Rising Star shooting for Big M win Friday

Ken Weingartner

Hightstown, NJ — Just before heading to the airport last week for a trip to the U.S. as his reward for capturing the 2020 Knutsson Rising Star Cup, 22-year-old driver Nicklas Korfitsen won a race in Norway. On Friday, a night before heading to the airport to return home, Korfitsen will try to bookend his journey with a victory at The Meadowlands.

Korfitsen, a native of Denmark, will drive Danish-born Epos Ostervang in a $10,000 conditioned trot at The Big M. Per Engblom trains the horse, who has a win and a second in three races since arriving from Europe. He will start from post eight and is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line.

Engblom Stable assistant Kasper Foget, also a native of Denmark and a friend of Korfitsen, drove Epos Ostervang in his three starts so far in the States. Korfitsen drove the horse in Denmark last year.

Pictured (left to right) are Ake Svanstedt, Bernie Noren, Nicklas Korfitsen, Tristan Sjoberg and Tyler Mifsud. Photo courtesy of Bernie Noren.

“He’s a pretty nice horse,” said Foget, who owns Epos Ostervang with Engblom Stable. “I knew him from back home; one of my other friends used to train him in Denmark. We figured he would fit some of the classes here and he’s been really good the first couple of races. We’ve been really happy with him. I think he looks OK for tomorrow.

“I think Nicklas is really excited about driving. I would say he is a little aggressive (as a driver) and I don’t mind that for when he’s got post eight tomorrow.”

The Knutsson Rising Star Cup is a series for young drivers contested from February to December at Aby Racetrack in Gothenburg, Sweden. The winner receives a trip to the U.S. with Knutsson Trotting Inc.’s Tristan Sjoberg, who sponsors the series, and Bjorn “Bernie” Noren, who is the Knutsson Trotting manager.

“Tristan likes to promote young people in the game,” Noren said. “He wants to see them stay in the game.”

Korfitsen, who works for trainer Bo Westergaard, won the 2020 competition, but his trip to the States was postponed until this year because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. Also making the trip this year is 2021 champion Tyler Mifsud, a 24-year-old who also was a Rising Star Award finalist in Sweden.

The young drivers got to jog horses at the Palema Trotting Center. Photo courtesy of Bernie Noren.

The itinerary included two days in Vero Beach, Fla., at the Palema Trotting Center, where the group spent time with trainer Ake Svanstedt. Next, they headed to Kentucky, where they visited trainer Anette Lorentzon and Kentuckiana Farms, in addition to enjoying a bourbon tasting.

Next, the group headed to New Jersey. There, the schedule included a trip to Southwind Farms to see trotting stallions Muscle Hill, Walner, and Tactical Landing.

“Everyone is having a great time,” Noren said. “They love it.”

First-race post time is 6:20 p.m. EDT at The Meadowlands. For a free online program, courtesy of TrackMaster, visit The Meadowlands’ website here.

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