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May 24, 2020 - Astor de Rozoy (10m Ready Cash-Natacha de Rozoy) overcame a 25-meter handicap to win today’s fifth leg of the harness racing Trophee Vert series raced at Villeneuve Sur Lot as the Prix de l’Agglameration du Grand Villere (purse 40,000€, 2600 meters distance handicap). The winner scored in a quick 1.14.7kr over the turf with L.J. Legros teaming for owner J.P. Lemelletier and trainer J. M. Legros to record his 19th career victory. Astor’s life earnings reached 256,570€ with the victory. The 25-meter handicapped Derby du Dollar (7m Rodrigo Jet) was second for pilot Cedric Terry and trainer Sylvain Roger with Darse Melody (7f Niky) third with Guillaume Martin at the lines. 50-meter penalized Aribo Mix was fourth followed by Calvia, both of these conditioned by Dominik Cordeau. Astor de Rozoy   Thomas H. Hicks  

Action returned this day to Le Croise-Laroche for the fifth harness racing leg of the Gr. III Grand National du Trot Paris-Turf for five to ten year olds (purse 75,000€, 2825 meters distance handicap). The impressive Fleche du Yucca (5f Prodigious-Vincenza) took a give and go strategy to rally for victory timed in 1.14.1kr. Jean Philippe Dubois teamed the Ecurie Victoria Dreams mare that Philippe Moulin trains to her 12th career victory now for 269,170€ earned. She has a 1-1-1 slate in her four 2020 appearances. This unchecked mare raced without front shoes. The 25- meter handicapped Drole de Jet (7m Coktail Jet-Likely Jet) was a game second timed in 1.13.6kr for trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse. The 25-meter penalized Frisbee d’Am (5m The Best Madrik) was third for Alexandre Abrivard and trainer Richard Westerink. 25 meter handicapped Fric du Chene (5m Nobody du Chene) was fourth for Francois Lagadeuc and fifth was Altius Fortis (10m Ganymede) with Philippe Masschaele aboard. attacking for the lead Watch the Replay here Ready Cash turned age 15 this week and recently Varenne reached 25. Two great champions!!! Ready Cash Varenne There are still five positions left to fill for the 2020 Elitloppet eliminations. Saturday May 23 will be a last chance to shine as the Gr. II International V75 Gold (300,000SEK to the winner, 1609 meters autostart) field will face the mobile at Gavle. We will see who joins Earl Simon, Sorbet, Cokstile, Makethemark, Looking Superb, Missile Hill, Tae Kwon Deo, Attraversiamo, Elian Web, Chief Orlando and Vivid Wise As. Zarenna FAS Scheduling changes have been implemented in FR from now to month end as co-called RED Covid19 areas are again banned from racing. The premier cards from May 22-29 have been moved as follows: May 22 – Vincennes to Mauquenchy May 23 – Enghien to Laval May 24 – La Capelle to Chartres May 25 – Amiens to Mauquenchy May 26 – Vincennes to Mans May 27 – Reims to Lyon Parilly May 29 – Vincennes to Laval Yesterday was groupe level action at Paris-Vincennes on this last day of racing there this month. There were three top races starting with the Prix Camilla (Gr. III, purse 60,000€, 2850 meters, four-year olds with Europeans eligible). Victory went to Girolamo (4m Uriel Speed-Seduction d’Anama) with Franck Ouvrie up timed in 1.12.8kr. This Sylvain Roger trainee that Noel Lolic owns now has a 2-1-1 slate in four 2020 starts and five career wins for 148,170€ earned. Stablemare Gimy du Pommereux (4m Coktail Jet-Noune du Pommereux) was next for Mathieu Mottier for the same connections and Lolic was the breeder. Gelati Cut (4m Coktail Jet-Variety Cut) took third with Alexandre Abrivard up for trainer R.C. Larue. Girolamo The Prix Heraclite (Gr. III, 2850 meters, four-year old European females) was next with All Wise As (4f Varenne-Temple Blue Chip) the 1.14.1kr winner for Gabriele Gelormini, trainer H.E. Bondo and owner Peter Wilhemsen. This was her first win in FR and her career earnings are now 140,103€. Gamme de Busset (4f Brillantissime-Ovelinotte d’Ylea) held on gamely for second with David Thomain up for trainer Philippe Allaire, with third to Greyline (4f Sam Bourbon-Si Seulement) for owner/trainer/driver Julien Dubois. All Wise As The Gr. II Prix Kalmia (purse 85,000€, 2700 meters, three tear olds) went to Helgafell (3m Charly du Noyer-Baaria) was an impressive 1.13.8kr timed winner for Eric Raffin, trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Ecurie Normandy Spirit. Helgafell has a 2-1-0 slate in four starts this year. Hooker Berry (3m Booster Winner-Osaka Berry) was second with trainer Jean Michel Bazire up for owner Michel Aladenise. Hugh de Banville (3m Akim du Cap Vert-Sissi de Banville) took third for owner/trainer/driver Franck Anne. Helgafell Watch the replay here. It was a good day of racing and much more will soon follow.   LeTrot, ATG files/photos Thomas H. Hicks

Just over two weeks after trans-Tasman equine flights resumed following a COVID-19-enforced shutdown, exports from New Zealand to Australia have been suspended indefinitely yet again, this time due to a possible case of equine piroplasmosis. On May 20, New Zealand's Ministry of Primary Industries informed exporters that shipments to Australia had been suspended with immediate effect. A flight Tuesday night was prevented from leaving the country, and another shipment, scheduled for Friday night, is also expected to be held over as the department negotiates alternative arrangements with their Australian counterparts, the Department of Agriculture. Friday's flight, though, was still scheduled to depart as of Wednesday night; a number of owners with horses set for that shipment had not been informed about any potential delay. Equine piroplasmosis has never been identified in New Zealand before, but MPI director for animal health and welfare Chris Rodwell confirmed that a mare tested positive to equine piroplasmosis in a pre-export blood test. The mare had arrived in New Zealand last year from a European Union country that is known to harbor the tick-borne disease. Further testing is expected to confirm that the horse is infected with Theileria equi, one of two known parasites to transmit equine piroplasmosis. Rodwell told ANZ Bloodstock News: "Further blood tests have been taken from the mare, and we expect confirmation of whether the horse is negative or positive for the disease by the end of this week. "Theileria equi is a blood disease that causes anemia and is spread from animal to animal by ticks. The horse in question was imported to New Zealand from the EU early last year for breeding. No signs of disease in the animal have been reported in its time here." While the disease cannot be passed from horse to horse without the ticks known to transmit the parasite—with those tick species not found in New Zealand—most veterinary agreements with other countries require that equine piroplasmosis has not been present in the exporting country for a certain period of time. For Australia, the requirement is three years—meaning that, under the current certification process, trans-Tasman exports would be banned until 2023. While other arrangements are likely to be determined as a matter of urgency, it is a blow to the beleaguered New Zealand industry at a time when it is already under tremendous pressure. Even a temporary ban has the potential to upset spring preparations and breeding plans for New Zealand-based mares in Australia. On Wednesday night, MPI was moving to reassure horse owners that they were working as fast as possible with an aim to find a quick solution. "MPI is aware this situation may cause some concern to those in the equine sector, and work is underway to resolve things as quickly as possible to ensure ongoing horse exports are not interrupted," Rodwell said. "Some countries, including Australia, that import horses from New Zealand require certification that New Zealand is free of Theileria equi. This current suspect test result has meant that MPI cannot currently provide that assurance of country-freedom status. The ministry's market access specialists are working with Australian authorities to explore alternative assurance options to allow exports to continue." Biosecurity New Zealand has already started an investigation to confirm that it is an isolated case of equine piroplasmosis, but questions remain as to how a case could not only have occurred in New Zealand but how it could have gone undetected for so long. "The horse met MPI's importing requirements in that it had received a negative test for Theileria equi within 30 days of shipment," Rodwell said. "Before shipment, horses are quarantined and treated to remove any ticks that may be present. They are also further inspected and quarantined on arrival." According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, either of the two parasites that carry equine piroplasmosis—Babesia caballi and Theileria equi—can be found on most continents, including much of Europe. The Theileria equi parasite has also been reported in Australia in the past; the most recent case was an outbreak in the Southern Highlands region of New South Wales in 1976, but it did not take hold, and Australia is now considered to be free of equine piroplasmosis. The official zoosanitary certificate, which must be certified prior to export to Australia, states that New Zealand must have been free of 16 diseases for a three-year period prior to export; equine piroplasmosis is on that list, along with the likes of African horse sickness, equine influenza, and glanders. MPI's Dr. Emma Passmore stated in an email to exporters: "The export certificate for horses traveling to Australia, either for transit or permanent import, requires MPI to certify that no clinical, epidemiological, or other evidence of equine piroplasmosis has occurred in New Zealand within the three-year period immediately prior to export. This can no longer be certified, and exports to or via Australia are suspended with immediate effect." While Australia is the biggest market to be affected and also has notoriously strict quarantine laws, exports to other countries will also be potentially compromised. Macau requires the exporting country to have been free of equine piroplasmosis for two years, and Singapore asks for extra tests and treatments to be completed if the country has not been free from equine piroplasmosis for 12 months. The United States also requires that the country has been free of equine piroplasmosis for 12 months. Japan has no time frame but also requires a piroplasmosis-free environment. However, Hong Kong's requirements are less stringent, simply requiring a horse not to have completed its pre-export quarantine on premises where equine piroplasmosis has occurred in the 60 days prior to export. Exporters on Wednesday night were digesting the ban and the potential implications that may follow if it is prolonged beyond the next couple of weeks. Most suggested that the immediate suspension of exports to Australia was an unfortunate but required step. "This is very disappointing news, but the suspension is totally necessary at this time," Equine International Airfreight managing director Cameron Croucher said. "Just as flights were starting to operate across the Tasman after the COVID-19 shutdowns, outcomes of this nature will be very disappointing to owners and trainers who now face a further delay in relocating their bloodstock. "I'm sure that both government departments in New Zealand and Australia will work very hard to find a quick solution to resume services once confirmatory testing is completed. Also, a proper investigation is needed into how this has been allowed to occur, which could have a massive impact on the New Zealand Thoroughbred industry if the suspension is prolonged, especially leading into the Southern Hemisphere breeding season." In the past week, a number of New Zealand horses have been confirmed as relocating to Australia, and Cambridge Stud last week announced that a number of its fillies would join the Te Akau assault on the Melbourne spring. In addition, almost 200 mares crossed the Tasman from New Zealand for breeding purposes in 2019, with a similar number expected this year. By Andrew Hawkins/ANZ Bloodstock News Reprinted with permission of Bloodhorse

May 17, 2020 - Ble du Gers (9g Quinoa du Gers-Moorea-Baccarat du Pont) rallied three wide early in the last lap from his 40 meter handicap to win the harness racing Summer Meeting Stayer (purse to the winner 100,000DKK, 2950 meter distance handicap, voltstart, 14 starters) at Charlottenlund. He scored timed in 1.14.8kr and went off as the 2.33/1 favorite. There were four false starts. This Jean Michel Bazire trainee was reined superbly by Joseph Verbeeck. Ble du Gers won for the first time in three 2020 appearances and now shows a 21-13-6 slate in 70 career starts. His life earnings increased to 8,935,242DKK. Tuxedo Bi (8g Love You-Iberia Bi-Supergill) was second with a strong late run for pilot Rick Ebbinge and far back third was Peakadilly (6m Mythical Lindy) with trainer Steen Juul aboard. Ble du Gers Replay Thomas H. Hicks  

May 17, 2020 -The 27/1 outsider Heart Of Steel (5g Cantab Hall-Angel Heikant-Open The Sky) took today’s harness racing Menhammar Copenhagen Cup (purse to the winner 250,000DKK 2011 meters autostart, nine starters) held at the Charlottenlund racecourse. Timed in 1.12.3kr, this Peter Untersteiner trained and reined performer won for the first time in three 2020 starts and it was his 14th career victory in 48 outings. He rallied late along with second finishing Milligan’s School (7m Yankee Glide) with Ulf Eriksson up and third finishing Mister F Daag (5m Conway Hall-Miss Love-Love You) for Robin Bakker, as this group along with Makethemark descended on then pacesetting heavy favorite Zacon Gio (5m Ruty Grif). Zacon Gio, a winner of ten straight going in, was very rank in the scoring and after settling third on the pegs, surged three-wide past the quarter to what appeared to be a commanding lead. However, late in the final bend he showed signs of tiring and then weakened in late stretch under urging. The other well-regarded Italian invader Vitruvio was a miscue dq. Heart Of Steel The Copenhagen Cup began in 1928 and has staged some impressive victories by the likes of Robert Bi (1.10.0kr in 2015), Victory Tilly, Moni Maker, SJs Photo, Meadow Roland (three time winner), Ideal du Gazeau, Walter Dear (twice), Roquepine, Gelinotte, Elaine Rodney and Mara Bourbon. Thomas H. Hicks

May 16, 2020 - Ecurie D (4m Infinitif-Too Soon-Muscles Yankee) won today’s Ina Scots at Mantorp (purse to winner 250,000SEK, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) from post 12, timed in 1.12.2kr with Bjorn Goop at the lines for Global Glide AB, Smart Repair and trainer Frode Hamre. He scored at 2/1 odds for the ninth time in as many career starts. His life earnings are now 1.595,525SEK. This colt was bred in Denmark by Jean Pierre Dubois and represents Franco-American pedigree as shown below. Ecurie D raced in the death seat throughout albeit he took a very brief two-hole off the final bend behind the second finishing Armour As (4m Varenne-Southwind As-Turbo Sund) and Stefan Persson for trainer Jerry Riordan. Third was Rally Hans (4m Scarlet Knight-Loveletter-Love You) for Mika Forss and trainer Stefan Melander. Ecurie D Goop also scored in the Arne Erikssons (110,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters voltstart, 14 starters) with his trainee Karamel Hill (6f Juliano Star-Fredrika Kemp-Alf Palema) that was bred in Norway and is now owned there by Jorn Stamm. This was her second win in three 2020 starts and her life earnings are now 658,387SEK. Off at 1.8/1 she overcame a 20-meter handicap and defeated Millie Millionaire (7f Jacose-Melby Tempo-Varenne) that was handicapped 40 meters and reined by Orjan Kilhstrom. Third went to 40-meter penalized Vikens Fingerprint (5f Prodigious) for Oskar J. Andersson. Karamel Hill Robert Bergh won the V75 Gold (150,000SEK, 2640 meters autostart) with his trainee 2.7/1 Mindyourvalue WF (7g Hovding Lavec-Mind Your Manners-Dahir de Prelong) timed in 1.13.1kr. Handsome Brad (6m Dream Vacation-Emma Rose-Andover Hall) was a good second for Carl Johan Jepson and Dreammoko (4h Timoko) was third for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop. MIndyourvalue WF   Goop’s other winners this day were with Zap di Girifalco in the V75 Bronze, Ale’ Pride Gar in a four year old event, and Hidalgo Heldia in a three year old race.   Thomas H. Hicks  

May 14, 2020 - Era de Lavadour (6f Flash de Cosse-Melba du Chatelet) took the Thursday GP Dynavena Maisagri (purse 30,000€, 2550 meters distance handicap, 18 starters) at Beaumont de Lomagne in this harness racing reopening week in France. The 3.3/1 odds winner was timed in 1.15.2kr as she won for the sixth time in 53 career starts for 183,770€. Mathieu Auvray owns, trains and drove Era de Lavadour. The 25-meter handicapped and 1.6/1 favorite Cap de Narmont (8m Islero de Bellouet) was second for Denis Brossard individually timed in 1.14.7kr. 16/1 Camiros du Goutier (8g Quido du Goutier) was third for Jerome Chavette. 26/1 Christmas du Cebe and 9/1 Boxing Day completed the top five with Boxing Day racing well timed in 1.14.8kr with his 25-meter handicap. Era de Lavador The 18 horse field in late race action Early in the week the veteran horseman Jean Pierre Dubois won twice with another second in his three drives. On May 11 at Le Croise-Laroche JPD was second with Hello Jo Darling (3m Bird Parker-Lets Go Along) in a three year old event and that was followed by a victory for Gospel Truth (4g Sam Bourbon-Rebelle) clocked in 1.15.4kr in the Prix de Wasquchal (purse 12,000€, 2700 meters autostart, an Open des Regions Grand Nord event). JPB breed this winner through his Scuderia Bolgheri Srl and J.A. Hernandez-Navarro is the trainer. Gospel Truth The next JPB winner was May 13 at Mareille Borely in the Prix de Septemes Les Vallons (purse 23,000€, 2300 meters autostart, an Open des Regions Sud-Est three year old contest). He scored with Headline (3f Brillantissime-Mara Bourbon) in 1.15.4kr, her third victory in the last five starts. Kevin Vanderschelden trains this nice filly that was bred by Dubois’ Ecurie Dream With Me. Headline On the Elitloppet front, Earl Simon and Sorbet have been added to invitee list. They join Cokstile, Makethemark, Looking Superb, Missile Hill, Tae Kwon Deo, Attraversiamo, Elian Web, Chief Orlando and Vivid Wise As. Earl Simon won this week at Caen easily defeating a good field that included Bold Eagle. Earl Simon We expect others to follow (five open spots remain) after Sunday’s Copenhagen Cup 2020 at Charlottenlund. Zacon Gio and Vitruvio will be ones to watch. Zacon Gio is conditioned by Holger Ehlert and was the 2019 Yonkers International winner.   Thomas H. Hicks  

May 13, 2020 - The Prix Calvados (monte, purse 35,000€, 2450 meters voltstart, 16 European eligibles) began the excellent monte harness racing action this day at Caen with two groupe level tests on the stage. The 1.13.0kr timed winner of the monte kickoff was 6.9/1 Diamant de Treabat (7g Kuadro Wild-Sud Africa) handled by Clement Frecelle. The 1.9/1 favorite Emir de Rebomard (6g Kepler-Ufania de Guez), with Julien Raffestin up took second, and 9/1 odds Chalimar de Guez (8g Nahar de Beval-Phoebe de Guez) was third with J-Y Ricard aboard for trainer J.M. Bazire. Diamant de Treabat The Gr. I Prix Saint-Leger des Trotteurs (monte, purse 100,000€, 2450 meters voltstart, 14 starters) was quite a contest with the top three at the finish together, all clocked in 1.15.6kr. The winner was 37/1 Hopla des Louanges (3f Gazouillis-Jolie Lily) with Adrien Lamy in the irons for trainer Franck Leblanc. This was her second 2020 victory in six starts (the year and career). 9/1 Happiness Ellis (3f Opus Viervil-Belle de Cahot) was next for Mathieu Mottier, with 91/1 Hera Landia (3f Ludo de Castelle-Tina des Loups) third handled by P. Ph. Ploquin. Hispanen and Hytte du Terrior completed the top five. Six of the 14 starters were fillies. The Prix Henri Balliere (Groupe II monte, purse 85,000€, 2450 meters voltstart, 14 starters) wrapped up the groupe level monte action this day, with victory to 1.14.3kr timed and 6/1 odds Guide Moi Forgan (4m Neutron du Cebe-Trajane) with jockey Christopher Corbineau in the irons. This was her second 2020 victory in four starts and fourth lifetime win in 13 outings. The 12/1 Gainsborough (4m Bird Parker-Redemption Song) was second for Yoann Lebourgeois and trainer Romain Derieux. Third went to 9/1 Gemme de Busset (4f Brillantissime-Overlinotte d’Ylea) with David Thomain at the lines for trainer Philippe Allaire. Grace de Fael and Gatsby Perrine followed the top three. Guide Moi Forgan Thomas H. Hicks  

May 13. 2020 - Earl Simon (6m Prodigious-Tindrana), with Franck Ouvrie up, powered away from his rivals to win today’s harness racing Prix des Ducs de Normandie (purse 110,000€, 2450 meters voltstart, 16 starters) at Caen in a quick 1.11.0kr. Off at 10/1 Earl Simon was away to the lead that he wrested from first leading Bold Eagle and then yielded to Bugsy Malone. Ouvrie then moved the winner to the front in early stretch and they jetted away to an easy victory. Jorma Niskanen trains Earl Simon for Ecurie Skytten and he now shows a 2-2-2 slate in six 2020 starts. He is 15 for 33 in the career. Enino du Pommereux (6m Coktail Jet-Noune du Pommereux) was second for pilot Mathieu Abrivard and trainer Sylvain Roger at 26/1. Stablemate Delia du Pommereux was third but disqualified for interference in mid stretch. That placed Bold Eagle (9m Ready Cash-Reethi Rah Jet) third at 12/1 with Eric Raffin up for trainer Sebastien Guarato. Feeling Cash (5m Ready Cash-Royale Star) was placed fourth at 134/1 and handled by David Thomain for Philippe Allaire. His 12/1 stablemate Bugsy Malone (9g Ready Cash-Night Captain) was placed fifth with Yoann Lebourgeois aboard. Ceylan Dairpet was a dq and the big favorite 3/10 Cleangame was unplaced. Cleangame was away toward the back on the far outside and moved up by the top of stretch before weakening. There was a “false depart” that appeared to have been Bold Eagle caused. Earl Simon Replay -   Racing in France resumed on Monday with a card at Vichy. Germany also opened with racing at Munich Daglfin. Next up for the top rung of trotteurs is May 17 at Charlottenlund with the Copenhagen Cup that drew a good field as shown below. Expect more Elitloppet invites to flow from this event to join the current invitees Cokstile, Makethemark, Looking Superb, Missile Hill, Tae Kwon Deo, Attraversiamo, Elian Web, Chief Orlando and Vivid Wise As. Thomas H. Hicks  

May 9, 2020 - The Gr. II International Lyon Grand Prix (purse 48,275€, 2640 meters autostart, 12 starters) at Aby on Saturday went to 19/1 Noble Superb (5m Maharajah-Oh Superb-Orlando Vici) clocked in 1.13.0kr with harness racing driver Bjorn Goop up for Stall Marlin and trainer Marcus Lindgren. The Norwegian bred scored for the first time in 2020 in two starts, and this was his eighth career victory in 21 appearances. 2.3/1 Forfantone AM (5m Muscle Hill-Tamla Celeber-Cantab Hall) took second for Torbjorn Janssen and trainer Roger Walmann. SRF Stable owns this well-bred performer. Third was the early pacesetter and 13/1 outsider Maxus (5m Muscle Hill-Gerris Joy-Enjoy Lavec) with Eric Adielssson up. Stall Zet/Daniel Reden own this one that was bred in the USA by Nicolas Cimino. Noble Superb Island Life (9g Pine Chip-Gossip-The Onion) took the V75 Silver at Aby (24,496€, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) clocked in 1.12.4kr and with trainer Robert Bergh the reinsman. He was off at 4.1/1 odds and recorded his second straight 2020 victory in five starts. 40/1 Pastor Power (6g Pastor Stephen-Tobina Passione-JR Broline) was second for trainer/driver Peter Untersteiner and 43/1 Roofie (5g Andover Hall-Passionate Kemp-Lindy Lane) landed third with Stefan Persson up for trainer Johan Untersteiner. Island Life The first leg of the Breeders Course (three year old open, purse 19,816€, 2140 meters autostart, six starters) took place at Aby on Saturday with the victory earned by 3.8/1 Balsamine Font (3f Filipp Roc-Issima OK-Pine Chip) with trainer Bjorn Goop at the lines for owner/breeder Scuderia Sant’Eusebio SNC. This Italian bred filly won for the first time in three 2020 starts and it was her third career victory in eight appearances. The 9/10 favorite Mr Mah Can (3m Maharajah-Canaka BF-Jobie Tempest) was second with trainer Robert Bergh up. 9/1 A Good Poimt (3m Maharajah-Romantic Lovce-Super Arnie) recovered from an early miscue to land third for pilot Kevin Oscarsson. Race time was 1.14.03kr with a speedy final 640 meters (the 1500 mark clocking was 1.15.3kr). Balsamine Font   The Aby card also included four other events each with a purse of 21,679€. The STL Diamantstoet (2140 meters voltstart, distance handicap, 14 starters) went to the 20 meter handicapped and 11/1 odds Sharp Dream (7f Royal Dream-Sharp Concrete-Alf Palema) clocked in 1.13.4kr with Peter Ingves up. 10/1 Zanzibar Wise As (5f Muscle Massive-Lovely Fame-Varenne) was a nose back second for Federico Esposito, after a five wide surge off the final bend. Sharp Dream The Klass II Stayerlopp (3140 meters autostart) saw 6.4/1 Rackham (4m Love You-Red Orchid-Dream Vacation) score in 1.15.1kr for trainer/driver/co-owner Christoffer Eriksson. This was his second win in three 2020 outings. Second was 5/2 odds Matteo (4g Quite Easy-Love You More-Love You) for Stefan Persson. Bordeaux S (4g Orlando Vici-Spot Over-Spotlite Lobell) was third at 13/1 for Carl Johan Jepson and trainer Jerry Riordan. Rackham The V75 Bronze (2640 meters voltstart, 12 starters) went to 1.14.7kr clocked Guillaume Boko (7m Prodigious-Proud Mary-Supergill) as Bjorn Goop trains and drove this one for owner Sonja Wewering, his 11th career win in 41 appearances. He was the even-money favorite and bested 9/1 Ontrack He’s Back (6m Orlando Vici-Keystone Delicious-American Winner) with Erik Adielsson up. Guillaume Boko The Klass I (1640 meters autostart, 12 starters), a qualifier for the May 30th finale at Solvalla, saw 7.4/1 Southwind Queen (4f Muscle Hill-Sensual Hall-Garland Lobell) score in 1.11.1kr with Peter Ingves up for trainer Riccardo Bianchi and owner Story Inc. This Southwind Farm bred filly won for the 24th time in 37 career starts after going 13 for 19 last year. Zlatan Knick (5g Going Kronos) at 19/1 and 27/1 The Gambler (4g SJs Photo) followed the very impressive winner, one to watch in the future.   Southwind Queen   Thomas H. Hicks  

May 9, 2020 - 8.2/1 odds Diana Zet (4f Hard Livin-Marsia LB-Windsongs Legacy) was a game harness racing winner of the 191,000€ purse Queen Silvias Pokal this day at Aby. The Gr. I International event was contested by 12 females over the 2140-meter autostart course. The winner was clocked in 1.12.6kr off even fractions. Orjan Kilhstrom teamed Diana Zet for the Reden/Stall Zet team to her first 2020 victory in three starts and her sixth win in 13 career appearances. He life earnings reached 4,553,000SEK with this victory. Grand Diva Sisu (4f Ready Cash-Super Model-Daguet Rapide) was second from post 12 with trainer Per Nordstrom at the lines, as she made a valiant change nearing the line, off at 84/1. Third was 10/1 Tonique (4f Love You-Revenique-Revenue) for trainer/driver Ake Lindblom. Fourth home was 28/1 Mahma Lane (4f Maharajah-Margo Hall-Like A Prayer). See replay link and pics of the action below.   Diana Zet  Replay     Thomas H. Hicks  

Cokstile (7m Quite Easy-Joystile-Coktail Jet) scored in today’s harness racing Algot Scotts Minne, Aby’s V75 Gold Division (purse 29,271€, 1640 meters autostart, 10 starters), from post 10, and clocked in 1.09.8kr. Christoffer Eriksson teamed the Ro Spagnulo trainee to his first 2020 victory in only two starts, and this was his 19th career win in 46 starts. His career earnings now total 4,919,358€. Santese SRL of Italy owns this Norwegian bred performer, created by breeder Per Erik Hagen. Cokstile was off at 4.6/1 odds and bested 1.7/1 Cyber Lane (7g Raja Mirchi-Sybaris Hanover-Cantab Hall) for reinsman/trainer Johan Untersteiner with third to 1.4/1 favorite Billie de Montfort (9f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort-And Arifant) reined by Bjorn Goop. Billie was buried on the pegs until it was too late to close positively in the passing lane. Son Of God (6g Pastor Stephen) was fourth at 9/1 odds for Orjan Kihlstrom. Cokstile earned, with this victory, a 2020 Elitloppet invitation. He joins Chief Orlando, Vivid Wise As, Makethemark, Looking Superb, Missle Hill, Tae Kwon Deo, Attraversiamo and Elian Web as the march continues toward the 16 Elite race starters.   Cokstile Replay - Racing returns to France on May 11th with the first action at Vichy. We expect to see Bold Eagle and Face Time Bourbon back on the racetrack in the weeks ahead. Late Saturday, officials in Sweden set Alessandro Gocciadoro free from training and driving restrictions following a whipping violation by an assistant trainer a week ago. Gocciadoro was then in Italy. Reportedly he will continue a stable operation in Sweden. Today his two entrants were reined by Federico Esposito. Thomas H. Hicks  

May 9, 2020 - Aetos Kronos (4m Bold Eagle-Will Of A Woman-Muscles Yankee) rallied late after a three wide move in the final bend to score in the harness racing Gr. I International King Gustaf V Pokal at Aby (purse 191,000€, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters). This 4/1 odds winner was teamed today with Johan Untersteiner by trainer Jerry Riordan (who won the 2018 Elitloppet with Ringostarr Treb) and owners Team Snyder AB and Aetos Dios AB. Aetos won for second time in two 2020 starts and this was his eighth career victory in 18 starts now for 4,989,550SEK in lifetime earnings. Race time was 1.11.5kr off quick but rated fractions (1.07.1kr at the first 500; 1.11.8kr at the 1000 meter mark and 1.12.8kr at the 1500 mark. Aetos Kronos was flying in the final 600 meters. He is from the maternal family of Conch, the Bonefish mare that produced King Conch and Viking Kronos. Second was the game 9/1 Don Fanucci Zet (4m Hard Livin-Kissed By The West-Western Terror) with Orjan Kihlstrom up for the Stall Zet/Daniel Reden team. Click Bait (4m Cantab Hall-Fun At Parties-Lindy Lane) took third at 26/1 for Jorma Kontio and owner/trainer Stefan Melander. Russell C. Williams bred this one. Fourth home was Robert Bergh’s Power (4m Googoo Gaagaa-La Vici-Orlando Vici) that is owned by In The Zone AB. It was quite a race. Aetos Kronos (#2) Jerry Riordan Replay - The winner’s pedigree follows - Note the 6.2% inbreeding coefficient. Production record of Conch     Conch (US) (96 0,82) m, 1982 At 2, Winner of Acorn, third in Merrie Annabelle. At 3, Winner of Coaching Club Trotting Oaks, Hambletonian Oaks.   1987 Bob Regal (US)                    h, by Prakas (US)   - Conch (US)       1989 King Conch (SE) 108  0,95  +34     1.11,6a   kr 4,131,015   21  11- 5- 1        h, by Speedy Crown (US)   - Conch (US)     At 2, Winner of Breeders' Crown. At 3, Winner of Review Stakes, second in Hambletonian. 1990 New Decade (SE) 92  0,76  -12        kr 0   0                   m, by Sugarcane Hanover (US)   - Conch (US)       1991 Prince Conch (SE) 93  0,76  -9   1.17,0v  1.16,3a   kr 100,800   31  2- 2- 3        g, by Sugarcane Hanover (US)   - Conch (US)       1993 Tzar Kronos (IT)                    h, by Speedy Crown (US)   - Conch (US)       1995 Viking Kronos (IT) 114  1,00  +37     1.12,1a   kr 6,128,108   14  12- 1- 0        h, by American Winner (US)   - Conch (US)     At 2, Winner of Gran Criterium (Memorial Piero Biondi), Gran Premio Allevatori. At 3, Winner of Gran Premio Nazionale, Gran Premio Tito Giovanardi, E3 Korta. 1996 Concher (US) 101  0,81  +3     1.12,1a   kr 25,491   9  0- 0- 0        m, by Pine Chip (US)   - Conch (US)       1998 Hostess (US) 96  0,81  -7     1.12,8a   kr 25,447   6  0- 2- 2        m, by Donerail (US)   - Conch (US)     Sold at Standardbred Horse Sale (Harrisburg) 2008 for 85,000 USD. 2001 Celebration (US)                    m, by Conway Hall (CA)   - Conch (US)       2002 Lovable Truth (US)                    m, by Conway Hall (CA)   - Conch (US)       2003 Colonial Splendor (US)                    m, by Striking Sahbra (US)   - Conch (US)       2004 Lakeside Bride (US)                    m, by Duke of York (CA)   - Conch (US)     At 2, Winner of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final.   Thomas H Hicks  

This evening Solvalla hosted four harness racing divisions of the Margaretas Tidiga with two sets for males (one for three and one for the four-year olds) and two for the females (again one each for the three and four year olds). The distance of each race was 2140 meters autostart and the purse was 57,300€ each with 12 starters contesting the result. Top performers were on stage. In the four year old male division Hail Mary (4m Googoo Gaagaa-Dreams US-Victory Dream) scored as expected as the 9/10 favorite in front end fashion after a brush to the lead after the first 500 meters in 1.08.7kr. . Trainer Robert Bergh guided this one home in 1.11.4kr off the fast but even fractions in the middle of the contest for Stall Mary AB. This victory was his ninth in 10 career starts and he remains unbeaten this year in four outings. His dam, Dreams, is a 1997 Bonefish daughter of Nan’s Catch, dam of the legendary Moni Maker. Digital Summit (4m Super Photo Kosmos-Full Forward-Scarlet Knight) was next for Orjan Kihlstrom and owner/trainer Stefan Melander. Marvellous Tooma (4m Dream Vacation-Marvellous US-Donerail) was third the Ulf Ohlsson up for trainer Frode Hamre. The three year old male division went to Hell Bent For AM (3m Muscle Hill-Nalda Nof-Supergill) at 9/1 timed in 1.14.7kr with Orjan Kihlstrom up for trainer Stefan Melander and owner Stall Courant AB. The nice colt scored easily in his first 2020 outing and it was his second career victory in five starts. Hector Sisu (3g Zola Boko-Donatomesswithme-Donato Hanover) was second as the 1.4/1 favorite and third went to 5.2/1 Selected News (3m Maharajah-Madamacristina COF-Varenne) for reinsman Torbjorn Jansson. On the filly side the four-year old division went to 1.13.3kr timed and 2.4/1 odds Mellby Marissa (4f Maharajah-Merger Blue Chip-Cantab Hall) won for trainer/teamster Robert Bergh. This was her second victory in three starts in 2020 and third in 13 career starts. This was an easy front-end victory. Global Anarchy (4f SJs Caviar-Celebrity Tribute-Yankee Glide) was an 11/1 second for Orjan Kihlstom and trainer Joakim Lovgren. Third was 13/1 Ies Elisabet (4f Super Photo Kosmos-Ies Greta-Enjoy Lavec) for Carl Johan Jepson. The three-year old fillies saw the 5/10 heavy favorite Hill’s Angel (3f Muscle Hill- Gossip Gal-SJs Caviar) score easily in 1.14.8kr off rated fractions. Bjorn Goop handled the Erik Bondo trainee for breeder/owner Panamera Racing with Jens Glud Hansen. The winner scored in her first 2020 start and it was her career victory number four in five starts. Chablis Ribb (3f Raja Mirchi-Grape Ribb-Spotlite Lobell) was second for Leif Witasp after leading early. Third went to Quantal Quetzal (3f Quite Easy-Anastacia Sund-Scarlet Knight) at 17/1 for Mattias Djuse. In this event the half-sister to Walner, Finland, went offstride at the start. Thursday the trots were at Halmstad and the featured 10,316€ purse event (2140 meters voltstart, nine starters) went to 5/10 favorite Hacker AM (3m Muscle Hill-Queen Silas-Pine Chip) timed in 1.16.0kr. L.I. Nilsson trains this first time winning starter with Christoffer Eriksson up for owner Vasby Hast AB. The 68/1 Go Peppergirl (3f Charly du Noyer-Allinone Pepper-Yankee Glide) was second for reinsman Victor Rosleff and trainer Jerry Riordan,   Thomas H. Hicks  

BERGSÅKER, SWEDEN - Rikard Skoglund changes into his blue-and-white silks in his car, gathers his helmet and whip, then heads to the track for another evening of harness racing. Sweden’s No. 1 horse driver is still working during the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, he’s never been in more demand. Swedish trotting, or harness racing, is one of only a handful of sports in Europe to have persevered through the pandemic while other competitions — professional or amateur — shut down across the continent. That’s not just good news for the 40,000 people working in the equestrian sector in Sweden. It’s something of a savior for betting companies and gamblers around the world. “Our prize money comes from betting money,” Skoglund told The Associated Press before the first race of a meeting at Bergsåker racecourse near the east coast of Sweden. “So now the whole world is betting on Swedish harness racing, it’s a huge opportunity for us.” Hans Lord Skarplöth, chief executive of the betting firm ATG that specializes in horse racing in Sweden, told the AP that international gambling on Swedish races is up around 600% since the middle of March. Jockeys and horse drivers in this often-overlooked part of the world might never have this exposure and earning potential again. “Of course it affects us that we can’t have the public in to watch, but it’s more important for us to have the core business (operating),” said Maria Croon, CEO of Swedish Trotting. “We aren’t trying to capitalize, just to continue with as less effects as possible.” Sweden has been something of an outlier during the pandemic because the government’s restrictions aren’t as tight as most other countries. So its horse racing industry has been allowed to stay open for business, though recommendations and directives are in place to minimize the risk for workers. No spectators are allowed, with even owners of horses prevented from being at the track for races which are nationally televised. Trainers and jockeys are recommended to change clothes in their car, and social distancing is advised. At the meeting in Bergsåker, hand disinfectants were available and there were signs around the oval track telling those present to keep two meters (six feet) from each other. Some jockeys and drivers wore mouth coverings. People sat apart in a small, wooden stand halfway down one side of the track. Croon said she wasn’t aware of any reported virus cases in Swedish horse racing. “I am more worried when I go into town or to a shop,” Skoglund said. “If you go to the supermarket, it is much more dangerous than driving horses.” Horse racing has continued without spectators in parts of Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and also in some American states. But it was brought to a halt in the sport’s major racing countries in Europe, like Britain, Ireland and France. The Swedish racing market has proved to be vital for the multibillion-dollar sports gambling industry, especially in European time zones. “This is, of course, good for ATG revenues but even more important for the horse industries,” Skarplöth said. "Thanks to Swedish horse racing, many of these companies still could have some earnings by offering Swedish horse racing to their customers.” Glance at a betting website, and it’s slim pickings elsewhere for sports in Europe. There’s soccer in Belarus and Turkmenistan, while Russia is staging table tennis, volleyball and hockey games. The standard of these competitions isn't high. The players taking part in live-streamed table tennis from the Liga Pro organization are often ranked outside the top 500 by the Russian Table Tennis Federation, which is itself not one of the world leaders. Yet their matches have become a staple for the world's online bookmakers. Things could change soon, of course. Some European soccer leagues are starting to crank back up and play could resume at the end of this month. Horse racing in France is planning to restart next week. In the meantime, Swedish trotting is enjoying its unlikely place in the spotlight. “It's been really fun,” Skoglund said, “to show the world our amazing harness racing.”___ BY STEVE DOUGLAS AP Sports Writer James Ellingworth in Düsseldorf, Germany, contributed to this report. Reprinted with permission of the Charlotte Observer     In this photo taken on Thursday, April 30, 2020, Henrik Sundberg rides horse Millimina at Bergsaker racecourse in Vasternorrland, Sweden. Swedish trotting is one of only a handful of European sports to have persevered during the coronavirus outbreak while competitions elsewhere shut down across the continent. That’s not just good news for the 40,000 people working in the equestrian sector in Sweden. It’s something of a savior for betting companies and gamblers around the world who have been starved of their usual diet of top-class sport in Europe. STEVE DOUGLAS AP PHOTO  

May 4, 2020 - Last week there were a host of good races as the pre-Elitloppet harness racing activity accelerates. One such example was the Solvalla April 29 card. The Mares feature that day (purse 12,244€, 2140 meters autostart, 10 starters) saw 14/1 odds Stoneisle Ocean (7f Revenue-Mamtaz Hanover-Sierra Kosmos) score impressively in 1.12.4kr with Hannu Torvinen aboard for trainer Isto Kuisma, her 13th career win in 37 starts. 10/1 Havefunwithme (6f Going Kronos-Zimba Boko-Yankee Glide) was second for Erik Adielsson. On the same program a conditioned race (purse 12,244€, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) resulted in a 1.13.1kr timed victory for 1.6/1 favorite Valley Brodde (7g Ready Cash-Valeris-SJs Caviar) with Orjan Kihlstrom up for Reden Trotting AB and trainer Daniel Reden. This was his third 2020 victory in as many starts and his 10th career win in 46 outings. 9/2 My Dream Art (6g Sinou Madrik-Ina Dreamcatcher-Dream Vacation) took second for Jorma Kontio. Valley Brodde The marathoners contested a conditioned stayer race (purse 12,244€, 3140 meters autostart, 12 starters) and itw as a well matched event with 2.3/1 Indy D (6g Ready Cash-Stefani Haniver-Muscles Yankee) first to the line timed in 1.15.4kr. Orjan Kihlstrom teamed this Roger Walmann trainee that SRF Stable owns. This was Indy D’s fifth 2020 victory in nine starts. Angel Raziel (5m Pastor Stephen-Promising Angel-Promising Catch) was second for Mika Forss. Indy D. In France it appears that racing will resume May 11th with reduced purses that follow from lost revenue during the Covid-19 shutdown period. The following is a translation of published statements. This Thursday, April 30, at the end of the day, a Board of Directors meeting was held, in order to answer the questions of all the socio-professionals in the sector (breeders, owners, trainers, trainers-owners, drivers/jockeys, volunteers of the racing companies. To date, the outlook is as follows: The races, which will initially be held behind closed doors, should be able to resume on Monday, May 11. Very specific organisational protocols have been sent to the 73 companies that are likely to host these meetings, knowing that the choice of racetracks will be based on the national decisions taken by the Government but also by the prefects at the departmental level. Starting Monday, May 4, LeTROT will publish a first calendar for the coming weeks. This is based on the programme originally planned before the pandemic, adding additional events through exceptional duplication, especially for F, G and H races. While maintaining its objective of excellence and selection, the will of the Board of Directors is indeed to ensure - in the current exceptional context - a principle of balance and solidarity between all the players of the discipline. 53% of the French Trot races were labelled "F, G, H" and contested by an overwhelming majority of coaches/trainers (88%), the Board of Directors, after consultation with the Programmes Commission, decided to preserve these categories as a priority. The total amount of endowments paid in these events (75 million euros in full year, or one third of the overall envelope) will thus be maintained, or even slightly increased according to duplication. The majority of socio-professionals will thus be "protected" by this measure. In return, group racing and "A and B" will see their envelopes decrease by 15%, and those of the "C,D,E" races by 9.6%. In Denmark, the 2020 Copenhagen Cup, scheduled for May 19, is a questionmark at this time. Italy’s Zacon Gio was expected to be a starter. The Gocciadoro matter in Sweden still swirls about, that due to the whipping of Zarina Bi by a stable training assistant. A number of Sweden based drivers have spoken out calling for Gocciadoro’s ban from racing there. Also, horses from that stable have been moved to other trainers, the most prominent being Elitloppet invitee Vivid Wise As that is now in the Bjorn Goop training stable. Ahead this week is the Algot Scotts Minne at Aby that could yield additional Elitloppet invitations. That race includes the veteran nine year old Franch mare Billie de Montfort that has earned over 2.1 million euro from 19 wins and a record of 1.09.2kr racing in the shadow of Bold Eagle. She is owned by her breeder Philippe Dauphin and last won the Grand Prix de Bourgogne on December 29. Earlier on May 6 a major race will be held for three year old females at Solvalla and i twill include Hill’s Angel from the Bondo stable and Riina Rekila’s well bred Finland. This should be a race worth watching. Missle Hill (5m Muscle Hill-India Hall) was named an Elitloppet invitee this day, as the Daniel Reden/Stall Zet student joins Tae Kwon Deo, Allraversiamo, Elian Web, Chief Orlando and Vivid Wise As in the first six of what will be be 16 horses to compete in the Elite race eliminations on May 31. Thomas H. Hicks  

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