Driven by Charles Camilleri, French Nuage de Bourgogne yesterday won the first semi-final of the prestigious Tazza l-Kbira Championship for Premier class trotters on a long distance of 2,640m.
The semi-final was part of the 13th meeting of the season which also featured a flat race over 1,750m.
Six out of 11 starters earned the right to contest the final phase of it-Tazza l-Kbira yesterday. It was Nuage de Bourgogne which made the fastest start, opening a length lead from Nabab du Chatelet (Redent Magro) and Nagano Phedo (Mario Fenech).
Some 500m from the post, Nuage de Bourgogne was still in command as True Q, led by Shawn Portelli, launched an attack from the inside.
In the final straight, Nuage de Bourgogne held off the challenge of True Q to obtain its fourth consecutive win in Malta.
Nabab du Chatelet, Onyx Speed (Christian Xerri), Mig Of The Wood (Noel Baldacchino) and Troy Boshoeve (Melvin Farrugia) also qualified for the final stage. The winner clocked an average of 1.15” per kilometre.
Zilver Boko recorded its third win in Malta and second in a row in the first Gold class race. Driven by Tony Demanuele, this Dutch six-year-old horse hit the front 300m from the end and won by a length from Figaro A West (Camilleri).
In the second Gold race, Oscar de la Vallee (Baldacchino) increased its speed with a lap to go to cruise to its second win of the season from Italian mare Imbra d’Alfa (Rodney Gatt).
In the only flat race on the card, Cheeky Jack, mounted by Charles Vella, dashed strongly from the outside around 700m from the end. In the final metres, this American eight-year-old gelding overtook favourite Fyelehk (Michael Sultana).
Timolin (Ramon Grima) and Mr Roxy Music (Oliver Briffa) finished third and fourth respectively. For Cheeky Jack, this was its first win of the season.
The second semi-final of it-Tazza l-Kbira will be run this afternoon. The meeting at the Marsa Racecourse starts at 1.30 p.m.
Race 1: Bronze, Ackaturbo (Shawn Portelli).
Race 2: Bronze, It’s My Way (Brian Hili).
Race 3: Flat, Cheeky Jack (Charles Vella).
Race 4: Gold, Zilver Boko (Tony Demanuele).
Race 5: Bronze, Lorenz de Noyelles (Raymond Clifton).
Race 6: Gold, Oscar de la Vallee (Noel Baldacchino).
Race 7: Tazza l-Kbira semi-final, Nuage de Bourgogne (Charles Camilleri).
Race 8: Bronze, Robin Lou (Michael Ellul).