by Thomas Hedlund
Saturday (April 10) at Jägersro racetrack in Sweden, the first elimination was held for the $351,000 Paralympiatravet at Åby set for May 8. First betting choice Racing Mange (Orlando Vici) scored the victory, holding his toughest opponent Cyber Lane on the outside and behind him at the wire.
Racing Mange had to use plenty of power reaching the lead after 600 meters and when Cyber Lane connected on the outside shortly after, the expected duel began.
Joakim Lövgren, trainer and driver of Racing Mange, trusted his horse in the home stretch when Cyber Lane tried to disarm the leader. In a tight finish, Racing Mange held on by a large nose and recorded a mile rate of 1:56.1 over 1.3 miles.
For the final of the Paralympiatravet at Åby racetrack, Racing Mange will join already invited Gelati Cut in the race.
Later on Saturday night (April 10), Åby’s sports general Jon Walter Pedersen announced that two more horses have been invited to the final. Ecurie D, who won at Solvalla on Wednesday night, and French star Delia du Pommereux will both be participating in the big race.
Ecurie D. tried his luck among older elite trotters already last year and finished fourth in the Hugo Åbergs Memorial in July. Delia du Pommereux has been among the top French trotters the last few years and she can look back at a winter meeting in Paris where she beat Face Time Bourbon in the Prix de France.
Whether last year’s most dominant 4-year-old – and Swedish Horse of the Year – Hail Mary will join in the Paralympiatravet is not yet known, but the horse made his debut for the year on Friday night (April 9) in northern Sweden, where trainer Robert Bergh found a suitable race to start the season. Hail Mary had zero opponents that could challenge him and the son of Googoo Gaagaa just cruised to safe win in a moderate mile rate of 2:02.4 over 1.3 miles.
The top horses in Europe are starting to leave their barns after the winter and next up is Finland and the $151,000 Seinäjoki Race on Saturday (April 17). Eight horses are invited to the race and Italian star Vernissage Grif, trained by Alessandro Gocciadoro, is one of them.