by Thomas Hedlund
American native trainer Jerry Riordan has always a smart and fast comment after his horses races. But when five-year-old Twister Bi won Oslo Grand Prix in Norway last Sunday (June 11), Riordan seemed almost speechless.
Italian bred Twister Bi (Varenne—Lorraine Bi) was a real long shot in this year’s edition of Oslo Grand Prix. He was invited for the Elitlopp in the end of May, but did not qualify for the final in that race and with a tricky number behind the gate, no one thought that the Jerry Riordan trainee would be the winner in Oslo Grand Prix.
Dante Boko was quick for the lead and Lionel joined him on the outside after the half mile. When the pace was slow, it should have been difficult for the horses further back in the 10-horse field. Twister Bi was placed third over by his driver Christoffer Eriksson and with a half mile to go, Eriksson stepped the pedal and the son of Varenne quickly moved towards the duo in front.
When Lionel disarmed Dante Boko, everything looked great for the Norwegian favourite who was victorious in the Olympiatravet in April, but it might have been the lack of races thereafter that didn’t make him a winner this time.
Twister Bi was incredibly strong in the home stretch and for Eriksson, this was his biggest victory to date.
“This is something you dream about when you start in this business,” Eriksson said while Jerry Riordan just looked like he was, indeed, dreaming.
“Lisa America was already a star when she won Oslo Grand Prix 2010,” Riordan said. “Twister Bi is a rising star, just like Christoffer Eriksson. I had to admit that I didn’t see so much of the race’s last 200 meters, but Lionel is a big star in Norway and when I heard that the spectators went silent just before the finish line, I understood that we had won.”
The victory was worth 1.5 million Norwegian crowns ($177,000 U.S.) and Twister Bi will most certainly show more of his capacity during the big races in Europe later this season.
The approximate mile time over the distance two 5/8ths was 1:56.4.
Lionel was second and French bred and trained Aubrion du Gers was third.
Eriksson, 30, has 38 horses in training, but is more known as one of the freshest and more successful catch drivers in Sweden. In May, Eriksson won Kungapokalen at Åby, Sweden, with Peter Forsberg’s Diamanten and the month before he was victorious in the Prix Etain Royal in Seinäjoki, Finland, with Twister Bi.
Jerry Riordan left Italy for Sweden a couple of years ago and he has had great results, with both young and older horses since he established in Halmstad in south of Sweden.
Italian horses dominate his stable and Twister Bi may very well be his next superstar.
Västerbo Highflyer wins Östersund
In one of the biggest races during the summer for the open trot in Sweden was held in Östersund last Saturday (June 10) and over two 5/8ths, the nine-year-old Västerbo Highflyer (Look de Star) was to hard to catch.
Per Linderoth, who started his career in Östersund, steered the Daniel Redén-trained horse for the first time and controlled the field without making any mistakes. The victory was worth 700,000 Swedish crowns (approximately $81,000 U.S.) and the mile time over the distance was 1:55.
“I get a little bit sentimental and touched by this moment. I’ve seen this particular race since I was 14 years old and it was incredibly nice to drive this horse. This is really a big moment for me,” said Linderoth, 37, after the victory.
Twelve-year-old Elitlopp contender Spring From finished second and On Track Piraten bagged the bronze.