It is almost a year ago this horse had a good post position.
But for Baron Gift finally drew well - and can follow up his last V75® victory with a new Gold division triumph.
"My horse feels at least as good now. In the lead he will have a good chance to win" says Rickard Svanstedt who has changed the training after suffering from what is called over training last year.
"Now he always trains and jogs by himself and gets turned out in a secluded field".
Kalmar is hosting this week's V75® and in the Gold division Baron Gift is chasing his second consecutive win in the highest class. Rickard Svanstedt's poster boy has climbed all the way up to the elite and has established himself there too. Not bad for a horse who has suffered some soundness issues over the years and who last year struggled with what is called over training.
"Baron Gift (V75-3) was sounder in his legs before last season which meant we could train him consistently in between start. We hadn't been able to do that before and the outcome was good. He raced very well many times last year and won on V75 despite starting from bad post positions. Especially in the highest class it's very tough starting from bad posts".
Baron Gift has struggled with bad post positions for 13 starts in a row and has often drawn the worst possible post position. But this week he was fortunate in the draw. A perfect spot with post three behind the gate is something Svanstedt isn't used to having with his star trotter.
"It's incredible haha, but it was so nice to see. We haven't been spoiled with good posts and as I said it takes a lot out of a horse to win from a bad post" he says.
Changed the training after sickness
But to go back to Baron Gift's health, they had him checked up thoroughly after he under performed in a Gold division final at Solvalla in September of last year.
We got the diagnosis that he was suffering from over training. He raced really badly in the final where he just stopped and we knew something was seriously wrong with him. His blood work showed that his level of red blood cells was way too high and he's always been a bit of a nervous horse".
"We had to change his routines and change up his training program completely. Once his legs were good and we could train him this hit him instead. Now we just train him by himself so he doesn't have to be around other horses. He's also turned out in a secluded spot where he can relax. It looks like it‘s working and the results have been good. This is something we have to keep working with and it just means that he cannot race as frequently as before" says Svanstedt.
"Trained good Friday"
What' are your thoughts on his last V75 win in Halmstad?
"He felt great and won easily, even if he didn't really get challenged. He was a bit lazy but he kept them behind us without a problem. In the start prior at Åby he wasn't as good but we hadn't trained him very tough before that so I knew he would need a race. And it did help his form a lot".
"After Halmstad he got a week off in the field and then we have trained him pretty tough since then. It has mostly been intervals in the sand but last Friday I trained him on the track here and he trotted 1:20 speed and felt good. This week he'll just take it easy up until the race on Saturday".
"My horse is happy and healthy and he feels great. I'd say he feels at least as good as he did before his last start" says Rickard.
"It looks good - want to get to the lead"
Baron Gift will starts from post position three behind the gate over 2,140 meters on Saturday. He showed in his last start that he can leave quickly and trainer Svanstedt is aiming for the lead again.
"It looks good on paper and I want to get to the lead. But we have a couple of quick horses outside of us so it's not for certain that we'll get there. We'll see if they can take that length on my horse. It's not that easy in this class".
"In the lead he should have a good chance to win. But he could also win from behind. We changed to an old style sulky in his last start to get him to leave quicker and it worked out well so he will race the same again. He needs the gaiting poles in the start to go straight and when he does, he can leave much quicker" says Rickard Svanstedt.
You will also drive Viola Grif for trainer Sofia Aronsson in the fourth leg. The Italian born mare made her first start in Sweden when you drove her on V75 on New Year's Eve. Thoughts on that?
"Viola Grif (V75-4) felt like a real nice horse and got locked in and wasn't tired at Axevalla. We didn't know what she could do in her first start back after a layoff so we wanted to give her a nice trip. She drew well here and I think she's one of the horses who can win this race".