The two heats from the Cassar Fuels Championship for Premier class trotters were the main attraction of yesterday’s meeting which was made up of nine races, all for trotters on a short distance of 2,140m.
Eleven horses lined up for the first Premier Heat. Here, Danish newcomer Joker CN (Noel Baldacchino) was the fastest horse in the early stages, opening a length lead from Ker Pellois (James Briffa) and Keelan (Paul Gauci).
But midway through the final straight, Joker CN started to slow down and was overtaken by Keelan which obtained its first win in Malta by half-a-length from favourite Livi Cantona (Charles Camilleri) and Joker CN.
German horse Troy Boshoeve (Salvu Vella) and Key Value (Mark Tanti) also qualified for the semi-finals. Kellan clocked an average time of 1.17.3” per kilometre.
In the second Premier heat, it was Flash Coger (Julian Farrugia) which increased its speed with a lap to go. This horse cruised to its first win of the season in an average time of 1.15.6” per kilometre, finishing ahead of Lipouz Lesmelchen (Tony Demanuele). French debutant Nabab des Corvees (Sam Cassar), Mentor de l’Iton (Brian Hili) and Lord The Best (Mark Mifsud) also moved into the semi-finals.
A delegation from the French association Association Nationale De Le Seignuer de Course was present for yesterday’s meeting at Marsa. This association is run by retired French trotting trainers, drivers and owners. The members of the visiting delegation presented a memento to the owners of the winning horses in the Premier heats.
In the only Gold class race, Lacoste IT (Eric Bezzina) held off the challenge of Matador Knick (Carmelo Farrugia) in the last 400 metres. Lacoste IT registered its second win in Malta with Tornado Hornline (Sebastian Schembri) and Race Ball (Demanuele) finishing third and fourth respectively.
Yesterday’s card also included two races for Silver class trotters. In the first one, Flying As (Jonathan Farrugia) upped its speed 300m from the line to secure its second win of the year. Kaki de Peyrahout (Demanuele) Osay de Viette (Herman McKay) and Law Suit (Baldacchino) completed the top-four order.
Zerbin (Cassar) dashed strongly from the outside midway through the final straight of the second Silver race. This Swedish seven-year-old finished first from Master Lupin (Rodney Gatt), favourite Narcus du Roc (Baldacchino) and Charlie Smitt (Frenċu Cassar).
The 43rd meeting of the season will be held on Sunday, starting at 2 p.m.
Race 1: Copper, Inedit du Tachen (Pierre Caruana).
Race 2: Copper, Garden Pax (Charles Camilleri).
Race 3: Bronze, Hardy Frontline (Ludvic Ghigo).
Race 4: Silver, Flying As (Jonathan Farrugia).
Race 5: Bronze, Orlando Dix (Charles Camilleri).
Race 6: Cassar Fuels Championship Heat (Premier), Keelan (Paul Gauci).
Race 7: Silver, Zerbin (Sam Cassar).
Race 8: Cassar Fuels Championship Heat (Premier), Flash Coger (Julian Farrugia).
Race 9: Gold, Lacoste IT (Eric Bezzina).
Originally published on The Times 03/10/2011