by Karsten Bønsdorf, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent
The 8-year-old Italian trotter Ringostarr Treb, driven by German Wim Paal and trained by Rhode Island-born Jerry Riordan, won the prestigious Elitloppet at Solvalla Sunday afternoon (May 27).
The final was laid out as a match between Ringostarr Treb and Propulsion and so it ended. However, though Propulsion came close at the finish line (he was second by a half-length), Ringostarr Treb won rather easily in 1:51f, equaling the race record set by Timoko in 2017. USA-bred Propulsion, driven by Ôrjan Kihlström, finished second, while Swedish trotter Nadal Broline, driven by Ulf Ohlsson, was third.
Ringostarr Treb is sired by Classic Photo and out of an Italian Supergill mare. The win was worth $340,000 and Ringostarr Treb now has lifetime earnings of $1.475 million.
Ringostarr Treb joined the stable of Jerry Riordan about one year ago, and even though he had raced at a top level, Riordan has developed the trotter into one of the world’s best.
This was the first Elitloppet win for Riordan as a trainer, but as a second trainer for Chuck Sylvester, he helped Mack Lobell win the 1988 Elitloppet, 30 years ago.
It was also a first for Wim Paal, who has been racing all over Europe and in the States, too. A couple of years ago he came to Sweden and now runs a small stable at Halmstad with nine trotters.
The first elimination in the 2018 Elitloppet will be remembered as one of the most dramatic ever. Three recalls and a couple of postponements of the start made Bold Eagle so upset that the top French trotter was covered with sweat and Franck Nivard had huge problems getting his trotter pointed in the right direction going to the start.
As the trotters left the gate (around 20 minutes after the scheduled time) Bold Eagle was very fast from his post position five but going into the first bend, he went off stride and was out of the race.
Norwegian trotter Lionel, driven by owner/trainer Göran Antonsen, won the elimination in 1:52.1 followed by long-leading Dreammoko, driven by Björn Goop. Up and Quick, driven by Jorma Kontio, and Takethem, with Steen Juul, also advanced to the final.
The second elimination was raced without problems and was won by Ringostarr Treb, driven by Wim Paal, in 1:54 by a neck over Propulsion, driven by Orjan Kihlström. Nadal Broline with Ulf Ohlsson and Pastore Bob driven by Johan Untersteiner, followed him.