A horse-racing meeting consisting of eight races will be held at the Marsa racetrack next Sunday starting at 2pm.
Four finals from the Skyparks Swedish trotters championships constitute the highlight of this meeting, with the finals covering the Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper classes. The Premier class final is scheduled for the meeting of Friday 11th May.
The Gold class final includes ten in-form horses with ages ranging between 7 and 14 years. Four of them had winnings exceeding SEK1 million overseas and three have already won at least once this year. This season two of them have registered best times under 1’16, two others have registered times under 1’16’5, whilst another five have a seasonal best time of under 1’17 per kilometre.
The full list of participants is: Stefan Sufflor, Love Heart, Kingpin La Marc, The Big Blue World, Matador Knick, Global Hunt, Lover Boy Index, Magnific As, Affe Fager and Hulot.
The ten participants in the Silver class final are equally balanced. With ages ranging between 8 and 15 years, they include an interesting mix of seasoned participants and others which only joined the Maltese racing scene last year. Between them these finalists have won close to 40 times here in Malta.
The full list is Delvin Brodde, Victory Farming, Surprise Lania, Charlie Smitt, Robin Lou, Bankir Zon, Ironbar, Victory Toll, Rambo Lambo and Race Ball.
The nine Bronze class finalists (of which no less than four are mares) are aged between 8 and 14 years and between them have won more than 20 races in Malta. The full list of participants is Rybo Patzie, Purple Street, Ballad Ribb, Rally Simb, Family’s Moonlight, Mr King, Nolan Streamline, Nicole L.H. and Hardy Frontline.
The Copper class final will be contested by Kung Fjalar, Upptillbevis, Glenn Healy, Trick The Lind, Pine Wood Harry, Vera L.H., Latest Score, Emil Brebro and Dollar As.
We also have four extremely balanced Gold class races during this meeting, where twelve of the participants have registered at least one win in their last three outings. For the French horses this will be their last opportunity to demonstrate their state of form prior to the start of the SECF French trotters’ championships.
French newcomer Nolic de la Merite is registered to make its debut in one of these Gold class races. We also note that last Sunday German Donna Clara made its debut when it came in as a reserve. This eight year old mare was registered with the highest number of points for a newcomer in the Premier class, having overseas winnings of SEK1,092,377 and a career best time of 1’12’8 per kilometre on a 2,200m distance.
Although every meeting has its own highlights, finals days inevitably constitute peak days in the racing calendar. The thought that the particular race must crown one of the participants as a championship winner ensures the highest level of agonism and makes that race a “do or die” event.
Race meetings were held both last Sunday as well as on Tuesday 1st May with trot races being held over a 2,140m distance.
During Sunday’s programme, the key attraction was the Premier class race. Here Oviedo Vici took an early lead and increased the margin considerably as the race progressed. Horses such as Normand d’Oger and Nono de Crouay closed in on the leader in the final straight but this notwithstanding, Oviedo Vici remained strong enough to win by nearly a length in an excellent time of 1’14’7 per kilometre, the best time on the distance this year equalling last year’s best time realised by Livi Cantona.
Normand d’Oger, Nono de Crouay and Natieu d’Echal finished behind the winner in that order.
In Tuesday’s Premier class race the determinant action occurred around half a lap from the end when Zilver Boko (which came into the race as a reserve) attacked strongly, took the lead in the final straight and went on to register its fourth seasonal and local win by about one and a half lengths from its followers, i.e. Happiness Photo, Troy Boshoeve and Quid de la Muette.
The winner registered another good time of 1’15’8 per kilometre.
After the International Ladies Race held recently, on Tuesday we had another interesting International Encounter between five Maltese drivers and an equal number of Swedish drivers from the Eskilstuna racecourse.
Here, Stanford Hornline (Anton Pace) took an early lead from Power Cape (Henrik Nilsson), but with around a lap to go Roland Jansson guided Nous Dix de L’Erve to the front, maintaining its lead to the end, with the horse taking its first win in Malta. Swedish drivers Cay Makinen (Keeping Quality) and Stig Nillson (Cocos Kaos) placed second and third too, with fourth place going to Maltese Matthew Sammut driving Prince Regent.
The winners in the Silver class races held throughout these two meetings varied from those taking their first win in Malta to others which have already a number of wins to their credit.
Pared An Hoel registered its first win in Malta thanks to a strong attack late in the race which led it to the front mid-way through the final straight, and it finished ahead of Lys de l’Oasis, Nasdaq du Closet and Prince Brilliance.
Pedros Au Top also registered its first win locally, but this horse was in front since the early stages of its race and won by a small margin from West Life, Super Spot and Eastwick.
On the other hand Ackaturbo registered its fourth seasonal and local win when it led from start to finish beating Marlow As, Lorenz des Noyelles and Pegase du Relais which finished behind it, in the best time among this week’s Silver class races of 1’16’4 per kilometre.
It was then the turn of Flying As to register its first seasonal win and the first in the last 7 months, thanks to a strong sprint on the outside lanes in the last half lap. Olifant du Pouy, Ocean Brillouard and Onwards Star finished behind the winner in that order.
Stoms Alex and Petrus du Vivier were the protagonists of the closest finish of these two programmes, with these two horses challenging each other throughout the final straight. Finally Stoms Alex pipped Petrus du Vivier by the smallest of margins to register its first win in Malta.
In the last Silver class race, after its 5 wins last year, Narcus du Roc returned to racing with a bang following an absence of nearly 5 months, taking its first seasonal win from Darco As, Oregon de la Foret and Willesden Hanover.
The only Flat race was due to take place last Sunday but it was declared a “no race” due to a fault in the starting gates which did not enable all horses to compete.
Doping test results
Recently the Malta Racing Club received three doping test results. Congratulations go to the owners and trainers of Mig of the Wood, Nuage de Bourgogne and Mystere d’Urfist (all in the Dragonara Casino Tazza l-Kbira Final – 1st April), whose results confirmed that they were all clean from prohibited substances.
Infrastructural works at the racetrack
As in everything, one can look at a glass and consider it half full or half empty...
We all wish that our racecourse would have an impeccable infrastructure and to be always in excellent condition. However, we must also recognise that there will always be work to do in this respect. This is a feature which affects not just Malta, but also most racecourses worldwide.
Our limited resources make the Maltese situation more difficult. We know that here in Malta, funding and sponsorships for sport organisations are extremely restricted and horse-racing is no exception.
Organisation of race meetings with the provision of the necessary amenities absorbs a considerable amount of resources and funding and those who are not directly involved will find it difficult to imagine the efforts that are made to source external funding for this sport.
However, even within these limited resources, improvement of the racecourse’s infrastructure continues to be a major priority of the Malta Racing Club. We all remember the major works that were made on the racetrack itself three years ago.
Although we all wish this to improve further so as to provide the best possible track for our horses, the works carried out and subsequent maintenance work represents a considerable improvement on the state in which it was before.
Other works have also been carried out recently, such as maintenance on the old race track, the new Tote building, improvement in the general environment of the racecourse, etc.
It is thus also a pleasure to take stock of other works that are currently taking place in order to improve facilities for this sport.
One such initiative involves the development of Area Five as a facility for parking of vehicles and horse transport trailers.
These works are now well underway, with most levelling and the clearing of debris on the site having been completed. Other works will then be undertaken to organise the utility area and to complete the necessary facilities.
Everyone can also notice the works being carried out on the Grandstand. Part of these works has already been completed, with the painstaking process of treatment, rust clearing and paintwork on the remaining panels currently continuing. We all look forward to a Grandstand which will continue to raise the level of spectator facilities at the racecourse.
Not everyone may have noticed the modern photofinish equipment and photos that have recently been introduced; another important development to further upgrade facilities.
No doubt, whatever one does it is never enough, and there will always be work to do. But sometimes it is appropriate to take note of what is happening and to appreciate the efforts that continue to be carried out to improve racecourse facilities, notwithstanding the funding and resource limitations.
We wish you an exciting meeting next Sunday.