by Thomas Hedlund
Johnny Takter abruptly quit as a harness racing driver in May of this year. A sensational career with victories in most of the biggest races in Europe came to an end and Takter was, it seemed, determined to leave the business — at least for quite a while.
Takter returned for some short comeback moments, behind horses that he really loves to drive, and 3-year-old Maharajah mare A Sweet Dance is one of those trotters.
The duo were favorites in the Swedish Oaks at Solvalla on Sunday afternoon, but it was not in that race that Takter made history this time.
Instead, he was entrusted behind one of Timo Nurmos’ four horses in the $900,000 Kriterium ($900,000 since the whole field of 12 horses got double price money in the race) and the choice Takter was given was Inti Boko (Chocolatier—Sue Boko by Yankee Glide) who finished second in his elimination and now started from number 7 behind the gate.
Takter had never before won the Kriterium in Sweden. His brother Jimmy was successful in the race in 1994 with Mr Lavec and now it was Johnny’s time for celebration. Inti Boko opened quickly from his outside position and challenged stablemate Cab Lane for the lead after 150 meters before Takter changed tactics and tried to find the pocket trip behind the leader. Inti Boko continued in second line while both Campo Bahia and Attraversiamo took places in front of him mid race.
Leader Cab Lane was beaten by Attraversiamo in the last turn and from second over, Campo Bahia seemed to have the best poswer and speed in the home stretch, but behind him Takter waited patiently with Inti Boko and when the son of Chocolatier was given full order to attack, Campo Bahia was disarmed immediately.
This was Into Boko’s sixth start in his career. He made his racing debut as late as the end of June this year. It’s quite an impressive effort to make, to win a prestigious race like the Kriterium over 1.7 miles with so few races to look back on, but that is something on which trainer Timo Nurmos is some kind of expert. Nurmos took his seventh victory in the Kriterium and we remember last year’s edition, where his Villiam set a world record in a mile rate 1:55.4. Inti Boko came home in 1:58.1 and earned $450,000.
Campo Bahia (Muscle Hill) finished second for trainer Conrad Lugauer while Address Book (One Too Many) took the bronze medal for Johan Untersteiner.
Conrads Rödluva wins Oaks
In the Oaks, A Sweet Dance (Maharajah) was without luck for Takter. A trip outside leader Staro Miami (S.J.’s Caviar) was to tough for the Helena Burman-trained mare and instead the race with a purse of $631,000 became a success for Daniel Redén and Örjan Kihlström.
Charismatic S.J.’s Caviar daughter Conrads Rödluva (out of Moviestar) got a perfect trip in second over and Kihlström had to leave his position behind favorite A Sweet Dance and attack three wide with a half mile to go. A last turn three wide didn’t stop Conrads Rödluva who easily got control of the race in mid home stretch.
The chestnut colored 3-year-old sprinted home the victory with earplugs still in the ears and Daniel Redén increased his already large number of big wins for 2018.
“This is definitely the biggest race I’ve won so far. It’s very special since we found this horse at the auction here at Solvalla two years ago and I’ve trained her the whole way. The funny thing is that we haven’t aimed at something special this year, although I felt already in her qualification that she is a horse that’s better than most of the other 3-year-olds in my stable. She’ll have a great future on the track and it’s a really nice feeling to win a prestigious race like this”, said Redén.
Staro Miami held strongly in the lead for second place and Adorable Lady (Zola Boko) finished quickly for third place.
Gocciado – again
Alessandro Gocciadoro continues to dominate the Italian harness racing business and on Sunday afternoon he collected the victory in half mile track Bologna’s $178,000 Gran Premio Continentale with Adrian Chip son Vitruvio.
Gocciadoro came to the lead at an early stage in the 1.3 miles long race and the drama was over at that point. Vitruvio left his opponents to a six lengths victory in mile rate 1:57.2.
In the division for mares, Viscarda Jet (Pine Chip) sprinted to victory on open stretch from position third on the inside. Visa As made a break on her way to attack leader Virginia Grif with 200 meters to go and that made the way open for winner Viscarda Jet, who came home in 1:56.2 over the mile.