V75®: Håkan's dream can come true in the Kriterium with San Moteur

He has been in the horse racing business for a long time and has enjoyed lots of success.
But now Håkan Arvidsson stands before what might be his biggest day in racing on Saturday.
He is the breeder and owner of San Moteur, who is one of the favorites in The Swedish Trotting Kriterium and he is also the breeder and part owner of Circus who is racing in the Oaks.
"I have to say it's like a dream. I've had many good horses over the years but the question is if this one might be the best of them all" says Håkan.

He is well known in the harness racing industry through his father Berndt 'Bil-Berndt' Arvidsson and his sister Annika Goop - mother of Björn Goop. Håkan Arvidsson is an important part of the Goop stable. He's not only Björn's uncle, but also his right hand man and he is both part of and responsible for the daily routine at Lökene Gård in Kil. There is a large amount of good horses that Håkan and his family have bred and trained over the years. Håkan names a few right away as we start the interview.
“I can tell you that the ones who have stood out the most are first of all Tiba Lavec who made it to all of the big stakes finals and won the Breeders Crown and Psycho who also won the Breeders Crown and made it to the Kriterium final and finished second an E3 final too. Then we have Pebbly who won the Oaks, Annika bred her and there’s also Miss Sixty who finished third in Stochampionatet and second in the Breeders Crown. Pernod was another good horse who raced in all the big stakes finals and same goes for Bryssel. I can mention many more but these were just a few" says Håkan Arvidsson.
"I've been in the business for a long time and I've had many good horses over the years. But I think that this year I might have the best one so far. I don't have a big stable of brood mares, I'm usually around seven, eight mares every year. I own some with Björn and right now we have six mares total".

"He's extraordinary - has a fantastic gait"
The horse that Håkan calls the best one is San Moteur who is one of the favorites to win this year's Swedish Trotting Kriterium. The three year old colt is undefeated after five career starts and he can now win the biggest race in the country for three year olds. To top it off, Håkan is also the breeder and part owner of Circus who is racing in the Oaks. They are both trained by Björn Goop, but Håkan is very much part of the training as well as drawing up their race schedule.
"This is so darn huge. To be both the breeder and owner of two horses in these finals is incredible and I also always sit behind both of them in training. I said early, already in January or February that San Moteur will be a horse for the big races. I felt early that he was an extraordinary horse" says Håkan.
What makes San Moteur so good?
"He has it all. He is so quick out of the gate and he's also very strong. He has also shown that he has an incredible speed. He showed it two starts ago at Solvalla when he trotted home the last 800 meters in 1:08.5 speed with 1:06 speed around the last turn when Björn didn't even let him go all out".
"So he's a very quick horse and he gets the strength from Ready Cash and you can also find Tenor du Baune in his pedigree. But most of all he has a fantastic gait".

"Has won without being tired every time"
San Moteur made his racing debut on June 8 and he now sports a five race winning streak going into the Kriterium. He won his elimination easily and has been vastly impressive in every start.
"He has been very good the entire time training down and even if we never really tested him as a two year old, you could tell that he never had to go all out in training. The horse has done everything right so far, but that he would end up this good is something I couldn't even dream of" says Håkan.
"Björn is not a man of big words but he thinks the horse is incredibly good and he has never had to go all out. He has made a decisive move and been able to cruise home every time".
What do you think of San Moteur's effort in his Kriterium elimination?
"He had a bad post position which made me worried initially but the he is so quick in the start and managed to find a path in between horses and found third over. He sat there for a bit before Björn advanced since he didn't want the pace to be too slow. He just sat parked outside the leader and made his move with 300 meters to go and won easily".
"I sit behind him in training all the time and I just trined him this morning (Monday) and he felt good. It feels like he stays loose and relaxed".

"Has the ability to win the Kriterium - gets some weight off this time"
Both the Kriterium as well as the Oaks will go on Saturday of the Kriterium weekend this year. Both finals are part of V75 on Saturday and San Moteur starts from a perfect post position two behind the gate. He gets a new driver in Per Lennartsson since Björn Goop is suspended.
"It's unfortunate that he is suspended and it's a bit of a hiccup. Björn has driven the horse in every start and he knows him well, but I have a lot of trust in Per Lennartsson. He's very calm and collected and I think he will make the best of it. Plus the horse is pretty easy to get along with".
What's your feeling about San Moteur's chances of winning the Kriterium (V75-6)?
"He definitely has the ability to do so. But the Kriterium is a very tough race to win and a lot of things have to go right throughout the race. It's a very tough race and if he finishes top three I'd be very happy. So far everything has gone as planned and I'm very pleased with my horse" says Håkan Arvidsson.
Any changes planned regarding equiment and shoeing?
"He has had heavy PG shoes upfront and steel shoes behind since the spring. Those are very heavy shoes and mostly used in training. But Björn likes him like that so we have kept him that way. But the plan has alway been to take some weight off of him but we hesitated to do so for the elimination. Björn said in an interview before the elimination that we didn't need to, so there's a couple of extra gears left there".
"Now the time has come to do it and he will race barefoot behind and with lighter PG shoes upfront. That will be much lighter than before and he will get much quicker and better without the shoes behind. He has raced with set earplugs and we won't change that now. He will also race in the same sulky as before".

"Circus has a tremendous amount of ability - but she is rowdy"
"Håkan Arvidsson has as mentioned another horse in a big stakes final which he has bred and co-owns. That is Circus who is one of the finalists in the Oaks after finishing second in her elimination. The three year old filly has never finished worse than third in four lifetime starts.
"Circus (V75-4) has shown a tremendous amount of ability but has been a bit rowdy to be honest. She spooks easily and has a bit of a temper. But like I sad she has a lot of ability and she started her career by finishing third and then she was second after losing a lot of ground making a break. She then won her third start on the front end in Örebro and in her last start she finsihed second in the Oaks elimination after a good late rally. If you watch the replay you can see that she keeps going the same speed pretty far after the finish line".
"She has the eight hole and it looks tough against good horses with better post positions. If she finishes third, fourth, fifth and just makes some money I'd be happy. She needs a lot of racing luck and a fast pace upfront".
Any changes on her?
"She will also race barefoot behind which should give her an extra gear. She too has raced with a lot of weight and it feels like both our horses have several gears left in them compared to some of the opponents who went all in already in the eliminations".
Finally; how does your week leading up to these finals look?
"It will be very exciting and I think about it the entire time. I have to say, it’s like a dream. I will be very nervous on Satuday and it would be huge if we could win. I've been in this game a long time and I started out with my dad who had horses already in the sixtes".
"It's a lot of work every day and I help Björn taking care of everything on the farm and with the stable. We complement each other well, Björn and I" says Håkan Arvidsson.