Driven by Gozitan Claudio Refalo, 11-year-old Swedish trotter Vasterbo Paradise won yesterday’s Premier Class race at the Marsa Racetrack.

This race, on a long distance of 2,640 metres, was part of the third Autumn meeting which consisted of nine races, all for trotters.

Thirteen horses lined up for the Premier Class race.

It was French veteran Oltedo De Rieux (Charles Camilleri) which stormed ahead in the initial stages, opening a slight lead from Quillian Joyeux (Andrè Farrugia) and Quartz De Chenu (Michael Ellul).

However, with 300 metres to go, the early leader was unable to keep up the pace and, in the final straight, was overtaken by Vasterbo Paradise (Claudio Refalo) which grabbed its first win in Malta only by half-length from Quorum Quick (Gianluca Grech) and Quillian Joyeux. Oltedo De Rieux had to settle for fourth .

Vasterbo Paradise clocked an average time of 1.16.5” per kilometre.

Yesterday’s card included three heats from the Johnnie Walker Championship for Gold Class trotters on a short distance of 2,140m. Twelve trotters qualified for the semi-final stage.

In the first heat, Danish newcomer Sensei (Noel Baldacchino) ran out of steam when the front horses turned for the home straight. This six-year-old trotter was outsmarted by Quel Imprevu (Paul Galea) which secured its second win in a row by half length from Beckham Bob (Charles Camilleri).

Lineup Du Jape (Rodney Gatt) ended in fourth place.

A keen tussle between three horses developed in the final metres of the second Gold Class heat of the day.

It was Austrian Blizzard Ad which, under the guidance of veteran driver Frenċu Cassar, recorded its first win of the season by half length from Cool Caviar (Julian Farrugia) and favourite Quintet Du Vivier (Charles Camilleri).

Nashville Dancer (Andrè Farrugia) was fourth.

In the third Gold Class heat, there was a nailbiting finish between Peanut Butter (Andrew Farrugia) and Quintet (Brian Zammit) as these two horses sprinted together in the final straight.

The win was awarded to Quintet after that the photofinish was consulted by the racetrack stewards.

Seul En Tete (Charles Camilleri) and Danish debutant Ronson Cloc (Carmelo Farrugia) were the last horses to book their places in the semi-final stage of the Johnnie Walker Championship.

Another meeting at the Marsa Racetrack will be held next Sunday.

The first race on the card starts at 1.30pm.

Yesterday’s winners at Marsa

Race 1: Copper, Prince Teemer (Mark Bonnici) – 1.19.8”.
Race 2: Bronze, Royal In (Marco Debono) – 1.18.3”.
Race 3: Silver, Suro Du Cornillet (Julian Farrugia) – 1.18.7”.
Race 4: Bronze, Simb Tyrant (Jesmar Gafa) – 1.18.6”.
Race 5: Johnnie Walker Cup Heat, Quel Imprevu (Paul Galea) – 1.15.5”.
Race 6: Johnnie Walker Cup Heat, Blizzard Ad (Frencu Cassar) – 1.16.7”.
Race 7: Silver, Starfirefinnfemfel (R. Karlstedt – Sweden) – 1.15.9”.
Race 8: Premier, Vasterbo Paradise (Claudio Refalo) – 1.16.5”.
Race 9: Johnnie Walker Cup Heat, Quintet (Brian Zammit) – 1.16”.