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Horse Racing, Malta, Times of Malta

Nasko Pride claims ‘consolation’ prize after maiden Malta win

Nasko Pride, driven by Christian Xerri, powers clear in one of yesterday’s finals at Marsa. Photos: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Nasko Pride, driven by Christian Xerri, powers clear in one of yesterday’s finals at Marsa. Photos: Darrin Zammit Lupi

The 18th meeting of the season, containing eight races all for trotters, was held yesterday, Easter Sunday, in front of a full house at the Marsa Racetrack.

The programme included a consolation final, on the long distance of 2,640m, for those horses that failed to qualify for the Tazza l-Kbira final, won by Mig Of The Wood yesterday week.

Five condition race finals for various classes, on a short distance of 2,140m, were also run yesterday.

Christian Xerri guided Nasko Pride to victory in the consolation final.

Gozitan Shawn Portelli finished as the best driver with two wins, both obtained in condition race finals.

Seven horses took part in the consolation final.

Noble d’Ete (Raymond Clifton) started strongly, opening a length lead from Normand d’Oger (Cliferty Calleja), Bello Fratello (Anthony Spagnol) and Lou Petiot (Michael Axisa).

With a lap to go, Noble d’Ete was still going strong but 300m from the end, Xerri brought Nasko Pride into contention.

With Xerri pacing the race impeccably, Nasko Pride seized the lead and went on to gain its first win in Malta by three lengths from Normand d’Oger. Noble d’Ete finished third from Lou Petiot.

At the end of the final, MRC chairman Matthew Brincat presented the winning trophy to Xerri and Silvio Vella, driver and owner respectively of the winning horse.

Nasko Pride clocked an average of 1.16.4” per kilometre.

Oscar Mati (Rodney Gatt) surged ahead midway through the final straight of the Gold class final and this French horse secured its third win of the year by half-a-length from favourite Zilver Boko (Tony Demanuele).

Oscar de la Vallee (Noel Baldacchino) and Lime Casted (Julian Farrugia) also obtained a good placing.

French trotter Lovely Mab (Baldacchino) and American Confidence As (Gatt) sprinted neck-and-neck in the last 400m of the Silver class A final.

The former claimed its second win of the season with Charlie Smitt (Frenċu Cassar) and Mint Condition (Jason Vassallo) finishing third and fourth respectively.

In the Silver B final, Danish Lonestar Somolli registered its third win in Malta after coming out on top in a keen tussle with three other trotters in the home straight.

Meadow Dancer (Baldacchino), Cross Country FC (Marco Debono) and Phenix d’Or (Alex Farrugia) completed the top-four order.

Eight trotters competed in the condition race final for Bronze class horses. Here, Belgian Ackaturbo (Shawn Portelli) led all the way to gain its second consecutive win in Malta from Robin Lou (Michael Ellul).

Belbroughton Road (Carl Caruana) and It’s My Way (Brian Hili) were third and fourth respectively.

Young Gozitan driver Portelli also took top spot in the Copper class final, with favourite Kejser Engely. This Danish 10-year-old increased its speed 500m from the end and cruised to its second win in a row easily by eight lengths from Dandy (Robert Polidano).

Mistral du Chene (Ronnie Galea) and Gamin Launcher (Jeffrey Xerri) claimed the other top-four positions.

Another racing programme, starting at 2 p.m. will be held on Sunday.

Winners at Marsa
Race 1: Copper, Hulegardens Filur (Ryan Scicluna).
Race 2: Paul and Shark condition race final (Copper), Kejser Engely (Shawn Port-elli).
Race 3: Finish Line condition race final (Bronze), Ackaturbo (Shawn Portelli).
Race 4: TRM condition race final (Silver B), Lonestar Somolli (Brian Zammit).
Race 5: Vida condition race final (Silver A), Lovely Mab (Noel Baldacchino).
Race 6: Fairplay Bingo condition race final (Gold) Oscar Mati (Rodney Gatt).
Race 7: Dragonara Casino consolation final (Open), Nasko Pride (Christian Xerri).
Race 8: Silver, L’Ideal de Fersan (Carl Caruana).

About Kenneth Vella

A horse racing enthusiast and journalist. He started his career in 1992 and today is the main correspondent on horse racing for In-Nazzjon, Il-Mument and the Times of Malta. He also writes on a number of international magazines and produces TV programmes for E22 and TVM.Kenneth is the proud winner of two consecutive awards of the Malta Broadcasting Awards for the best sport programmes with documentaries.

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