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Outstanding European stallion Orlando Vici just keeps on racking up the winners. Despite tiny numbers of foals Down Under, the classic winning French stallion had two winners and a runner-up in Australia last week as the country's age-group season cranked up a gear. Michael Bellman's Just Believe showed typical French toughness in sitting three wide early and the parking up outside the leader before staying on strongly for a win at Melton on Saturday night. From the first Australian crop of just 11 foals, ten of which have since won, this was Just Believe's third win in four starts as a 4YO, and fourth win in a 12-race career. Another from that first Down Under crop, Montpelllier set a track record when winning the frst race at Ararat on Friday night, after sitting parked for the last lap. The the 4YO gelded son of Orlando Vici and Dream Vacation mare Kahmotion was driven by Jackie Barber for trainer Anton Golino. And on Thursday night yet another from that crop, Orlando Storm, a 4YO mare qualified for the Need For Speed Silver Princess finals by running up to Imsettogo, a daughter of another French stallion, Haras des Trotteurs resident stallion Used To Me at Ballarat. Orlando Vici has left Derby winners in Sweden and Norway and numerous Gp 1 winners in France including the likes of 7 time Group 1 winning millionaire Un Mec d'Heripre and Prix d'Amerique runner up Looking Superb. by Dave Sanders, for Harnesslink  

Debut stallion Quaker Jet showed that anything dad Love You can do he can do, if not better, then equally impressively at the Australasian Breeders Crown Finals night at Melton on the weekend. After Love You’s star Kiwi son Ultimate Stride had demolished a field of Australasia’s top 2YO trotting colt and geldings, his best French son Quaker Jet produced Im Ready Jet to  power away from the best 2YO fillies to win by 20m and claim the top fillies crown. Trained by Anton Golino and driven by Glen Craven, Im Ready Jet was patiently driven through  from the second line to sit behind Dizzysjet, another by Quaker Jet, on the running line. With 400m to go Craven released the brakes on Im Ready Jet and she accelerated three wide around the bend, surging clear in the straight and going on to win with a flourish from favourite Jaxnme. In blustery conditions Im Ready Jet stopped the clock in a time of 2.48.2 (a mile rate of 2.00.9) with her plugs still intact, nearly a second quicker than Ultimate Stride’s winning time in the colt's final. It was the striking juvenile filly’s third win on the trot, coming after a Breeders Crown heat win in which Quaker Jet sired the first three home. Unfortunately, the second-placed horse in the race, Imamaorijet was a late scratching from the final after injuring herself in the float on the way to the track. Meanwhile Im Ready Jet’s half sister Imsettogo, by Haras des Trotteurs resident French sire Used To Me, finished a very good fourth in the 3YO Trotting Fillies Final, being just nosed out of a place on the line. Quaker Jet’s sire Love You has long been seen as a great source of top juvenile talent, where the likes of Paramount King and Monbet have  won the Gp1 NZ Harness Jewels 2YO Ruby, while Habibi Inta, Habibti and  Enghien have also won NZ Group races at 2. Yabby Dam Racing stablemate, All Cashed Up, by another French sire in Ready Cash, was second in the Breeders Crown 3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings final. Caption: Glen Craven wins crown with a flourish on Im Ready Jet.     Dave Sanders

The incredible results of Yabby Dam Farms resident French harness racing sire Used To Me just continue to flow with two 2YO trial winners at Melton on Wednesday continuing his ability to produce exceptional returns from tiny numbers. Impressive wins by Abitofadreamer in a mixed field of 2 and 3-year-olds and Gerron in one of the two 2-year-old trots are made even more remarkable for the fact that his second crop numbers just four foals. And this is hot on the heels of the recent accomplishments of his first crop of just five foals which very recently produced impressive winner Chateaubriant at Melton and Imsettogo's black type performance when runner-up in the 2019 Group One Victorian Trotters Oaks. This first crop by the royally-bred Group winning French sire, also hit the track running as two year-olds. From five foals, one of which died in a training accident, three got to the races as 2YOs, including two finalists in the Australasian Breeders Crown, including Imsettogo. From one of France's great sire producing families,Used To Me stamps his foals with his great, conformation, beautiful temperament, and outstanding gait and they all just want to trot from day one. Used to Me himself won three times at Group level and was placed numerous times at the highest level against the very best French horses of his generation and won both of his Australian outings, when imported into Australia in late 2014 including the Group 3 Chris Howe Trotters Cup at Melton where he accounted for a field including well-performed group horse Kyvalley Blur. Yabby Dam Farms believe they have a gem on their hands and following excellent results after breaking in the first crop Used To Me served over a dozen of the farm's better mares which are now yearlings. But now, after seeing the quality of his progeny, Yabby Dam Farms are set to give Used To Me a court his royal French pedigree deserves, with some of the top mares in the broodmare band booked in to him this year, including Group winner Arboe   Dave Sanders

Millionaire trotter Stent’s outstanding international sire Dream Vacation will be again available to New Zealand breeders this harness racing season but through Haras des Trotteurs who have acquired the Australasian rights. Dream Vacation has been available by frozen semen to Australasian breeders for more than a decade and has excelled at stud in both countries. In New Zealand Dream Vacation has only 88 registered foals, three- year-old or older and no less than 60  are winners which is 68% of his live foals  for stakes of  $3.4M in New Zealand. Winners include such stars as Stent $1,156,000, Cyclone U Bolt $240,000, Leighton Hest $205,000, Boizel $198,578, Real Deal Yankee $175,000, Dream Merchant $159,000, and Great Getaway $117,000 and Torbjorn $103,433. In Australia he has just 39 foals three years or older for 27 winners of $1.5M  including such handy trotters such as Glenferrie Dreamer $158,706, King Kong Cooma $140,228, Lord Liam $113,942, Likeaplayboy $96,000, Purplepeopleater $92,063 and Dougie $89,000. Based in Sweden where he has been in their top ten stallions the past three years, Dream Vacation is available to New Zealand breeders only,at the same fee as last season, $6000 + GST, payable on live foal. There are unfortunately no straws left available in Australia. Dream Vacation joins a stellar cast of European stallions at Haras des Trotteurs headed by the world’s leading sire by earnings Love You and other French heavyweight sires including his best son Quaker Jet,  his full brother Repeat Love and  Sam Bourbon, all group winning sires. Dave Sanders

The influence of the Coktail Jet line on world trotting continues unabated, reigning French champion Love You showing he too is now a formidable sire of sires with his leading son Quaker Jet, finishing in the top 20 (16) on the French classification, with only four crops racing. Coktail Jet (by French sire Quoky Williams from Canadian mare Armbro Glamour) is still in the top 10 (8) of the General classification alongside his sons Love You (1) and Look de Star (7),  the trio representing the Sam Williams line, which was imported into France before World War II and the post-war closing of the French stud book. Another son of Coktail Jet, Magnificent Rodney (12) joins Love You’s son Quaker Jet in the top 20 while there are a further half dozen sons and grandsons of Coktail Jet - a total of 11 - in the top 50. But that influence is growing exponentially with latest 3YO stats showing that no less than half of the top 20 sires of qualifiers are descendants of Coktail Jet led by grandson Quaker Jet, who tops the list. Coktail Jet, Love You’s brother Repeat Love, who is becoming a force in his own right, and another son Saxo de Vandel are in the top ten while The Best Madrik, whose first crop this is, joins Love You in the top 20. There are a further eight Coktail Jet line sires in the top 50 3YO sires, including Korean who had fame last year as the sire of the World’s fastest ever horse, Sebastian K. The recently completed 2YO season saw no less than 10 of the top 20 sires of qualifiers being Coktail Jet line horses including four in their debut season including Coktail Jet sons Tucson and Uniclove and two more sons of  Love You in Prix d’Amerique winner Royal Dream and Un Amour D'Haufor. With Quaker Jet’s brilliant son Aladin d’Ecajeul already at stud, the Coktail Jet revolution is in full cry. Indeed Quaker Jet had three 2YO winners in the last weeks of the season, in Du Gite (2425m Angers) Direct Way (2050m Cabourg) and Dauphine du Mont (2YO 2050 Cabourg). Love You’s richest son has also been producing a steady stream of winners at the Vincennes Winter Meeting, where the very best of French trotting assemble for the sport’s richest series. Last week Champion trainer Sebastien Guarato’s lightly raced mare  After Winner won the Prix de Chambord, becoming the latest of Quaker Jet’s progeny to win over €100,000. And early 4YO Charming Boy Fac made it two wins from two starts for Julien La Mer, with his victory at Vincennes in the Prix d’Erbray under the guidance of Franck Nivard, breaking the 2min rate (1’14”6) for the 2100m. Meanwhile in Sweden, Quaker Jet gelding Yoggi Composite has won four of his last five starts. Dave Sanders

Just when we thought it was going to get a little easier to get a handle on formlines, so the V75 shows you just why this is the best multi-race betting system in the world. While we got 2 legs home, we sat by as favourite after favourite got rolled as Sanity didn’t prevail and outsiders including a $50/1 longshot and two paying in the high teens came in. And the lucky punter who  chose the seven winning horses correctly walked off with 613,588.60 EUR ($845,437). And just to make it a little tougher, this week the V75 shifts to Norway for one of those occasional joint V75s, this one coinciding with a Norway versus Sweden apprentice drivers challenge. The Norwegian breeding programme is nowhere near as strong as Sweden’s and so the racing in one of Europe’s richest nations is heavily influenced by imports from not only its bigger neighbour but also Italy and the United States. Several prominent Danish trainers such as Bo Westerdaard, Flemming Jensen and Jeppe Juel  also make a living racing their second-string  horses  between Denmark and Norway while the top ones foot it in Sweden. And like Finland, coldblood trotters make up nearly half of the racing stock, which adds another bit of spice into the handicapping stew – although there is only one coldblood race in the V75. So what is the strategy? Does the horses for courses theory favour local runners or  do, Swedish raiders have the tougher racing so are basically dropping back in grade here? They certainly cleaned up in France which should be much tougher.  Or shall we go with the early tote, which to be frank hasn’t been that reliable lately as a guide to the “smart” money. Decisions, decisions. At least the French racing has a bit more familiarity to it, we've been following most of these horses over winter. Anyhoo here goes.   V75-1 Silver division   2140m: The Swedish-breds  Your Highness (12), Jaguar Broline (1), Stormysky (3) and Burning Line Gral (6) are the logical picks. Looking for an outsider, and there is a US-bred locally trained runner with three wins in her last five starts who might figure, so I’ve taken Cantabharmony (5).  Selection  12-1-3-6-5 V75-2 Klass I   1640m:  Ulf Ohlen’s  Pedro Bi (1) has had three Sovalla wins in his last five starts while Flemming Jensen’s Roxy Hill (2) won at Aby last start. From these draws, they look the two to beat. As Elvis had it,  1 for the money and 2 for the show. Selection  1 (2) V75-3 Dack Partner Bil-Vulkan loppet (mares)  2140m: Italian-bred Nalda Nof (5) has won group two races in Italy and Norway and been placed in the same class in France where she was trained for a while. Now with Marcus Lindgren in Halmstad, she looks a class above these, this is her second start back from a decent spell and has the brilliant Swedish driver Bjorn Goop in the cart. That makes her an anchor.   Selection  5 V75-4 Östfoldpokalen    2140m: Coldblood race where Gylden Balder (13)  and Timian Scott (15) are the heavy early favourites. They’ll do me in the dartboard selection of the mix. Selection  13 (15) V75-5 Klass II  2640m: A lot of recent winners in this, so it’s a matter of sifting through who they beat and where. Flemming Jensen has another consistent performer here in Solo Nolo (12)  off the wide second draw, Reims Gasti (5) has three recent Solvalla wins,  while Spirit (2) has won three races in a row, at Aby, Sweden  and two in Denmark. This is wide open, with many chances but we’ll stick with these three.  Selection  12-5-2 V75-6 Steinlagers Hederslopp (Gold)  1640m: This has been a tough meeting to find bankers, but I was really impressed with  Francais du Gull   (1) last time out. He might not be in the class of Mr Picolet or Beanie MM, the last two winners of this race, but from this draw he should get to the front, and he is definitely good enough to win from there.  Selection:   1 V75-7 Bronze division  2140m: Another toughie with More Than Enough (1), KLM Buymethemoon (6), Huge Star (10) who all have strong Swedish form looking the strongest suspects. We need an outsider somewhere and Vacqueryas (8) is due a change of form, and this might be an easier race than he has been in for a while.   Selection   1-6-10-8 R4    Prix Louis Forcinal (Group 2) monte 2700m: This looks a match race between the two best monte horses of their generations, Ulysse (8) and Vision Intense (9). Normally I would choose the older horse over the younger and the stallion over the mare, which in both cases favour Ulysse, but Vision Intense is something special and mares hold their own under saddle more than in the bike. So it’s Vision Intense for me. R8    Prix Robert Auvray (Group 2) 2850m: A very competitive race with plenty of form to consider. Jean Etienne Dubois’ Villeroi (8) has won his last two starts,  but is trailing the early favouritism to Viking de Val (9) while the Jean-Michel Bazire factor is behind  the 4 horse Varade d’Hermine’s short price (5/2). Jean Phillippe Dubois has three entries but I’m leaning towards Voltigeur de Myrt (10), the Criterium des 4 Ans winner who was a gallant sixth in the Prix de Selection in a joint equal fastest time  under handicap, (1.11.1 or 1.54.2MR/2200m) which was his new record. That indicates to me a horse at the top of his game, and there are no others in this field that fronted in that prestigious  group one.  So Voltigeur de Myrt for me. TOTAL COMBINATIONS 60 – Cost $5, +1 alternate $10, + 2 alternate $20 Also here are my win wagers from Momarken and Vincennes. SINGLE WAGERS  $2 MOMARKEN Race 5  Your Highness (12), Race 6  Pedro Bi (1) Race 7  Nalda Nof (5) Race 8  Gylden Balder (13)   Race 9  Solo Nolo (12)   Race 10  Francais du Gull   (1)  Race 11 Vacqueryas (8) VINCENNES Race 4 Vision Intense (9) Race 8 Voltigeur de Myrt (10)

The weather’s improving in Europe, as Spring arrives and so are the fields, which makes handicapping a little more readable, if not easier. This week there are some nice races at Aby, and we can take heart from some close picks last week, although we did not strike the V75 at Farjestad we got four.  On our single wagers, our  two straight out wins (Archangel AM and Cali Maks) got our money back in Sweden, and our win on the brilliant Univers De Pan in France returned $5.80 for our $2 giving us a final return of $19.90 for our $16. There is nothing of note in France this week in one of the quietest weeks of the year. Good luck this week. V75-1 Silver division   1640m: Draw is all important in these sprint races, and although M.T. Harmony  (10) is a former Breeders Crown placegetter, I don’t like her gate position. Nothing But Class (1) has the pole, but if Claes Boko (5) can get to the front from the five spot, he will be hard to beat. Between these two for mine with 5 first choice. Selection  5 (1) V75-2 Larlingslopp  1640m:   We’ve been following Super Photogenic (3)  for a while, and he has been getting better and better and I think we should stick with him especially from this draw. He has two others inside of him Paramount (2) and Highspeed Call (1) which should be kept safe, so this is our three-way pick.  Selection  1-2-3 V75-3 Klass 1 2140m: Dante Boko (1) was very impressive in the Klass II and steps up here, although the switch in driver from Lutfi to son Adrian Kolgjini is a slight concern – his three wins in a row were with dad.  Still he is a class horse on the rise and should win if he gets the front, which he should do from the draw and is our anchor here. Selection  1 V75-4  Klass II   1640m:  Timo Nurmos looks like he has a nice horse here in Sensational Dream (4), a son of double Prix d’Amerique winner Offshore Dream. He has only had 11 starts, but has won three of them, and placed second three times, including last start where he couldn’t  quite stay with the impressive Archangel AM who looks to be another star on the rise from the Kolgjini barn. He doesn’t face such a challenging prospect here, and from the four hole should get to the front and win this.  Danish trainer Christian Lindhardt, like several in his homeland usually races between Denmark and Norway, and brings his good ones to Sweden. For that reason it may pay to keep Maniaminmiami safe as an alternate after an impressive last start at Aby.  Selection  4 (6) V75-5 Diamantstoet (mares)  2140m: The mares race is a handicap affair with 13-win mare Hanna Banker (10)  the early favourite from the 20m mark. But this is wide open with Valkyria R.O.K. (1), Erica Hall (4) and Bedas Chip (14) the early tote selections – although in a loose field. For an outsider I’ve gone with Bjorn Goop’s drive Broadway’s Finest (9) – and I’m going to put her as my win wager too to try and sneak a nice divvie.  If you want to play safer go with 10.  Selection  10-1-4-14-9 V75-6 Gold division   2640m: This is a very good field, as the top liners start emerging from their winter break. Sanity (4) however has been working through,with the big boys in France, where he has been sensational. With the form he is showing, his superior big match fitness and from this draw, he should be able to account for this field, even of this quality. An anchor.  Selection 4 V75-7 Bronze division  2140m: Roobois (4) and On Hold (11)  look the two strongest here and should be the first two on the ticket, while Leonas Kaiser (1) has won two of his last three and has the pole position. But it’s time to find a nice couple of outsiders to sweeten the pot, and while Royal Dream (2) isn’t the horse of Prix d’Amerique fame, he does have Johnny Takter in the bike, and will pay juicy odds if he can make use of his good draw.  Selection  4-11-1-2 TOTAL COMBINATIONS 60 – Cost $5, +1 alternate $10, + 2 alternate $20 Here are my win wagers for Aby .  SINGLE WAGERS  $2 Race 5  Claes Boko (5) Race 6  Super Photogenic (3)   Race 7  Dante Boko (1) Race 8  Sensational Dream (4) Race 9  Broadway’s Finest (9) Race 10  Sanity (4) Race 11     Roobois (4)

Well the V75 winners were all in the horses mentioned in selections last week even though both our first choices were scratched from race one, the danger Stelton, the only other horse mentioned got up. We got four others first pick, and the other two legs were covered too. So we’ll try and do it again this week, in what is a tougher task, with the poorer fields on offer at Bergsaker – with the top horses all taking a mid-winter break, or heading off to France. Speaking of which, we will also take a look at  the two group twos at Vincennes, where the action is really hotting up as the Winter Season gets into full swing. Bergsaker V75-1 Silver division 2140m: A tough one to pick with several chances including Berlusconi (9), Calvados  Crane (4), Lord Rock (2), BBS Mandarino (1) and Flip A Coin (6). 9-4-1-2-6 V75-2 Klass II 2140m: Mellby Brunello (2) is a home town specialist and from this draw should make the lead and dominate. An anchor for me.  2 V75-3 Klass I 1640m: Another tough one to sort out with Trailing Edge (5), Global Legislation (3), Persos Smokie (7) and Beeboop Lady (4) the ones to have on the ticket for mine. 5-3-7-4 V75-4  3YOs 2140m: Potemkin (9) and Bakers Ransom (3) are two that stand out for me in this race, with the latter, who has won three from five, probably the first choice with the other an alternate. 3 (9) V75-5 Dubbelcupen Final 2140m: This is a coldblood race and you know my rule here, stick to the favourites. The guides say Troll Victor (3) is the one to beat so he’ll do me. But as always with coldbloods, its fingers crossed. 3 V75-6 Bronze Division 1640m: Amiral d’Inverne (11)  with picket fence form looks a shot’s eye but Tresor d’Inverne (3)  has been racing in higher company while Manstone’s Classic (4) is well placed to do well here. 11-3-4 V75-7 Zoogins Lopp 2640m: Four wins in a row has Ultralum (6) on top of the picks but keep Aaron Boko (1) safe as an alternate.  6 (1) Vincennes Race 3: 120,000e Prix Une De Mai (Group 2): Four outstanding fillies should dominate this race in Be My Girl (10) and Brindille de Mai (4),  Billie De Montfort (5) and Bassana De Marlau (5). I think that Be My Girl and Brindille de Mai are the two who will be there at the finish, and I’m picking that Franck Anne will edge out Phillipe Allaire’s mare, so it’s No 4 for me, Brindille de Mai (4). Race 5: 120,000e Prix Jules Lemonnier (Group 2): This is a fantastic monte field with the likes of Prix de Cornullier winner Singalo (12), runners-up Quarry Bay (10) and Save The Quick (13)and up and comer Utoky (3) in the field. But my pick is one of the R-generation’s giants, who has taken up under the saddle racing after a three-year-break recently – with a brilliant win in the Prix Reynolds, Roxanne Griff (14). Win wagers Bergsaker Race 5:  Berlusconi (9), Race 6:  Mellby Brunello (2) Race 7:  Trailing Edge (5), Race 8: Bakers Ransom (3) Race 9: Troll Victor (3) Race 10: Tresor d’Inverne (3)   Race 11: Ultralum (6) Vincennes Race 3: Brindille de Mai (4). Race 5: Roxanne Griff (14).  

Well it may have been a bit of beginners luck last week but I can feel somewhat happy to have picked two winners and two second placings from my five picks, although my outsider bet is probably still running. Ypsillon Boko certainly put us up with his 14.22e first up and Timoko’s last gasp win, even at even odds (4.00e) still returned a profit for the week. We wagered 10 Euros and won back 18.22 so we go into week two at a profit of 8.22e.  This week is the quietest week of the year for handicappers, in terms of major races in either France or Sweden, the main race of the weekend being in Finland, the St Leger, which we don’t have access to for handicapping purpose. So I thought we’d look at the V75 at Romme, Sweden on Saturday. Remember you have to pick the winners of 5,6 or 7 races to collect. One of the races is for coldblood horses and I usually just take the favourites in that, but I’ve run the rule over the "warmblood"  trotters. You’ll need to sort out a couple of anchors, and a race or two with just two or three horses, so here are the ones I think you should have in your combinations. V75-1 Silverdivision 2640m : Cando Hall (6), Allballakaitox (3) and Thai Goldie (4) could all be thrown into the mix, while the two that should definitely be on your ticket are the favoured  Aga Khan Boko (2),  and   Overtaker (7) by Sib. For an anchor go for Aga Khan Boko, a former placegetter in the TravDerby  is the favourite has the great draw and top driver Jorma Kontio on board. He’s been racing and winning in Finland recently, and ran an encouraging second last start in Sweden for trainer Timo Nimos will also be due a bit of luck after the fire at his barn this week. V75-2 Klass I 2140m: Always a tough division to  pick and if you want to go wide here in form  Navaronne (12) and  Harvey Tornado (5), Antagonista (9)and Viktor på Knecken (3) should be kept safe in combinations, but if you were to want to keep your picks down Kaiser Broline (2) will have Ake Svanstedt in the cart, and he will be highly motivated to win on one of his last starts in his homeland and from the 2 hole gets my nod. V75-3  Mares 2140m: The mares race is a real toughie with  Parodie (4),   Captivating As (6) and Jumble As (5)  and Recation (7) all with good claims but this is one in which I think one for the wider odds has a chance here, so I’m going with  Princess Wine (2)  off the good draw. V75-4 Klass II 1640m: The V75 is just great racing, and that is its secret, with so many races having genuine chances,and there are plenty in this with a claim although Vasterbo Wallet (5), Ground Proximity (3), MT Havana Girl (4) and Eloise (6) and Rite Passion (7) all have to be included in combinations.  And for an outsider throw Lucky Luke Zenz (9), a product of the mighty Boko stables. V75-5 Dubbelcupen Final (Coldbloods) 2140m: The favourites are Nordsjo Douglas (3), Hulte Magnus (13) and Rino Dox (14). I know nothing more. V75-6 Bronze division 2140m: Another with plenty of chances with Rico Follo (4), Open Mind Bi (2), Long Night (11) and Bret Boko (3), all with plenty going for them. But I  think Laurier Dag (10) with Johnny Takter is a good bet, and maybe even an anchor. V75-7 Gold division 1640m: This is the feature race and one from which Pastor Stephen was scratched. It’s a tough race to pick, you should make sure  Miss Sue V (1),  Monster Drive (11), Friction (3) and  True Advantage (9) are included on your  V75 card. But it is also one where I think an outsider has a chance, and this is an old favourite of mine, who incidentally has raced in the United States, and returned to the winner’s circle recently.  Reven d’Amour (5) won the European 3YO championships a few years ago and a win here would certainly make a worthwhile collect, either in the V75 or as a stand alone wager.  

In what must be the envy of the rest of the horse racing world, three Swedish trotting identities rated among the top 20 most publicized sportsmen in their country. And US bound Ake Svanstedt came in at number eight in the list of sports stars who were mentioned in Swedish newspapers during the past year, illustrating the massive profile that the sport of harness racing has in the Scandinavian Kingdom. Soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimović topped the list of Sweden’s most written about sports stars being mentioned 38,956 times in Swedish newspapers. But Svanstedt, and leading drivers Orjan Kihlström and Bjorn Goop were in the top 20. The official website for the Swedish Trotting Association – travsport.se reports that Swedish Media Analysis Company Retriever recently made ​​its annual analysis of how often Swedish sports stars mentioned in Swedish newspapers. While Swedish soccer international Ibrahimović a former Barcelona player who now plays for top French club Paris St Germaine, tops the list with 38956 mentions, Trotting’s profile is such that its stars are ranked at  8, 17 and 19 and it appears the sport is actually growing in popularity, since it had no one in the list last year. “It is important for a sport to have strong profiles and therefore it is great to Ake, Orjan and Bjorn are in the top 20. I think we in the racetrack should be proud of the great interest in our active”, says Mark Myron, of the  Swedish Trotting Association. Unfortunately for Swedish trotting, their biggest star Svanstedt is in the process of moving to the United States and it will be interesting to see how this will impact on the profile on the sport in both Sweden and the United States. The full list (last year's position in brackets): 1) Zlatan Ibrahimović, soccer, 38956 ( 1) 2) Erik Hamrén, soccer, 17874 (2)  3) Pia Sundhage, soccer, 13625 (66) 4) Lotta Schelin, soccer, 11,790 (new) 5) Pär Mårts, hockey, 10,610 (15) 6) Charlotte Kalla, skis, 10 361 (3) 7) Steven Smith, soccer, 8350 (7) 8) Svanstedt, trot, 8044 (21) 9) Marcus Hellner, ski, 7705 (12) 10) Henrik Lundqvist, hockey, 7474 (6) 11) Kosovare Asllani, soccer, 7303 (new) 12) Alexander Kacaniklic, soccer, 6996 (new) 13) Kim Kallstrom, soccer, 6990 (11) 14) Henrik Stenson , Golf, 6815 (68) 15) Johan Elmander, soccer, 6468 (10) 16) Tobias Hysen, soccer, 6400 (new) 17) Orjan Kihlström, trot, 6317 (35) 18) ​​Abeba Aregawi, athletics , 5811 (new) 19) Björn Goop, trotting, 5793 (26) 20) Rasmus Elm, soccer, 5734 (20) Source: Retriever 

Swedish legend Stig Johansson is taking his German-bred colt Indigious back to the land of his birth for a crack at the Grosser Preis von Duetschland, the country’s biggest race for 4YOs run over the staying distance of 2720m. Indeed Johansson is one of no less than six Swedish trainers taking their charges to Hamburg in search of international Group I glory and a hefty purse of €200,000. Johansson won this race four years ago with Love You colt Nu Pagadi, and Swedes have been successful in the last two runnings of the race, with last year’s winner being Kool du Caux gelding On Track Piraten (who races in the Swedish Championships at Aby this weekend). Roger Walmann’s champion mare Tamla Celeber (Cantab Hall) was successful in 2011, and went on to win the US Breeders Crown for mares the following season. Indigious, who is owned in Germany by Friedrich Gentz is fresh from a meritorious fourth place in the European 4YO  Derby (Grand Prix de l’UET) in the hands of regular pilot Erik Adielsson, who will drive him here. The well-performed son of Prodigious has won 10 of his 22 starts since he began his career as a  3YO with  five wins in a row and has already been second a  Group I, when he followed  Svante Bath’ (4mQuid Pro Quo (4h Yankee Glide) hone in Sprintermastern Final in July. Quid Pro Quo is also in this race and Bath has engaged fellow trainer Ake Svanstedt to drive him. Quid Pro Quo has 11 wins in 25 starts and was fourth in the Swedish TravDerby. He did not start in the European 4YO Derby after missing out in the heats – to Indigious. Star Swedish driver Johnny Takter will be aboard Lars Nilsson’s Dreams Take Time, an Andover Andover colt who was second in the Swedish 3YO Breeders Crown last year and won his last start, after taking a break in July after missing out on the Sprint Masterskap. Lutfi Kolgjini never leaves home without a horse who has a chance and he fronts up with Viking America (Viking Kronos)  who is out of a half-sister to Ette Extra, the dam of European Derby winning Qualita Bourbon and exciting new sire Sam Bourbon. Viking America is yet to show the same flair on the track although he has won seven of 32 starts including a heat of the Swedish TravDerby recently – only to break in the TravDerby itself. The Netherlands will be represented with two horses the best of them being Clint W Boko who was in impressive winner of his European 4YO Derby heat against a quality French field at Vincennes. Coincidentally Paul Hagoort’s Dutch Derby  winner is the son of a German champion, Abano As, who won the Prix d’Amerique in a stellar career. Abano As also won the Grand Prix de l’UET, the race Clint W Boko was fifth in, in his last start, right behind Indigious. He may indeed share favouritism for this event. Finland is represented by Tuomas Korvenoja’s  filly Creme Brulee  (4m Meaulnes du Corta) who won the mare’s Sprint final at Halmstad in July but has not won since in four starts. Her record is seven wins in 20 starts and might find the colts and the distance too much here. Of the German runner 4mLindo Eden won the Grosser Preis NRZ-Pokal this year and  was third in the Traben St Leger last year while Dream Magic BE  was the German Traber-Derby winner who has been a regular placegetter in German group races since he was a 2YO. Casanova was second in the German Derby while Betterthancheckers won the Bayern Pokal as a 3YO, and they are the only others with form in big German races. GROSSER PREIS VON DEUTSCHLAND Hamburg 13/10/13  Group 1 International  4YO (4m€200,000  2720m 1         Betterthancheckers (h   Donato Hanover - Armbro Domino)   Dr: Michael Schmid  Tr: Josef Franzl              2         Caen Oldeson (h   Offshore Dream - Krona Oldeson)   Dr: John de Leeuw Tr:  Frank A Westerveld              3         Call Me Hanover  (4g Kadabra - Chiptease)   Dr: Per Lennartsson Tr:  Marcus Lindgren              4         Casanova (4h Ufo Kievitshof - Pinky)   Dr: Roland Hülskath Tr:  Paul Hagoort              5         Clint W.Boko (4h Abano As - Vantz Boko)  Dr: Robin Bakker Tr:  Paul Hagoort              6         Cowboy Fanatic  (4g Broadway Hall - Super Fanatic)   Dr: Rob de Vlieger  Tr: Rob de Vlieger              7         Creme Brulee  (4m Meaulnes du Corta - Youronpandidcamera)   Dr: Tuomas Korvenoja   Tr:Tuomas Korvenoja              8         Dream Duo (4h Kadabra - Chip's Commission)   Dr: Veijo Heiskanen Tr:  Veijo Heiskanen              9         Dream Magic BE  (4h Dream Vacation - Dantesca Cla)   Dr: Josef Franzl Tr:  Josef Franzl              10         Dreams Take Time (4h Andover Andover - B.My Honey)  Dr:  Johnny Takter  Tr: Lars I Nilsson              11         Indigious (4h Prodigious - Indication)   Dr: Erik Adielsson Tr:  Stig H Johansson              12         Lindo Eden (4h Unforgettable - Quickstar Hornline)   Dr: Arnold Mollema Tr:  Arnold Mollema              13         Quid Pro Quo (4h Yankee Glide - Hostage)   Dr: Åke Svanstedt Tr:  Svante Båth              14         Viking America  (4g Viking Kronos - Berta's Crown)   Dr: Lutfi Kolgjini  Tr: Lutfi Kolgjini            Dave Sanders

Swedish harness racing magazine Trav Ronden have revealed that connections of French superstar Ready Cash are preparing a lightning raid on the United States next year. The dual Prix d’Amerique winner and hot favourite for this weekend’s UET Masters Series final at Vincennes is being lined up for a shot at the Nat Ray and the Maple Leaf Trot next year, his trainer Thierry Duvaldestin told the magazine while attending the Arquana Sales. “His sights are set on going over to North America next year. The first race will be the Maple Leaf Trot, and then we go to the Nat Ray Trot, " Thierry Duvaldestin told the magazine (translated from Swedish). This would put him on a a tantalising collision course with another European superstar, Elitloppet and the inaugural Masters Series champion Sebastian K, who is being shipped to the United States later this year when his trainer Ake Svanstedt moves to new stables in Florida. The prospect of the two European giants taking on the best of American trotters will be a massive shot in the arm for the sport in the United States, bringing back memories of the halcyon days when races such as the Rooseveldt International brought massive crowds to venues such as Yonkers. Perhaps this could be just the forerunner of greater co-operation between the two continents and even future US participation in the Masters Series. Now there’s a thought. Dave Sanders   

Swedish filly D'One, the 3YO daughter of two world record holders Donato Hanover and Giant Diablo won again today at Solvalla, her sixth win in nine career starts taking her career earnings over the 600,000SEK mark. Trained by Roger Walmann and driven by Orjan Kohlstrom D’One is owned by a syndicate from Stall Kennys Andelhastar and is on target for the Swedish Trav Oaks at the end of this month, a race won by her brilliant dam Giant Diablo. Indeed Giant Diablo is the fastest ever trotting mare in the world with a time of 1.50.1 which she set at Lexington when winning the Allerage Farms Trot in 2007 a time that still stands as a race record. She was a sensation in her native Sweden winning six Group I races including all four 3YO group Is in Sweden, including the Trav Oaks and Breeders Crown. She also won the Group I St Michel Ajo in Finland and the Swedish Mares Championship among her 28 race wins and 13,260,619 SEK in stakes. Like her daughter D’One, Giant Diablo was trained through her career by Roger Walmann, while Orjan Kihlstrom was also the driver for most of her races. D’One is her only foal so far. To watch the race click here. Dave Sanders  

It was the field for the Kentucky Sires Stakes final, in which 8 of the 9 starters were sired by one horse, Deweycheatumnhowe, which triggered this comparison. In France this weekend, the Criterium Des 5 Ans had 17 runners and 17 different sires. And while both US sires were from the same sireline (Valley Victory-Speedy Crown-Peter Scott) the French field had three separate genuine outcross sirelines, the majority deriving from the standardbred line of Hambletonian, but there were also representatives of both the Godolphin (Une de Chelun (m Flash de Cosse) and Heir of Linne lines (Ulk Medoc (h Karikal)). Granted it is not a like for like, a restricted age group race for a championship age group race – but it was none-the-less a stark reminder of the vast differences between the trotting industries of France and the US. For while the United States has refined its breeding through commercially driven Sires Stakes type incentives, it has also narrowed its ability to outcross, and therefore provide the chances of heterosis which happened in France especially with the introduction of stallions such as Workaholic in the 1980s. That introduction has had a profound effect - indeed Workaholic was represented by a grandson Ugo de Nieul (h Cygnus d'Odyssee) and was one of four from the Speedy Crown lines in the race – including the winner Up And Quick by Buvetier d'Aunou (Royal Prestige) regarded in France as the strongest of the Franco-Americans from the 1980s open window. But they haven’t completely taken over, far from it in fact, because there were also representatives from both the US sirelines which were introduced in the 1930s, Sam Williams (another son of Peter Scott who had three representatives) and The Great McKinney (from the now almost defunct Hambletonian line of George Wilkes in the US). Indeed the Great McKinney provided the race favourite Un Mec d'Heripre (h Orlando Vici) who finished fifth – and who is already at stud and proving very popular, with what are regarded in France as state of the art bloodlines. The Peter Volo line was well represented too, but not altogether from purely US origins. Two of the runners were from the Victory Song line which came out of Italy to France through And Arifant who had two grandchildren in the race Une Fille d'Amour (m Infant du Bossis) and Ulysse du Ravary (h Hugo du Bossis).Star’s Pride only mated with one French mare, the great mare Roquepine while on a visit to race in America. The offspring from that mating was not allowed to race in France but since he was purchased from his breeder Henri Levesque by the French National Stud (Haras Nationaux), Florestan was allowed to stand at stud. And he became a great sire and was represented in this race by two great-grandchildren including second favourite and third placegetter Univers de Pan (h Kenya du Pont) and the mare (Usaurie de Melodie (m Okapi de Fael). Bonefish’s French son Viking’s Way had three representatives in the race including runner up Uhlan du Val (h Islero de Bellouet). There were also 16 maternal families involved in the race, four originating from the US including the double occurrence, these families were US, U402 – Kentucky (2), U326 - Laura Logan, U403 - Lady Pierce and U1456 – Edna. None of these families have surviving US trotting descendants.   The Criterium Des 3 Ans contestants details.   FUSCHIA (Godolphin(1)) Une de Chelun (m  Flash de Cosse - Malice d'Haufor)     Flash de Cosse-Tenor de Baune- Le Loir-Kerjacques-Fuschia-Godolphin   U402 – Kentucky   THE HEIR OF LINNE (Bartletts Childers(1)) Ulk Medoc (h Karikal-Organza Haut Gilet)        Karikal-Jiosco-Quo Vadis-James Watt-Phaeton-The Heir of Linne- Eclipse-Bartletts Childers E1025 – Melanie   HAMBLETONIAN (Flying Childers(1)) THE GREAT McKINNEY Un Mec d'Heripre (h Orlando Vici-I Love You Darling)          Orlando Vici-Quadrophenio-The Great McKinney-George Wilkes- Hambletonian   U326 - Laura Logan   PETER SCOTT (Sam Williams (3), Speedy Crown(4)) SAM WILLIAMS Un Amour d'Haufor (h Love You-Glamour d'Haufor)     Love You (FR)-Coktail Jet-Sam Williams-Peter Scot-PTG- Pilot Medium-Hambletonian         E39 – Kairouan   Udine (m Coktail Jet- Idylle)   Coktail Jet C5 1995-Quouky Williams-Sam Williams-Peter Scott-PTG- Pilot Medium-Hambletonian E8 - Fa Mi Sol (TheBest Madrik, Kiwi,Vanika De Ruel – Ovidius Naso (Prix D’Amerique 2x)   Un Nuage d'Osmoz (h Nuage Noir - L'Etoile d'Escrit )    Nuage Noir (3rd C5)-Cyrus Buissonay-Ura-Carioca II-Sam Williams-Peter Scott – Pilot Medium-Hambletonian E49 - L'Aigle Baie   SPEEDY CROWN (4)   Ugo de Nieul (h Cygnus d'Odyssee -Harmonie de Nieul)      Cygnus d'Odyssee (FR)- Workaholic (US)-Speedy Crown-Peter Scot-PTG- Pilot Medium-Hambletonian    E24 - Fernande   Used to Me (h  Nuage de Lait-North Lane)       Nuage de Lait- Defi D’Aunou-Armbo Goal-Speedy Crown-Peter Scot-PTG- Pilot Medium-Hambletonian    U403 - Lady Pierce      Up And Quick (h  Buvetier d'Aunou - Fichtre)           Buvetier d'Aunou-Royal Prestige-Speedy Crown-Peter Scot - PTG –Pilot Medium-Hambletonian   E13 - Duegne   Unikaranes (m Montecatini -Pivoine des Hayes)         Montecatini (FR)-Defi D’Aunou-Armbo Goal-Speedy Crown-Peter Scot-PTG- Pilot Medium-Hambletonian         U402 - Kentucky   PETER VOLO (Stars Pride (5), Victory Song (2)) STAR’S PRIDE FLORESTAN (2) Usaurie de Melodie (m Okapi de Fael - Isaurie)   Dr: Richard Joly   Tr: Stephane Meunier Okapi De Fael-Gai Brillant-Florestan-Star’s Pride-Peter Volo-PTG –Pilot Medium-Hambletonian         E4 - La Kapirat             Univers de Pan  (h Kenya du Pont-Gypsilore)              Kenya du Pont-Baccarat du Pont-Florestan-Star’s Pride- Peter Volo-PTG –Pilot Medium-Hambletonian   U1456 – Edna   BONEFISH (3) Umoko (h  Imoko - Kiss Me Coulonces)           Imoko U122 – Viking’s WayE112 – Bonefish U32  – Star’s Pride-Volomite-PTG- Pilot Medium-Hambletonian E40 Osmonde   Uhlan du Val (h  Islero de Bellouet-Indiana Beautiful )    Islero De Bellouet-Viking's Way-Bonefish-Star's Pride-Peter Volo-PTG –Pilot Medium-Hambletonian   E1012 - Amaranthe                     Up the Green (h  Espeyrac Sun - Nemenine)              Espeyrac Sun -Vikings Way- Bonefish-Stars Pride-Volomite- Pilot Medium-Hambletonian E41 – Baillette   VICTORY SONG (2) Une Fille d'Amour (m Infant du Bossis-Never So Great)        Infant du Bossis-And Arifant-Quick Song-Victory Song-Peter Volo- PTG- Pilot Medium-Hambletonian         E6 - La Pille   Ulysse du Ravary (h  Hugo du Bossis - Epee)     Hugo du Bossis (Gr1 monte)-And Arifant-QuickSong-Victory Song-Volomite- Pilot Medium-Hambletonian E77-Printaniere   By  Dave Sanders  

One of the biggest races  on the Swedish calendar, the Swedish Trav Derby for 4YOs, will be held this Sunday at Jagersro for a purse of nearly 4,000,000SEK. It is a 2640m event, and the best of Sweden’s 4YO crop raced in six heats last week at Jagersro, with the top two from each heat going into the final. Sons of Viking Kronos have won this race twice  and he will be vying to join only four stallions to have sired three winners of the race Bulwark, Locomotive, Scotch Nibs and Count’s Pride. Viking Kronos is represented by the royally bred gelding Viking America, one of local training legend Lutfi  Kogjini’s three representatives and will be driven by Jorma Kontio and who won his heat, the equal fastest, which was his seventh race victory.  He has won 7 races worth 541,000SEK and has a best time of 1.11.8 (1.55.3). Kolgjini who retired his only winner, 2010 champion Joke Face, only last week  will be aboard Mosaique Face, a son of Classic Photo and a winner of 6 minor races and 856,000SEK. But Kolgjini’s best chance though is Group I winner  El Mago Pellini, a Chocolatier colt, and another heat winner who will be driven by big race specialist Johnny Takter, the brother of American super trainer Jimmy. El Mago Pellini has won 9 races and 1.77 million SEK, has best time of 1.11.7 (1.55) and won the prestigious Konung Gustav V’s Pokal this season. Former Hambletonian winner Scarlet Knight who also had a stellar European racing career after his importation to Sweden (including a second place in the Monte Classic Prix du Cornulier when he was seven which may be a key to his success in Sweden) has two entries in the race both of them heat winners Molle CD (Daniel Reden with his second derby entry who has 9 minor wins) and  Stefan Melander’s Increased Workload, a heat winner,  who is driven by Orjan Kihlstrom in his seventeenth derby.  One of a trio of representatives of Stefan Melander, from Solvalla, who surprisingly has never won this race,  Increased Workload will be one of the favourites having won 10 races and 1.7 million SEK. He has a record of 1.11.8 (1.55.3) and was fourth in last year’s Trav-Kriterium.  Kihlstrom has won the big race twice, one of them,  famously, was with Swedish-bred From Above who also has two entries in the race, both trained by Per Lennartson -  Mellby Apollo (8wins, 815,000SEK)  and outsider Harvey Tornado (5 wins, 304,000SEK). The past two winners of the race have been by French sires in Pato (Orlando Vici) and Beau Mec (Jag de Bellouet). This year there are only three French sires represented, with Orlando Vici again having a good chance with one of the favoured runners, Stefan Melander’s Porthos Amok who is off the 2 post and in the hands of champion Swedish reinsman Bjorn Goop. He has won 4 races and just over 1 million SEK and has a record of 1.12.3 and was one of the two fastest heat winners. Another well-fancied runner is likely to be Standout, a son of Ganymede, the winner of last season’s E 3 Final    and another Melander runner. He starts from post 11, and no derby winner has started from this spot. He has  8 race victories which have earned a tick over 2 million SEK. The other French stallion, dual Prix D’Amerique winner Offshore Dream is represented by Offshore Man, one of four geldings in the race and likely to be the outsider in the race having just 3 wins and only 345,000SEK in earnings. He will be driven by Torbjörn Jansson for Solvalla trainer  Ulrika Wällstedt.             Quid Pro Quo was another heat winner and he starts off the 5 position in the hands of Erik Adielson for  for  Bergsaker trainer Svante Bath. The group one winner of the  Prix Orsi Mangelli, one of Italy’s big races, Quid Pro Quo is also the winner of the Sprintermasteren Final in his 11 race victories which have earned him 3.6 million SEK so far. The final entry is Ken Warkentin gelding Perfect Power  who will be driven by his trainer Peter Untersteiner of Halmstadt. One of the outsiders in the race, he has won three races and 623,400kr. SVENSKT TRAVDERBY  Jägersro 2640m, Nat Group I 4YOs 4,000,000SEK 1         El Mago Pellini   (4h Chocolatier - My Intuition)   Dr:  Johnny Taker   Tr: Lutfi Kolgjini           2        Porthos Amok  (4h Orlando Vici - Baroness Amok)     Dr:  Björn Goop   Tr: Stefan Melander              3         Molle C.D.  (4h Scarlet Knight - Not in a Million)     Tr/Dr:   Daniel Redén      4         Increased Workload  (4h Scarlet Knight - My Darling)     Dr:  Örjan Kihlström   Tr: Stefan Melander           5         Quid Pro Quo    (4h Yankee Glide – Hostage)     Dr:  Erik Adielsson   Tr: Svante Båth         6         Offshore Man  (4g Offshore Dream – Ladymint)     Dr:  Torbjörn Jansson   Tr: Ulrika Wällstedt             7         Mosaique Face  (4h Classic Photo - Iona Lb)  Tr/Dr:  Lutfi Kolgjini              8          Perfect Power   (4g Ken Werkentin - Enjoy My Face)     Tr/Dr:  Peter Untersteiner              9         Viking America   (4g Viking Kronos - Berta's Crown)     Dr:  Jorma Kontio   Tr: Lutfi Kolgjini        10         Mellby Apollo   (4g From Above - Mellby Rubin )   Tr/Dr:  Per Lennartsson                 11         Standout  (4h Ganymede - Ebony D.K. )   Dr:  Ulf Ohlsson   Tr: Stefan Melander              12         Harvey Tornado    (4h From Above - Beringa Queen)   Hanover   Dr: Thomas Uhrberg   Tr: Per Lennartsson       By Dave Sanders  

Swedish superstar Sebastian K is set to do his future racing in the United States when top trainer Ake Svanstedt moves to Florida in November according to the Swedish ATG website. The seven-year-old son of Korean will be based in Svanstedt’s new farm in Florida where he will continue his career where his main goal apparently is to break the world record of 1.08,5 over the mile track, which is shared by another Swedish born horse, Giant Diablo, among others. The stallion’s owners Knutsson Trotting wrote on the official ATG site that Sebastian K has been very successful in the Nordic countries for many years, and they felt he had a good chance to perform well on American racetracks, which they believed will be suitable for him. Sebastian K. won the King’s Trophy, finished second in the European Derby, and also won Finland’s major race, Finlandia-Ajo, with his original trainer Lufti Kolgjini at Jagersro. He was transferred to Åke Svanstedt's stable at Bjertorp last season where he had his best season winning 6 million SEK with the highlight being a win in the inaugural UET Masters Final at Solvalla. He was also awarded “The Horse of the Year” in Sweden 2012. The stallion has won 24 of 60 lifetime starts, and has earned SEK 14,928,14. In a blow to the UET Masters Series, Sebastian K. will bypass this year’s final at Vincennes, Paris, which in truth probably doen’t suit his racing style and will target the Åby Stora Pris instead, which will be his last race in Sweden for some time. By Dave Sanders

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