doug McNair, trainer Robert Bergh and Stall Sedin. Racing with hopples has helped the class-master that easily dispatched Whiskey Tax ((9g Revenue-Bourbon Belle-Muscles Yankee) with Randy Waples up and third finishing Etruscan Hanover (6g Donato Hanover-Exotic Destination-Dream Vacation). Nahar, now a winner in excess of 12.SEK million and with 41 career victories, photos below: Thomas H. Hicks  

The 3/10 favorite Nuncio (5m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle) took todays Gr. I UET Masters Finale (purse €399,908, 2100 meters autostart, 12 starters) by two lengths clocked in 1.10.66kr. Orjan Kihlstrom teamed the Stefan Melander trained and owned harness racing champion. 9/1 Oasis Bi (8m Toss Out-Up Front JM) took second for Erik Adielsson, trainer Stefan Pettersson and Ecurie Frackstad Lantbruks AB. Third was 16/1 Mosaique Face (7m Classic Photo-Iona LB) with Adrian Kolgjini up for Tommy Nilsson Holding AB and trainer Lutfi Kolgjini. Spring Erom and Explosive De Vie were fourth and fifth. Nuncio (Ö.Kihlström/S.Melander) G1 UET Masters Final 18/09/2016 Finale U.E.T Trotting Masters NUNCIO On the Bjerke program was also the VG Norsk Derby (purse €226,922, 2600 meters autostart, 12 starters) with victory to 1.9/1 El Diablo BR (4m Muscle Hill-Fiery Chip) for trainer/driver Frode Hamre. The winner was clocked in 1.13.42kr and is owned by Brinvest Danmark APS. 5/1 Cash Okay (4m Ready Cash-Tresokay) was second for G.V. Gundersen with third earned by 5/1 Ultimate Photo (4m SJ’s Photo-Madam Lavec) and Bjorn Goop. Fourth was the Jeppe Juel driven and trained Akermann (4g Crazed-Ta Ta Hall). The Finn Tack Norsk Criterium (purse €175,325, 2100 meters autostart, 12 starters) produced a 1.12.71kr timed winner in 14.3/1 Shocking Superman (3m Orlando Vici-Bernadette’s Cat). Bjorn Goop is trainer/driver of this Tar Stable KB owned performer. 19.5/1 Mini Viking (3m Maharajah-Jeunesse Defee) was second for trainer/driver Frode Hamre and third was 15/1 Evil Enok ME (3m Magnetic Power-Topaz Dragon) for trainer/driver N.P. Braekken. Thomas H. Hicks

Harness racing action Wednesday at Solvalla included a victory by Standout (7m Ganymede-Ebony DK-Royal Troubador) in the 100,000SEK first money C Th Ericssons Memorial over 2640 meters autostart. Orjan Kihlstrom teamed the winner for Stefan Melander, trainer/owner. The winner has 17 career wins in 65 starts for 3,459,200SEK earned. Standout, off at 3.16/1, was clocked in 1.13.6kr to defeat Sir Ratzeputz and Poochai. The Solvallaserien VII for 100,000SEK to the winner, went to 1.23/1 Uncle Lasse clocked in 1.12kr. Orjan Kihlstrom teamed this Stefan Melander owner and trained four year-old son of Donato Hanover-Solveig-Muscles Yankee). Workout Wonder (4m Conway Hall-Dear Abs-Muscles Yankee) was second for Tommi Kylliainen with third to Flash Haleryd (4m Conway Hall-Looking Flashy-Pine Chip) for Erik Adielsson. Pythagoras Face and Divisionist were next to the line with French Laundry unplaced. The race distance was 2140 meters autostart. Two year-old battled in the opener for 40,000SEK to the winner of this 1640 meter voltstart event. The 1.15.9kr winner was Harmon Boko (2m Muscle Hill-Pursuit of Dream-Donerail) for Orjan Kihlstrom and trainer Mattias Djuse. Kiss Me Tooma (2f Dream Vacation) and Eurythmic Sisu (2m Quite Easy) were next. Three year-olds contested a 2140 meter volstart event for 40,000SEK to the winner. That winner was 1.8/1 Bourbon Rain (3m Conway Hall-Affinity-Victory Dream) clocked in 1.17.1kr for Orjan Kihlstrom and trainer Pasi Aikio. This winner is a half-brother to the successful Tumble Dust, a Criterium Continental winner by Crazed. Another 40,000SEK first prize event, over 2140 meters autostart, went to Per Lennartsson’s trained/driven Jager Oaks (7g Tony Oaks-Jessi Way-Buster Claypool) clocked in 1.14.4kr, his second straight victory. Trainer/driver Melander also won on the card with Lincoln Lawyer (5g Muscles Yankee-M Stewart-American Winner) timed in 1.14.5kr over 2640 meters autostart to capture 60,000SEK first money. Thomas H. Hicks    

Today’s Gr. I International Sundsvall Open at Bergsaker (total purse €188,475, 2140 meters autostart, 10 starters) went to harness racing 3/10 favorite Nuncio (5m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane) handled by Orjan Kihlstrom.  The winner is trained by Stefan Melander for his Stall TZ. Nuncio, bred by Russell Williams of Pennsylvania, is now 8-2-0 in 10 starts in 2016 and has a 34-14-2 slate in 50 career starts for 24,931,376SEK earned. Off on the lead from post one, Nuncio parked contesting Oasis Bi not allowing that one the front, and then fought off Call Me Keeper (that made a miscue with a quarter mile remaining) and a parked three wide Anna Mix. In the lane the winner gamely kept a comfortable lead to hold off 15/1 pocket placed On Track Piraten (8g Kool du Caux-Monrovia) with Joseph Verbeeck up  for trainer H.R. Stromberg, and outside rallying 78/1 DD’s Hitman (5m Donato Hanover-Deedee’s Destiny) with Jorma Kontio driving for Petri Puro. 15/1 Oasis Bi (8m Toss Out-Up Front JM) ended fourth with Bjorn Goop up for trainer Stefan Pettersson. Nuncio was clocked in 1.11.7kr, well off the race record of 1.10kr set in 2015 by Delicious U.S. Replay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Okat-ml0-g Thomas H. Hicks  

Top flight harness racing trotting occurs this weekend on Saturday at Bergsaker with the Sundsvall Open and Friday at Cagnes sur Mer in the Grand Prix du Department 06. The Sundsvall Open has a total purse of €188,475 in the Gr. I International test over 2140 meters autostart. Nuncio will be the favorite from post one with Orjan Kihlstrom up for Stefan Melander, owner/trainer. Main contenders will be Call Me Keeper, Oasis Bi, Anna Mix and On Track Piraten. Melander also starts US-bred Volstead. Former Elitloppet winner Nahar is also in this groupe, he apparently slated for a Toronto trip for the Maple Leaf Trot. BERGSAKER - SUNDSVALL OPEN TROT SUEDE Attelé - 188 475 € - 2140m - 10 partants  - Internationale - Autostart  - Corde à gauche SUNDSVALL OPEN TROT Course 1 European Trotting Masters Series 2016 Groupe I Course Internationale Départ à l'Autostart 188.475. - Attelé. - 2.140 mètres. 107.700, 43.080, 21.540, 10.770, 5.385. Pour 3 ans et plus, ayant gagné au moins 43.080. N° Nom Cas. Fer S A Driver Entraîneur Dist (mètres) Musique Gains Rapports probables e-SG Ref. Direct                           1 Nuncio (usa) A     M 5 o. kihlstrom s. melander 2140 1a1a2a1a2a 2 577 409 € - - 2 Volstead A     M 5 p. lennartsso s. melander 2140 5a1a1a1a0a 370 192 € - - 3 Call me keeper     M 6 j. unterstein daniel reden 2140 2a1aDa1a1a1a 391 090 € - - 4 D.d.'s hitman     M 5 j. kontio p. puro 2140 0a1a2a4aDa 130 209 € - - 5 Nahar     H 11 r. bergh r. bergh 2140 DaDa2aDa1a2a 1 349 763 € - - 6 Oasis bi     M 8 b. goop s. pettersson 2140 0a0a4a1a1a0a 1 302 033 € - - 7 Anna mix     F 6 e. adielsson mlle sofia ar 2140 1a1a6a5aDa3a 864 508 € - - 8 Shadow woodland     M 7 u. ohlsson reijo liljend 2140 1a4a1a4aDa 217 726 € - - 9 On track piraten     H 8 j. verbeeck h.r. stromber 2140 2a2a5a4a1a2a 1 219 550 € - - 10 Explosive de vie     H 5 k. oscarsson j. oscarsson 2140 2a1a2a1a3a 278 980 € - -   Ecurie A   -     Friday at Cagnes sur Mer will be the Gr. II Grand Prix du Department 06 for a purse of €180,000 with 12 starters in the 1609 meter autostart sprint. Un Mec d’Heripre will be the likely wagering choice from post six with J-M Bazire to drive the Fabrice Souloy trainee. Main attention will also go to Pascia’Lest, Dante Boko, Seatlle Bi and Aladin d’Ecajeul in this well matched field CAGNES/MER - GRAND PRIX DU DEPARTEMENT 06 Attelé - 180 000 € - 1609m - 12 partants  - Groupe II GRAND PRIX DU DEPARTEMENT 06 Course 6 European Trotting Masters Series 2016 Groupe II Course Internationale. N° Nom Cas. Fer S A Driver Entraîneur Dist (mètres) Musique Gains Rapports probables e-SG Ref. Direct                           1 Starter du rib     H 10 j.ch. feron j.ch. feron 1609 6a3aDa5a0a5a 513 440 € - - 2 Aladin d'ecajeul     M 6 g. gelormini s. guarato 1609 6a3a3a4a8a3a 998 640 € - - 3 Pascia' lest     M 7 p. gubellini f. souloy 1609 5a5a2a1a1a4a 1 357 611 € - - 4 Olmo holz     M 8 ch. martens v. martens 1609 4a2a5aDa5aDa 842 656 € - - 5 Soumoulou     H 10 anthony laigr a. laigron 1609 7a6a3a4a3a6a 654 710 € - - 6 Un mec d'heripre     M 8 j.m. bazire f. souloy 1609 1a1a0a1a1a3a 1 632 332 € - - 7 Zorro photo     M 10 r. andreghett mlle st. lepe 1609 3a6a6a6a6a1a 619 288 € - - 8 Princess grif     F 7 b. goop f. souloy 1609 9a6a7a8a0a9a 787 826 € - - 9 Truman dairpet     H 9 d. locqueneux n. ensch 1609 7a2a5a4a2a2a 510 960 € - - 10 Dante boko     H 6 p. vercruysse l. kolgjini 1609 1a4a0a5aDa1a 481 314 € - - 11 Seattle bi     F 5 m. stefani a. gocciadoro 1609 1a3aDa4a4a6a 115 899 € - - 12 Slow du beauvoisin     H 10 r. mourice r. mourice 1609 3a1a1a3a0a4a 478 070 € - -   Thomas H. Hicks  

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