The startlist for Jubileumspokalen is quite a sight for sore eyes.
The Elitlopp winner Don Fannucci Zet and Robert Bergh's Hail Mary are the two biggest names, but the dark horse of the field is Admiral As.
Reijo Liljendahl's new poster boy is ready for the big goal of the season.
"He is probably the best and the fastest horse I have ever trained".
Jubileumspokalen at Solvalla is always a great race. This year the field might be the best ever. It's a top class field of five year olds with three of this year's Elitlopp finalists, including the winner Don Fannucci Zet. The race is spiced up with last year's Derby winner Hail Mary.
For 3 Admiral As (V75-6) this will be his first big test against the best. The Italian-born son of Ready Cash made a name for himself during last year's Elitlopp weekend when he challenged Ecurie D. in the four-year-old elite just to make a break at the end, trotting a low 1:09 kilometer time on the mile. This year he has made four starts and the last two have been easy wins.
"He has trained as usual after his most recent start and he feels good. I think he has shown good form in every start and it should still be good for Wedensday. It was a strange race in his last start, but he showed what a good horse he is" says trainer Reijo Liljendahl.
"We are in it to win it"
After winning the final of the Bronze division at Färjestad in the beginning of July and another victory in Victory Tilly's race in his last start, Admiral As has now reached the big goal of the year. Mats E Djuse gets the chance in the sulky for the first time behind the top trotter in Jubileumspokalen where the winner gets SEK 1.5 million.
"This has been the goal for him this year, but like I have said before you can't just say that you will race in a certain race, the horse needs to deserve to be in it just like every big race. We are not in this race just to participate, we are in it to win it. He has raced against good horses before, just not this many at the same time, so this will be tougher. I want to win the race and I think he has the abilty to do so, but it's no catastrophy if he doesn't and there are many more races in the future".
Do you think Admiral As has developed a lot from last year?
"He has to develop constantly. He was good last year, but then he had some issues in the summer, he got going in the fall season and raced in the Breeders Crown and he got some tough trips. After that he got some time off and training over the winter which improved his form and as always you have to come well prepared. He has shown so much ability already and it's almost unlikely to beleive that he could improve further, but I think there is more to come".
Admiral As always races with shoes all around?
"Yes, and he will do so also now. He already trots 1:08-speed and the way I see it, that's good enough. I just don't see the benefit of starting to experiment with pulling his shoes when he is racing this well".
What are your plans for him in the future?
"I have some thoughts, but we are happy the way he is going now and we are taking one start at the time. He belongs in these races. As I have said before, he is probbaly the best and the fastest horse I have ever trained".
Two more starters on Solvalla's great night
Reijo Liljendahl sends out two more starters on his home track Solvalla's big night. The three year old filly 8 Honey Adore (V75-2) is looking for her first career win in Wallenius Cup, but she once again drew badly. The colt of the same age, 4 Whothehillareyou (V75-7) has the exciting task of starting 20 meters ahead of his one year older playmates in the Big Noon Cup.
"Honey Adore raced in an E3 elimination in her last start but it was ice cold starting from post position eight over the short distance and she had no racing luck at all. She closed well but it wasn't enough and it was the same thing in the start prior. She hasn't had much luck and it doesn't look any better this time. It's hard to believe she still hasn't won a race, I hope she does it now but it could be tough".
"Whothehillareyou pretty much had the same thing happen in his last start, he never got in the race so we can just forget that start. He was good in the start prior and he still feels good in training, he is improving and he is a horse for the future. Post position four in 'volt' start is not ideal for an American horse who is a bit steppy, he will probably get a slow start from there. There are very good horses in the race and trip and racing luck will be the decisive factors".