WELCOME TO FINLANDIA AJO
Finlandia Ajo – The international harness racing carnival in Finland
Sat & Sun, April 30th & May 1st, Vermo race track, Helsinki
Finland’s biggest international trotting race, Finlandia Ajo, is driven on May 1st. Last year the fastest was the magnificent Norwegian gelding Hickothepooh who travelled home with a win and 110.000 euros. Winning time of the race was 1.09,9 / 1620 m auto start. Collaboration with the main harness racing tracks of Finland and Sweden is continuing this year and the winner of Finlandia Ajo is outright accepted to Elitloppet which is driven in the last Sunday on May in Stockholm.
The Finlandia Ajo weekend offers international top-level trotting and ravishing festivities for two days. On Saturday and Sunday programme and races will start at 2 p.m. (local time). On Saturday, April 30th, almost right after the races of the day, the evening festivities will start at 7:15 p.m. (local time) with the smashing and dashing band, Teflon Brothers. Saturday’s biggest race is the traditional breeder competition for five-year-old standardbred mares, Arvid Åvallin TammaDerby.
“In Finlandia Ajo weekend we are offering world class sport and festive atmosphere. The Finlandia Ajo is an invitational race with ten participants, and we are screening to gather international booming and outstanding horses together. We are very pleased that the winner of Finlandia Ajo is qualified for Eliloppet. In this regard we have an immensely excellent tradition with Solvalla,” says Miika Lähdeniemi, the sports director of Vermo.
Elitloppet is one of the biggest competitions in harness racing and is driven four weeks after Finlandia Ajo, May 29th. This year the first prize is even as much as five million Swedish crowns.
“Finlandia Ajo is a big competition, and we are happy to welcome the winner to Elitloppet,” tells Anders Malmrot, the sports director of Solvalla. He also adds that “Collaboration with Vermo is a very good and important way for us to raise awareness of Elitloppet and gives a nice kick start for the atmosphere of our event.”
Finlandia Ajo Sunday also includes traditional Erkon Pokaali for cold-blooded and three STL division qualifications, as well as Glenn Kosmos Memorial for four-year-old standardbreds. The list of competition classes is published by February.
Tickets are sold in Vermo Shop and pre-ordered tickets are more affordable in a limited time. Restaurant tickets are sold separately. Ensure the best places in the biggest Finnish harness racing carnival in spring!
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Finlandia-Ajo 2022 starting list:
Starting list after the draw 25 April.
1 MAJESTIC MAN – RIKARD N SKOGLUND
Gelding, b. 2.4.2015 Finland
S.J.’s Photo – Gaelic Goldman, Armbro Goal
Starts: 66 (11-9-9 )
Prize money: 186 048 €
Breeder: Jonna Irri
Owner: Jonna Irri & Taneli Säde
Trainer & groom: Jonna Irri
Majestic Man has raced twice in Sweden this season. In Stockholm's Solvalla he finished third just behind Elitloppet horses Milliondollarrhyme and Missle Hill, and in Gävle after hard and honest race Majestic Man made his record 11,1.
In Finland Majectic Man is a kind of celebrity. He was born orphan and was known by the name Taisto (freely translated Fighter) and his life was followed in different media from early on. Majestic Man has become the most important horse for its owner-breeder-trainer Jonna Irri and her spouse Taneli Säde. Majestic Man is the flagship of their stable.
PICTURE: JUHANI LÄNSILUOTO
2 COKSTILE – CHRISTOFFER ERIKSSON
Stallion, b. 23.4.2013 Norway
Quite Easy – Joystile, Coktail Jet
Starts: 67 (24-13-7)
Prize money: 1 153 086 €
Breeder: Per Erik Hagen
Owner: Scuderia Santese SRL
Trainer: Erik Bondo
Groom: Anu Intonen
The winner of Elitloppet 2020 Cokstile is a seventh invited participant for this year's Finlandia-Ajo. Cokstile has been in Italy and his previous race was April 10th in Torino. Trainer Erik Bondo and Cokstile are traveling from Italy to Sweden next week to get ready for Finlandia-Ajo.
Cokstile has been racing in absolute top in Europe for the last few years. He was in Elitloppet final last year, and won the race in 2020 after Propulsion was invalidated. Last winter in French Winter Meeting Cokstile raced in Prix de Bourgogne, a significant pre-race for Prix d’Amérique, which he won with the time 10,9 keeping all others behind including Vivid Wise As.
Cokstile has visited Finland once before, he finished second in Kymi Grand Prix 2020 right after Vitruvio.
This year Cokstile's driver for Finlandia-Ajo will be a Swedish driver Christoffer Eriksson.
PICTURE: IDA LAINE / HIPPOS
3 DEANGELO – OLLI KOIVUNEN
Gelding, b. 2.6.2014 Finland
Amour Ami – My Beautysine, Broadway Hall
Starts: 91 (27-16-6)
Prize money: 169 826 €
Breeder and owner: Stable Bounty Hunters
Trainer: Aripekka Pakkanen
Groom: Etta Pakkanen
As a winner of Helsinki-Ajo 2022, driven by Olli Koivunen, Deangelo got invited to Finlandia-Ajo.
Deangelo is a 8-year-old gelding, his breeder-owner is Stable Bounty Hunters, trainer is Aripekka Pakkanen, and groom is Etta Pakkanen.
PICTURE: JUHO HÄMÄLÄINEN / HIPPOS
4 NEXT DIRECTION - HANNU TORVINEN
Gelding, b. 9.6.2013 Finland
Orlando Vici – Be My Luxx, S.J.’s Photo
Starts: 64 (22-13-4)
Prize money: 692 396 €
Breeder: Jalohepo Oy
Owner: Team Look The Winners
Trainer: Timo Hulkkonen
Groom: Annaleena Peippo
Next Direction has participated in Finlandia-Ajo three times with the trainer Timo Hulkkonen. Next Direction finished second in 2021 after Hickothepooh and 2019 after Readly Express. Being one of the best horses in Finland at the moment, Next Direction earned his place in Finlandia-Ajo 2022 with his extraordinary results earlier and buoyant on-going season. In Pori's Kultaloimi 2022 Next Direction started from the second row, and after having to round others, placed himself as second just after Selmer I.H.
This year, Next Direction gets into a rare group of horses who have participated Finlandia-Ajo four times in a row; Cold Hard Wind, Isla J. Brave, and Lucky Number.
PICTURE: IDA LAINE / HIPPOS
5 WILLOW PRIDE - ARI MOILANEN
Mare, b. 28.5.2014 Finland
Love You – Lady Pine, Wired Pine
Starts: 114 (34-17-15)
Prize money: 549 713 €
Breeder and owner: I.M.T.-Talli Oy
Trainer: Markku Nieminen
Groom: Noora Tuula
On Saturday at Seinäjoki Race Willow Pride took her career's biggest win with the time 11,9/2140 autostart and earned her ticket to Finlandia-Ajo 2022. Willow Pride has been mare elite for several years in Finland, and has shown to be part of the best with stallions and geldings too.
Trainer Markku Nieminen already have won Finlandia-Ajo in 2015 with Bret Boko. In the background of Willow Pride's owner and breeder I.M.T. Stable Ltd. is Jyrki Ojanen, who has long owned horses, and is also a vice chairman of the board of Vermo Racetrack.
PICTURE: JUHO HÄMÄLÄINEN / HIPPOS
6 BEPI BI – ALESSANDRO GOCCIADORO
Stallion, b. 23.5.2017 Italy
Donato Hanover – Lorraine Bi, Lemon Dra
Starts: 24 (12-4-1)
Prize money: 356 968 €
Breeder and owner: Azienda Agrigola Biasuzzi Srl
Trainer: Alessandro Gocciadoro
Groom: Kaino Laine
On Good Friday Bebi Bi stopped watches at 09,8 in a very high level 5-year race in Färjestad, Sweden. Hard evidence of Bebi Bi coming into form made his driver/trainet Alessandro Gocciadoro to give an affirmative answer for attending Finlandia-Ajo 2022.
Last year's Finlandia sunday Bebi Bi raced in Glenn Kosmos Memorial but gallop ruined his chances. A few weeks later Bebi Bi had an unforgettable fight for victory with Sister Sledge in Four-year Elite on Elitlopped sunday, Solvalla Sweden, and made his record 09,1.
PICTURE: MAISA HYTTINEN
7 BRAMBLING – ÖRJAN KIHLSTRÖM
Stallion, b. 13.5.2017 Sweden
Bold Eagle – Deepdish, Muscle Hill
Starts: 16 (8-2-1)
Prize money: 520 796 €
Breeder: AB Svensk Reklamfinans
Owner: SRF Stable
Trainer: Daniel Reden
Groom: Ellinor Wennebring
Trainer Daniel Redén brings Kriterium winner Brambling to Finlandia-Ajo. This year is Brambling's five-year season and he has raced twice. First, Brambling finished second in Romme in five-year race after San Moteur, and on Good Friday in Färjestad's super race he made his record 09,7/1640a finishing fourth.
Last year this amazing stallion owned by SRF Stable won the biggest race for 4-year-olds', Kriterium, and was fourth in Derby.
In Finlandia-Ajo Brambling's driver will be a Swedish top driver Örjan Kihlström.
PICTURE: MAISA HYTTINEN
8 TYCOON CONWAY HALL / JORMA KONTIO
Stallion, b. 11.2.2010 Denmark
Conway Hall – Golden Sunday, Supergill
Starts: 86 (33-17-8)
Prize money: 554 059 €
Breeder: Jürgen Hanke
Owner: Morten Staal Jensen
Trainer: Flemming Jensen
Groom: Rie Raun
Experienced Finlandia-Ajo attendee, Tycoon Conway Hall, got his fourth invitation to Finlandia-Ajo after winning a Gold Division race with a time 10,0 autostart, leaving even Stoletheshow behind him.
Tycoon Conway Hall has already once won Finlandia-Ajo. He was placed second in 2016, but rose to victory after Propulsion was invalidated. Overall, Tycoon Conway Hall has raced 86 times, has 33 wins, and his record is 09,4.
PICTURE: TERHI PIISPA-HELISTEN
9 GARETH BOKO – SANTTU RAITALA
Stallion, b. 9.5.2013 Sweden
Make It Happen – Vanilla Boko, Pine Chip
Starts: 40 (21-7-6)
Prize money: 406 693 €
Breeder: Boko Stables Holland B.V.
Owner: Boko Stables Holland B V & co
Trainer: Jerry Riordan
Groom: Heli Tarrimaa
Gareth Boko won the biggest 2-year-race in Sweden, Svensk Uppfödningslöpning, showing his quality from early on as being one of the best in his generation. At the age of four he won a qualifying race of Derby and came fourth in UET grand Prix. Last year Gareth Boko made a breakthough to open races finishing third in the Europe's biggest sprintrace Elitloppet.
Jerry Riordan won Finlandia-Ajo in 2020 as a trainer when Zarenne Fas took the first place driven by Santtu Raitala.
PICTURE: MIA NILSSON
10 STOLETHESHOW – BJÖRN GOOP
Stallion, b. 1.4.2015 Norway
Dream Vacation – Abba Hall, Garland Lobell
Starts: 59 (18-14-7)
Prize money: 444 975 €
Breeder: Ordin Larsen & Per Rune Pollestad
Owner: Global Glide AB
Trainer: Frode Hamre
Groom: Amalie Bördal Lyssand
7-year-old Norwegian stallion Stoletheshow comes to Finlandia-Ajo from Frode Hamre's stable. Stoletheshow won recently Gold Division Final in Solvalla, Sweden, and the race before that he made a new personal record 10,2 1640 m autostart. Stoletheshow is also remembered from Jubileumspokalen 2020 in which he finished second after an extremely fast-paced race. All in all, Stoletheshow has raced 58 times, has 18 wins, and a little over 4,5 million crowns prize money.
PICTURE: HANNA VISKARI / HIPPOS