United States representative Arch Madness, with trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer, finished second in the Elitlopp in Sweden on Sunday afternoon (May 26). The race was won by the outsider Nahar, driven by Robert Bergh, who won easily in 1:52.4f by two lengths, followed by Arch Madness and the French trotter Timoko.
|Gerard Forni photo|
|Nahar won the Elitlopp final in a time of 1:52.4f.|
The favorite, Sebastian K with Ake Svanstedt, was in command from the start, but under pressure from Raja Mirchi with Lutfi Kolgjini. Sebastian K tired going into the stretch and finished last.
The other elimination winner, Nesta Effe with Robert Vecchione, was boxed in behind the tiring Sebasian K and finished second last.
"For me the race unfolded in a bad way from the start," said Smedshammer. "At first there was a recall and then I was parked three wide around the first bend. I then had to ease him and take him back as the last horse in the field.
"But after that things went our way. The speed was high and when Robert Bergh behind Nahar made his move with 600 meters to go I followed him. We could not follow him down the stretch, but I’m very satisfied with the second place."
The purse for second place was $180,000, but Smedshammer was fined a total of $9,000 and was stood down for seven days for misuse of the whip.
The winner, Nahar, is an 8-year-old gelding who made his way to the Elitlopp by winning a Gold division last week in 1:52.1f in his first race over the mile distance. He is sired by the French champion Love You and out of a mare by Joie de Vie.
It was the first Elitlopp win for Robert Bergh, who traines at Bergsaker in Northern Sweden.
The horse is owned by two very popular National Hockey League players, the Sedin brothers (Henrik and Daniel), who watched the race over the internet in Canada.
Arch Madness in, Take My Picture out after eliminations
Earlier in the day in the second elimination, Arch Madness finished fourth.
"He was not as fine as he normally is, and further the speed during the race was too slow," Smedshammer said after the race.
Arch Madness was in the pocket behind leader Brad de Veluwe and Smedshammer found racing room very late.
The favorite, Sebastian K with Ake Svanstedt, won easily in 1:54.3f, followed by Nahar, Brad de Veluwe and Arch Madness.
Commander Crowe, who was the defending champion, finished unplaced as he never found any racing room.
Canada's Take My Picture, with Jody Jamieson driving, did not make it to the final in the Elitlopp.
Although Jamieson gave his horse a nice trip in the first elimination, sitting second over, Take My Picture tired around the last bend and finished unplaced.
Italian trotter Nesta Effe, driven by Roberto Vecchione, finished strong to win in 1:53.4f, followed by Raja Mirchi, driven by Lutfi Kolgjini. Raja Mirchi was heroic, as he had to trot outside leader Timoko with Jos Verbeeck most of the trip. Timoko finished third, while Formula One with Björn Goop was fourth and thus took the last ticket from this heat to the final.
Massive Babe wins on the undercard
The 3-year-old filly Massive Babe, who is sired by Muscle Mass and out of an Andover Hall mare, won easily in 1:541f. Massive Babe raced six times in Canada as a 2-year-old and took a mark of 2:00f before being exported to Finland.