V86®/jackpot: Lively senior and interesting new acquisition

Still going strong.
Troels Andersen has shown that he has a rare ability to get older horses to go.
On Wednesday he is racing twelve year old Highspirit and also an exciting new acquisition.
"It will be exciting, both horses feel very good" says the Danish under saddle training expert.

In North America the horses are supposed to be at their best when they are three years old.
In Europe horses usually peak when they are six, seven years old.
In Troels Andersson's barn they seem to be best when they are twelve.
At least two of them.
Picasso and Highspirit were both born in 2008 and would have been doing their last season on the racetracks this year. The Swedish rule book has always stated that horses and geldings were allowed to race throughout the year they turn twelve.
But as of last year they are allowed to race throughout the year they turn 14.
That could mean that both Picasso and Highspirit have the best yet to come.
"Both horses feel better than they did last year, so I think they will both have a great year" says Troels Andersen who is the man behind these two lively seniors who have shown several times this year that they can compete with anyone in their class.
Does that mean they are going towards their best seasons?
"I hope so at least. They both seem to love it out here on the countryside with big fields and with being trained under saddle. I almost never train the older horses to the cart, they don't need that. The most important thing is to keep them happy and sound and they do by training under saddle. They already know how to trot".
Why do older horses stay sounder by training under saddle?
"I think it could be because they use the body differently when galloping in deep sand with a jockey on their backs instead of trotting in the cart on a firmer ground, at least that's how I experience it. They have trotted fast so many times, we don't need to practise that".
How long do you think they can keep racing?
"The plan is to race them this year and then we will retire them. They've been so good for a long time so I want them to stop at a decent level. But I don't rule out that they might keep racing next year. Highspirit has issues with his knees at times but Picasso doesn't really have any issues, so I could see him race next year too if he doesn't lose the will. We will see, right now they are both in very good shape".

Racing him in the lead seems logical
Picasso won in 1:10.1 in March and is one of the top five quickest winners this year.
Highspirit started his year by winning in 1:11.8 and has raced on V75® lately and was second two starts and finished strongly from a bad spot in his last start.
On Wednesday he has his favorite conditions, 1,640 meters and a good post position where he could get the lead.
He has taken 16 of his 23 lifetime wins from the lead, a positions he has been in 26 times.
"We treated his knees after his last start and we've aimed for this race. I'm pleased with how he feels".
Does he usually need a race to be in top from or is he sharp after he's been off for a while?
"He is usually best in his second start back but we have aimed him for this race and trained for it in the sulky too and he felt very good. So I think he will be in top form on Wednesday".
What do you think of the race on Wednesday?
"I will do what I can to get to the front, that's where he races best. I would race him from behind too, but the front is the logical choice this time".
He usually races with an open bridle or with some form of Murphy blind on the inside, barefoot and in a regular style sulky. How will he go this time?
"The track at Bergsåker has been a bit deep lately and if it is, I will race him with shoes behind. But if the track is good, I will race barefoot all around. His feet are good so if he will race with shoes or not depends only on the track condition. I've been considering trying him in some form of blind bridle but he can be pretty aggressive so I probably won't. And regular style sulky yes".
Maybe you can try it when he's more mature as a 13 year old...
"Yes, exactly. On Wednesday he will most likely race in an open bridle. But that doesn't change my tactics. I will try to get to the lead and race him there".
How do you like his chances?
"The race is a little bit cheaper than what he is used to so he should have a decent chance to win".

"Very happily surprised"
The reports sound just as good if not better when it comes to the second starter from the Andersen stable, Majet af Dupmyra, who will make her first start for her new trainer here.
"She came to me five weeks ago and was in good shape. We started training her right away and we have mixed riding her with training her to the cart. I think she handles the training under saddle very well" says Troels Andersen.
Do you know if she has been trained under saddle before?
"From what I have heard, she hasn't. At least not the last few years. These are the type of horses I like getting, where you can introduce them to something new so they can find a new spark".
How does she feel in training?
"Very good. I trained her ten days ago at the track at Västerbo Stuteri and I was very happily surprised. I didn't train her fast, but I got a good feeling".
Could she battle for the win right away?
"Yes. She has a tricky post position and she needs some luck but I'm very pleased with her".
What will you tell driver Ludwick Wickman to do from post position eight behind the gate?
"He has to take it easy from the start and let her go the last kilometer. I think she will deliver a strong finish, but of course she needs some racing luck".
You have entered her to race barefoot all around. She has raced that way only once and won despite making a break then...
"Her feet are good so I count on being able to race her barefoot, she feels like a horse who would be good barefoot".
Will she race with a pull down bridle like she did for her previous trainer?
"Maybe. I will race her open, but I might add pull down blinds after the warm up depending on how she feels".
How do you like your chances with these two starters?
"I'm very happy with my horses and I hope we will at least win one race" says Troels Andersen.