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Maori Time has settled in very well according to harness racing connections and is ready to give her best in round one of the Elitloppet. Despite being the rank outsider of the series, Australian trotter Maori Time is definitely one of the most fascinating runners in Sunday’s Elitloppet series, whether you are a local or an Aussie. By racing on Sunday she becomes the first trotter from the Southern Hemisphere to race in the Northern Hemisphere since the great Sundons Gift finished sixth of seven finishers in the second heat of this series nine years ago. The series takes the same format as the first four renewals of the Great Southern Star, being two heats, at 11:22pm and 11:49pm AEST, and the Final two hours later. Owner Fred Crews arrived in Sweden on Sunday, just after the barrier draw where she unfortunately drew gate six of eight. But there are apparently no excuses when it comes to the horse’s wellbeing and how she has settled in. Fred spoke about how the whole thing came about. “After the performance at Menangle, I started to look around for what the future held for her as far as racing, and the opportunities for her over sprint distances are pretty limited, all the $20,000 Free For All’s that she runs in she is going to draw the second row or out wide and there’s a very limited number of Group 1 races where she can use her speed to advantage,” he said. “I for some reason came up with the idea of the Elitloppet and I spoke to Duncan McPherson and Michael Taranto and they put the wheels in motion. They and Andrew Kelly and HRA (Harness Racing Australia) sent the videos across to Sweden and put all the evidence before them to help them make the decision (about whether to send an invitation or not). “Brent (Lilley, trainer) and I then went away and did all our homework as far as the logistics of the trip and when the invitation finally came we had all our plans in place and we we’re ready to act, because when the invitation comes they need to know pretty quickly what you intend to do, particularly when you’re on the other side of the world.” Unfortunately just under a month ago the Maori Time camp suffered a scare when her first of two trials for her overseas campaign ended after 800m when she was pulled up in a trial at Bendigo on April 29. Thankfully she was able to recover quickly from the setback that could’ve been much worse. She then trialled at Maryborough seven days later and after leading was narrowly run down by The Sparrow Hawk, a stablemate, in fast time but obviously this was very promising after the setback she had seven days earlier. << Watch Bendigo Trial https://youtu.be/J13LLnaRvAg >> << Watch Maryborough Trial https://youtu.be/gPliWAMFI2Y >> “She suffered from atrial fibrillation where her heart went out of beat for 24 hours or so but that came good and everything has been 100 per cent since,” Crews said. “She has arrived here in Sweden in incredibly good condition. Other people that have travelled with horses have been surprised with how well she has taken the trip. Brent is saying you’d think she was still home in the stable she’s so relaxed and going so well. “That gives us a little bit of confidence because the first concern, naturally enough, is getting your horse here in a fit condition ready to race, we’ve got all that so that is not an excuse.” She is staying at Stig H. Johansson’s stables, a man that by next year will have been training for 50 years and is considered one of the greats of local trotting. He has won the Gran Premio della Lotteria (Italy’s equivalent of the Elitloppet) four times a Prix d'Amérique, the premier race of the world, and of cause multiple Elitloppet Finals and has had Group 1 winners, either trained or driven, in nine countries “Stig is the legend of Swedish trotting,” Crews said. “He has trained and driven six previous winners of the Elitloppet and he is probably like the elder statesman of trotting here in Sweden and he is very well respected. “He drove Maori Time in fast work on Monday morning (Swedish time) and he said she was a very good horse, so hopefully he is correct.” Most likely Maori Time will not return to Australia after Sunday and will instead have a European campaign, as long as she comes through this week well. “If everything falls into place Brent Lilley and I will have a meeting next Monday with Stig with a view to leaving the horse here in Sweden to race,” Crews said. “If something goes wrong then we’ll pack up and bring her straight home but if she performs well and he wants to train her, at this stage he has said he will train her but we want to wait until after the series. “Two weeks later there is a big race in Norway (Oslo Grand Prix which is Norway’s annual highlight) and there is also another one in Sweden and they could be possibilities.” The European Mares Championship at Solvalla on Tuesday August 14 over 2140m could also be a possible target. “I wouldn’t want her racing beyond 2140m (Swedish middle distance) and we’ll make that point known to Stig. “But a lot of things have got to fall into place first, I’m leaving all my options open and ideally that’s what I’d like to do but I can’t make a firm commitment. “Our first target is to perform well in her heat and if she performs up to what we think she can then we’ve got two or two and a half hours to think about the final. “We haven’t even though about the final yet.” Bizarrely in Europe when analysing the form you have to take into huge consideration what shoes a horse will where. For example Lionel, a top trotter at his best who will compete in the first heat, usually performs at his best when he is unshod with all four feet, but if not he once started at odds of 100/1! “There is a lot of interest about whether she is going to race with shoes, the last time the Great Southern Star was the two heats and the final, she raced without shoes in the final when Yannick Gingras (US driver who drove her) suggested we pull them off, so that’s a definite possibility, if we got into the final,” Crews said. “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves but I suppose you have got to have something in mind.” One of the definite positives leading into the series is that in that 2016 Great Southern Star she performed very well in the both the heat and final (second and fourth), so if she was able to make the final she would have no excuses when it comes to backing up, which of cause after running 1:50.1 in the first heat 12 months ago, series favourite and champion Bold Eagle couldn’t do in the final two hours later. Speaking about Bold Eagle, Fred said: “He tried to blow them away in the heat and the final, but he is obviously the best horse in Europe.” “You’ve got to have a horse 100 per cent on the day, if a horse is only 99 per cent then things can go wrong. We certainly don’t underestimate him and we know he is the one to beat, we didn’t want to be in the heat with him, we would’ve preferred to be with any other lot of horses but it is what it is and if you come over here you’ve got to be prepared to take on the best and hopefully beat them. “I guess it depends on whether we decide to attack for the lead. Todd doesn’t arrive here until Friday so we haven’t had that discussion with him obviously but I think we’ll probably wait a bit longer and Brent will probably have a talk to Stig about tactics as he is the expert over here. I know Brent has been asking him a lot of questions and he greatly respects the man and trying to learn from him. I’m sure he’ll still be asking him questions on Sunday here at Solvalla, but we don’t need to make a decision now regarding tactics.” Maori Time overall has had nine different drivers throughout her career so it was always going to be interesting to see who got the nod to drive her and it was Sydney reinsmen Todd McCarthy, who we will chat to later in the week, who drove her in Sydney and is one from one aboard the mare, who picked the huge drive up. “He’s the driver who won in the quickest time; we just felt a young, keen, aggressive driver is probably what is needed to win in a series like this”. Following her 1:51.5 win in Sydney, Maori Time is the one of the top six fastest horses in the entire series and the third fastest horse in her heat behind Bold Eagle (1:50.1 in the first heat 12 months ago) and Takethem (1:51.3 in the same race when 5th!). “We don’t know how the times line up, the times at Menangle are on a 1400m track whereas the times here at Solvalla are on a 1000m track and it’s a softer track and it is a different banking and everything else. “From our point of the only way to compare the horses is race against them.” Keep following thetrots.com.au throughout the week as I’ll be bringing you all the action from the Elitloppet, including social media coverage of the Final night on Sunday night/early hours of Monday morning. Trots Media - Luke Humphreys

May 19, 2018 - 6/1 Heavy Sound (6g Ken Warkentin-Illustre November-Viking Kronos) impressively won the harness racing Gr. II International H.K.H Prins Daniels at Gavle, Sweden (500,000SEK to the winner, 1609 meters autostart) clocked in 1.09.2kr off quick fractions (1.06.5kr at the first 500 meters, 1.09.1kr at the first 1000). Heavy Sound, driven by Kenneth Haugstad for trainer Daniel Reden and SRF Stable, inherited the front when leading Nobel Amok went off stride (he was among four that were miscue dq’s in the ten horse field). He began from post 9. Twister Bi (6m Varenne-Lorraine Bi-Lemon Dra) was second in his first 2018 start with Christoffer Eriksson up for trainer Jerry Riordan and owner Pasquale Ciccarelli, closing strongly from the back. Twister began from post three, was briefly off gait before the start, and was far back and in traffic until late when he circled up and his push fell three lengths short. Beau Mec (11m Jag de Bellouet-Extreme Lady-Meadow Gallant) was third for driver Carl Johan Jepson. Queer Fish and Dante Boko completed the top five. The winner, lightly raced, with now 14 life wins in 31 starts for 5,536,550SEK earned, was trained by Roger Walmann through his last 2017 start on September 23rd. He now has three wins in four 2018 outings after making only three appearances in 2017. His second dam is the legendary Lovely Godiva by Ideal du Gazeau, followed by Keystone Gwen (Speedy Crown), Keystone Godiva (Hickory Pride) and Goddess Gallon, that produced stakes winners Keystone Pride and Keystone Gabriel. Lovely Godiva (SE) (102 0.80 +37) m, 1990 1.14,5v 1.12,2a SEK 11,549,624 88 46-10-4 At 3, Winner of Guldstoet, Breeders' Crown. At 4, Winner of Svenskt Trav S:t Leger, Stochampionatet, Breeders' Crown. At 5, Winner of Prix Marcel Laurent. At 6, Winner of C.L.Müllers Memorial, Prix de la Marne, Grote Prijs der Lage Landen, second in Prix du Luxembourg, Prix du Plateau de Gravelle, Elite-Rennen. At 7, Winner of Arvid Stjernswärds Minneslöpning, Prix de France. At 8, second in The Red Mile, Grosser Preis von Bayern, third in Ego Boys Minne. At 9, Winner of Grosser Preis von Bayern, second in Prix de Paris, Prix de Belgique, Prix d'Amerique, third in Olympiatravet. Thomas H. Hicks  

May 12, 2018 - Today’s co-featured harness racing Konung Gustaf Gr.I International for 1,000,000SEK first money went to 2.2/1 Perfect Spirit (4m Andover Hall-Good Common Cents-Kadabra) with Orjan Kihlstrom up. The winner, trained by Daniel Reden for SRF Stable, is unbeaten in three 2018 starts after winning the Hambletonian in 2017 on a dq. 84/1 Super War Horse (4m Super Photo Kosmos-Poison Valley-Lindy Lane) was second for driver Kevin Oscarsson, trainer Jerry Riordan and owner Martina Vincenzo. 12/1 Enterprise (4m Chapter Seven-She’s Gone Again-SJs Caviar) held third on the pegs for Per Linderoth, trainer Stefan Melander and Courant AB. Perfect Spirit raced on the lead and faced limited threat in the late lane, scoring in 1.11.1kr with a strong kick (1.08.5kr after first 500; 1.10.9hkr at the 1000 from the start; 1.11.4kr at the 1500 out – 600 remaining). The Drottning Silvias Gr. I International (purse to winner 1,000,000SEK, 2140 meters autostart) went to 1.3/1 Dibaba (4f Ready Cash-Moonlight Kronos-Viking Kronos) with Kihlstrom teaming for trainer Roger Walmann. She is three for three in 2018 with this 1.11.4kr victory. 41/1 Global Upper Style (4f SJs Caviar) was next for Peter Untersteiner and 4.7/1 Vanquish Kronos (4f Raja Mirchi) took third for driver Christoffer Eriksson and trainer Jerry Riordan. The Breeders Course (three year olds, Gr. II International, 1640 meters autostart, 400,000SEK to the winner) went to 2.3/1 Northern Charm (3m Muscle Hill-Clothie-Coktail Jet) timed in 1.12.3kr. This colt is three for three in 2018 and was driven by Peter Ingves for trainer Christian Lindhardt and owner Herz Gunter of Germany/ Feeling Way (3, Ouragon de Celland) was second for Tomas Malmqvist and third went to Smokin Joe (3m Lavec Kronos) with Lutfi Kolgjini up. Also on the card was the Lyon Grand Prix (Gr. II International 20187, 2640 meters autostart, 300,000SEK first money) with 18/1 Handsome Brad (5m Brad de Veluwe-Ulrica M-Red Xing) victorious clocked in 1.11.7kr. He is four for five in 2018 and was driven by Carl Johan Jepson for trainer Ulf Stenstomer. Milligan’s School was second for Ulf Eriksson, ahead of Rajesh Face and Lutfi Kolgjini. 2.8/1 Diamanten was sixth with Erik Adielsson up. The Algot Scotts V75 Gold (1609 meters autostart, 200,000SEK first prize) went to 5.7/1 Nadal Broline (8g Yankee Glide-Aimee’s Promise-American Winner) for driver Ulf Ohlsson and trainer Reijo Liljendahl in his first 2018 appearance. Race time was 1.10.4kr. Giveutgasandgo was second for Erik Adielsson ahead of Double Exposure with pilot Kihlstrom. BBS Sugarlight and Vasterboonthenews completed the top five. The V75 Silver (2140 meters autostart for 150,000SEK to the winner) produced a 1.12.1kr victory for the Robert Bergh teamed 2.4/1 Coktail Fortuna (9g Love You-Dallosh No-Diamond Way).Dragster and Roger Malmqvist was second with third to Bryssel and reinsman Bjorn Goop. Thursday at Jagersro put a nice cap on the driving career of Johnny Takter, as he left with three solid victories: Procalafe (3f Prodigious)traine by Lars Nilsson; Liui Magic (4f SJs Caviar) also trainer by Nilsson; and Miss Marbel (5f Brioni) for trainer Christian Lindhardt. Quite a career for the veteran reinsman and superb horseman. Sunday is the Gr. I Copenhagen Cup raced over 2011 meters by nine starts for a total purse of €100,727.  Totoo del Ronco has been scratched from post 10 Thomas H. Hicks  

April 28, 2018 - The Olympia Stayer race (purse €30,773, 3140 meters, 14 starters) went to 2/5 favorite and Bjorn Goop trained and driven Heartbreaker VF (8m, Super Photo Kosmos-Staying Alive), clocked in a respectable 1.13.8kr over the extended distance. Monte performers contested the Olympia Monte (125,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) and the 1.9/1 odds Anna Mix (8f Ludo de Castelle-Tres-Tenor de Baune) prevailed with Josefine Ivehog in the irons for trainer Sofia Aronsson and owner Franck Leblanc. This great mare Anna Mix has raced in the best international races over her career, was clocked in 1.13kr and now has 18 wins in 69 starts for lifetime earnings of 12,505,013SEK. The V75 Silver Division on this great card (purse €30773, 1640 meters autostart) produced a sharp 1.10.4kr victory for 16/1 Coktail Fortuna (9g Love You) handled by trainer Robert Bergh. The Lady Godivas Minne (purse €59,136), the second featured of the day, went to 9/1 Ultra Bright (5f Zola Boko-Patina) reined by Frederik Persson and clocked in 1.12.2kr. 5.2/1 Double Exposure (5f Donato Hanover-KD Girl) was a rallying second for Orjan Kihlstrom and the Daniel Reden/Stall Zet team. Thomas H. Hicks  

April 28, 2018  -  Ringostarr Treb (8m Classic Photo-Farsalo Egral-Supergill) scored a gate to wire impressive 1.10lr harness racing victory today at Aby. This Gr. I International UET Masters event carried a purse of €279,112 and was raced over 2140 meters autostart by 10 starters. Wilhelm Paal teamed the Jerry Riordan trainee for owner EVA Racing Trotter Srls. This fine horse, who bred mares in Italy after the Vincennes winter meet, now has 28 wins in 83 career starts. Off at 3.6/1 Ringostarr Treb bested 42/1 Giveitgasandgo (4m Yankee Glide-Mazda Hanover-Andover Hall) driven by Erik Adielsson and 16/1 Titty Jepson (6f Varenne-Loma di Costa-Uromnometro) with Orjan Kihlstrom up 5/1 Lionel was fourth after a last turn bid failed. 1.3/1 favorite Day Or Night In made a dq miscue before the gate opened from post one. Thomas H. Hicks

April 27, 2018 - The Friday harness racing action at Paris-Vincennes began with a 4/1 victory by Etoile de Houelle (4f Goetmals Wood-Sawasde de Houelle) in the Prix Maginus (purse €80,000, 2700 meters, 15 starters) and riven this day by Franck Nivard for trainer Franck Leblanc. 2.3/1 Everest Vedaquais (4g Ready Cash-Spandelle) held second for driver Yoann Lebourgeois and owner/trainer Philippe Allaire. 13/1 Eureka du Fosse (4f Soleil du Fosse) with Anthony Barrier the pilot, took third among a group at the line together. Race time was 1.14.3kr for this three-time career winner. The day’s Q+ was the Prix Huberta (purse €54,000, 2850 meters, 18 starters) and the 1.13.6kr timed victory was earned by even money Caprice du Lupin (6g Chaillot-Nadega Fencerie) with Antoine Wiels up  for breeder/owner/trainer J-P Marmion. 20/1 Cerenzo Turbo (6m Ganymede) took second for Franck Ouvrie and 57/1 Chocolat du Bourg (6m Nahar de Beval) was third for Gabriele Gelormini, ahead of 11/1 Aldo d’Argentre and 24/1 Bambou Tahiti. The winner now has 11 wins in 22 career starts. The Gr. III Prix Antigone (purse €110,000, 2850 meters, 11 starters monte starters) went to 13/1 Ungaro d’Eva (10g Ipson de Mormal-Iomolly) with David Thomain in the irons for owner/trainer Jean Michel Beaudouin. The victory increased his earnings to €330,110 for this 11 time winner. 6/1 Gross Weight (7g Scarlet Knight-Elman Jet) was second and 2.3/1 Vrai Voyou (9g Gazouillis) was home third. On April 26 (Thursday) at Gavle SWE the well-regarded Propulsion (7m Muscle Hill-Danae-Andover Hall) reined by Orjan Kihlstrom, pictured below, won an event raced over 2140 meters autostart for 40,000SEK first prize. Race time was 1.12.1kr as this Daniel Reden trainee, bred in the USA by Caldwell/Bluestone Farr, recorded his 25th victory in 54 outings now for 5,935,545SEK earned. Off at even money, Propulsion bested 21/1 French Laundry, Ulf Ohlsson up, and Final Oak at 85/1 reined by Claes Sjostrom. 76/1 From Dusk To Dawn landed fourth for Ulf Eriksson.   On that card the USA Windsong Stable bred Stand Bayou, off at 1.6/1, scored in 1.12.9kr, with Orjan Kihlstrom up for trainer Daniel Reden. First prize was 35,000SEK for the seven-year old stallion son of Donato Hanover-Roux Hanover-Mr. Lavec. Stand Bayou was won three of his last four and now has 12 career wins in 36 starts. On Friday night (April27), the 2017 Hambletonian winner Perfect Spirit was back in action for his second straight win, this at Aby, in a division of the Konung Gustaf each for 100,000SEK first money and raced over 2140 meters autostart. Orjan Kihlstrom teamed the four-year old stallion by Andover Hall-Good Common Cents-Kadabra that Daniel Reden trains for SRF Stable and Hanover Shoe Farms bred. The winners’ slate shows nine wins in 20 career starts for 6,291,079SEK earned. He was off at 1.52/1 and bested 24/1 Vikens High Yield (4g Love You) reined by Magnus Jakobsson and 4/1 Enterprise (4m Chapter Seven) that Johnny Takter teamed for trainer Stefan Melander and owner Stall Courant AB. Lucifer Lane and Velvet Gio won other divisions of this race. Fillies contested the Drottning Silvias Pokal divisions (each for 100,000SEK first money and raced over 2140 meters autostart) with victory to Diabra (4f Ready Cash-Moonlight Kronos-Viking Kronos) reined by Orjan Kihlstrom for trainer Roger Walmann. She was clocked in 1.13.1kr for her ninth career victory in 14 starts. Tropicanna As (4f Manofmanymissions-Tropical Breeze As-Striking Sahbra) also won a division for trainer Jerry Riordan, driver Johnny Takter and owners Henrik Eriksson and Tordis Svensson. ACL Stuteri AB bred this filly that was timed in 1.14.3kr. Electrical (4f Dream Vacation) won another division of this race. On Saturday is the Olympiatravet Final at Aby. Thomas H. Hicks

April 21, 2018 - V75 action Saturday was at Umaker (SWE) featuring first the Berth Johanssons Memorial (200,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) and 2/1 Diamanten (5m Adrian Chip-Iata Kall-Ata Star L) scored for Erik Adielsson and trainer Stig H. Johansson. Forspro B owns this career winner 21 times in 30 starts for earning of 5,866,911SEK. Race time today was 1.13.6kr. 5/1 Muscle Hustle (5m Muscle Mass-Crown Laurel-Cantab Hall) was second for trainer/driver Robert Bergh and 2/1 Makethemark (4m Maharajah-Global Naughty-Cantab Hall) was third for Ulf Ohlsson, ahead of 40/1 Milligan’s School  (5m Yankee Glide-Tori Ann-SJs Photo). The V75 Gold was the Olympiatravet Trial #4 (200,000SEK first money, 2140 meters autostart) and 13/1 Beau Mec (11m Jag de Bellouet-Extreme Lady-Meadow Gallant) was victorious timed in 1.11.6kr and teamed by Carl Johan Jepson for trainer Lars Wikstrom. 1.9/1 Cruzado dela Noche (6m Muscle Massive-Alidate-Credit Winner) was second for Ulf Ohlsson and trainer Stefan Melander with third earned by 60/1 Explosive de Vie (7g Explosive Matter-Ava-Pine Chip) with Kevin Oscarsson the pilot for trainer Jim Oscarsson. Other interesting Umaker wins included first the V75 Silver (150,000SEK to the winner, 2640 meters autostart) that 4/1 Qahar QC (7g Scipion du Gautier-Mumma QC-Enjoy Lavec) won for Ulf Ohlsson clocked in 1.13.8kr. The Bronze V75 (purse to winner 125,000SEK, 1640 meters autostart) went to quick 1.11kr timed Disco Volante (5g Scarlet Knight-Glorify-Super Arnie) also with Ohlsson up, this for trainer Stefan Melander and owner Stall Courant AB. On April 21 at Forus the impressive Ferrari B.R. (5m Muscles Yankee-Bauxite-SJs Caviar-Whitesand Hall-Victory Dream) took the Kjell Hakonsens Minne over 1600 meters timed in 1.10.6kr. Per Oleg Midtfjeld teamed the winner to a three length score to earn 100,000NOkr first money. Midtfjeld has been a prominent trainer/driver for years that included the former Zweig Memorial winner Cromwell, a son of Credit Winner. Pingus Vang and Donatomite were next to the line, no match for the winner who last year won in a 1:52.2 mile rate over 2100 meters. Ferrari B.R. is expected to race in the Copenhagen Cup hoping to create an Elitloppet invite. Thomas H. Hicks  

April 14, 2018 - 2.4/1 Day Or Night In (6m Muscle Hill-Ellie America-Buvetier d’Aunou) took Saturday’s Jagersro featured L.C. Peterson Broddas 2018 V75 Gold (200,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) reined by harness racing driver Johan Untersteiner and clocked in 1.11.7kr. The winner now has three 2018 wins in as many starts and 14 career victories in 37 outings. 2.3/1 Dante Boko (8g Going Kronos-Margherita Rose-Abo Volo) was second for trainer/driver Lutfi Kolgjini and 14.3/1 Mindyourvalue WF was home third for Robert Bergh. The winner earned a spot in the Olympiatravet at Aby, a Gr. I event, along with previously named or earned spots to On Track Piraten, Ringostarr Treb, Zenit Brick, Lionel and Takethem. On the undercard at Jagersro was the V75 Silver (purse 150,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) and 3.7/1 Rajesh Face (5m Raja Mirchi-Nippy Girl-Ginger Somolli) scored for Lutfi Kolgjini, also trainer, timed in1.12kr. 3.9/1 Mister Crowe (8m Conway Hall-Somack-Mack Lobell) was second for Johnny Takter with third to 13.7/1 Springover driven by Peter Untersteiner. The winner scored in this his first 2018 appearances and he now has 11 career wins in 28 outings. The Breeders Course (three year olds, first final, 100,000SEK to winner, 1640 meters autostart) went to 1.14.5kr timed and 1.1/1 favorite Smokin Joe (3m Lavec Kronos-Knowledge Face-Viking Kronos) for Lutfi Kolgjini. 7.4/1 Paladin (3m Lavec Kronos-Damaniscotta-Andover Hall) was second for Roger Malmqvist. Earlier on the card the Olympiamonten (50,000SEK to winner, 1640 meters autostart) went to Italy’s 1.3/1 Radieux (8g Love You-Dordogne-Viking Kronos) with Sofia Adolfsson in the irons for trainer Lutfi Kolgini. Scuderia Louisiana SRL bred this winner that scored in 1.12.4kr. Thomas H. Hicks  

April 7, 2018 - Saturday excellent harness racing action took place in the north with Zenit Brick (7g Make It Happen-Exi Svard-Super Arnie) winning the Olympia Trot Elim 2 (purse 400,000SEK, 2140 meters autostart) timed in 1.11.5kr at Solvalla’s 1000 meter oval. Kim Eriksson teamed the winner for trainer Timo Nurmos and owner Anders Bredberg. The 2.2/1 favorite bested 3.3/1 Queer Fish driven by Kaj Widell and 16/1 Shadow Woodland handled by Ulf Ohlsson. At Vermo was the Helsinki AJO raced over 1609 meters autostart for a total purse of €28,600. The 1.11.8kr timed winner was Workout Wonder (6m Conway Hall-Dear Abs-Muscles Yankee) driven by Tommi Kylliainen for trainer Jarno Kauhanen and owner Workout Club. This Kentuckiana Farms bred stallion earned an invitation to the May 5th Finlandia AJO that is a European Trotting Masters event. This day earning the second place check was Midnight Hour handled by Iikka Nurmonen and third was Fire To The Rain reined by Hannu Torvinen. Edward Ale finished fourth. Thomas H. Hicks

Nuncio, who captured the $435,000 Kentucky Futurity in 2014 as well as that year's $500,000 Yonkers Trot, has raced for the last time and will stand at Menhammar Stud in Sweden. Would he race again, or who would he go to stud – either in Sweden or in the United States? Speculations had been rampant within the last several weeks. But on Saturday (Dec. 30) owner/trainer Stefan Melander revealed to the Swedish trade press, that he has sold a share in Nuncio, the 2016 Elitloppet victor, to Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, who owns the famous Swedish stud farm, Menhammar, and that Nuncio will stand as stallion there. The price for the services of Nuncio, who was bred by Russell Williams, has still to be decided. The son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabella was conditioned by Jimmy Takter and steered by John Campbell during his 2-and 3-year-old campaigns in the United States. The stallion collected $1.9 million in purse money from a record of 26-16-10-1 while on this continent and established his lifetime mark of 1:50.4 in his Kentucky Futurity triumph. by Karsten Bønsdorf, USTA Senior Newsroom Correspondent 

December 13, 2017 - Food Money (9g Andover Hall-Windylane Hanover-Lindy Lane) took Wednesday’s Solvalla Gosta Nordins (100,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) as this 5.9/1 Jezek Thomas trainee scored in 1.13.6kr with Ulf Ohlsson the pilot. Thomas also owns the veteran campaigner that rallied in the lane to defeat 1.2/1 favorite Nuncio (6m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane) with owner/trainer Stefan Melander up. 8.2/1 Charrua Forlan (7g Up Front Larry-Friska Bar-Frisky Frazer) landed third for Hans Owe Sundberg. Luckycharm Hanover and French Laundry were the next two on the line. Nuncio was being prepped for a trip and France and an apparent Prix d’Amerique try. His recent efforts have not been up to his best against relatively weak competition, raising some question about an effort at Vincennes versus retirement. Thomas H. Hicks

December 10, 2017 - Trencsen (5m Ata Star L-Eperjes-Witsends Speedy) driven by Sandor Kolozsi took Saturday’s Kincsem Park harness racing featured Palmyra DIJ (purse 600,000Huf, 1800 meters autostart, nine starters) clocked in 1.19.9kr. Istvan Papp trains the winner that defeated Urban Legend (4m Gustav Diamant-Jasmin Diamant-Sugarcane Hanover) handled this day by Emese Vezer for trainer Emil Csordas. Third was Urania RG (4f Racino-Sweet Pine-Pine Chip) for Sandor Varga driving for trainer Balazs Juhasz. The undercard included the Idomero DIJ (purse 400,000Huf, 1800 meters autostart, 12 starters) and Disney HR (4f Light Up de Vonnas-Times-SJs Photo) scored in 1.20.1kr for Gyorgy Farkas driving for trainer Balazs Juhasz. Unigena Sun (4f Sholty Boko-Jeanne Sun-Grundy’s Ebony) was second for driver Tamas Tanczer and third was Rocky HR (5m Roc de Montfort-Times-SJs Photo) reined by Andrea Fazekas. On Saturday in Sweden (Aby) the V75 Legolas Minne Gold (150,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) went to 1.13kr timed and 3/2 odds Vasterboonthenews (9g Credit Winner-Sandra Dime-Alf Palema) driven by Orjan Kihlstrom for trainer Lars Brindeborg and owner Parkkoken. The winner now has 29 wins in 82 career starts for 4,494,295SEK earned. Geisha Sund (7f Love You-Kanadia-Canada) was second for trainer/driver Robert Bergh, ahead of Nadal Broline (7g Yankee Glide-Aimee’s Promise) and driver Ulf Ohlsson. Veteran BBS Sugarlight was fourth for Vidar Hop. Other interesting winners on the Aby program were Kash Brodda (5f Ready Cash-Kismetta Marc-Viking Kronos) for Peter Untersteiner in 1.12.9kr of 2140 meters autostart; Ulriika Highness (6f Love You-Camilla Highness-Super Arnie) for Stefan Soderkvist in 1.14.2kr over 2140 meters distance handicap – the winner traveled an added 20 meters; and Global Trust (4m Yankee Glide-Refuse to Lose-Conway Hall with Jorma Kontio up timed in 1.12.1kr over 1640 meters autostart. Sunday I viewed the evening program at Krieau (Austria), a racetrack that began in 1878 and is the second oldest in Europe after Central Moscow Hippodrome. The featured Prix Nastasia Noens (purse €5,000, 2100 meters autostart, 12 starters) went to Palema Photo (9g Gidde Palema-Novels Photo) with Erich Kubes up for owner/trainer Marion Hope. Meilo Mo (7m SJs Photo-Miss Starchip Mo) was second for Mario Zanderigo and third was Lord Brodde (6g Mr. Pine Chip-Leonas Yessi) for Christoph Fischer for trainer Gregor Krenmmayr. Thomas H. Hicks      

November 25, 2017 - Cyber Lane  (4g Raja Mirchi-Sybaris Hanover-Cantab Hall) took today’s Solvalla Grand Prix raced over 2140 meters autostart with 400,000SEK to the winner. Johan Untersteiner drove and trains the property of Levaux AB to the 1.12.1kr timed victory, his 16th in 19 career starters now for 7,155,500SEWK earned. The winner, off at 2.21/1 odds,  raced in the death seat throughout leader Diamanten (4m Adrian Chip-Iata Kall-Ata Star L) before drawing off to easy win in the stretch, The Erik Adielsson trained, Stig H, Johansson trained, Diamanten faded to third as rallying Dartagnan Sisu (4m Ready Cash-Armbro Carroll-Malabar Man) rallied to gain second. The tractions were well rated as the 1.13.5kr timed at the 1500 meter mark signifies. Thomas H. Hicks

November 12. 2017 - The three year old filly Breeders Crown (purse €163,840, 2140 meters autostart) at Eskilstuna, Sweden, went to 8.6/1 Candy La Marc (3f Scarlet Knight-Oiseau-Andover Hall) reined by Johan Untersteiner for harness racing trainer/owner/breeder Lars Marcussen. She scored for the ninth time in 12 career starts, now for 2,530,992SEK earned, and has recorded four wins in her last five outings. The pacesetter easily bested 3.4/1 Dibaba (3f Ready Cash-Moonlight Kronos-Viking Kronos) and driver Orjan Kihlstrom. Roger Walmann trains this SRF Stable owned filly. 7/10 favorite Vamp Kronos (3f Ready Cash-Only Kronos-Viking Kronos) was fourth placed third after being passed in the lane by a miscue dq rival. Bjorn Goop teamed Vamp Kronos for trainer Jerry Riordan and Renato Bruni of United Emeritus. Race time was 1.14.7kr. Viking Kronos raced in the death seat but weakened late against the dominant winner. The Breeders Crown for four year old mares (purse €163,840, 2140 meters autostart) went to 11.4/1 odds, 1.15.2kr timed, Unrestricted (4f Muscles Yankee-Drive Through-Quito de Talonay) handled by trainer Johan Untersteiner for owner Bob Berglund. She recorded her seventh win in 21 career starts now for 1,739,500SEK earned. 3.2/1 Caddie Lisieux (4f Ready Cash-Caddie Dream-Viking Kronos) was second for driver Kenneth Haugstad, trainer Roger Walmann and SRF Stable. 11/1 Dream Lane (4f Pastor Stephen-Tango Gold-Good As Gold) took third for Erik Adielsson and trainer Stig H. Johansson. Well regarded Ultra Bright was scratched. The Breeders Crowns for males highlighted the back half of today’s Eskilstuna Card. The Breeders Crown for three year old males went to 7.8/1 Lucifer Lane (3m Infinitif-Montreal Lane-Lindy Lane) reined by Johan A. Nilsson for trainer Thomas Nilsson and owner Christine Larsson. The winner scored for the 10th time in 16 outings for 1,805,000SEK earned. Norway’s 8.4/1 Vainqueur R.P. (3m Infinitif-Global Affair-Broadway Hall) was second for driver Bjorn Goop and trainer Frode Hamre. Third went to favorite Selmer IH (3g Love You-Magalloway-Andover Hall) for Mika Forss and trainer Ingemar Huttqvist for Stall Ratu. Race time was 1.14.6kr in this Menhammar Stuteri sponsored event raced over 2140 meters autostart for the €163,840 purse. Great performance for J-P Dubois’ stallion Infinitif (Pine Chip-Island Dream-Coktail Jet) that was also a successful limited crop sire in North America. The four year old male Breeders Crown  (purse €163,840, 2140 meters autostart) resulted in an easy front stepping victory for Johan Untersteiner reined, 3.9/1 odds Cyber Lane timed in 1.14.7kr.. This Untersteiner trainee is owned by Levaux AB and he recorded career victory number 15 in 18 starts, now for 5,955,500SEK earned. Race time was 1.14.7kr in the cold light snow environment and the winner won his fifth straight. Makethemark (4m Maharajah-Global Naughty-Conway Hall) rallied mightily at 22.4/1 for second driven by Ulf Ohlsson for Petri Salmela and Stall Nian. Bruno Bagheera (4m Joke Face-Poppy Lavec-Lindy Lane) at 60.8/1 took third for driver Per Lennartsson, trainer Stefan Melander and Stall TZ. This event completed a great Breeders Crown program for Johan Untersteiner who won three as driver and two as trainer. Yesterday at Eskilstuna Bjorn Goop trainee, the veteran Reckless (7m Ready Cash-Haver-Supergill), took the featured monte event worth 40,000SEK to the winner. This 1.8/1 favorite was timed in 1.12.1kr over the 1640 meter autostart course for jockey Sofia Adolfsson. Thomas H. Hicks

November 11, 2017 - Ulf Ohlsson teamed Reijo Liljendahl harness racing trainee Nadal Broline (7g Yankee Glide-Aimee’s Promise-American Winner) to a 1.10.8kr timed victory at Eskilstuna in the V75 Gold, with 150,000SEK to the winner. The distance was 1640 meters autostart and Cruzado dela Noche (5m Muscle Massive-Alidade-Credit Winner) ended second for Magnus Jakobsson and trainer Stefan Melander for Courant AB. Third in the field of 12 was On Track Piraten (9g Kool du Caux-Monrovia-Rite On Line) driven by Johnny Takter. The winner recorded his19th career win in 37 outings for 3,533,915SEK earned. The undercard included the V75 Silver Division for 125,000SEK (2140 meters voltstart) to the winner, Cab Hornline (6g San Pellegrino-Perle Mauritius-Hermes de Pericard), reined by trainer Per Lennartsson. Race time was 1.14.4kr and Super Nice (4m Orlando Vici-Flax Avenue-Daguet Rapide) and Thaiger Exclusive (6g Adrian Chip-Lady Exclusive-Spotlite Lobell) were the next two home. The Sparbanken (100,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) went to impressive Very Kronos (3m Ready Cash-Glide About-Yankee Glide) timed in 1.15kr for Erik Adielsson, driver for trainer Svante Bath. The now five time winner in eight career starts, all in 2017, is owned by Kjell Johansson. Neelix (3g Raja Mirchi-Yankee Bash-Self Possessed) was second for Adrian Kolgjini and third went to Evazan AM (3g Ready Cash-Queen Silas-Pine Chip) for the Ohlsson/Liljendahl combination. Tomorrow at the same venue will be four Breeders Crown SWE finals, each for 800,000SEW to the race winners. These events are for colts and fillies, one each for three and four year olds. A few to watch include Ultra Bright (4f Zola Boko), Candy La Marc (3f Scarlet Knight), Vamp Kronos (3f Ready Cash), Lucifer Lane (3m Infinitif), Cyber Lane (4g Raja Mirchi) and Diamanten (4m Adrian Chip). Thomas H. Hicks

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

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