by Thomas Hedlund
Daniel Redén’s Muscle Hill son Propulsion was heavy favorite in the $418,000 Åby Stora Pris held at Åby, outside of Gothenburg in Sweden on Saturday afternoon and he did not disappoint.
For the second year in a row, the top trotter went home with the big trophy in the race contested over three laps of the 5/8th mile track — this time with a world record performance.
Twelve horses fought for positions when the car accelerated and Örjan Kihlström, who started in second line, from post nine with Propulsion, eventually found third over with the 8-year-old star trotter.
Mindyourvalue W.F. and Milligan’s School had a quick battle for the front position during the race’s first 600 meters and when the field turned into the second turn, Milligan’s School was in the lead.
French trotter Carat Williams tried to challenge for the lead, but driver Gabriele Gelormini had to stay first over with Sébastien Guarato’s horse.
The pace slowed down midway into the race and Kihlström sat calmly in third over until 650 meters to go. Then Propulsion got the order to attack three wide and behind him Makethemark followed easily for Ulf Ohlsson.
The front horses were out of gas in the end of the last turn and Propulsion once again showed that he is just an all-round trotter that masters all kind of distances, positions in races and above all, that he still, after four seasons in toughest possible competition, can win big races in Europe.
This time he left his opponents over the stretch and came home in mile rate of 1:57.1, a world record over 1.95 miles on a 5/8 mile track.
“When I trotted him before the race, after the parade, my thoughts were focused on what a stunning horse Propulsion is. He’s been running these kind of races for so long and still feels like he’s at his best condition. It’s just a tremendous feeling to drive him and he does everything so easily, he’s perfect in the hands and knows when to put in the extra gear,” Kihlström said.
Propulsion pushed his life earnings to $3,056,110. In 73 starts, he has posted 36 victories.
“I don’t know many other trotters that have been so tough as Propulsion throughout so many seasons. For me, he’s the best, but I understand that there have been many great trotters on the tracks before him. I don’t know when this saga ends, but as long as Propulsion wants to compete, I’ll let him run,” said Redén.
Makethemark’s 2019 is also a stunning story. Petri Salmela’s horse followed up his victory in St Michel-ajo with a runner up performance in Åby Stora Pris, ahead of leader Milligan’s School.
Time for the big sales
The big harness racing horses sales are on the way in near future in Europe.
Deauville in France will sell 518 trotters from Sept. 4 to Sept. 6 and this particular sale is one of the most visited in Europe throughout the year.
But first, on Aug. 13, the Sweden International Yearling Sale is scheduled at Wenngarns castle outside of Stockholm where 123 trotters are offered for the buyers to purchase. Several trotters in the catalogue are eligible for the American stakes races. Swedish-bred trotters have been successful in the U.S. lately. For example, Green Manalishi, a Hambletonian elimination winner this year, was sold at the Kolgjini sales in 2017.
Horses eligible for American stakes races:
Invader Am (Muscle Hill—Vladzia Mauzun by Coktail Jet)
Il Frate Am (S.J.’s Caviar—Noblesse Kronos by Viking Kronos)
Riser Ås (Trixton—Golden Door Lindy by Cambest)
Ivanhoe Am (Raja Mirchi—Nirvana F.H. by S.J.’s Photo)
Casey Ås (Yankee Glide—Carolyn Ås by Striking Sahbra)
Isidor Am (Chocolatier—Starobrno by Windsong’s Legacy)
Mesmerize’Em (Father Patrick—Face’Em by Offshore Dream)
Impala Am (Southwind Frank—Deesse d’Inverne by Korean)
Insikt Am (E L Titan—Operett Ribb by Revenue)
Breakingthelaw Ås (Trixton—Fortune Again by Andover Hall)
Crystal Kronos (Father Patrick—Rhapsody Kronos by Viking Kronos)
So Far Away Ås (E L Titan—Perfect View Ås by Like A Prayer)
Icicle Am (Raja Mirchi—Pin Kronos by Cantab Hall)
5-year-olds chase big trophy at Solvalla
The $192,000 Jubileumspokalen for 5-year-old trotters is scheduled at Solvalla on Wednesday and 12 top horses will be gathered around the track in the hunt of glory.
Swedish Derby winner Who’s Who, Norwegian Derby winner Gretzky B.R., Grand Prix de l’U.E.T.- and Kriteriet winner Villiam, Hambletonian winner Perfect Spirit, Suur-Hollola winner Hachiko de Veluwe, Breeders Crown winner Selmer I.H. and Harper Hanovers race winner Eelis are just some of the top trotters in the race and then Elitloppet contender Milliandollarrhyme wasn’t mentioned yet.
Trainer Timo Nurmos dominates the race with three horses attending. Villiam, Eelis and Hachiko de Veluwe all come from his stable.
The status of Jubileumspokalen is high and this year, Solvalla has really succeeded in attracting most of the best 5-year-olds in Europe.
2,140 meters (approximately 1.3 miles) is the distance in the race.
Horse – Driver – Life earnings in USD
1. Norton Commander – Conrad Lugauer – $112,427
2. Gretzky B.R. – Magnus Teien Gundersen – $349,971
3. Spickleback Face – Robert Bergh – $144,069
4. Villiam – Jorma Kontio – $650,651
5. Vincero’ Gar – Alessandro Gocciadoro – $95,185
6. Milliondollarrhyme – Fredrik B Larsson – $175,723
7. Selmer I.H. – Mika Forss – $225,713
8. Perfect Spirit – Carl Johan Jepson – $976,792
9. Who’s Who – Örjan Kihlström – $620,940
10. Hachiko de Veluwe – Björn Goop – $333,379
11. Heart Of Steel – Peter Untersteiner – $213,187
12. Eelis – Olli Koivunen – $190,536