Unionskampen and Norwegian/Swedish V75® at Momarken racetrack in Norway.
You bet Frode Hamre is ready and excited.
"I look forward to Saturday. It's extra fun and interesting when horses and drivers you normally don't race against come over here" says the Norwegian top trainer who has several chances to win.
There are no races held in Sweden this Saturday. Instead racing fans and V75® bettors have to turn their heads to the west for the twelfth annual V75 at Momarken. Frode Hamre is bringing six V75 starters to the racetrack in Mysen, between Olso and the Swedish border. He says his best chance is M.S.Triple J. (V75-5).
"He's in one heck of a good form this horse and he was very good when he won his last start. That was the best race of his career so far. We took some weight off of him and he was very, very good" says Hamre.
M.S. Triple J. drew post one behind the gate and Frode Hamre has the gameplan all worked out.
"He can leave fast and I'll do what I can do defend the lead. If he's as good as he was in his last start I think we'll win however I drive but he's very fast out of the gate and I think he has a good chance holding up the lead here. If he does, he can go wire to wire.
As if the the good post and the great form wasn't enough, Frode Hamre has another ace up his sleeve.
"His feet are good so he can race barefoot. That's a big advantage".
Aiming at Elitkampen during the Elitlopp weekend
Frode Hamre also believes a lot in coldblooded Roll Eld (V75-4), a horse he has big plans for later this spring.
"He's been fantastic and stepped in to the elite. Our goal is Elitkampen at Solvalla in May".
The nine year old stud horse has shown good form lately and handicapped with 20 meters he will be the big favorite.
"And he should, considering his last two starts. In his last start he trotted 1:20.5 and closed in on the winner quickly in the deep stretch. So the form is on top and this week he doesn't have to face the two best ones - Odd Heracles and Ulsrud Tea. Post position two is fine and it looks like a good chance. When it gets warmer we'll try him barefoot but for now he'll race as usual with shoes, blind bridle and a regular sulky".
Tricky in the open class
In Steinlagers Ärelöp (V75-6), the open class, Lionel N.O. will make his first start since Prix d'Amerique in January. He will start from the second tier which will reduce his chances. The favorite will be last year's Eliltopp contender Pastore Bob. Frode Hamre has a longshot in Donatomite (V75-6). He finished second on the front end in the gold division at Halmstad in his last start.
"He got tripped out in the end but raced well. He trotted under 1:11 which is good in March. Everything is good after that race. I trained him today (Monday) and he felt good".
It's a sprint race and Donatomite drew post two behind the gate.
"That's obviously a great post position but he does his best work when he's on the front end and can set the pace that he wants. That's not going to happen here. He won't get past number one and Pastore Bob will also outleave him. That makes it tricky for us. But his form is good and should things go his way I definitely think he can go with these over the short distance. I haven't seen Pastore Bob this year but I think Lionel will struggle from that post over the short distance. Donatomite will race the same way he usually does, no changes".
"Top five in the crop"
Here are Frode Hamre's thoughts on his other V75 starters:
"Amazing Case (V75-2) is reliable and races well every time. She leaves well and should get a good trip and could be third or fourth maybe, but I'd be surprised if she would win this. She'll race barefoot upfront and with a pull down bridle as usual".
"American Cheque (V75-3) made a break as the winner in the last turn in his last start. He felt good and strong and I have no idea he made a break. We've moved him to my other farm and his form is good. But he's in tougher this time and he's just so so in the start so I can't really say he'll win this. He'll race barefoot and in an American sulky. He raced with shoes in his last start".
"Rebella Matters (V75-7) won easily in her seasonal debut last time and she was just as good and strong as I expected. She's a very good mare, top five in her crop I think, but this is not her most important race and I will give her a nice trip now that she drew post eleven. Sure, there's a long home stretch at Momarken and with the right tempo she'll pass many in the end but I can't really see her winning this. No changes".