V75®: Iznogoud Am - a big challenger

This season, all the pieces of the puzzle have come together.
After a very impressive elimination win, Iznogoud Am is a big challenger in the final of the King's Trophy.
"If he keeps going like this, he might end up being a really, really good horse"says the trainer.

The V75 program for this Saturday is mouth-watering for all harness racing fans. 
The final of the Paralympic Trot is the icing on the cake, but the Group 1 race closing out the V75 card is not the only one to be raced during Åby's jam packed afternoon. 
Before that, the finals of both the King's Trophy as well as the Queen's Trophy - both Group 1 races - will crown their champions. The first real battle for the four-year-olds this year in Sweden. SEK 1 million await both winners. 

Has grown up during the winter
A horse who during the beginning of the season has stepped up as a big challenger among the boys is 4 Iznogoud Am (V75-3). This son of Muscle Hill started his racing career on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean for trainer Marcus Melander. The horse came to Sweden last fall and owner Stall Courant sent him to trainer Stefan P Pettersson. He made breaks in both starts last fall, but this year this magnificent stud horse has minded his manners perfectly. Undefeated in three starts. 
"We tretaed him after his last start last year and after that he did a lot of heavy uphill training. He has grown up, he has more room for his legs now and he has grown into his big body. He wasn't really ready earlier, but he has matured now" says Stefan and the Mantorp-trainer continues:
"His physics are great. He has both speed and strength, he travels well and he is just a cool horse overall. I wouldn't call him stable just yet, he had a messy time when he was younger with a lot of breaks, but he looks to be on the right path and if he keeps going like this he might end up being a really, really good horse".

Let him set his own fractions 
After having bombed away on the front end in a leg of Margaretas Tidiga Unghästserie two starts ago, Iznogoud Am left an even bigger impression in his last start, the King's Trophy elimination. 
He took over the lead after the first turn and after that it was a one horse show. The four-year-old raced his own race, far ahead of the field and won in splendid isolation.
"It was a good Friday evening for him. He didn't have to go all out and it did a lot for his self confidence. He trotted nicely, behaved well and he had a couple of starts in his leg already so he is in good form now".
In his last start, just like in the one prior, Iznogoud Am opened up on the field, without pulling. It just seems to be his way of racing. 
"The strange thing was that in his elimination, the others trotted 1:15 the first kilometer and he trotted 1:13. He feels comfortable trotting at that speed and he is not a hot horse. He has such a powerful stride, it's almost more difficult to slow him down to 1:15 speed. Örjan Kihlström just let him set his own fractions, instead of trying to go slower".
What has he done after that start?
"Just slow training, no heats on the track. He trained on the straight track last Sunday and will do so again on Wednesday". 

First time Goop
The King's Trophy final on Saturday will be his toughest race so far since coming to Sweden. 
One of the opponents. Francesco Zet was the king of the crop as a three-year-old, winning both the Kriterium as well as the Breeders Crown. The Daniel Redén-trained horse was also very impressive in his elimination and he was Örjan Kihlström's choice of the two. That means that Iznogoud Am will make the acquaintance of another world class driver, Björn Goop. 
"Iznogoud Am is very good now, so we will give it a try to win the race. Of course, there are many good horses in a race like this, Redén's Francesco Zet is probably our toughest opponent".
"I have to beleive he can win, I have a lot of faith in my horse. Let's hope Björn can give him a good trip too". 
What are the plans going forward, is the Sprint Championship a possibility? 
"We focus on the Derby with him. But he is staked to the Sprint Championship so we might go there, but we might not want to race twice the same day, so we haven't decided yet" says Stefan P Pettersson.