Two horse-racing meetings will be held at the Marsa racetrack this weekend. The first meeting will take place on Friday starting at 6.30pm, with the second being scheduled for Sunday at 2pm. All races are trotting events with 9 races on Friday’s card and another 11 races on Sunday.
The main attractions are the semi-finals from the Skyparks Swedish trotters’ championships for each class on a 2,140m distance. Two semi-finals for each of the Silver, Gold and Premier classes will be held, with the first five horses qualifying from each for the respective final, plus three semi-finals for each of the Bronze and Copper classes with the first three from each making it to the final.
Naturally, the key semi-finals are those from the Premier class championship, with 11 participants in the first and 12 in the second, aged between 7 and 15 years. The line-up for these races includes many of the best and most popular Swedish trotters among us.
They include among others the winner of the first three Swedish trotters’ Premier class championships, Think Yatzee, last year’s revelation Livi Cantona, four time winner in the last nine months Fire, Dragonara Casino Tazza l-Kbira finalists Arnie Sensation and True Q and all other equally valid horses.
Two newcomers are also scheduled to make their debut in this class, i.e. Chaco Bar and Maximal Value.
Swedish ten-year old Maximal Value is registered with the highest number of points for a newcomer. Overseas it has won SEK1,769,409, with 25 race wins and many places and has a best time of 1’12’1 per kilometre on 1,640m. Among its best performances in Sweden in the last year, it won a race at Boden on 2,200m, placed 2nd twice on 1,640m and 2,140m respectively, and registered a very good time of 1’12’4 per kilometre on a 1,640m distance.
The Gold class semi-finals are equally interesting, featuring 12 participants in each with ages varying between 7 and 14 years. These horses have won between them over 30 races in Malta. Newcomer Love Heart is also registered to debut in the second semi-final.
Apart from these semi-finals, we also have the Malta International Ladies Race on Friday’s race card. After last year’s successful event, this year’s edition has attracted no less than ten female drivers from seven countries (including Malta – Laura Cunningham). They will be driving Silver class horses (one of which is French newcomer Petchora) and we are sure that it will turn out to be an extremely balanced race.
Another attraction will be a jog cart race on the sprint 1,640m distance, in which established drivers will be accompanied by members of Malta’s national female football team and will be driving trotters which have not raced in the main racetrack for quite some time.
The remaining “normal” races are two for the Gold class, three for the Silver class and the other one for Bronze class horses, all over the extremely long 3,140m distance. The following trotters are registered to make their debut in them: French Oh Ma Dix Sept, One Love Danover and Oscar de France in the Gold class and Noble de Fontaine and Parce Que in the Silver class and Danish Lion McGuire and Little Nick in the Gold class.
Undoubtedly another two programmes with all the ingredients to provide more varied entertainment ...
Two Premier class races and four heats from the Skyparks Swedish trotters’ Silver class championship were the highlights of last Sunday’s meeting.
In the first Premier class race, Label Chouan claimed its third seasonal win thanks to a strong sprint in the last 200m or so, ahead of Nuper, Mica Bonero and Troy Boshoeve. It made a good time of 1’18’2 per kilometre on the extremely long 3,140m distance.
A strong final lap led Nevaio des Bordes to take its second win in Malta in the second Premier class race in an excellent time of 1’16’2 per kilometre, the best time registered in Malta on the 3,140m distance in over three years. It finished around 3 lengths ahead of Natieu d’Echal, followed by Count of Life and Nasko Pride.
In the first Silver class heat from the Skyparks Swedish trotters championship on a 2,140m distance, Ironbar led for most of the distance before being overtaken by Robin Lou a few hundred metres from the end, with the latter going on to register its fourth seasonal win, ahead of fellow qualifiers Bankir Zon, Victory Toll, Ironbar and Rambo Lambo.
It was then the turn of Victory Farming to register its first win in Malta in a time of 1’16’8 per kilometre, the best time from the four heats. A strong burst of speed in the last half lap led it to take the lead which it maintained till the end, winning by around four or five lengths from Borups Hero, Zerbin, Simb Groovy and Cross Country F.C. which also made it to the semi-finals.
Even Delvin Brodde registered its first local win, taking the lead in the last phase of the race to finish about a couple of lengths ahead of Stanford Hornline, West Life, Race Ball and Arctic Tooma, which also booked their place for the semi-finals.
The last heat provided the closest finish of the day when Soren Sufflor and Notice As challenged each other neck and neck throughout the final straight. The photo finish awarded the win to Soren Sufflor, ahead of the same Notice As, Surprise Lania, Charlie Smitt and Sweep The Floor, which were the last qualifiers.
The Gold class “normal” race saw L’As de Seuilly returning to victory after about two years, beating runner-up Osiris des Kids by about a length and a half. Paleo de la Dives and Paradis du Lupin took the other places. L’As de Seuilly registered another good time of 1’17’7 per kilometre on the 3,140m distance.
The Class B flat race on the sprint 1,250m distance resulted in Mayfair Princess’ first win in the last year. This mare took the lead around half way through the race and won by a comfortable margin from Buttermilk and Hollymac.
The Malta International Ladies Race
Our final word today is one of welcome for the nine female drivers hailing from Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and Ukraine who will be joining Malta’s representative Laura Cunningham in Friday’s Malta International Ladies Race.
It is an honour for the Malta Racing Club to host so many talented drivers.
This race provides various features of interest for the Maltese horse-racing scene. Primarily it grants another opportunity for Malta to participate in the international trot scene and an occasion to view among us drivers coming from so many countries with a renowned trot tradition.
It also exposes the Maltese representative driver to further international competition and gives us all the opportunity to compare our guests’ driving styles with those practised by our drivers, whilst giving the possibility to everyone to make new acquaintances and share varied experiences.
The female aspect of the race should hopefully also serve to further promote this sport among our girls and women, further demonstrating that this is not just a male sport but one where gender should not constitute a barrier.
Both in Malta and abroad, it is recognised that many female drivers have skills which are at least at par with those of their male counterparts. However unfortunately the number of our female drivers and jockeys is still rather restricted and we hope that occasions of this nature will encourage more women to take up this sport in a serious manner.
Last but not least, such races provide Maltese horse-racing enthusiasts with additional variety.
The playing of the national anthems of the participating drivers, the drivers’ presentation to the public, the jog cart race with the participation of members of the Maltese national female football team and the Malta Racing Club’s invitation to participants in this year’s Miss World – Malta contest to attend this meeting, should add further glitter to this occasion and make this meeting a sort of “female meeting”, another innovation at the racetrack.
Well done to the promoters of this race and to the Malta Racing Club and may this occasion provide great fun to both participating drivers and spectators.
We wish you all two exciting meetings this weekend.