by Thomas Hedlund
Googoo Gaagaa couldn’t get much better publicity in his new home country of Sweden then when his 3-year-old Swedish-born son Power won the $824,400 Kriteriet at Solvalla on Sunday afternoon.
Ahead of the race, it should have been a battle between two of the newest stallions on the market in Europe: Bold Eagle, through first choice Aetos Kronos and Googoo Gaagaa, via the two elimination winners Bythebook and Power.
But Aetos Kronos disappeared early from the discussion since he acted stressed when driver Örjan Kihlström tried to put the horse in right position behind the gate. Aetos Kronos lost his gait and Kihlström tried to do whatever he could to get the, until Sunday’s race, dominant Bold Eagle son on better thoughts. Aetos Kronos had his bad day on the wrong day meaning trainer Jerry Riordan wouldn’t win the Kriteriet this year.
With Aetos Kronos off stride, the 1.6-mile long race became a more open affair and the first half-mile was rough. Upset Face and Power fought for the lead after the first turn and Robert Bergh let his Power to roll three wide, in chase for front position. With two laps to go (2 kilometers), Power took control of the race and Bergh successively sped up the race in front and although runner up Brother Bill, trained by Timo Nurmos, got close at the wire, the victory was safe all the way.
Power came home in a mile rate of 1:57.2. Brother Bill (From Above) finished second and Exodus Briock (Make It Happen) third.
“Of course, I’ve known since a long time ago that this horse is something extra and that’s why the feeling is so special when every brick falls in the right place in a big race like this. I’m very happy that we won today,” said Bergh.
Bergh noted his fourth victory in the biggest staked race for 3-year-olds in Sweden.
In 1996, Bergh captured his first trophy in the race, with Remington Crown and in 1999 and 2000 he won with Simb Zipper and Hilda Zonett.
Redén dominates Oaks
In the $577,000 Oaks for the 3-year-old mares, Daniel Redén sat in the front seat with three contenders, all elimination winners and when Redén’s first driver Örjan Kihlström picked to drive Diana Zet (Hard Livin), many fans considered that she would be the horse to beat.
From post two, Diana Zet opened decent, but she was never close to reach the lead since stablemates Award Kronos and Alaska Kronos both were quick from the start. After a fast first quarter of a mile, Kihlström attacked three wide and Diana Zet was in the lead with 1,400 meters to go.
With Award Kronos in the pocket and Alaska Kronos placed first over, the Redén stable locked up the race and Diana Zet got her serious order to accelerate with a quarter to go. The Hard Livin mare got three, four lengths ahead of her opponents and was never challenged in the stretch.
For the second year in a row, Redén lifting the trophy after the Oaks. In 2018, Conrads Rödluva gave Redén his biggest win as a trainer, but the outcome in the 2019 edition was better. Alaska Kronos surprised the trainer and held to earn the silver medal from first over.
“I’m so proud of my girls today. Alaska Kronos performance was just incredible and I couldn’t believe that she had the capacity to finish second after a trip on the outside the whole race,” Redén said. “Diana Zet was my worst 2-year-old if we look in the rearview mirror one year ago, but she started to grow a lot in the spring and when I qualified her in April, I had to re-evaluate her capacity. Since then, she’s done almost everything perfectly and it’s so fun that Hard Livin could show that he produces trotters like her.”
Stall Zet (Brixton Medical AB) bought Hard Livin from Jimmy Takter’s stable after the 3-year-old season and Diana Zet is his first stakes winner in Sweden.
Field set for European Derby
The $440,000 Grand Prix de l’U.E.T. is scheduled at Vermo racetrack in Helsinki, Finland on Oct. 12 and the two remaining eliminations were held at Solvalla on Saturday afternoon.
Face Time Bourbon and Mister F Daag won the races in Paris during the week and at Solvalla, the big favorite Campo Bahia was scratched from his elimination.
Finland celebrated two victories when the big Swedish hope was gone.
Tuomas Korvenoja’s Lewis Ale (Andover Hall), paired with Mika Forss won the first race in mile rate of 1:55.4 over 1.3 miles and the duo took a safe wire-to-wire victory.
Finnish Derby winner Graceful Swamp (So Perfect) and Ari Moilanen copied the winning recipe from Mika Forss and Graceful Swamp came home in 1:56.4.
European Derby 2019
Horse (Sire) – Trainer
Lewis Ale (Andover Hall) – Tuomas Korvenoja
Mister F Daag (Conway Hall) – Paul Hagoort
Graceful Swamp (So Perfect) – Erkki-Pekka Mäkinen
Face Time Bourbon (Ready Cash) – Sébastien Guarato
Florida Sport (Tornado Bello) – Miguel Mestre Suner
Frisbee d’Am (The Best Madrik) – Richard Westerink
Follow You (Ready Cash) – Sébastien Guarato
Lover Boy (Conway Hall) – Yannick Desmet
Donatello Garbo (Wishing Stone) – Jens Lindhardt
Forfantone Am (Muscle Hill) – Roger Walmann
Max Grady (Cantab Hall) – Geir Vegard Gundersen
Noble Superb (Maharajah) – Geir Vegard Gundersen
World record in Bologna
The $168,000 Gran Premio Continentale for 4-year-olds was held in Bologna, Italy on Sunday afternoon and the race resulted in a world record performance.
Alessandro Goociadoro totally dominates the Italian harness racing industry and whenever big money is on the table, Gocciadoro picks it up. In the Gran Premio Continentale, his weapon was Zaniha Bi (Equinox Bi). The duo hit the lead with 5/8ths of a mile to go and from the lead Zaniha Bi took a safe win in mile rate 1:56.3, which is a world record for 4-year-olds over distance 1.3 mile on a half-mile track.