by Thomas Hedlund
The $190,000 Gran Premio Costa Azzurra was held in Torino, Italy last Sunday and the race contained several spectacular scenes before the winner was named.
French born Dijon was sent to the early lead with 6-year-old mare Tamure Roc (Exploit Caf) in the pocket. When Uza Josselyn (who received an invitation for the Elitlopp earlier this year) made a break, everything looked perfect for the leader Dijon.
But in the home stretch Dijon lost concentration and made a break just ahead of the finish line. With the leader gone, Tamure Roc kept a good pace and kept challenger Timone Ek behind her by a head at the wire in modest 1:59.1 over the mile. Santo Mollo drove the Fausto Barelli-trained winner.
Perfect Spirit wins European debut
Hambletonian winner Perfect Spirit made his debut in Europe last Tuesday at Solvalla, Sweden. In a field of just five horses, the 4-year-old son of Andover Hall had to fight first over during the race’s last 5/8ths of a mile. Before the last turn it seemed like Perfect Spirit had beaten the leader Muscleman F.I., but the new conditions, with a smaller track and voltstart, might have made the Hambletonian winner a bit confused and he started to hesitate about his job for awhile before he showed full focus again in the home stretch.
In total, Perfect Spirit showed great ability to win in 1:55.4 and now he’s heading to the elimination for the Kungapokalen at Åby racetrack on April 27.
Lionel and Charrua Forlan dead heat
Last year’s winner of Olympiatravet, Lionel (Look de Star), spent the winter in Paris where he got injured in Prix d’Amérique in the end of January. Lionel’s owner Göran Antonsen was in the bike when the 8-year-old stallion made his comeback at Solvalla and the preparation for Olympiatravet couldn’t be better. From second outside, Lionel finished strongly to dead heat with leader Charrua Forlan (Up Front Larry) in a mile rate of 1:56.1 over 1.3 miles.
Seinäjoki on tap in Finland on Saturday
The $87,000 Seinäjoki race is scheduled in Finland on Saturday (April 21) over 1.3 miles and featuring a field of 10. Åby Stora Pris winner Midnight Hour will try to make this edition triumphant for the Finnish team.
Seinäjoki Race (2,100 meters)
Horse – Driver
Peace Of Mind – Alessandro Gocciadoro (Italy)
J.H.Mannerheim – Peter Ingves (Sweden)
Next Direction – Jukka Torvinen (Finland)
Quick Fix – Ari Moilanen (Sweden)
Call Me Keeper – Örjan Kihlström (Sweden)
Midnight Hour – Iikka Nurmonen (Finland)
T.Rex – Mika Forss (Finland)
I’m Just A Sund – Hannu Torvinen (Finland)
Workout Wonder – Tommi Kylliänen (Finland)
Pastore Bob – Johan Untersteiner (Sweden)
Giants meet in Paris
The $247,500 Prix de l’Atlantique is scheduled for Saturday (April 21) at Enghien racetrack in Paris and the 1.3 mile race has attracted several French top trotters.
Bold Eagle, Belina Josselyn and Bird Parker are named as the toughest horses in the race and for Bold Eagle, this performance will be his last before he targets Elitloppet at Solvalla in the end of May.
Prix de l’Atlantique (2,150 meters)
Horse – Driver
1. Akim du Cap Vert – Franck Anne
2. Belina Josselyn – Jean-Michel Bazire
3. Carat Williams – Eric Raffin
4. Anette du Mirel – Matthieu Abrivard
5. Bird Parker – Jean-Philippe Monclin
6. Bold Eagle – Franck Nivard
7. Bille de Montfort – David Thomain