A group of 8 Maltese drivers are currently in Sweden in order to take part in three amateur races against Swedish drivers.
The first race took place on Wednesday evening at the main Swedish racetrack of Solvalla. This was the 3rd race of the programme over 2140m autostart having a very nice Sek 40,000 in first prize money.
The race was sponsored by Finn Tack who also awarded a complete racing harness to the winning trainer and a presentation blanket to the winning horse apart from a prize to the winning driver.
The race had 12 starters – 6 Maltese and 6 Swedish with the Maltese drivers being Karl Debono, Eugenio Bondin, Etienne Carabott, Ivan Carabott, Josef Cassar and Mario Farrugia. In the end Mario Farrugia’s horse was scratched and was replaced by a reserve horse and because of this, according to the Swedish rules, no bets were taken on this horse.
Weather conditions were not very favourable with rain pouring down constantly rendering the track quite sloppy but this did not deter the horses from taking a fast start opening the first 500m in 1’12”6. With the lead being taken by Mats Holmstedt on Leia Way, Josef Cassar kept pushing on his outside with the 4 year old mare Vilja Brick which incidentally he also owns and is in training at Stig H. Johansson.
Ivan Carabott on Lajo Zenit was parked on the inside behind Eugenio Bondin on Tiptronic. With everything looking like the victory was going to be taken by Josef Cassar as he sprinted to the front with some lengths in the last stretch, Ivan Carabott found space on the inside just in time for his horse to give an incredible sprint and snatch the victory by one length.
This was the first foreign race for both Ivan and Josef and one can easily say that they are the least experienced from the others that took part in this race. In fact for Ivan this was his fourth official race having started during this season with Owens Kin on whom he also registered victory on 1st April. This was the 11th race for Josef with his best placing being twice 4th incidentally also on Owens Kin.
Ivan’s horse was not quoted as one of the favourites paying 49.14 with the ATG and he also registered his best timing over the distance with his new record now being 1’15”0.
A drenched Ivan looked elated as he was interviewed in the winner’s circle accompanied by a very satisfied owner/trainer.
The next appointments for the Maltese drivers will be on Sunday at Mantorp and Monday at Vaggeryd where we will also be seeing the participation of young Gilbert Farrugia and Ludovic Ghigo.