Horse racing has taken place in Sweden for over 200 years, with the first official contest recorded in 1814. However, to many UK racing fans, exposure to the action in the country as well as knowledge of the key events, may be lacking.
Take a look at our quick-fire guide of Swedish horse racing which includes all you need to know to get you started.
Types of Racing in Sweden
Horse racing in Sweden is divided into two main categories - thoroughbred racing that is familiar to all UK racing fans, and trotting racing, which is more prevalent in Scandinavia.
Thoroughbred Racing in Sweden
Just like the UK, Swedish thoroughbred racing comprises both flat and jumps action, and takes place on both turf, and all-weather surfaces. Jumps racing is once again split between hurdles racing steeplechases, but contests over obstacles are not as common in Sweden as they are in the UK or Ireland.
Swedish Trotting Racing
While UK racing fans may expect thoroughbred racing to take centre stage, nothing compares to the popularity of trotting racing in Sweden. There are almost 1,000 meetings throughout the year, with two breeds, the Nordic Trotter and the standardbred horse, which has bloodlines from Swedish, French and American horses, used for the sport.
With drivers sat on a carriage known as a sulky, and the horse harnessed in front, the competitors are allowed to trot, not gallop. Repeated galloping or over a longer distance of 100-150 meters in one race results in a disqualification as well as doing so during the last 100 meters of the race in races varying from 1640m to 3140m.
Horses are handicapped, not with extra weight to carry in trotting racing, but by enforced penalties to their starting position. Like careless riding offences in thoroughbred racing, careless driving rules can be strict, to ensure all competitors have a fair chance of success.
Racecourses in Sweden
There are 35 racecourses throughout Sweden, with the vast majority dedicated to trotting racing.
Three major race courses are used for thoroughbreds. The spectacular Bro Park Racecourse was opened in 2017. Located just outside the capital of Stockholm and hosts among other great races, the Group 3 Stockholm Cup International. Jagersro, host of the Swedish Derby, is located in the south of Sweden, in Malmö. The third track, Gothenburg Galopp in Sweden is located in Gothenburg. The track hosts both flat and jump racing and is famous for its family friendly ambiance.
In the trotting scene, a number of the country’s largest cities are home to a racecourse. Solvalla, located near Stockholm and arguably the premier track in Sweden, has hosted racing since 1927. It is the venue for the biggest contest in the year, the Elitloppet (The Elite Race), held on the final Sunday of May.
Other tracks of note in the country are Jagersro, near Malmo and Aby, located in Gothenburg. Both hold notable meetings throughout the year.
Major Swedish Races
The three most valuable contests in the Swedish trotting calendar are held at a trio of different venues.
Here are the biggest races to look out for:
Elitloppet (The Elite Race)
Undoubtedly the highlight of the season, the contest over a mile, effectively a sprint in trotting terms, is held in May at Solvalla racecourse near Stockholm.
Rather than a solitary race, the winner of the Elitloppet is decided after two qualifying races, and a final, both held on the same day, with the equivalent of around £500,000 in the prize purse.
Though it’s one of the major sporting events in Sweden, the home team have had little luck in recent years, with the last three renewals going to international challengers.
Svenskt Travderby (Swedish Trotting Derby)
Probably the most prestigious race for four-year-olds only in Sweden, the Svenskt Travderby is worth over £200,000 to it’s winner.
Run over a trip of 2,640m the race is held at Jagersro racetrack. The current crop of drivers and trainers will have to go some if they are to go down in the history of the race as trotting legend Soren Nordin, who won the race 11 times as a driver and 11 times as a trainer in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
Paralympiatravet (The Paralympian Trot)
The series is unique in that it is run in collaboration with the Swedish Paralympian Committee. This is a collaboration in order to improve opportunities for Swedes in para-sporting ventures.
Like the Elitloppet, there are a number of qualifying events to bag a spot in the final. Other ways horses can secure a place are via an invitation from the authorities, or if they are returning as defending champion.
The final is held at Åby racetrack, over a distance of 2140m. Swedish driver Daniel Redén has won two of the last three renewals, most recently with home hope Propulsion.
Stockholm Cup International
Away from trotting racing, the Stockholm Cup International is the highlight of the Swedish thoroughbred racing calendar.
The Group 3 contest, run over a trip of 1m4f has been farmed in recent years by trainer Niels Peterson who has won six of the last nine renewals, four times with Bank of Burden.
It’s not just the home team who have had triumph of late though. UK-based trainer David Menuisier landed the spoils in the 2018 renewal with popular grey Thundering Blue.
Betting on Swedish Racing
When placing a bet on Swedish trotting racing there are a number of ways to bet, much like in the UK. Like betting with the Tote, the betting in Sweden is run as a pool, with all the money bet on a race being placed into a pot, with winnings shared between successful bettors.
The standard Win and Place bets are available, as are the Twin bets (the equivalent of a Combination Exacta) and Trio bet (the same as a Tote Trifecta).
Like the Tote Scoop6, Swedish racing fans are able to bet into a large multi-leg pool each week. The V64, V65, V75 and V86 require bettors to find the winners of the six, seven or eight nominated races at the same track. Returns are provided for bettors who fall one or two winners short in their bets.
UK racing fans wishing to bet on Swedish racing can now do so via the Tote. We will be offering Win and Place markets, as well as a Trifectaoption on racing every day in Sweden.
Keep a close eye on the @ToteRacing Twitter account for the latest news, tips and guides on the action in Scandinavia in the coming weeks.