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2019 WDC Second Leg Complete

Published: May 25, 2019 12:25 am ET

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The second leg of the 2019 World Driving Championship is now complete after a single dash was contested on Saturday (May 25) at Solvalla Racecourse in Stockholm, Sweden.

Favoured Deep Pockets won as expected to give driver Rick Ebbinge of The Netherlands his first win of the tournament. Ebbinge sent the four-year-old gelded son of Ready Cash - Bloom Boko to the front from post four and was never headed. Deep Pockets held off pocket-sitting Ferry Boko (Michael Nimczyk; Germany) and first-over threat Mellby Fantom (Mika Forss; Finland) in the 1,640-metre event.

"Very nice horse, well prepared by the trainer and I got some good info from the groom and the trainer," said Ebbinge after the win. "Yesterday wasn't a good day but it's a long week and anything can happen."

Canadian James MacDonald closed well from the back of the pack with Post 12 starter Quite Special, fanning widest in the stretch to finish fourth. Doug McNair also started from the second tier with Sincerely Face but had less luck and finished 12th.

The third-place finish for Forss sets him atop the WDC leaderboard with 42 points after two legs. Sweden's Ulf Ohlsson slips to second and James MacDonald maintains third place.

"The horse raced awesome," said MacDonald. "This was essentially a one mile race and having the 12 hole was a huge disadvantage....very happy with where I’m sitting."

1. Mika Forss (Finland) - 42
2. Ulf Ohlsson (Sweden) - 39.5
3. James MacDonald (Canada/ITA) - 37
4. Rick Ebbinge (The Netherlands) - 36
5. Michael Nimczyk (Germany) - 32
T6. Yannick Gingras (USA) - 30
T6. Matthew Williamson (New Zealand) - 30
8. Todd McCarthy (Australia) - 27
9. Eirik Hoitomt (Norway) - 24
10. Franck Nivard (France) - 21
11. Rodney Gatt (Malta) - 16
12. Doug McNair (Canada) - 14.5

Twelve of the top harness racing drivers from around the globe will compete in the second of six legs. Drivers will earn points based on their finishing position and the top point-earner will be declared the 2019 World Driving Champion and win $25,000 (USD) in prize money.

A single heat will be contested on Saturday featuring Canadian entrants Doug McNair, the 2018 National Driving Champion, and James MacDonald, who claimed the 2017 World Driving Championship on Canadian soil.

MacDonald was one of three drivers to find the winner's circle on Friday in the opening leg, guiding Pegasus All Over to victory in the second WDC race of the first leg. MacDonald sits in third after the first leg with 28 points.

The other two drivers to win on Friday also rank among the top three after the first of six WDC legs. Local favourite Ulf Ohlsson tops the standings with 33.5 points, with Finland's Mika Forss - runner-up to MacDonald in the 2017 WDC -- sitting in second with 31 points.

Competitors will break on Sunday (May 26) to allow for the Elitloppet, and will resume with WDC legs throughout the country on Monday (May 27), Tuesday (May 28), Wednesday (May 29) and Friday (May 31).

Trot Insider will provide updates on the 2019 World Driving Championship as the tournament progresses.

The fields for the fourth heat, along with drivers and countries, follow:

Heat 4 - Saturday, May 24 - Solvalla, Race 4 (Post time approx. 7:55 a.m. ET)
about 1 mile
1. Lil Belinda - Todd McCarthy (Australia)
2. Ferry Boko - Michael Nimczyk (Germany)
3. Down And Dirty - Eirik Höitomt (Norway)
4. Deep Pockets - Rick Ebbinge (Netherlands)
5. Waikiki Silvio - Rodney Gatt (Malta)
6. Zaragoza - Ulf Ohlsson (Sweden)
7. Mellby Fantom - Mika Forss (Finland)
8. Thriller NP - Yannick Gingras (United States)
9. Yieldson - Matthew Williamson (New Zealand)
10. Sincerely Face - Doug McNair (Canada)
11. Hijackem - Frank Nivard (France)
12. Quite Special - James MacDonald (Canada)

Points for the Championship are awarded in each heat according to the official order of finish. The winner of the race receives 19 points and then in descending order 14 (2); 11 (3); 9 (4); 8 (5); 7 (6); 6 (7); 5 (8); 4 (9); 3 (10); 2 (11) and 1 (12)

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