The 11th meeting of the year, consisting of eleven races all for trotters, heralded the start of the prestigious Tazza l-Kbira championship for class Premier and Gold trotters.
This, with six heats on a long distance of 2640m. From these heats, 36 horses qualified for the semi-final stage.
This year, this competition is being organized by the Malta Racing Club with the financial support of Bank Of Valletta. Rodney Gatt ended the best driver with four wins.
In the first heat, there was a keen tussle in the final metres between French newcomer Tallien (Melvin Farrugia) and Tchao Chamant (Shawn Axisa).
It was the former which sealed its first win in Malta with Urido d’Alban (Charles Camilleri) and Acteur De Larre (Omar Cauchi) ending respectively in third and fourth place. M.T. Gogogirl (Nathaniel Barbara) and Quiet Du Chene (Mario Fenech) also made it to the semi-final stage.
Rififi Nontantais (Rodney Gatt) led all the way during the 2640m distance of the second heat.
This French thirteen-year-old trotter gained its first win of the season by a length from Uccello Jet (Charles Camilleri), Urgos Du Cedre (Jean Paul Polidano) and Service Secret (Andrew Farrugia).
Sensei (Nicholas Bonello) and Remain Garbo (Mark Mifsud) followed home in that order.
In the third heat, the early leader, Touch Green (Julian Farrugia), was outsmarted by French debutant Ustar De Vandel (Mario Fenech) midway through the final straight.
Italian newcomer Paparazzi (Mark Bonnici), Titan Du Closet (Michael Ellul), J.C. Memory (Rodney Gatt) and Hilda Nalan (Clint Vassallo) also progressed for the semi-finals.
There was a close finish between Lajos Cella (Charlotte Ciantar) and another French debutant Un De Mai (George Attard) in the fourth Tazza l-Kbira heat.
It was the latter which was declared the winner after that the photofinish was consulted by the racing stewards. Tanguy De Nappes (Ronald Cassar), Tyrol De Feugeres (Charles Camilleri), Urac (Andrew Farrugia) and another newcomer from France, Twenty-Two (Jesmar Gafa’) followed behind in that order.
In the fifth heat it was Truscott Du Guepre (Rodney Gatt) which cruised to its second win in Malta after nosing ahead midway through the final straight.
Supreme De Corday (Noel Baldacchino), Brigadoon (Julian Farrugia), Cloria Victis (Caillin Borg), Saphir Du Perche (Anton Cassar) and Louisville As (Eric Bezzina) also qualified for the semifinals.
Driving French debutant Urgah Du Rib, Charles Camilleri took the lead midway through the distance of the sixth and last heat.
This trotter past the finishing post first easily by three lengths from Tip Top Nelliere (Michael Ellul), another newcomer Venicio Bello (Andrew Pace) and Ultra Daidou (Noel Baldacchino).
Midsummer King (Clint Vassallo) and Rolin (Charles Magro) were the last trotters to make it to the next stage.
Another meeting at the Marsa Racetrack will be held on Sunday.
The first race should start at 3pm.
Race 1. Copper. Dist – 2640m. Casper Du Valo (Kurt Agius) - NTR
Race 2. Copper. Dist – 2640m Desir La Douve (Shaun Portelli) – 1.18.9”
Race 3. Copper. Dist – 2640m. Cesar Du Buillon (Rodney Gatt) – 1.18.8”
Race 4. Copper. Dist – 2640m. Tilt De La Loge (Rodney Gatt) – 1.19.5”
Race 5. BOV Tazza l-Kbira Championship Heat. Open. Dist – 2640m. Tallien (Melvin Farrugia) – 1.17.4”
Race 6. BOV Tazza l-Kbira Championship Heat. Open. Dist – 2640m. Rififi Nontantais (Rodney Gatt) – 1.17.1”
Race 7. BOV Tazza l-Kbira Championship Heat. Open. Dist – 2640m. Ustar De Vandel (Mario Fenech) – 1.16.7”
Race 8. BOV Tazza l-Kbira Championship Heat. Open. Dist – 2640m. Un De Mai (George Attard) – 1.16.3”
Race 9. BOV Tazza l-Kbira Championship Heat. Open. Dist – 2640m. Truscott Du Guepre (Rodney Gatt) – 1.18.2”
Race 10. BOV Tazza l-Kbira Championship. Open. Dist – 2640m. Urgah Du Rib (Charles Camilleri) – 1.16.5”
Race 11. Bronze. Dist – 2640m. Very Much Quick (Noel Baldacchino) – 1.17.9”