by Thomas Hedlund
Two of the best trotters in the world invited the audience to a great show in Åby Stora Pris at Åby racetrack, Mölndal, Sweden on Saturday afternoon.
American bred Propulsion (Muscle Hill) and Swedish star Readly Express (Ready Cash) were the two main combatants in the race, which had new structure and shape this year. Instead of two heat races over the mile, Åby Stora Pris is now one race over 3,140 meters, approximately 1.9 miles where the winner was offered $220,000.
Propulsion from post one opened well and driver Örjan Kihlström could, after some fighting in the first turn, keep Readly Express on the outside while Muscle Hustle flew to the front for Robert Bergh.
Bergh kindly let Propulsion lead after a quarter of a mile, but at that point, Jorma Kontio made his serious move behind Readly Express and the Timo Nurmos-trained horse was in the lead after 600 meters.
A race over 3,140 meters with track conditions that weren’t the best has to keep the drivers calm and the two superstars in front locked the race and kept the pace in a moderate speed.
With a less than a kilometer to go, Jorma Kontio started to make the race painful for the chasers behind, but Propulsion followed easily as usual but still with a quarter to go, the American trotter had no room to use for his speed.
In the home stretch, the two leaders left the other horses in the race, but Propulsion still had a length to catch up to and the mission seemed too difficult for the Daniel Redén trained Muscle Hill son. Propulsion’s best game is the home stretch and this time he got his nose first at the wire.
“It’s the first time that I’ve beaten Readly Express, with any of my horses that I’ve driven, so this will be a memorable day. And if there was one horse in the world that could beat him, it would be Propulsion. I felt that I had a lot of power to use in the last turn, but i also knew who was in the lead. This horse is just incredible,” said Kihlström after the race.
Propulsion can look back at an astonishing season so far in 2018. This is just some of his results this year: Prix d’Amérique (3), Prix de France (3), Elitloppet (2), Norrbottens Stora Pris (1), Årjängs Stora Sprinterlopp (1), Hugo Åbergs Memorial (1) and Åby Stora Pris (1). In total, this season has added $926,701 to his account and it’s not impossible that he will reach $1 million before the year is over.
Mister F Daag German Derby winner
Mister F Daag (Conway Hall) and driver Robin Bakker won the $116,800 German Derby for 3-year-olds at Berlin-Mariendorf last Sunday.
Robin Bakker didn’t waste his chances to bring the gold to Paul Hagoort’s stable. From position outside the leader, Mister F Daag easily took control of the game and won ahead of stablemate Ids Boko in mile rate 1:56.2 over 1.2 miles.
Mister F Daag replay: