Yearling sale in Täby outside Stockholm. Photo from svenskgalopp.se
In Sweden we have an exciting weekend ahead. Today (Saturday) 50 odd yearlings go under the hammer at the Stockholm yearling sale and the following day at Stockholm race course Täby Galopp they are staging their main race meeting of the year, which includes a Group 3 race and three Listed races as well as a Group 3 race for Arabian horses and a couple of nice jump races.
Lot number 27, Royal Starlight, by Eishin Dunkirk (USA), out of Italian 1000 Guineas-winner Sadowa (GER). Photo from saef.se.
Lot number 40, Magic Johnson by Eishin Dunkirk (USA), out of Wellness (GER) who was placed in Swedish Oaks and Norwegian 1000 Guineas. Photo from saef.se
If your coming to Stockholm tomorrow, you can end up as the lucky owner of for example Royal Starlight (ex Eishin Dunkirk), out of Italian 1000 Guineas winner Sadowa, or the one with my favourite name – Chocolat (ex Philomatheia), from the family of four times Group 1-winning mare Family Style. As you can notice, a difference compared to the British sales is that the majority of the Swedish yearlings already are named. As they are yet to run, you are allowed to rename them, but it is meant to bring bad luck and better be avoided. Luckily, trainer/owner/breeder Björn Björkman (who also trained in Macau for a while) is not selling any yearlings. He is famous for coming up with the most odd names (and somehow getting them approved by the Swedish Horseracing Authority). The majority only makes sense in Swedish, but Ihatethespeaker is one example (apparently Björkman wasn't a fan of the race caller). He has also named Ifhemoveskillhim, Getofandpushhim, Iamashedevil and Icareformenonly, to name a few.
The sale has got an international touch to it, with auctioneer Alastair Pim in charge of the hammer, and the catalogue pages written in English. The yearlings are however all bred in Sweden, but 18 of the dams originate in either Ireland or Great Britain, and 14 are imported from the States. It mirrors the diversity of Scandinavian horse racing, which takes place on both dirt track and turf. For example, the Swedish Derby (L) is run on dirt whilst the other two Scandinavian derbies are staged on turf. The conditions encourages owners to import horses from Britain and Ireland as well as to go across the pond to look for interesting dirt track prospects.
One of our major turf races, the Stockholm Cup (Gr3) will be staged on Sunday. We usually have some foreign guests, attracted by the generous prize money. Alan Swinbank's Collier Hill won the race twice, in 2004 and 2006, and in 2010 the race went to French raider Mores Wells (who by the way is the sire of three of the yearlings selling today). For the last four years, Norwegian-based trainer Niels Petersen has had the race in a tight grip, winning it three times with Bank of Burden and once with Without Fear. They are both running on Sunday.
Tight finish between winner Bank of Burden (ridden by Per-Anders Gråberg) and Hurricane Red in Stockholm Stora Pris (Gr3) at Täby Galopp in June 2014. Photo: Stefan Olsson / Svensk Galopp
No horse has won the race four times, but Bank of Burden has got a good chance to do so on Sunday. Me and my fellow Swedes are still very proud of the fact that the Swedish-bred horse Nicke managed to win it three times, 1978, 1980 and 1984. It was actually now Newmarket trainer Rae Guest who rode him when winning the race the last time.
Hurricane Red and Jacob Johansen won their prep-race at Jägersro in the beginning of the month. Photo: Stefan Olsson / Svensk Galopp
The recent record isn't as good for the Swedes, unfortunately, and no Swedish-trained horse has won the race since 1994. It is not impossible that it will happen this year, as Swedish trainers saddle a total of five horses in Sunday's race. It includes the beautiful chestnut Hurricane Red and handsome grey Berling (the latter who, which I mentioned in my previous blog post, and probably will mention in several future ones, who is owned by Benny from ABBA).
Unfortunately, although all the horses in the field but one (Zack Hall comes from Francois Rohaut in France) is trained in Scandinavia, there are no Scandinavian-bred horses in the race. However, racegoers heading to the Danish capital tomorrow will get the chance to see several members of the Scandinavian-bred elite, as they race in Klampenborg Grand Prix.
Over and out
Sales catalogue: http://www.saef.se/pdf_2015/15_SAEF_SALES_NET_1SEP_web.pdf
Watch the auction live from 1pm (local time): http://stream.internetbroadcast.se/saef/