Last weekend, we saw the Swedish Trotting Derby was decided in Malmö at Jägersro.
Having driven the winners of three of the six qualifying race winners, Robert Bergh, was left with a tricky decision as to who to partner in the main event.
His preferred option was the Charlotte Andersson-coached Hail Mary.
That decision turned out to be a very wise one by the time the big race came around. Having started well, the pair found themselves in the lead early on in the race. From then on in, they never looked like being troubled as Hail Mary pulled clear for an easy victory in the race.
That success meant the gelding has now won 14 of his 17 starts on track. It also means his connections were awarded another SEK 4 million for their victory.
Exciting times for breeders
Sired by Googoo Gaagaa, Hail Mary comes from a small but select group of racers. His sire does not have many progeny on the racetrack, but those he does have, have gone on to outstanding success.
Googoo Gaagaa's sire was a pacer, which means that rather than his legs moving forward in diagonal pairs, like a trotter, his legs moved laterally with his left hind and fore hitting the ground at the same time.
Pacers are mostly seen in North American harness racing, and can often move faster than the trotters we are more used to in Sweden, which makes it extra exciting with him in breeding lines.
Last year, a Swedish consortium managed to buy him for Sweden and now he is fully booked for the coming years, so it will be fascinating to see his offspring on the race-track.
Ecurie D back with a bang
Elsewhere in the past week, Diana Zet claimed the Mares Derby, meaning she has now won all of the major races for her generation of horses.
We were also treated to the return of Ecurie D, who was on a recovery mission after tasting defeat for the first time when meeting the top older horses back in July.
There was no such worry this time round though, as he was as dazzling as we remembered him, scoring an easy victory at Solvalla.
The next target for him is the European Derby where he will meet the best four-year-olds from France and Sweden.
Other points of interest
While nothing has happened with the case of Propulsion, who has been disqualified from a host of top level wins, the interest in him remains.
At an auction last weekend, an offspring of Daniel Reden’s champion was sold for SEK 3 million, a big price for a Swedish trotter.
The interest in Swedish trotting is not just confined to Propulsion either. Swedish betting pools operator ATG has reported record results in the first half of the year in terms of betting on horses.
With many other sporting avenues shut down in Sweden and beyond, it seems that many sports fans have been fascinated by horse betting in Sweden, and the excitement that trotting brings.
Best bets for the week ahead
Back on the race track, we look forward to the qualifying races for the biggest three-year-old races this weekend.
For the boys this is the Swedish Trotting Criterium, while the girls will be bidding for glory in the Swedish Travoaks.
The interest in the qualifying events is huge, with many of these talented younger horses now facing their biggest task they’ve faced in their career. I look forward to reporting back next week on how the event went.
Looking ahead to the overall winner, my favourite for the Criterium would be Elegant Ima, while a filly by the name of Hoboken Am is my idea of the Oaks winner.
More immediately though, my best bet on Saturday comes in race seven at Hagmyren (16:05) where I think number 3 Bridge Jumper will get to the lead early and stay there all the way to the finish. He has looked better and better in each of his races, and I expect him to improve again and win this contest.