The two Assikura Championships, open for trotters not imported from France or Sweden, got underway yesterday with five heats at the Marsa Racetrack on a short distance of 2,140m. These races formed part of the 17th meeting of the season.
The three most important events yesterday were heats for Premier, Gold and Silver classes. Nine horses qualified for the final stage of the championships.
In the first heat, German Obi Wan Kenobi (George Attard) led all the way to chalk up its first win of the year from Socrates (James Briffa) and Baronello (Jason Vassallo). Geronimos Cadillac (Noel Baldacchino) finished in fourth place.
For George Attard, this was his second victory of the day after triumphing with Boston Harbor in another heat.
Ten trotters lined up in the second Premier, Gold and Silver class heat. Here, Indian Attack (Noel Baldacchino) produced a strong burst in the final metres to secure its second win of the season.
Big Hit (Charlo Debono), favourite Bete Saknussen (Claudio Refalo) and Freedom As (Charles Camilleri) finished behind the winner in that order.
Norwegian debutant, Arifant (Michael Ellul), was overtaken midway through the final straight of the third heat. Here, Count of Life (Charles Camilleri) ended up winning the race with Newman (Kevin Sciberras) and Crane Beach (Andre Farrugia) finishing third and fourth respectively.
The programme yesterday also included two flat races on a short distance of 1,250m.
In the first race, English mare Mayfair Princess (Ramon Grima) was first out of the gates and led all the way for its first win at Marsa, finishing some ten lengths ahead of Life is Now (Oliver Briffa), Buttermilk (Jesmond Micallef) and Letthewordgoforth (Demis Zammit).
Mounted by Michael Sultana, American newcomer Kimberley Downs also registered its first success here in the second flat race of the day.
This horse took the lead with 300m to go and finished ahead of Joliminoi (Charles Pace), Giada Med (Demis Zammit) and Adorabile Med (Oliver Briffa).
Another meeting will be held on Saturday afternoon, with the first race for Silver class trotters starting at 2 p.m.
Race 1: Silver, Magnifique Sablais (Julian Farrugia).
Race 2: Assikura heat, Boston Harbor (George Attard).
Race 3: Flat, Mayfair Princess (Ramon Grima).
Race 4: Assikura heat, Great Line (Tony Demanuele).
Race 5: Flat, Kimberley Downs (Michael Sultana).
Race 6: Assikura heat, Obi Wan Kenobi (George Attard).
Race 7: Gold, Energy Launcher (Alex Cortis).
Race 8: Assikura heat, Indian Attack (Noel Baldacchino).
Race 9: Assikura heat, Count Of Life (Charles Camilleri).
Originally published in The Times on the 18 April 2011