by Thomas Hedlund
Stefan Melander-trained Milligan’s School (Yankee Glide) was the answer when $145,000 Jämtlands Stora Pris was held at Östersund racetrack in Sweden on Saturday afternoon.
And it was a perfect trip, signed by Carl Johan Jepson, that established the prestigious victory.
Two contenders from this year’s Elitloppet entered Jämtlands Stora Pris 2019 and the story of the race had indeed two main characters in Double Exposure and Milligan’s School.
Double Exposure flew when the car left the field of nine horses in the 1.3 miles long race and Örjan Kihlström seemed to have everything under control pretty soon after the first turn. But an early attack from Volnik du Kras and driver Jorma Kontio made the race more spectacular than it seemed to be after the first quarter and Mindyourvalue W.F., who was parked outside leader, was given command to defend the position, at least for a couple of hundred meters before Robert Bergh decided to let Volnik du Kras pass him by. But at that point, the Italian-bred Volnik du Kras lost focus and couldn’t really make Double Exposure company on the outside and the pace in the race was very irregular.
Carl Johan Jepson sat behind the leader with Milligan’s School and when horses attacked three wide at the back stretch, the field started to disunite whereupon Milligan’s School got the space he needed to get out of his locked position.
Double Exposure defended herself well, but couldn’t give more when Milligan’s Shool’s finish was too strong. The 6-year-old Yankee Glide son collected his second big win in north of Sweden within a year. Last year, he won the $212,000 Sundsvall Open Trot at Bergsåker and finished second to Propulsion in the $424,000 final of Masters at Östersund.
Mile rate for Milligan’s School was 1:54.1 over 1.3 miles and Double Exposure held to second place ahead of Sweden Cup winner Queer Fish.
Track record at Vincennes
Elitloppet runner up, Aubrion du Gers (Memphis du Rib) was back in France and Vincennes on Saturday afternoon and Jean-Michel Bazire’s gelding chased the victory as first choice in $113,000 Prix Chambon P. The 1.8 miles long race became a speedy story where leader Traders kept the pace at high level throughout the race. Aubrion du Gers followed as third horse and Jean-Michel Bazire left inside position for first over with 5/8ths of a mile to go. Aubrion du Gers couldn’t really get control of the leader until the home stretch, when Traders lost his gait and got out of stride. Carat Williams followed behind Aubrion du Gers and seemed to be a serious challenger when he as well made a break and disappeared.
At that point, Aubrion du Gers was the winner in many fans’ eyes, but far outside Tony Gio (Varenne) attacked quickly and driver Eric Raffin managed to put his horse’s nose first at the wire in mile rate 1:55.2, which is a tangent off the track record over the particular distance.
Sébastien Gurato trains the Italian bred 7-year-old Varenne son.
Aubrion du Gers finished second and Anzi des Liards third.