by Thomas Hedlund
A perfect third inside trip resulted in a tight win for Robert Bergh and his 4-year-old Googoo Gaagaa son Power in Friday night’s (Oct. 16) $470,000 Grand Prix de l’U.E.T. at Vincennes.
The race over 1.3 miles on the small track at Vincennes was spectacular, at least in the race’s ending phase, when leader and betting favorite Ecurie D. Seemed to have everything under control in the hands of Björn Goop. But when the field turned in for the last stretch, Ecurie D’s gait began to fail and 50 meters ahead of the wire, still in the lead, Frode Hamre’s trotter lost his gait and started to pace, which resulted in disqualification.
Instead, Bergh could take advantage of Ecurie D’s mishap. Bergh lifted Power into outside position in the last turn and the full attack was set with 150 meters to go. What Bergh didn’t know at that moment was that the leader was about to lose gait and between Power and Ecurie D. other horses got close to the wire. French mare Green Grass finished strongly between horses, Guzz Mearas as well and on the outside Aetos Kronos sprinted in his characteristic style. It was almost impossible to proclaim a winner when the four top horses reached the wire, but in some way Power put his nose first in a mile rate 1:54.3 over 1.3 miles.
Power and Hail Mary, both trained by Bergh, both sons of Googoo Gaagaa, have dominated the Derbys in Europe 2020, but according to Bergh, the season of Power next year will be different from the usual experience for 5-year-old trotters in Sweden. Bergh mentioned on ATG-live on Saturday afternoon that Power will work as sire during the spring and summer and that he might be back for the races next fall.
“We, the owners and I, are at least thinking about an arrangement like that, but there are still some prestigious races left this year, so we will see what happens,” Bergh said.
The Googoo Gaagaa blood will most probably be sought-after in Swedish breeding, not least after Googoo Gaagaa’s successful year as a sire.
Helgafell wins European Derby for sophomores
Three-year-old Helgafell (Charly du Noyer) was superior in $117,500 European Championship for 3-year-olds. Eric Raffin drove the Philippe Allaire-trained trotter and sent Helgafell to the lead a half mile into the race. In front, Helgafell had everything under complete control in a moderate mile rate of 1:59 over 1.3 miles.
Feerie Wood wins Derby for 5-year-olds
In the $117,500 Championship for 5-year-olds, Feerie Wood (Rockfeller Center) and Alexandre Abrivard found their space behind leader Stoletheshow at the top of the stretch and the mare sprinted to safe win in a mile rate 1:57.2 over 1.3 miles.