With the new superstar Calgary Games in front, Timo Nurmos sends a strong team on Saturday.
The big races come one after the other on V75® at Åby and he has the chance to win three national championships, a European championship and the UET Grand Prix.
"I have nice horses and it will be exciting" says the top trainer.
Since Calgary Games (V75-6) won the Swedish Trotting Derby in superior fashion in a new world record time, he has been the horse on everyone's lips in Sweden. After eight lifetime starts, he still doesn't know what defeat tastes like and he is the heavy favorite in the Saturday feature at Åby, the UET Grand Prix with SEK 2 million to the winner.
"He trained Monday and was good, everything seems normal" says Timo Nurmos.
The Solvalla-licensed trainer won both the Swedish Trotting Derby as well the UET Grand Prix with Calgary Games' sire, Readly Express in 2016. This year he can take home the double again. But the horse has not been peaked for this race.
"I didn't have him peaked for the Derby and I haven't done it for this race either. He trains as usual like he did going into the Derby and he feels just as good now as he did then. It's hard to say if he is even better now than before the Derby, but he gets more experience with every start and everything feels good going into this start".
Besides the very tough competition you always face in these stake races, there's only one little cloud in the sky for Timo Nurmos.
"I have had some sick horses lately and Napoleon Cash (V75-6) who is in the same race was not at his best when he trained on Monday. He didn't have his regular stamina. It could be that he just had a bad day, but it could also be a cold and he will get checked up during the week. But I have no complaints when it comes to Calgary Games and I hope he will stay healthy this week".
Challenger in the Swedish Championship
It's a star-studded race day, to say the least, at Åby on Saturday. A number of national champions will be crowned and in the heavyweight class the Swedish Championship, Timo Nurmos has a challenger in Brother Bill (V75-7).
"He hasn't had the right luck this year. He has been good all year and has progressed nicely. He keeps getting better and better and he is closing in on the top trotters".
The five-year-old has only won one out of six starts during the year but back in May he was on his way to trot past the Elitlopp winner Don Fanucci Zet when he rolled over and made a break shortly before the finish line and in his last start he challenged the Swedish Champion from 2019, Milliondollarrhyme after a trip first up.
"He was very good in his last start. Unfortunately, the string to the pull-down bridle got stuck so the driver couldn't pull it. I know he responds very well to that, so at least he could have been closer to the winner, had the driver just been able to pull it down. But being second after trotting outside the leader was very good and he trains well after the race".
This time Milliondollarrhyme drew post position eight behind the gate and the reigning champion Very Kronos starts from post position ten, in the second tier. Brother Bill was luckier in the draw and starts from post position two behind the gate.
"The post position is good, the driver can choose different types of tactics from there. My horse is in very good form and the distance is good for him. It will be exciting to see him on Saturday".
Tough post position for the reigning female champion
In the Swedish Championship for mares, Timo Nurmos' tough mare Hevin Boko (V75-1) is the reigning champion. But after the draw, where Hevin Boko drew post twelve and her stablemate Dixie Brick (V75-1) drew post one, the latter has the advantage. She has stepped into the female elite class very well and followed up her win in Queen L.'s race with a second place in Giant Diablo's race, in her last start.
"She was good again, in her last start and she keeps progressing, slowly but surely. She is in against some tough mares on Saturday but she usually races well on all distances and racing back to back is a plus for her, I think. I think she has the best post position you could have at Åby. The tactics are up to the driver, but since there is a passing lane, there is usually not the same action as for example at Solvalla".
"That is a disadvantage for Hevin Boko instead. She drew poorly again and it will be tough for her to defend her title from that post position. Everything is well with her too, but it will be tough for her to get in the race from back there. Other than that, she is better than Dixie Brick, so far. Dixie Brick is on her way up, but Hevin Boko is very tough, top three among all mares in Sweden I think".
Timo Nurmos has won both the Swedish Championship open class as well as the mares class before, but he has never won the Swedish Monté Championship. Maybe Global Undecided (V75-3) can change that?
"He's a wonderful horse who is enjoying life. He is no hero in training and he is pretty laid back when racing too. He has raced well in monté, but he is just as lazy under saddle as he is with the sulky. He is just playing".
Global Undecided, who has made four starts under saddle and who finished fourth in the Monté Elite at the Elitopp weekend, showed in his last start that the form is peaking upwards.
"That was a very good effort in his last start when he closed very well and lost in the photo. I think the form is on its way up".
Italian horse chasing the European Championship title
European champions for three-year-olds as well as five-year-olds will also be crowned, all on the V75 card. In the three-year-old class, Timo Nurmos sends out the Italian-owned Ciak Bi (V75-2) from post position two. The colt has raced in the lead in all of his four starts this year and he has finished first, first, third and second.
"He is a nice horse who is steadily developing but mentally he is not quite there yet. Just like many offsprings to Varenne he wants to go a little bit too much. He raced well in his last start, but was pulling a bit in the lead and got tired because of that. I don't interfere with the choice of tactics on Saturday, but maybe he is better with a covered up trip. Then he might relax better and close well instead. He will probably race barefoot all around like he did two starts ago".