by Thomas Hedlund
The $410,500 Åby Stora Pris at Åby racetrack in Sweden was held on Saturday afternoon (Aug. 8) and the long test over 3,140 meters (2 miles) for the older elite is always a spectacular show. For the third year in a row the race has been contested over this actual distance and Propulsion has crossed the wire first both 2018 and 2019.
The field for 2020’s Åby Stora Pris was equable, a very open edition waited when the car left 12 contenders and Handsome Brad was the horse that left most quickly in the first 150 meters. From post 6, first choice Who’s Who and Örjan Kihlström opened surprisingly fast and the duo could hit the lead a half mile into the race. When Who’s Who reached the front position, the pace went down and everything seemed to go Who’s Who’s way this day. But Finnish guest Don Williams made the trip more testing for Who’s Who, who became eager in front after half the distance and the power he used at that moment would turn out to be important ingredients that he lacked for at the end of the story.
Then Björn Goop sent his Norwegian-bred Moni Viking (Maharajah) in a whirlwind three wide attack in the last trip up the backstretch and when Moni Viking landed outside of leader Who’s Who, Goop got the advantage. Moni Viking and Who’s Who were side by side at the top of the stretch, but Goop had more power to use in his 7-year-old chestnut trotter and Moni Viking claimed the trophy in a mile rate of 1:56.2 over 1.95 miles.
“I trust this horse a lot when he races. Moni Viking has performed very well at every occasion here in the Nordic countries and I like him very much. I knew it would be tough with Who’s Who in front, but as I said, I trust Moni Viking,” said Goop after the victory.
Who’s Who (Maharajah) held strongly for silver medal while Cyber Lane (Raja Mirchi) finished quickly from impossible post, 11, as third.