Two horse-racing meetings will be held at the Marsa racetrack this weekend. The first meeting will be held on Saturday (Freedom day public holiday), with the second taking place on Sunday. Both meetings start at 2pm, with Saturday’s having seven and Sunday’s eight races (all trot events) on the card.
The big day of the Dragonara Casino Tazza l-Kbira final has finally arrived! Twelve classy finalists will endeavour to carve their name on this most prestigious of honours in Malta, with a 78 year tradition. The final will be preceded by a most attractive backdrop prepared by the Malta Racing Club, providing a fitting prelude to this clash between some of our very best trotters on a 2,640m distance.
This will include a parade of classic cars and motor cycles as well as another parade of participating drivers and horses.
The full list of participants (11 geldings and 1 stallion) is as follows:
1. Mystere d’Urfist, French 12 year old, with overseas winnings of Euro302,630 and a best time of 1’13’2 per kilometre. It has 1 win and 4 places from 10 races locally, with a best local time of 1’15’2 per kilometre registered on 2,640m.
2. Mig of the Wood, French 12 year old, with overseas winnings of Euro432,710 and a best time of 1’12’2 per kilometre. It has 2 wins (including the December Prix de Vincennes final) and 3 places from 7 races in Malta, and a best time among us of 1’15’0 per kilometre registered on 2,640m.
3. Nabab du Chatelet, French 11 year old, with overseas winnings of Euro205,198 and a best time of 1’13’9 per kilometre. It has 2 wins and a place from 4 races locally, with a best time of 1’15’3 per kilometre on 2,640m.
4. Livi Cantona, Swedish 8 year old, with overseas winnings of SEK306,090 and a best time of 1’12’9 per kilometre. It has 13 wins (including the Cassar Fuels Autumn Championship, President’s Cup and December VOB Grand Final, all in 2011) and 6 places and a best time of 1’13’8 per kilometre registered on 1,640m, since it made its local debut 1 year and 5 months ago.
5. Ouest du Vivier, French 10 year old, with overseas winnings of Euro143,350 and a best time of 1’14’6 per kilometre. It won 2 races and 2 places from 7 races locally, with a best time of 1’15’5 per kilometre registered on 2,640m.
6. Nuage de Bourgogne, French 11 year old, with overseas winnings of Euro258,760 and a best time of 1’12’4 per kilometre. It won 4 times from 5 races in Malta, with a best time of 1’14’9 per kilometre registered on 2,140m.
7. Arnie Sensation, Swedish 12 year old, with overseas winnings of SEK1,485,468 and a best time of 1’12’0 per kilometre. It won 12 races (including an MRC Premier Trot, VOB Grand Final and Summer Championship – Premier class, all in 2009) and 21 places in Malta since its debut around 3 years ago, with a best time of 1’14’9 per kilometre registered on 2,140m.
8. Label Chouan, French 13 year old, with overseas winnings of Euro222,716 and a best time of 1’13’8 per kilometre. It won 6 times plus 5 places in Malta, with a best time of 1’15’0 per kilometre registered on 2,140m.
9. Troy Boshoeve, German 11 year old, with overseas winnings of DNK875,380 and a best time of 1’14’7 per kilometre. It obtained 4 places from 11 races in Malta with a best time of 1’15’5 per kilometre registered on 2,140m.
10. True Q, Swedish 11 year old, with overseas winnings of SEK1,380,088 and a best time of 1’12’2 per kilometre. It won 4 times plus 3 places from its 10 races in Malta with a best time of 1’15’0 per kilometre registered on 2,640m.
11. Onyx Speed, French 10 year old, with overseas winnings of Euro230,670 and a best time of 1’13’5 per kilometre. It obtained 2 places in its 2 races locally, with a best time of 1’15’5 per kilometre registered on 2,640m.
12. Nelson du Val, French 11 year old, with overseas winnings of Euro228,220 and a best time of 1’13’8 per kilometre. It won 2 races and placed in another 2 races from its 5 races in Malta, with a best time of 1’15’3 per kilometre registered on 2,640m.
We wish all of them a brilliant race, possibly the race of their lives. May the best horse win.
In Saturday’s meeting, we also have the Malta leg of the Mediterranean Horse Racing Union championship for drivers. This is the first leg of this year’s championship, with participants hailing from another 5 countries apart from Malta, i.e. France, Italy, Russia, Slovenia and Ukraine, all countries with an excellent trot tradition and reputation.
The participants will drive Bronze class trotters this year.
Our representative will be extremely experienced and highly respected driver Raymond Clifton. With the quality of the competition, he will undoubtedly face a strong challenge but we have full conviction in his capabilities and wish him all the best.
On Saturday we also have two Premier class races, both having a full list of 16 registered horses. They are extremely balanced races with a number of horses endeavouring to confirm their worth and various popular horses participating therein.
Two newcomers are also registered to make their debut (except for any scratchings) in the Premier class, i.e. Nick de Touchyvon (FR) and Target Player (SE).
Swedish nine-year old Target Player is registered with the highest number of points for a newcomer. Overseas it has won SEK1,403,500, with 15 race wins and various places and has a best time of 1’12’2 per kilometre on 2,140m. Among its best performances in Sweden in 2011, it placed 3rd on 2,140m, 4th on 1,640m and registered a good time of 1’14’2 per kilometre on a 2,140m distance.
The remaining races consist of three for the Gold class, four for the Silver class, three for Bronze class horses and a Copper class race. The following trotters are registered to make their debut in these races: French Ormuz and Paleo de la Dives in the Gold class and Borups Hero (SE), Caddie Drink (SE), Orloff de Bougy (FR), Pepeton (FR) and Pittacos (FR) in the Silver class.
This should undoubtedly be a great racing weekend with bumper spectator attendances expected at the Marsa racetrack. I confess that each and every Tazza l-Kbira final I saw has remained impressed in my mind, including those I saw when I was a child - I am sure that all the people who will be there this year will also have a memorable experience.
Last Sunday’s meeting featured two interesting Premier class races and a number of Condition Race semi-finals for Silver A and Copper Class trotters, all on a 2,140m distance.
In the first Premier class race, Oviedo Vici dominated proceedings for the whole race to finish up taking its first win in Malta by a number of lengths, from Nomade de Mai, Niky de Memartin and Niarpan. Its time of 1’15’0 per kilometre was one of the best times this season on the 2,140m distance.
The second Premier class race provided us with an exciting challenge between four horses in the final straight, with the win ultimately going to Think Yatzee by half a length from Nono de Crouay, Belafonte and Milord Barbes in a time of 1’16’7 per kilometre. This was Think Yatzee’s 15th win in Malta, the first in the last nine months and led this horse to exceed Euro15,000 of winnings in Malta.
In the first Vida Silver A class semi-final, a strong attack on the outside lanes in the last half lap led Confidence As to its first win in the last nearly two years, by about half a length from fellow qualifiers Stoms Alex and Nevada Silver. Petrus du Vivier finished in fourth place.
An accident occurred at the start of the second semi-final, which involved newcomer Jill Vox and Lovely Mab. None of the drivers and horses suffered serious consequences but the race had to be re-started and Jill Vox did not take part.
In the actual race, Olympio des Loyaux took the lead with around a lap to go and managed to resist the above-mentioned Lovely Mab’s challenge in the final straight to pass the post first by the slimmest of margins.
However, Olympio des Loyaux was eventually disqualified, with the win going to Lovely Mab, ahead of Stainless Steel and Charlie Smitt which also made it to the final. The winner registered the best average time of the three semi-finals, i.e. 1’16’6 per kilometre. Newcomer (inadvertedly omitted from this article last week) Pared An Hoel (FR) was fourth.
In the third semi-final, Prince du Moutier went in front practically from the start and remained there throughout, to take its second win in Malta by over a length from Number One of Max and Mint Condition which were the remaining qualifiers. My Gentleman finished fourth.
The Paul & Shark Copper Class Condition Race semi-finals resulted in the following finalists: Orasi Index (winner of its semi-final), Lorrain d’Oliverie, Katuelo, Gamin Launcher (winner of the second semi-final), Dandy, Mistral du Chene, Keyser Engely (winner of the third semi-final), Emil Brebro and Zut.
Past Tazza l-Kbira Championships – Part Two
One of the MRC website banners stated: “It-Tazza l-Kbira 2012 Where the past comes alive while the present is racing”. And this is so true! Because this year’s finalists continue the heritage left by past great finalists which have graced our racecourse.
A couple of weeks ago, we recalled the 1972 and 1977 Tazza l-Kbira semi-finals. Today we take a look at the finals of those two years.
The 1972 final was held (as was usual at the time, on 1.75 miles or 2,816m) on 30th April with the finalists being Questembert, Sacrobate IV, Terido, Renov Vit, Urgo D, Tivoli, Twist Manderie, Toutankhamon, Sam II and Reza de Pibrac.
This final was characterised by no less than three false starts, with the race officially starting at the fourth attempt.
Terido was in front for most of the race, although Renov Vit was never far behind. As the race progressed, Sacrobate IV and Sam II joined the race leaders but late in the race Renov Vit took the lead and resisted the strong attack from Sam II and Sacrobate IV, to pass the post first.
However, after the race Renov Vit was disqualified by the Stewards for breaking and gaining and bulking, with the win going to ten year old Sam II, followed by Sacrobate IV and Reza de Pibrac. Fighting broke out at this stage with various arrests being made by the police.
The 1977 final which was held on the 15th May was also characterised by various false starts. When the race finally started, it was Cristal III which took the lead followed by the previous year’s winner Alcyon III with the other seven finalists (i.e. Bambi III, Beguin du Mesnil, Urbain L, Cornichon M, Baal, Unique Tresor and Ave H) following in a bunch.
In the latter part of the race Baal and Urbain L advanced well to challenge leader Cristal III. However Beguin du Mesnil gave a strong sprint in the final straight but nine year old Cristal III was unstoppable as it went on to win the race, followed by Beguin du Mesnil, Baal and Urbain L.
Cristal III had been imported earlier in the same 1976 – 77 season and would afterwards be extremely unlucky, suffering an injury before the start of the next season, such that he participated in only one race after winning the Tazza l-Kbira in 1977.
But now we return to the present, as the history of the Tazza l-Kbira will continue to unfold next Sunday. The names of this year’s finalists will enter into Maltese horse-racing history and one of them will have its name carved forever on this most prestigious Cup.
Years from now, people will also recount the story of this year’s final as we have recounted those of the Tazza l-Kbira finals of 35 and 40 years ago, with the names of our current horses remaining in horse-racing enthusiasts’ memories.
But in the meantime, let us all enjoy the spectacle and excitement that awaits us at next Sunday’s Dragonara Casino Tazza l-Kbira final.
We wish you all two exciting meetings this weekend.