Etonnant sets 1:51.2 stakes record in Prix de Washington
by Thomas Hedlund
Richard Westerink-trained Etonnant (Timoko) had a perfect performance in the $125,000 Prix de Washington at Enghien in Paris on Saturday (July 15) afternoon.
Elitloppet winner Hohneck opened quickly for the lead, but Etonnant connected on the leader’s outside on the backstretch. Midway through the race, Etonnant was the new leader.
Westerink’s trotter continued in a high pace, leaving the opponents behind him. Driver Anthony Barrier had a pleasant home stretch in the bike.
Etonnant won in a new stakes record of 1:51.2 over the mile and Holger Ehlert’s Bleff Dipa finished strongly as the runner up, just ahead of Hohneck.
Etonnant’s comeback after illness during the winter meeting in Paris has been marvelous. The $125,000 Prix Kerjacques, $225,000 Prix de l’Atlantique and $180,000 Kymi Grand Prix are just some of his victories this season.
Also on Saturday, but in Sweden, the $120,000 Årjängs Stora Sprinterlopp was on the race card in Årjäng and Elitloppet runner up San Moteur attracted the most interest in the race, even if there were several top trotters among the opponents.
Stefan Melander’s Click Bait went to the front and Björn Goop took it slowly throughout the first turn with San Moteur, but when the field had a lap to go (1 kilometer), San Moteur was on the leader’s outside and the battle began. Click Bait is a tough horse to beat over the mile, especially when he’s in front, but San Moteur pushed hard in the last turn and when the field turned for home, Goop’s trotter had an advantage. Missle Hill tried to challenge from second over and closed the gap to San Moteur, but was never really close enough that San Moteur would be beaten on a rainy day in Årjäng. He won in 1:53.
Missle Hill was second and Unico Broline third.
SECOND FASTEST MILE IN EUROPE IN FINLAND
A speed-driven story is how the $155,000 St Michel Race developed in Mikkeli on Sunday (July 16) afternoon.
The track in Mikkeli was in top shape, a known fact for all the contending trainers and drivers before the race. As the car left the field, the game was on. Mellby Jinx was fast out behind the gate and took the lead in a very quick first 500 meters. Heavy favorite Hail Mary was on the leader’s outside as the field had a lap to go and driver Örjan Kihlström really tried to push Hail Mary to the front, a move that leading driver Daniel Wäjersten would have bought, if it wasn’t for the fact that Hail Mary started to mess up his gait just when Kihlström tried to take over the lead with a half mile to go.
Mellby Jinx continued to control the race in front, with Hail Mary on the outside as they reached the first kilometer in a mile rate of 1:48.3. The two front horses were obviously marked by the high pace in the last turn, but Hail Mary still disarmed the leader and held strongly as runner up. From a position second over, Hierro Boko (From Above) and Santtu Raitala enjoyed the high pace and when Raitala gave his horse the signal to attack, Hierro Boko answered by easily sprinting to a safe win in 1:50, the second fastest mile ever in Europe.
Ringostarr Treb has the record in Europe, a 1:49.4 mile set in the Hugo Åbergs Memorial 2017, when he was second to Propulsion (later disqualified by Svensk Travsport).
Bengurion Jet bested leader Mellby Jinx in the hunt for third place.