by Thomas Hedlund
During a pandemic, awards nights look a little different around the world and when Sweden’s Horse of the Year awards were held on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 6), the event was connected to V75 races at Solvalla.
Several different awards were on the menu and, traditionally, the biggest title is always Horse of the Year. Now 5-year-old Hail Mary (Googoo Gaagaa) claimed the award after his splendid 4-year-old season in 2020, when a triumph in The Derby was his most prestigious victory.
Robert Bergh trains the talented trotter and Bergh was also nominated in the category Trainer of the Year where Daniel Redén (with 11 Group 1 wins during 2020) was too tough to beat.
Björn Goop was awarded the Driver of the Year trophy. His Prix d’Amérique victory with Face Time Bourbon in 2020 impressed the Swedish Harness Writers Association and Goop will most probably be hard to pull down from the throne in next year’s HOY awards in Sweden.
Italiano Vero in Paris
Two $121,000 races for 3-year-olds were held at Vincennes on Saturday afternoon and in the Prix Paul Viel for colts, Philippe Allaire trained Italiano Vero (Ready Cash) was outstanding from the lead paired with David Thomain.
Italiano Vero is one of the most merited 3-year-olds in the French I-crop and this was the horse’s sixth win in nine attempts.
In Prix Roquepine for fillies, Inoubliable (Prodigious) and Jean-Philippe Dubois claimed the win after a trip where Inoubliable had to work pretty hard three wide before she reached the lead with more than a half-mile to go in the 1.3-mile race.
When in front, Inoubliable was unstoppable and she cruised to safe win, the second Group 2 race victory in a row.