He is the big favorite and hometown hopeful to win the Swedish Trotting Derby.
Conrad Lugauer isn't afraid to share what he thinks about his star Campo Bahia's most important race of his career so far.
"I don't want to be disrespectful to my opponents but I think I have the best horse. If all horses race at their maximum level Campo Bahia will win" says Lugauer who also has Ferrari Sisu in the Derby.
The Derby weekend is upon us and on Sunday it's time for the big race, the Swedish Trotting Derby. One of Sweden's true classics with SEK 4 million to the winner. A Derby winner will never be forgotten they say and the Derby is the biggest race a four year old can win in Sweden. The winning driver, trainer and owner will as the tradition says put on the yellow Derby jacket in the winners circle.
Last year Inti Boko won the biggest race for three year olds, the Kriterium. Campo Bahia finished second in the same race. This year the latter has found a different gear and been incredibly impressive. He is undefeated in four starts and after winning the King's Trophy he became the given favorite to win the Derby. Meanwhile Inti Boko has only made two starts this year, but was very impressive when winning his Derby elimination last week. So was Campo Bahia and on Sunday they will battle again together with the other top four year olds. "Campo Bahia (V75-6) has shown that he's an exceptional horse. He's incredibly good and has improved a lot this year as a four year old and gotten better at everything " says Conrad Lugauer.
Does he feel even better now than when he won the King's Trophy very convincingly?
"I can't say he does because he was very good then. But I think he has gotten better at several things. He feels stronger and he's gotten and more mature and smarter. He's gotten more professional because he used to play around too much. Now the whole package has gotten better".
What can you tell us about the elimination which Campo Bahia won easily?
"It went as expected. He left well and was able to take over the lead early. Then he felt great and could win easily in 1:13.1. I let him stretch out the last 200 meters and then he was very powerful. He was far from tired, he recovered very quickly and was happy and alert after the race. I think he will be in top form on Sunday"says 'Connie'.
"I trained him one last time today (Monday) and he couldn't feel any better than what he does. My horse is in very good shape and I hope he doesn't have any bad luck in the Derby. Then he will have a good chance and I'm very satisfied with him".
You said before the elimination that you have one piece of advice to the opponents - not to try to park Campo Bahia because they wouldn't be able to. Are you saying the same thing for the final?
"No, this is a new race and a tougher race where all the best four year olds are in it. It's different. But why would I lay low when I think I have the best horse in the field? I don't want to make him out to be better than what he is, I'm just being honest and saying what I think".
You got to pick your post position second after Timo Nurmos and you picked post three. How did you reason there?
"Timo and Björn wanted a post position a bit out since Inti Boko can be a bit tricky behind the gate. They picked post four, then I could pick post three. I didn't want to be too far down towards the inside and risk getting into a tight situation".
"Won't be a bluff race"
What are your thoughts on tactics and how do you think he race will unfold?
"That's always hard to say beforehand. But to do the work ourselves outside the leader if necessary is no problem. I can guarantee you that it won't be a bluff race. Timo Nurmos has two horses in the race and so do we. We're going to make it tough for them and I think we have the strongest entry with Campo Bahia and Ferrari Sisu".
"I think Inti Boko and Ferrari Sisu are the toughest opponents, but we can't forget Attraversiamo who probably will be very tough this time".
How good of a feeling do you have that you will win the Swedish Trotting Derby on Sunday?
"If all the horses race at their maximum level Campo Bahia will win. But we all know that anything can happen in a horse race. If we don't run into any bad luck we have a great chance to win".
Any shoeing or equipment changes planned?
"He will race with pullout earplugs this time, just like he did in the final of the King's Trophy. They worked out well when I pulled them then. Other than that, no changes. He'll race with shoes".
"I'm proud - have to enjoy it too"
How does it feel for you as a Jägersro licensed trainer to have the favorite in the biggest race at your home track? Nervous?
"I'm actually quite experienced and I don't want to think about the Derby the entire time. Of course it feels a little extra and it's huge since
Jägersro is my home track. There's a lot of media work during the week with TV and different newspapers who have both been calling and have come out here. But that's something you have to deal with, I'd rather have it this way than the other way around. You have to keep your cool and not start to doubt yourself. We have organized it all and we've gone over the entire weekend with the staff so everyone knows what will happen and we are well prepared".
"Of course Sunday will be special but you can't forget to enjoy it too. I'm proud that we've made it this far and have two such nice horses in the Derby. I'm looking forward to Sunday and everyone in the stable is excited" says Conrad Lugauer.
What can you say about stable mate Ferrari Sisu who won his Derby elimination at a high odds?
"Ferrari Sisu (V75-6) won the toughest elimination of them all and not in a cheap way. He was very good as he had been in several starts prior to that too and I put out a warning about him before the eliminations. In the Breeders Crown leg he made a very costly break and was only beat a couple lengths by Cab Lane. Then he put up a great effort in Vaggeryd where he trotted 1:13.5 parked on a tricky track. You also have to keep in mind that he was fifth in the King's Trophy and he had one of the fastest finishes there. You cannot underrate this horse and he will make good money in the final. Nobody should be surprised if he comes flying on the outside down the stretch. We might pull his shoes this time but I haven't decided it yet".