It started off slowly.
Now all systems are go.
On Saturday Elin Dalegård is chasing her biggest success as a trainer.
"I have never had a better chance of winning on V75®" says the former super groom.
As a groom for trainer Roger Walmann, she won the Sprint Championship, the King's trophy and the Swedish Trotting Derby, she traveled to France and North America to race and she had lots of winners on V75® just to mention a few of her accomplishments.
But after 20 years as an employee for different trainers, Elin Dalegård left life as a groom behind to become a professional trainer.
In 2017 she took the final exam at Wången and today 23 horses are in her training.
That is more than double the number of horses she had when she started.
Much of that is thanks to a hard investing owner who also is an enthusiastic new driver, named Jonas Gylling.
"I have eight stalls at my own farm. When the number of horses exceeded that number, I rented a stable at Örebro racetrack. That's where I was when Jonas Gylling suddenly just showed up last fall" says Elin Dalegård.
What do you mean by showed up?
"He was there to take his driving license classes and he thought that you got to borrow a horse from the track's school. When he realized that's not the case, he asked if I had a horse he could drive".
Did you know each other already?
"No, I just know of him. We both come from the same little town called Askersund. When I was younger I was petrified of him, he was a thug".
"Yes, well he hung with a bunch of guys that you kept your distance to, so to speak. But he says that it's the opposite today, that he is scared of me when he is crawling around my stable" Elin says with a laugh.
"Jonas has always been interested in the trotters and he knew I was a trainer. As a business owner, he has always tried to work with people from Askersund and I guess that was his reasoning in this case as well, it was to my advantage".
Big group of yearlings
After having gotten his driving license, the successful business owner has gone all-in with trotters and he is now Dalegård's biggest owner.
Nine new yearlings make the future look a lot brighter than it did a year ago.
"The yearlings are all thanks to Jonas. He bought them all and then sold them in shares. Last year I didn't have a single yearling so it's very inspiring. I dream about having a Dust All Over or a Colombian Necktie in this group" says Elin and refers to her two best horses from her grooming days.
But her training career could have started off better.
As a matter of fact, her stable was winless in both 2019 and 2020.
This year has been much better with eleven wins so far, four of them during the last month.
"Yes, it's a kind of a ketchup effect and it feels like my stable is finally in good form. I can't point to something specific as to why they are all doing better now, I guess all the miles we have put into the horses that are finally paying off".
Stronger and stronger in training
The figurehead of the stable is 2 Digital Luck (V75-6) who arrived at New Year and has won six races this year. His first win was also Gylling's first start as a driver and they introduced themselves to the public as they won on GS75 at Axevalla.
On Saturday, the scene is even bigger.
That means that Gylling has to watch his horse from the side as he only has driven 38 races and doesn't qualify to participate in the regular V75 class races.
"The horse has raced very well lately even if he lost to Gerben in his last start. Jonas was very critical of himself after that race and thought he should have picked up the pace a little earlier. Maybe it was his lack of experience that came through there" says Elin Dalegård.
If Digital Lucky loses on Saturday, it will be due to other reasons than lack of experience as the driver this time is Örjan Kihlström who gets to drive a horse in top form.
"He sure does. The horse feels stronger and stronger in training. I think he has put on 100 kilos of muscle since he came to us. I am very happy with him right now and he benefits from racing in the winter, as he always races with shoes and he has shown that he can race with corks in his shoes too. We hope to do a Arnie Somolli – that was a horse I took care of for Roger Walmann who won four V75 races one winter".
How do you like his chances on Saturday?
"I have never had a better chance of winning on V75, as a trainer. We had Nelly Vingboons who won a few times, maybe ten years ago, but my mom was the trainer then. I won't be surprised if Digital Lucky wins".
What would a win mean to you?
"A lot! You have to win on V75 for people to see you”.
Are you changing anything in training or on the equipment?
"Not in training, he will train as usual this week. We will change his bridle from pull down can't see backs to pull down blinds. It will be the first time he races with that and hopefully, that will make him a little bit sharper".
Is there any difference watching your horse race as a trainer compared to as a groom?
"Yes, there's a difference. You get a stronger feeling when you're the trainer. As a groom I knew my job was done when I sent the horse to the track and all the equipment was on. As a trainer I don’t know if my job is done until the horse crosses the finish line” says Elin Dalegård.