American-bred 4-year-old best in Sprintermästaren

by Thomas Hedlund

The $232,000 Sprintermästaren, a mile race for 4-year-olds, was held on Halmstad racetrack’s Thursday (July 4) evening card and after three elimination races, the two American-bred trotters that tried to reach the final succeeded with their missions.

In the first heat, D’Apper (Walner), bred by Steve Stewart, proved that he likes Swedish racing conditions. Driver Magnus A Djuse got D’Apper to leave quickly from post 1, but opted for a pocket trip behind stablemate Holcombe Zet, driven by Örjan Kihlström. And Kihlström seemed to have the race in his hands as the field turned for home, but after D’Apper got space late, he exploded and disarmed Daniel Redén’s Holcombe Zet at the wire.

D’Apper, who still is co-owned by Lucas Wallin, claimed his second win in his third attempt on European soil.

In heat 2, favorite Crown, bred by Order by Stable, had to race on leader King Of Twilight’s outside and Örjan Kihlström was never really tested for the lead, but the runner up performance meant that Crown, earlier in Marcus Melander’s management, was ready for the final. King Of Twilight (Bold Eagle) had no problem winning the heat for Björn Goop.

Courant Stable’s Kuiper (Face Time Bourbon) opened quickly from the inside post in the last elimination and Daniel Wäjersten’s trotter looked relaxed and hard to beat all the way to the victory. And Wäjersten got lucky in the draw and chose the same number, post 1, in the final. King Of Twilight got post 2 and D’Apper post 3.

The final became a speed story when King Of Twilight was pushed to the lead in a quick first quarter, which meant that Wäjersten had to make a decision whether he should stay behind the leader or take the spot first over. He decided for the latter and Kuiper, who was the final’s first choice, couldn’t resist when Crown (Chapter Seven) attacked from second over.

Crown hit the wire in 1:53.1 and since Redén managed to qualify four horses for the final, Erik Adielsson got the opportunity to sit behind the winner of the 2024 Sprintermästaren.

D’Apper made a break in the first turn and disappeared from the race.

Earlier on the card, the 4-year-old mares battled in the final of the $175,000 Stosprintern over the mile. Courant Stable owned Kitty Hawk (Fourth Dimension) kept the lead from post 1 behind the gate and driver Mats E Djuse was determined to let his horse try for the front position while the race’s favorite Ester Degli Dei had to fight on Kitty Hawk’s outside.

The two front horses battled side-by-side in the stretch and the inside leader held on by a neck when the wire was hit. Stefan P Pettersson trained Kitty Hawk won in 1:54.1 and she, just like Crown, debuted in the U.S. in Marcus Melander’s barn. Dexter Dunn drove Kitty Hawk in a runner up performance at Solvalla last year, so there are without a doubt connection to American harness racing even with the winner of the ladies’ event.

The meeting in Halmstad continued on Saturday (July 6) afternoon, with V75-races and the main event, Gold division for elite trotters included some well merited ones. Joviality, Hustle Rain, Get A Wish and Missle Hill were some of them and the race developed as a great show for the spectators. Get A Wish and Hustle Rain fought for the lead during the race’s initial 350 meters and the fight ended with Get A Wish in front with Hustle Rain on his back. That left Joviality for the position first over, from where she couldn’t challenge for the win. Phoenix Photo attacked three wide on the backstretch and landed outside of leading duo Get A Wish and Joviality before the turn, but his power ran out and instead, Get A Wish got the safe advantage once again. Hustle Rain got room for his attack with 75 meters to go, but it was too late and last year’s winner of the Sprintermästaren had to settle for being runner-up, ahead of a strong finishing Missle Hill.

Danish bred Get A Wish won in 1:53.2 for his trainer Johan Untersteiner.


Sunday’s (July 7) $150,000 Ulf Thoresen Grand International at Jarlsberg racetrack has gathered a fresh gang of top trotters, pretty much like Norway’s previous top race, the Oslo Grand Prix in June.

In Jarlsberg, the race is spiced with Elitloppet contender Önas Prince, who will be the probable favorite from post 5. His driver Per Nordström will be eager in his hunt for the front position.

On Friday night (July 5), Jarlsberg played host to the $65,000 Jarlsberg Grand Prix for 4-year-old trotters and Geir Vegard Gundersen stable had the big favorite in crop dominant Just Like Heaven, but he went off-stride at the same moment as the car accelerated away from the horses. But Gundersen would be happy anyway after the race. The trainer himself sat behind Charron (Code Bon) who was outstanding in 1:55 from third over.


2,100 meters

Horse — Driver

1. Devilish Hill — Magnus Teien Gundersen

2. Hades de Vandel — Robin Bakker

3. Kentucky River — Örjan Kihlström

4. Stoletheshow — Frode Hamre

5. Önas Prince — Per Nordström

6. Catullo Jet — Alessandro Gocciadoro

7. High On Pepper — Jorma Kontio

8. Gamin Jaba — Daniel Redén

9. Oracle Tile — Kristian Malmin

10. Barack Face — Adrian Kolgjini