Yesterday’s meeting at the Marsa racetrack heralded the start of the Dragonara it-Tazza l-Kbira Championship, with six heats for Premier Class trotters on a long distance of 2,640m.
These heats formed part of the 10th meeting of the season that was made up of eight races, all for trotters.
From the six heats, 24 horses qualified for the semi-final stage of the championship.
In the first heat, favourite Nuage de Bourgogne (Charles Camilleri) led all the way for its third consecutive win ahead of Bello Fratello (Anthony Spagnol), Normand d’Oger (Cliferty Calleja) and Label Chouan (David Ellul).
Redent Magro put Nabab du Chatelet in front with a lap to go in the next heat.
This French horse went on to win by five lengths from Marathon Villers (Mario Fenech) and Mystere d’Urfist (Noel Baldacchino).
Natif de Fontaine (Rodney Gatt) also qualified.
There was a close finish in the third heat involving French newcomer Naxos de France (Michael Ellul) and the ever-popular Livi Cantona (Charles Camilleri).
The photo-finish had to determine the winner and victory went to Livi Cantona. Troy Boshoeve (Salvu Vella) and Eastwood OM (Pierre Caruana) claimed the other top-four positions.
For Camilleri, this was his second win of the day as 2011 champion Kakisis did not finish among the top four and got eliminated.
Arnie Sensation (Carmelo Farrugia) upped its pace 600m from the finishing line in the fourth heat of the afternoon. This horse went on to obtain its first win of the year by a length from Magic de Assigny (Julian Farrugia).
Nagano Phedo (Mario Fenech) and Onyx Speed (Christian Xerri) also made it to the next stage.
Outsider Nelson du Val (Salvu Cutajar) stormed clear of the field with 700m to go.
In the straight for home, Nelson du Val met no challenge to finish ahead of favourite Mig of the Wood (Noel Baldacchino), Ouest du Vivier (Cliferty Calleja) and Energy Launcher (Redent Magro).
True Q (Shawn Portelli) showed tremendous pace from the outside to win the sixth heat.
This Swedish 11-year-old trotter claimed its third win in a row at the Marsa Racetrack yesterday ahead of Noble d’Ete (Raymond Clifton), Nasko Pride (Christian Xerri) and Lou Petiot (Michael Axisa).
Race 1: Copper, What’s Up (Michael Ellul).
Race 2: Bronze, Noli de Marray (Patrick Spiteri).
Race 3: Premier heat, Nuage de Bourgogne (Charles Camilleri).
Race 4: Premier heat, Nabab du Chatelet (Redent Magro).
Race 5: Premier heat, Livi Cantona (Charles Camilleri).
Race 6: Premier heat, Arnie Sensation (Carmelo Farrugia).
Race 7: Premier heat, Nelson du Val (Salvu Cutajar).
Race 8: Premier heat, True Q (Shawn Portelli).