He worked with horses for over 20 years in the United States and he was the second trainer for both Jimmy Takter and Åke Svanstedt.
Nowadays Björn 'Bernie' Norén is the racing manager for Knutsson Trotting - and also an appreciated ATG Live expert.
On top of that, he trains a couple of horses and on the Wednesday V86 card the undefeated U.S. import Hipster K. debuts on Swedish soil.
"He's a very nice horse who feels good and it will be exciting to see how he can do here" says Bernie.
Björn Norén has a solid background in the harness racing industry and already when he was around ten years old the trotters caught his attention. He started hanging around the horses at an early age at his home track Axevalla and got his first job working for trainer Bo Näslund. When he was 20 years old his best friend Henrik Lundell talked him into coming over to the USA to work for Jimmy Takter. He was a caretaker for four years before he got promoted to second trainer for Takter. That's when he got the chance to help manage and sit behind several world-class trotters for many years before he took the step to go out and start his own stable, first in New Jersey and later also in Canada. When Åke Svanstedt made his move over to the USA he offered Bernie the second trainer job and Bernie accepted.
"I worked for Jimmy for twelve years and I had my own stable for five years. After that, I worked for Åke for four years before I moved home to Sweden to start working as a racing manager for Knutsson Trotting" says Björn Norén, who has had that job since 2016.
Nowadays Bernie is also a very appreciated expert in the ATG Live broadcasts when the big race days from the U.S. are being shown. Like this past Saturday when the Breeders Crown finals were raced at the Meadowlands and he got to see the Knutsson Trotting owned mare Felicity Shagwell give Åke Svanstedt his very first Breeders Crown in the USA when she won the older mare trot division.
"That was really awesome! It was an incredible feeling and so much fun" says Bernie, who did what he could to get the mare home, even if he had to do it quietly as a member of the broadcast crew.
"He is a big and strong son of Sebastian K."
Björn Norén also trains a couple of horses at Bjertorp and of them is Hipster K. who is owned by Knutsson Trotting. He is a U.S.-born son of Sebastian K. who has made three lifetime starts and won all three, at the Meadowlands. It was back in January and February of this year when he won three in a row, trotting 1:56 (1:12 kilometer rate) in all three starts, for his previous trainer Julie Miller with her husband Andy driving.
"5 Hipster K. (V86-3) is a very nice horse. He is a big and strong son of Sebastian K. out of a Muscle Hill mare. He won three races last winter from the lead and from the pocket. He was staked to a lot and his first trainer Jim Campbell had high hopes for him. He was then moved to Julie and Andy Miller and they were very happy with the horse. But he got sore in a suspensory and we decided to take him home to Sweden. If not, he would have kept racing over there in the U.S." says Bernie Norén.
"We decided to take him home when he got sore in a suspensory. We gave him time to heal and he has been trained since June. We have built him back up again and he hasn't had any issues with his old injury. A month ago I trained him in 1:17/1,600 meters and he just jogged. I'm very happy with my horse".
"I won't be surprised if he is good enough to win right away"
On Wednesday it's time for his first start on Swedish soil, and also first time for his new trainer. Hipster K. starts in the third leg of V86, which this week is boosted by a jackpot meaning a sole winner with all eight winners picked could take home SEK 19 million. Hipster K. drew post position five behind the gate and has Johnny Takter driving, something that Bernie is very happy with.
"I have known Johnny for 20 years and he is a top driver. I'm glad he could drive the horse" Bernie says.
"I have aimed for this race for a while and I thought the short distance would be good for his first start here. The class is good for him and it's a little bit better with the short distance for the American horses. Once they are in good form they have no problems with the longer distances".
"Even if he feels good and is well prepared you have to remember that he hasnt raced since February and he doesn't have much experience compared to the rest of the field. They have made 20 starts and he is making his fourth lifetime start on Wednesday".
"But my horse is a good horse and it will be exciting to see how he can do here. I won't be surprised if he is good enough to win right away, but on the other hand I don't know how good the other horses are and he might need a start. He will race with steel shoes, open bridle and in a regular style sulky. That will be the first time for him, since he has only raced in Amercian sulkies before" says Björn Bernie Noren.