by Thomas Hedlund
The $125,000 Ulf Thoresen Grand International was held at Jarlsberg racetrack in Norway on Sunday afternoon (July 11) and the winner has become some kind of a specialist of upset wins in northern Europe.
Norwegian-bred Hickothepooh (Triton Sund) shocked fans by winning Finlandia-ajo in Helsinki in May, which meant that he qualified for the Elitloppet at Solvalla. In Stockholm, Hickothepooh had no luck but when the Ulf Thoresen Grand International was on the schedule, driver Vidar Hop used the horse’s great ability to leave quickly and the duo hit the lead at an early stage.
When Hop made the last move with his horse in the last turn, the advantage to chaser Moni Viking increased.
Moni Viking fought strongly after an outside trip and Björn Goop’s trotter gained several meters against the leader towards the wire, but he could never reach Trond Andersen trained Hickothepooh, who came home in a mile rate of 1:54.4 over 1.3 miles.
Moni Viking was second and Elitloppet bronze medalist Gareth Boko finished third.
Face Time Bourbon in Finland
He might be the best trotter in the world. After two consecutive Prix d’Amérique victories and several top performances on his record, Face Time Bourbon (Ready Cash) is ready for a big battle outside of his home country France and Sébastien Guarato’s trotter will face seven opponents in Sunday’s (July 18) $190,000 S:t Michel Ajo in Mikkeli, Finland.
Eric Raffin will drive Face Time Bourbon in Mikkeli and they drew number 7 behind the gate. Stablemate Billie de Montfort and Timo Nurmos trained Seismic Wave looks to be the toughest opponents ahead of the race, but normally, Face Time Bourbon will show who’s the best trotter in the world even over the mile.
St Michel Ajo 2021
Post – Horse – Driver
1. Vitruvio – Alessandro Gocciadoro
2. Evaluate – Santtu Raitala
3. Seismic Wave – Hannu Torvinen
4. Next Direction – Iikka Nurmonen
5. Bille de Montfort – Gabriele Gelormini
6. Run For Royalty – Pekka Korpi
7. Face Time Bourbon – Eric Raffin
8. Grainfield Aiden – Hannu Korpi