Chase for Olympic gold continues

by Thomas Hedlund

A Very Kronos, far from his best form, was the first choice in the first elimination ahead of the $315,000 Paralympiatravet (Åby on May 7) at Jägersro racetrack in Malmö last Saturday (April 9) and home trotter Upstate Face (Joke Face) grabbed a well-deserved spot in the big race at Åby in May, as well.

Upstate Face and driver/trainer Adrian Kolgjini was one of the big rookies in Swedish harness racing in 2021 and the now 6-year-old gelding got close to the already established top trotters in northern Europe during the fall. Upstate Face might very well be a horse for the Elitloppet, but first he will meet the older elite in Paralympiatravet over 1.3 miles on May 7.

Title defender, French top mare Delia du Pommereux received an early wild card for the final and a Danish rookie, Extreme, also got an early invitation from Åby.

Elimination races will be held at Romme (April 17), Halmstad (April 23) and Örebro (April 30) and in Saturday’s race at Romme, Pasi Aikio-trained Who’s Who chases a spot in the big final.

Milligan’s School and Spickleback Face seem to be the toughest opponents for Who’s Who and most likely one of these three trotters will fight for the win.

Easter is traditionally the start of the big races in the northern European countries and today (April 15) Färjestad holds its appreciated race card where 5-year-old trotters get their chances to show if they’ve managed to take the big step from the 4-year-old season.

The $52,500 Prins Carl Philips Jubileumspokal is the real deal even if only seven horses will gather behind the car. Last year’s dominant 4-year-old Önas Prince won basically everything except for the Derby. He got lucky in the draw and will start from post 1. Per Nordström’s horse will be tough to beat and it’s no secret that the entourage around the horse dream about Elitloppet at Solvalla in May.


1,640 meters

Horse – Driver

Önas Prince – Per Nordström

  1. Bepi Bi – Alessandro Gocciadoro
  2. San Moteur – Björn Goop
  3. Maesteraemon – Mats E Djuse
  4. Best Ofdream Trio – Kim Eriksson
  5. Hollywood Story – Ulf Ohlsson
  6. Brambling – Örjan Kihlström


Italian top trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro has installed some part of his horses in Sweden for the spring and summer races in northern Europe and there are some really well known trotters that he has brought north. In his home country, the big star Vernissage Grif (Varenne) claimed the title in the $166,750 Gran Premio Costa Azzurra in Turin on Sunday (April 10) afternoon.

Vernissage Grif hit the lead after a quarter of a mile and defended himself when Blackflash Bar attacked in the home stretch. The winning time was 1:54 and Vernissage Grif will most likely continue his journey up north, maybe even at Solvalla in May. The chestnut was dominating among older Italian trotters in 2021 by winning the $166,750 Campionato Europeo, $143,000 Gran Premio Citta di Montecatini, $120,000 Gran Premio Duomo, $145,000 Jämtands Stora Pris and $105,000 Årjängs Stora Sprinterlopp.


The $97,500 Prix Jean Riaud over 1.7 miles was held at Vincennes last Saturday (April 9) and Prix de Paris winner Diable de Vauvert showed that he belongs among top French trotters at this moment.

Merited horses such as Cleangame, Gu d’Heripre and Elie de Beaufour entered the race and Cleangame seemed to claim the victory when the field turned for home in the last turn, but at that point Cleangame lost his gait and made a break. Diable de Vauvert finished impressively and won easily in mile rate 1:55 ahead of Rebella Matters and Gu d’Heripre.

The next objective for Bertrand Le Beller’s trotter will be Prix de l’Atlantique at Paris-track Enghien on April 23. Then he will be aimed towards Sweden and Harper Hanover’s race over 3,140 meters during the Elitloppet weekend.


Steen Juul trained Extreme (Chocolatier) became the fifth horse that received an invitation for the 2022 Elitloppet at Solvalla.

The 6-year-old colt will race the Paralympiatravet final at Åby on May 7 and then Elitloppet on May 29.

Extreme beat horses such as Aetos Kronos and Don Fanucci Zet when he won $105,000 European Championship 5-years-old at Åby in October last year and Denmark has a really interesting card to play in big races this year as Extreme has showed great qualities over basically every different distance there is.


Horse – Country

Don Fanucci Zet — Sweden (Title defender)

Etonnant — France

Vivid Wise As — Italy

Back Of The Neck — USA

Extreme — Denmark