European Report: Nine horses on the plane to the Elitlopp?

by Thomas Hedlund

At the end of May, Solvalla in Stockholm, Sweden opens the doors and welcomes trotting fans from around the world for the Elitlopp. And, like last year, there is a plane available for North American horses coming to race that popular weekend.

Markus Myron, racing secretary of Solvalla, recently released the details about how the trip will be arranged from the United States.

“We’re going to use Qatar Airways and the plane leaves from JFK, New York, in the afternoon on May 22nd. It lands on Landvetter airport in Gothenburg, Sweden, in the morning on May 23rd and there’s place for nine horses,” Myron said.

Åke Svanstedt is one of the trainers that has shown interest in coming to Sweden for Elitlopp weekend. In 2016, his trainee Resolve finished second behind Nuncio in the Elitlopp.

“And we saw that Resolve managed to make the trip to Sweden without any problems since he won the Cutler Memorial shortly after,” Myron said.

What does Myron hope for this year, regarding North American horses racing at Solvalla?

“I’ve got some contact with people in USA and we’re trying to get the puzzle together. We sure hope that more trainers show interest in coming, and not just for the Elitlopp,” Myron said. “Last year, Pinkman won a big race for four-year-old horses and we offer great races even on the Saturday, with the Sweden Cup the biggest of them,” Myron said.

There will be no stress for those who want to make the trip overseas this year. The plane back to America will leave from Gothenburg on the night between May 31 and first of June.
Un Mec d’Heripre in Italy

French horse Un Mec d’Heripre was the winner of the 2017 edition of Italian Group I race Gran Premio Costa Azzurra ($175.000) in Torino last Sunday (April 16).

The son of Orlando Vici took the lead in the mile race and together with Belgian top driver Jos Verbeeck, the Philppe Billard-trained horse kept his opponents away by a head in 1:55.3.

Un Mec d’Heripre has had a successful career in Europe and this was his fifth Group I victory so far.

On the nine-years-old trotter’s account already is victories in Criterium Continental, Prix Rene Balliere (both in France), St Michel-Race (Finland) and Åby Stora Pris (Sweden).

Last year, Un Mec d’Heripre took one of the elimination heats of the Elitlopp and finished third behind Nuncio and Resolve in the final, but was later disqualified after it was found out that the son of Orlando Vici had competed with abnormally high levels of Cobolt in Stockholm.

Final field of Olympiatravet takes the shape

Saturday, April 29 is the day of $308,000 Olympiatravet in Sweden. During the early spring, eliminations have been held across the northern country and last Sunday (April 16) saw an impressive winner in Reijo Liljendahl-trained Nadal Broline, who made his first start of the year in Rommes elimination over 2 5/8ths of mile.

The seven-year-old son of Yankee Glide out of the American Winner mare Aimee’s Promise climbed quickly on the ladder of career during 2016 and had only 26 lifetime starts before the race last Sunday. From position in second lane behind the gate, Nadal Broline should have had it tough to reach the top spot, but an incredibly strong finish from fourth over was enough to beat Volsted and D.D.’s Hitman short before the finish line.

The approximate mile time over the distance was 1:55.3.

These horses are ready for the final at Åby, Gothenburg, on April 29:

Your Highness (title defender) – Sweden
Voltigeur de Myrt (invited) – France

Lionel (invited) – Norway

Nuncio (invited) – Sweden
Black d’Avril (invited) – France
Kadett C.D. (elimination winner) – Sweden
Spring Erom (elimination winner) – Sweden
Nadal Broline (elimination winner) – Sweden

Bazire’s Belina best in Paris

French top driver, and trainer, Jean-Michel Bazire presented his Belina Josselyn in great shape at Vincennes, Paris, France last Friday (April 14).
Over the tough distance 3,5 5/8ths the filly of Love You out of the Workaholic mare Lezira Josselyn easily sprinted home Prix Jean Riaud ($120.000) in new track record (1:57.1, approximate mile time). Belina Josselyn finished second behind Bold Eagle in Prix d’Amerique in January and has $1,178,350 in her bank account.