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Photo of the Day



Photo Of The Day No.611
SACHA MARBOULA (FR)
with owner Albert Debono




Season`s Greetings( Monday, 24th December, 2018 - 18:06 )
Off and Trotting again on Friday 21st September 2018( Friday, 31st August, 2018 - 00:07 )
As customary on our islands, official horse racing stops during the hot Summer days of August and early September. The Malta Racing Club has now issued the Racing Calendar of the second part of the 2018 racing year. Please find the racing dates in the calendar.


Ut de Dompierre repeats in the MRTL Summer Championship Final – 29 th July by Magnat( Saturday, 11th August, 2018 - 02:54 )
After dominating the Le Prix de Vincennes final in June, Ut de Dompierre was again at its best to win its second Maltese top class trot championship, the Malta Race Track Limited Premier class Summer Championship final on the longer 2,640m distance.

Driven impeccably by Michael Ellul, this 10 year old French trotter left no doubt about its intentions shooting ahead as soon as the autostart closed its gates, followed by Un Marceaux and Truscott du Guepre, with the other horses bunched together.

Once he took the rails, Michael Ellul paced the race for Ut de Dompierre keeping the helm at a constant speed but without overdoing it.

The race however came to life around 1,200m from the end, when favourite Okay dei Ronchi left its mid-field position and sprinted three wide to creep up to third place behind stablemate Truscott du Guepre.

This move made Ut de Dompierre increase the pace to up the stakes on its followers. However those who thought that this was this horse`s top gear were proved wrong with half a lap to go, when Michael Ellul requested and obtained a strong sprint from its charge to increase its lead to two and a half lengths from the ever-present Truscott du Guepre, Lajos Cella and Okay dei Ronchi.




From then on it was game-over as Ut de Dompierre maintained its sprint to the end with a triumphal march down the final straight, unperturbed by its competitors, winning comfortably by around two lengths from the strong-finishing Okay dei Ronchi (Rodney Gatt), followed by Lajos Cella (Paul Galea), Truscott du Guepre (Jesmar Gafa) and Un Amour du Pont (Andrew Farrugia) in that order.

Thus Stephen and Alfred Ciangura`s Ut de Dompierre was the clear winner of this year`s MRTL Summer Championship Premier class final, claiming its fifth seasonal win in the joint seasonal best time on the 2,640m distance of 1`14`3 per kilometre.


Here under find a quick link to the video of the race:



Premier class MRTL Summer Championship Final 2018 by Magnat( Saturday, 28th July, 2018 - 01:40 )
Now that the summer heat has taken hold of the country, as it does every year at this time, the Maltese horse-racing season is approaching its customary summer break. Before doing so however, the season will present us with another set of trot finals, seven in total, two for the Silver and Bronze classes (each split into A and B) and one each for the Copper, Gold and Premier classes. The latter, reserved for Malta`s top trotters, is naturally the key trot final in next Sunday`s meeting.

The Summer Championships have gradually become one of Malta`s traditional championships. The first edition goes back 26 years, to the 23rd July 1992 when the first Summer Championship was run. It was actually also the first President`s Cup final, with the two championships being rolled into one for that first edition, subsequently becoming two different championships. That first edition was an open championship over a short distance with the winner being Swede Zito Bob driven by Tony Tanti in a time of 1`17`7 per kilometre. The following year it was the turn of the another popular trotter, French Ring Leader, driven by Raymond Clifton to carve its name on this championship (at the time the class A1 final) in a time of 1`17`5 per kilometre.

Like many other championships here in Malta the Summer Championship is also characterised by an element of inconsistency, being absent in certain years (6 of these 27 years, including this), particularly those in which works needed to be carried out on the racecourse and these were carried out in summer. The race distance has traditionally been a short one, becoming 2,140m autostart since 1997. However in 1994 and 1995, the race distance was about 500m longer. This year, after an absence of 22 years, we return to a longer race distance, that of 2,640m autostart for the final.

In recent times this championship has been characterised by a points championship, a sort of league over a number of races, instead of the knock-out style which characterises qualification for most championship finals here in Malta. An impressive feature of this championship is that no horse has managed to carve his name thereon more than once and this will continue even this year as no past winner forms part of the current line-up.

I wish to publicly thank Mr Nicholas Farrugia, Malta`s trot encyclopedia, for furnishing me with very useful statistical information about this championship.

This year`s event is being sponsored by Marsa Race Track Limited, a consortium currently in negotiations with the government for the take over of the track facilities. As regards the line-up for this year`s edition of the Premier class MRTL Summer Championship final, we have 12 participants, all geldings except for a mare, Swede Lajos Cella. They are aged between 8 and 11 years. Nine of them hail from France, two others from Sweden plus an Italian. They have won no less than 28 races between them here in Malta.

The final will be the 7th race on next Sunday`s card, with the first race of the meeting being scheduled for 7pm. The Premier class final`s prize money amounts to Euro2,725, with Euro1,500 going to the winner.




The Participants
1. UN AMOUR DU PONT, Driver: Andrew Farrugia - Bay French 10 year old, son of French parents Love You and Jalba du Pont. It won Euro133,080 in France, where it also registered a best time of 1`14`2 per kilometre.
In Malta it has already won 4 times plus five places out of its 13 races to date. It also managed to register its absolute career best time of 1`14`0 per kilometre on 2,140m (1`15`9 on 2,640m).

2. TROLL, Driver: David Ellul - Bay French 11 year old, offspring of French parents Niky and Gloria de la Motte. In France it was an extremely consistent horse placing often in its races. It ended its overseas career with a total of Euro313,390 of winnings, with a best time of 1`13`7 per kilometre.
From its 15 outings in Malta it has collected a win and 4 places with a best time 1`14`9 per kilometre (1`15`8 on 2,640m).

3. UT DE DOMPIERRE, Driver: Michael Ellul - Bay French 10 year old, son of French parents Prince d`Espace and Magie de Dompierre, its overseas winnings amount to Euro344,810 and its best time in France was 1`12`5 per kilometre on 2,175m. Interestingly it ended its career in France with a win at Vincennes racecourse last April.
So far it has done well here in Malta, winning 4 of its 6 races, including last month`s Le Trot Prix de Vincennes final, and placing in one of the remaining races, with an impressive best time of 1`13`6 per kilometre on 2,140m. This will be its first race in Malta on 2,640m.

4. UN MARCEAU, Driver: Redent Magro - Bay French 10 year old, son of French 2005 Prix d`Amerique winner Jag de Bellouet and French mare Good Generation. Its overseas winnings amount to Euro187,050 and its best time in France is 1`12`8 per kilometre.
It placed twice from its six races in Malta, with a best time of 1`14`5 per kilometre on 2,140m (1`15`7 on 2,640m).

5. LAJOS CELLA, Driver:Paul Galea - Brown Swedish 8 year old mare, daughter of American stallion Blue York Yankee and Swedish mare Lajos Ufo. It only raced in Sweden until the summer of its 7th year of age winning SEK340,300 in the process and making a best time of 1`12`4 per kilometre.
In Malta it has been an extremely strong competitor registering no less than 6 wins (including this year`s Assikura Gold class final) and 9 places from its 18 outings with a best time of 1`14`1 per kilometre on 2,140m (1`15`0 on 2,640m).

6. TRUSCOTT DU GUEPRE, Driver: Jesmar Gafa - French Chestnut Roan 11 year old, sired by French Kitko out of Jonglerie (best produce), it earned Euro231,870 in France with a best time of 1`14`1 per kilometre.
Another really consistent horse in its seven outings in Malta to date, it registered 4 wins and two places, making a best time of 1`14`8 per kilometre on 2,140m (1`16`4 on 2,640m).

7. OKAY DEI RONCHI, Driver: Rodney Gatt - Bay Italian 10 year old, son of Swedish stallion and 2003 Elitloppet winner From Above and Italian mare Filu of Brown, this horse has split its career outside Malta between Italy and France (where it spent its last 3 and a half years). It won Euro157,757 in prize-money overseas with a best time of 1`12`0 per kilometre.
It made its debut in Malta early this year impressing big-time, winning six of its seven races to date including the Sette Giugno Cup final, and making a best time of 1`14`2 per kilometre on 2,140m (1`14`3 on 2,640m).

8. THE` AU LAIT, Driver: Herman McKay - Bay French 11 year old, son of French parents Nuage de Lait and Kalfouny. This horse`s winnings in France amounted to Euro210,220 with a best time of 1`13`1 per kilometre.
Since its arrival in the Maltese Islands it has raced 8 times of which it won once and placed twice, with a best time of 1`15`7 per kilometre on 2,140m (1`15`9 on 2,640m).

9. URGOS DU CEDRE, Driver: Jean Paul Polidano - French Bay 10 year old, son of French parents Kiwi and Miss du Buisson. In France this horse won prize-money totalling Euro276,760 and made a best time of 1`12`1 per kilometre.
Since making its debut in Malta earlier this year, this consistent horse has raced nine times, winning once and placing in another seven races, with a best time of 1`15`0 per kilometre (twice) on 2,140m (1`15`5 per kilometre on 2,640m).

10. TITAN DU CLOSET, Driver: Julian Farrugia - Bay French 11 year old, son of French 2005 Prix d`Amerique winner Jag du Bellouet and Grenade du Closet, this horse had winnings in France of Euro306,790, with a best time of 1`13`5 per kilometre.
In Malta it has a win and two places in its 9 outings to date, with its best performances coming in its last races. Its best time locally is 1`15`0 per kilometre on 2,140m (1`15`6 on 2,640m).

11. ZONGULDAK, Driver: Noel Baldacchino - Bay Swedish 9 year old, son of French stallion Love You and American mare Heartenings Crown, the six years that this horse spent racing abroad were equally split between Sweden and then France. It won no less than Euro368,146, including a number of important races, with a best time of 1`11`2 per kilometre.
It is a recent addition to Malta`s racecourse, winning once and placing the other time in its two races to date. It registered its best time on its debut – an impressive 1`13`6 per kilometre on 2,140m - and then made 1`14`5 on 2,640m.

12. UNIVERS DE SUCE, Driver: Charles Camilleri - Bay French 10 year old, son of French parents Hugo de Mai and Kiva de Suce. Its winnings in France totalled Euro191,630 with a best time of 1`13`6 per kilometre.
Another recent newcomer, it had just two outings so far at the Marsa racecourse, placing runner-up in both, with a best time on 2,140m of 1`14`1 per kilometre and 1`15`6 on 2,640m.

A truly impressive line-up! We wish the very best of luck to all participants and some weeks of well-deserved rest to our horses and the Maltese horse-racing fraternity!
Drawing the conclusions on the European Championship for Professional Drivers 2018( Friday, 29th June, 2018 - 21:15 )
As already explained in our earlier news Rodney Gatt had a splendid victory on the second day of the European Championship for Professional Drivers, a victory that marks the first ever for a Maltese driver in this championship. However this was not the only positive thing that came about from this participation. With his 6th place in the final classification of this Championship Rodney Gatt also secured for himself his participation in next year`s World Drivers Championship to be held in Sweden in May 2019. This will be Malta`s second participation in this Championship after the successful one we had with Noel Baldacchino in Canada in August 2017 (you can find more info in our news from that month).

The final classification of the European Championship for Professional Drivers 2018 reads as follows:

1st - Franck Nivard (France) - 97 points
2nd - Rick Ebbinge (Netherlands) - 97 points
3rd - Eirik Hoitomt (Norway) - 85 points
4th - Michael Nimczyk (Germany) - 81 points
5th - Mika Forss (Finland) - 79 points
6th - Rodney Gatt (Malta) - 70 points
7th - John Richardson (Ireland) - 60 points
8th - Hubert Brandstatter (Austria) - 56 points
9th - Steen Juul (Denmark) - 56 points
10th - Miguel Mestre (Spain) - 52 points
11th - Ulf Ohlsson (Sweden) - 44 points
12th - Mario Minopoli Jr (Italy) - 43 points

A final note goes also to the winner of this championship Franck Nivard. After accumulating 97 points, equally to Rick Ebbinge, he was awarded victory of this Championship due to the 3 victories he had over the weekend as opposed to Rick Ebbinge`s 1 victory.

Rodney Gatt with a Victory on the 2nd day of the European Championship for Professional Drivers( Friday, 29th June, 2018 - 13:54 )
Rodney Gatt had a positive show in the 2nd day of the European Championship for Professional Drivers at Aby race track. The Maltese representative accumulated a total of 41 points on the second day with a Victory on RAJAH PRESS (se), a third placing, a as well as 2 fourth placings.

Below find photos provided to us by Malin Albinsson MVA Foto and the video of the race




1st day of the European Championship for Professional Drivers.( Thursday, 28th June, 2018 - 19:46 )
Below find the program and results from the 1st day of the European Championship for Professional Drivers raced in Bjerke race track Oslo, Norway. Rodney Gatt did not have any favourites on the day and he succeeded to gather 29pts on his first day placing 9th amongst all participants.

Racing Program



Racing Results (Photo by Geert Koops)

European Championship for Professional Drivers( Tuesday, 26th June, 2018 - 06:19 )
The European Championship for Professional Drivers is going to be held at the racetracks of Bjerke in Norway and Aby in Sweden on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th June.

Malta’s representative is Rodney Gatt who will be participating in this championship for the first time with 11 of the best drivers in Europe which include 2016 European Champion Mika Forss who finished second in last year’s World Championship.

The European Championship is held every two years and alternates with the World Championship. The drivers will be participating in 10 races spread over two days and they will get points according to where they finish in each race. Apart from Malta the other participating countries are Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and The Netherlands.

Gatt is 29 years old and for the first time last year he finished Champion Driver of the Malta Racing Club. This year he is already dominating the championship with 58 victories and on 25th May made history when he became the first driver to register six wins in one racing programme.

He will be leaving Malta on Tuesday morning accompanied by the Malta Racing Club General Secretary Thomas Cunningham.

Malta Racing Club

Ut de Dompierre in a class of its own in the Le Trot Prix de Vincennes by Magnat( Sunday, 17th June, 2018 - 23:42 )
The Le Trot Prix de Vincennes final reserved for Premier class French trotters on the short 2,140m distance had a similar pattern to the Sette Giugno Cup final.

This time it was the turn of Michael Ellul`s 10 year old gelding Ut de Dompierre to take an immediate lead from Tonio du Vivier in the outer lane and Tip Top Nelliere running covered in the inside lane.

The race leader got away with a slow pace in the first kilometre but the race started coming to life in the last 1,200m with horses such as Urgos du Cedre and Tallien joining the race leaders.

The race pace accelerated at the start of the last lap, with Ut de Dompierre changing gear and making it difficult for its followers to attack in a menacing manner.

More was to come in the last 500m when a show of strength from Michael Ellul`s horse took it further ahead of its challengers Urgos du Cedre, Tallien and Tip Top Nelliere.

By the last turning into the final straight there was no doubt on the race winner, with Ut de Dompierre sprinting undisturbed to finish over four lengths ahead of Rodney Gatt`s Truscott du Guepre which finished strongly to claim the runner-up position from Urgos du Cedre (J.P. Polidano), Tallien (M. Farrugia) and Tonio du Vivier (C. Camilleri).




Owned by Stephen and Alfred Ciangura, Ut de Dompierre was registering its third seasonal win with a very good time of 1`14`4 per kilometre.










Here under find a quick link to the video of the race:

PRIX DE VINCENNES tops the LeTrot Championship Finals( Saturday, 9th June, 2018 - 16:33 )
Fifteen years have passed since that hot August of 2003 which saw the inauguration of the French Trotters` championships here in Malta, Championships which have become a regular feature of the end of the first and the second phase of the Maltese racing season.

Nowadays, the June edition of this championship is run on the short 2,140m distance whilst the December one hosts the longer 2,640m, both taking off with an autostart. Thus this happens to be the 30th edition of this championship (in 2003 only one edition of these championships was held, with two annual championships from the following year).

Five championships are organised in each edition, one for each class of trotters in Malta, Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Premier, always reserved exclusively for French trotters.
Naturally, pride of place goes to the championship reserved for Premier class trotters, Malta`s elite trotters, nowadays referred to as the Prix de Vincennes in the June session and the Prix de l`Ile de France in December.

This pits against each other the best French trotters in Malta, many of them having been popular trotters even when racing in France.

This edition`s winner will enter its name in a roll of honour that started with Florissant in the distant 2003 edition, followed by Gary d`Hautmoniere a year later and many other well-known horses thereafter.

A few have even managed to win this prestigious championship more than once. The record number of victories pertains to the legendary In Vitro du Bourg which managed to win it no less than five times between December 2006 and December 2009, whilst Okilaibo and Quiet du Chene both managed two victories each.

No past winner forms part of this year`s line-up and we will thus have a new horse carving its name on this prestigious championship.

Over the years, this championship has gone from strength to strength with a steady increase in the number of participants and this year we have seen no less than 45 horses competing, requiring two phases of qualifiers before the finalists could be identified.

We have 11 Premier class participants in this final (unfortunately number 8 Twist des Baux was scratched), all geldings and aged between 10 and 13 years. Naturally the participants and each of their parents are all French and they have won no less than 24 times between them here in Malta.

Three of them have even participated in this year`s BOV Tazza l-Kbira Final.
The final will be the 5th race on next Sunday`s card, with the first race of the meeting scheduled for 4.30pm. The final`s prize money amounts to Euro6,000, with a handsome Euro3,200 going to the winner.


The Participants

And now we pass to the participants with their respective race numbers:

1. Sacha Marboula - Driver: Paul Galea, Chestnut 12 year old, son of stallion Lilium Madrik and mare Tolosa (best progeny of this mare). Its winnings in France amount to Euro227,560 and its best time there is 1`12`8 per kilometre made on 2,100m.

It has placed five times from its fifteen starts in Malta with a best time of 1`15`4 per kilometre on 1,640m (1`15`8 on 2,140m).



2. Tip Top Nelliere - Driver: David Ellul, Bay 11 year old is the best progeny of both stallion Go Lucky and mare Novely Blue. It had a respectable career in France with prize-money totalling Euro352,750 and a personal best of 1`12`5 per kilometre on 2,100m.

Out of its 19 races in Malta so far, it had various good performances, winning 5 (including the President`s Cup 2017), plus 10 places, and an excellent best time of 1`13`4 per km on 1,640m (1`14`7 on 2,140m).



3. Rififi Nonantais - Driver: Noel Baldacchino,
Bay 13 year old, by Kerido du Donjon out of Info Nonantais (best produce of this mare). Its consistency in France resulted in winnings amounting to Euro333,150 with a best time of 1`12`2 per kilometre on 2,200m.

Veteran of this final, its consistency has remained in place even in Malta with four wins and no less than 15 places (including that in this year`s BOV Tazza l-Kbira final and last December`s Prix de l`Ile de France final) from 26 starts. Its best time locally is 1`13`9 per kilometre on 1,640m (1`15`0 on 2,140m).


4.Tonio du Vivier - Driver: Charles Camilleri, Bay 11 year old, son of year 2000 Prix d`Amerique winner General du Pommeau and mare Melba du Vivier. Its overseas winnings amount to Euro255,020, registering a best time of 1`13`7 per kilometre on 2,875m.

In Malta it has won four times, including the 2018 MRC Champion Trotter Premier, placing also another nine times from its 20 races to date. Its best time amongst us is 1`15`0 per kilometre on 1,640m (1`15`4 on 2,140m).



5. Ut de Dompierre - Driver: Michael Ellul, Bay 10 year old, son of Prince d`Espace and Magie de Dompierre, its overseas winnings amount to Euro344,810 and its best time in France was 1`12`5 per kilometre on 2,175m. Interestingly it finished its career in France with a win at Vincennes racecourse last April.

So far it has done well here in Malta, winning 2 out of its 3 races, with a best time of 1`14`8 per kilometre on 2,140m.



6. Urgos du Cedre - Driver: Jean Paul Polidano, Bay 10 year old, son of Kiwi and Miss du Buisson, in France this horse won prize-money amounting to Euro276,760 and made a best time of 1`12`1 per kilometre on 2,000m.

Since making its debut in Malta earlier this year, this consistent horse has raced six times, winning once and placing in another four races, with a best time of 1`15`5 per kilometre made on both the 2,140m and the 2,640m distances.



7. Tyrol de Feugeres - Driver: Jesmar Gafa`, , Bay French 11 year old, son of French parents Ksar d`Algot and Deesse de Feugeres, its overseas winnings total Euro192,450 with a best time of 1`12`4 per kilometre on 2,000m.

It won a race and placed another 3 times in Malta in its eight outings, with an excellent best time of 1`13`0 per kilometre on 1,640m (1`16`0 on 2,140m).


8. Scratched



9. Truscott du Guepre - Driver: Rodney Gatt, Chestnut Roan 11 year old, sired by Kitko out of Jonglerie (best produce), it earned Euro231,870 of winnings in France with a best time of 1`14`1 per kilometre on 2,875m.

A really consistent horse in its five outings in Malta to date, it registered 3 wins and a place, making a best time of 1`15`0 per kilometre on 2,140m.


10. Ultra Daidou - Driver: Mario Fenech, Bay 10 year old, son of Love You mated with Djakarta (of which it was the best produce). Winner of Euro325,890 in France, fruit of its consistency, it also made an excellent best time of 1`11`7 per kilometre on 2,100m.

It has competed 9 times in Malta, till now placing four times and making a best time of 1`15`1 per kilometre on 2,140m.




11. Urido d`Alban - Driver: Julian Farrugia, Black 10 year old, son of Kerido du Donjon out of Etincelle Ker Anna (of which it was the best produce). It won Euro189,750 in its career in France with a best time of 1`13`4 per kilometre on 2,150m.

It has 17 starts in Malta so far, winning once and placing another 6 times, with a best time in Malta which equalled that made in France (1`13`4 per kilometre on the sprint 1,640m distance) (1`15`3 on 2,140m).



12. Tallien - Driver: Melvin Farrugia, Bay 11 year old, French stallion Extreme Aunou`s best produce, mated to mare Gyka de la Chaise. This horse had a very good career in France managing also to win a Group III race at Angers and to finish runner-up in a Group II at Vichy, among others.

Its winnings totalled Euro437,660, with a best time of 1`12`1 per kilometre on 2,100m.
Even its performances in Malta to date have been extremely good, winning three times and placing on another occasion out of its five outings. Its best time so far is 1`15`0 per kilometre on 2,140m.

A line-up which is a guarantee of a great final!

We wish the very best of luck to all!

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