by Thomas Hedlund
Vermo racetrack in Helsinki, Finland will draw attention from harness racing fans in Europe on Sunday afternoon (May 1) when the track plays host to its biggest international event of the year — the $200,000 Finlandia-ajo.
Ten trotters chase a ticket to the Elitloppet and the probable favorite is Italian-bred and trained Bepi Bi, driven by Alessandro Gocciadoro. But Gocciadoro has declared that the next objective for Bepi Bi is the Sweden Cup at Solvalla on May 28.
Last week’s Seinäjoki race winner, Willow Pride, got the last ticket into the Finlandia-ajo.
Horse – Driver
- Majestic Man – Rikard N Skoglund
- Cokstile – Christoffer Eriksson
- Deangelo – Olli Koivunen
- Next Direction – Iikka Nurmonen
- Willow Pride – Ari Moilanen
- Bepi Bi – Alessandro Gocciadoro
- Brambling – Örjan Kihlström
- Tycoon Conway Hall – Jorma Kontio
- Gareth Boko – Santtu Raitala
- Stoletheshow – Björn Goop
STACKED SATURDAY OF RACING
Saturday (April 30) offers some great races in Europe. The $105,000 Criterium de Vitesse de Basse-Normandie mile race in Argentan, France. Some interesting horses will go behind the gate. Title defender Ce Bello Romain starts from post 1 in the 15-horse field.
The same afternoon, Örebro racetrack in Sweden will play host to the last elimination for the Paralympiatravet. Fans can look forward to a spectacular show as several horses — or actually trainers and drivers — will show off in the hunt for a ticket for the big mile race in late May. The race itself doesn’t qualify the winner for the Elitloppet, but the trainers have a great opportunity to show that their horses are good enough to be invited to Elitloppet.
Önas Prince, Brother Bill and exciting starter Beads (Archangel) all put spice to the race on Saturday afternoon.
CRITERIUM DE VITESSE DE BASSE-NORMANDIE 2022
Horse – Driver
- Ce Bello Romain – Anthony Barrier
- Flore de Janeiro – Franck Blandin
- Carnival du Vivier – Mathieu Mottier
- Express Jet – Pierre Vercruysse
- Rebella Matters – Christophe Martens
- Mister F Daag – Robin Bakker
- Fakir du Lorault – Francois Lecanu
- Elvis du Vallon – David Thomain
- Digen Et Droit – Franck Nivard
- Cadeau de la Vie – Adrien Meriel
- Deganwidah – Julien Travers
- Copsi – Dominik Locqueneux
- Forbach – Mathias Dubouit
- Tjacko Zaz – Nicolas Bazire
- Grand Art – Gabriele Gelormini
$30,500 PARALYMPIATRAVET, LAST ELIMINATION
Horse – Driver
- Chapuy – Åke Lindblom
- Mindyourvalue W.F. – Robert Bergh
- Brother Bill – Jorma Kontio
- Önas Prince – Per Nordström
- Diamanten – Björn Goop
- Beartime – Carl Johan Jepson
- Bubble Effe – Alessandro Gocciadoro
- Beads – Erik Adielsson
- Hazard Boko – Per Lennartsson
- Summit In Sight – Örjan Kihlström
CLEANGAME AND DON FANUCCI ZET IN GREAT STYLE
Jean-Michel Bazire’s top gelding Cleangame (Ouragan de Celland) was impressive when he claimed the fourth division of $95,000 Grand National du Trot, this time in Chateaubriant, France, on Wednesday (April 27) afternoon.
Cleangame started 50 meters behind the horses from the main distance of 2,975 meters and Bazire had lengths to capture as he let Cleangame follow three wide midway into the race. The duo landed outside the leader in the last turn and Cleangame seemed to have everything under total control already with a quarter of a mile to go. When he hit the wire, Cleangame recorded a mile rate of 1:55.3 over 1.9 miles, track record in Chateaubriant.
Elitloppet title defender Don Fanucci Zet (Hard Livin) tried France and was aimed towards the Prix d’Amérique during the winter meeting in Paris, but the 6-year-old colt got sick and had to cancel the France adventure at an early stage. On Tuesday night (April 26), the Hard Livin son made his comeback and from post 1 behind the gate, driver Örjan Kihlström hit the lead directly and Don Fanucci Zet solved the task without problem in 1:53.2.
Cleangame will not travel to Sweden and Solvalla in May, but Don Fanucci Zet showed that he’s ready to defend the title in Elitloppet 2022.
Click here for Cleangame replay.