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Magic Tonight Wins 2015 Elitlopp

Published: May 31, 2015 10:04 am ET

Last Comment: June 1, 2015 7:19 am ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Favoured Magic Tonight delivered in a thrilling 2015 Elitlopp Final Sunday at Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden.

After winning his elimination heat in gate-to-wire fashion, driver Ӧrjan Kihlström took no chances and placed his horse on the front from the rail position. Elim winner Royal Fighter (Jennifer Tillman) took the garden spot in the pocket while Mosaique Face (Lufti Kolgjini) pressured the leader first over.

Nuncio and Stefan Melander made the brave decision to challenge three-wide early, leading a calvary charge in front of the grandstand for the first time. B B S Sugarlight (Peter Untersteiner) was second over with Maven (Johnny Takter) to his outside three-wide following Nuncio. The field maintained this position into the final turn with Takter then tipping Maven four-wide and the front runners not giving in.

Through the stretch it appeared as though Mosaique Face forged ahead of Magic Tonight but Kihlström helped his charge find another gear and came back on to hit the wire first by a head. Nuncio, three-wide the entire mile, was third and just three-quarters of a length back. Royal Fighter finished a locked-in fourth.

Bred by Marvin Katz of Toronto and Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ont., Magic Tonight raced for three seasons in North America before being exported in 2013 after being purchased by Sweden's Ao J Konsult. Interestingly, the connections of Magic Tonight declined an invite to the Elitlopp in 2014.

A handful of names with ties to North American harness racing qualified for the final of the 2015 Elitlopp after two elimination heats at Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden on Sunday.

An extremely game effort from 22-1 shot Royal Fighter got the job done in the first elimination heat. Driver Jennifer Tillman came first up against Mosaique Face (Lufti Kolgjini) and had the pressure of Nuncio (Stefan Melander) behind. With Nuncio tipped three-wide in the stretch, Royal Fighter stayed game and surged past Mosaique Face late for the win. Nuncio finished a solid second, with pacesetter Mosaique Face in third ahead of Vincennes (Ӧrjan Kihlström).

Wind Of The North finished fifth for driver Dave Palone and trainer Daryl Bier and didn't qualify for the final.

To view a replay of the first elimination heat, click here.

Swede Per Eriksson, who campaigned a powerful stable in the U.S. for a number of years, trains Royal Fighter, a seven-year-old son of legendary trotter Varenne. Tillman is just the third female driver in Elitlopp history and could become the first woman to win.

The second elimination heat featured last year's winner, Timoko and North American hopeful Maven. But it was another horse with ties to North America, Magic Tonight, going wire-to-wire to win.

Driver Ӧrjan Kihlström pointed Magic Tonight for the front and got there, but faced immediate pressure from Timoko (Björn Goop) from the opening quarter. B B S Sugarlight (Peter Untersteiner) sat the pocket throughout the mile with Maven (Johnny Takter) positioned off the lead.

As the field hit the backstretch, Maven was tipped three-wide as Timoko started to labour. Takter was able to clear Timoko to first up position before the final turn and positioned Maven for a stretch battle with Magic Tonight. The pacesetter showed no quit and valiantly held off a game Maven by three parts of a length. B B B Sugarlight completed the triactor and Timoko nosed out On Track Piraten for the final qualifying spot.

Magic Tonight is a six-year-old son of Andover Hall and trained by Roger Walmann.

To view a replay of the second elimination heat, click here.

After the second heat, the draw was held for the final.

1. Magic Tonight (Ӧrjan Kihlström)
2. Royal Fighter (Jennifer Tillman)
3. Maven (Johnny Takter)
4. Nuncio (Stefan Melander)
5. B B S Sugarlight (Peter Untersteiner)
6. Mosaique Face (Lufti Kolgjini)
7. Timoko (Björn Goop)
8. Vincennes (Eric Raffin)

June 1, 2015 - 7:19 amThat might be the toughest

That might be the toughest trip I have ever seen a horse go. Wow!!!!! Nuncio.

May 31, 2015 - 11:45 amwhat a great effort by

maria patti SAID...

what a great effort by nuncio, what a motor

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