On Friday WInter Burst culminates with a multi jackpot on New Year's Eve.
When this is written there is SEK 83 million in the pool for all seven winners picked – a race day that has been moved from Axevalla to Halmstad due to the risk of the frozen ground thawing out in the Axvall region.
Ulf Stenströmer has a couple of horses who are hot win candidates on V75 – both owned by his new big, hard investing owner Leif Bengtsson.
"We have started a new, very interesting business relationship which has started off in a very promising way. I have never had stock this good to work with and it feels incredibly inspiring" says Ulf Stenströmer.
On Friday it's time for the big bang – not only because of the New Year's fireworks – but also because the gigantic multi jackpot will be paid out. When this is written Tuesday afternoon there is SEK 83 million in the pool for all seven winners picked, which could be even more the next few days, should there be another jackpot on V75® before Friday.
The races have been moved from Axevalla to Halmstad.
Svensk Travsport (ST) stated the following in a press release Tuesday:
"The weather forecast calls for warmer weather, meaning high risks of the track thawing out and becoming unsafe to race on.
After a cold Christmas, the ground is frozen at Axevalla. The forecast calls for several degrees above freezing and also rain on both Thursday and Friday. That is the worst possible scenario for the track crew at Axevalla. There is a pretty high risk of the ground thawing out just in time for the races on Friday. During that time it is not fitting to arrange trot races at the racetrack"
"This is very interesting – a great opportunity for me"
That mens that the Axevalla-based trainer Ulf Stenströmer has to travel to Halmstad with his four V75® starters. Three of these are owned by his new owner, the hard investing Leif Bengtsson, Philip Consulting HB in Vänersborg. Of the 53 horses Ulf trains, 17 of them are owned by Leif Bengtsson. They got a flying start when Bold Knick won at Åby in early November and took Ulf's training win number 1,000.
"I'm very pleased and I have never had stock like this to work with. Sure I have gotten a well bred horse here and there to train but never this many of this high quality. They haven't all arrived at the same time, it's been a process where they have arrived over some time. There are several very nice horses and we will sort through them and some will get bred and some might get sold too" says Stenströmer.
"Jasmine Ising and Patrik Fernlund who trained them before are only keeping nine horses when they move to their new farm. We will make an assessment going forward, which horses to focus on, of the ones he has sent me. This is obviously very interesting and a great opportunity for me. I had met Leif a couple of times before he sent me the first horse and he is a nice and friendly guy. We clicked instantly and he has been in this business for a long time and knows what it's about. It feels like a very good business relationship which has started promising and it was fun that it was his horse that took my 1,000th training win" says Ulf Stenströmer.
"Like I said there are several nice horses but one that sticks out is the mare Ester Wibb. She was very good as a three-year-old and even made it to the Oaks final. She struggled with lameness the entire four-year-old year and we had a veterinarian check her but only found some minor issues that we treated. She's a gorgeous mare and I don't think I have had such a nice mare since I had Your Highness. I really hope we can get her back, then she should be able to do very well in the future".
"Handsome Brad feels fantastic in training"
When we are talking about horses in your training, how is the star of your stable Handsome Brad doing?
"He felt very good when we called it a year after he got a very tough trip in his last start and got very tired. We didn't want to race him more after that on tracks that could be bad during the winter, but he was put away 100 percent sound. In previous years we have had to put him away due to different injuries, but not this year".
"I have to say that he feels fantastic in training and I think he will make his seasonal debut much earlier next year than what he has done before. It could be already in February or March and I hope he has one more season left in the very elite. But both this year and also next year feel like icing on the cake after all the big races he has won and all the money he has made. But we are looking forward to another season with him" says Stenströmer.
"Feels very good in training"
The Axevalla-based trainer has four starters on this multi jackpot V75 card, where one is the favorite and one is the second choice as of today (Tuesday). Here are his comments on them:
"5 Timotejs Jackpot (V75-2) is a very nice horse who has given Jasmine and Patrik many gray hairs and he has made two starts for me now. He came to me as a last resort to see if he could still be a racehorse or he would become a riding horse. I have liked the horse from the beginning and it feels like we are on the right path. He is absorbing the training in the sand well, we have done some adjustments in his shoeing and the fine care from his groom has made him race well in the two starts he has made for us. He is big, for being by Muscle Hill and post five in volt start would be the last post I would have picked, had I gotten to choose. Even if he feels like a sensible horse, there's a risk of him making a break when the horses from post six and seven come flying on his outside".
"It looked like he got very tired in his last start but I think he was mostly tired in his muscles after having raced great and been out three wide the last kilometer. That was probably why he was on one line at the end. He still feels very good in training and if he comes out of the start trotting, then he can leave pretty well. Should he make it to the lead, the others have to be very good to beat him. I really like this horse and I think he will have a very good year next year, when we can race him barefoot. There was a long time in between his first and second start for me due to him catching a cold and I had to scratch him once. My entire stable has been sick in October and November but now it seems to have passed, knock on wood. The horses all look healthy and fresh now" says Ulf Stenströmer.
"6 Harry M.G. (V75-3) was entered mostly because it was here at our home track. We will try to make one start with shoes, even though I know he's not as good with shoes and maybe I should have entered him to a regular race instead of a V75 race, but the thought was that it's here at home when I entered him. He feels like a typical barefoot horse and he is the one out of my starters who has the biggest disadvantage racing with shoes. We hope for a check".
"Could be interesting if she can hold up the lead"
"1 Hattusa (V75-6) came home with me after her last start at Åby and was supposed to have raced on V75 after that but we had to scratch her when she also caught a cold. She won a cheap race in her last start, in a good way and she has trained well here at home after her cold. She doesn't look like much of a horse but she's actually a nice mare with a good attitude. I'm not sure how she will race with shoes, even if she has raced with them on before. When you race them barefoot and then put the shoes back on again, it could be a bit of a disadvantage when you have to go back to racing with shoes again after having raced barefoot. The post position is good and if she can hold up the lead it could be interesting. I hope that the cold she had and the change of environment with new feed and all haven't made her lose the form she had. Then I think she is good enough to win this".
"4 Borups Tornado (V75-7) came home to me after racing at Åby in his last start, where he finished second. He looked very good and he has trained well since he came to me. I have also trained him at the track in 1:18.5 over 2,000 meters and I hope the change of environment is positve for him. The thing is that this race came out very tough and post position four in volt start might be tricky. The first priority is for him to get away trotting and get a decent position and the second priority is to get a nice check. It's hard for me to speak about his chances but should he trot equal to his lifetime mark over the distance, it might be tough for the other ones to catch him. But normally he might need another start. He looked incredibly sluggish in the race at Åby and I will make a change for this start and put a Murphy blind on him instead of the head pole he had and maybe that will make him a bit sharper".