Sunday 2nd February. The name of the undisputed winner of the Gübelin 76th Grand Prix of St. Moritz is Fabrino. In front of 14,000 spectators, Terry Gahn repeated his previous year’s victory in the Grand Prix BMW and Leta Joos became the first woman ever to win in the Grand Prix CREDIT SUISSE Skikjoring, pulled behind Decorum. In all seven races a total of 103,009 Swiss Francs was bet.
Seven-year old Fabrino from the Zurich Urdorfer stables of Miroslav Weiss was the clear winner in the colours of Charlotte Haselbach from Salenstein in the Canton of Thurgau in the Gübelin 76th Grand Prix of St. Moritz (111,111 Swiss Francs) and was ridden by Olivier Plaçais. After 2,000 meters, the Stallion – winner of the 2011 Swiss Derby – was eight lengths ahead of second-placed Marunas (Dennis Schiergen).
Two lengths behind, the British guest Al Destoor (Steve Drowne) was in third. ‘I have always said that Fabrino would win the Grand Prix today. Nobody would believe me though’, said Miroslav Weiss, who for the third time provided the winner in the most important snow race after two previous victories with Treasure Bill and Song of Victory. His stable jockey Olivier Plaçais, who lives in Zurich, was surprised at how easily the 4.4:1-favourite ran past his opponents in the final curve. ‘I thought that I had hit the front with Fabrino much too early, but the opponents in the field were already beaten’, said the jockey, commenting on the action.
There was a sense of great satisfaction in the camp of second-placed Marunas, trained and looked after by Peter Schiergen in Cologne. His son Dennis Schiergen was in the saddle: ‘Everything went to plan in the race. The winner simply wasn’t to be beaten today. Marunas has again shown great form.’
The favourites were forced to miss out in the Grand Prix BMW. However, Terry Gahn, last year’s winner, was everything other than a sensation for winning the most important trotting race at White Turf. Even before reaching the first bend owner, trainer and driver Caroline Huguelet assumed the command and didn’t let any of her co-competitors come close – all the way to the finishing line. Second and third places went to Rebecca de Corday (Silvan Krüsi) and Patchino (Evelyne Fankhauser).
In the Grand Prix CREDIT SUISSE, Dreamspeed and Franco Moro, couldn’t manage better than fifth place this time, but following the victories on the two previous Sundays they were still crowned winners of the CREDIT SUISSE Skikjoring Trophy. Franco Moro will therefore be ‘King of the Engadine’ for a whole year.
Victory this time went to Decorum steered by Leta Joos, making her the first woman to ever win this world exclusive Skikjoring race. ‘Of course you don’t know until the finish whether you have won or not’, said the driver from Samedan in response to the question as to when she was sure she would win. Leta Joos commented, ‘Our great fortune was that two of our opponents were galloping alongside us. This was enough of an incentive for Decorum.’
After the Skikjoring prize-giving ceremony, Lynette Federer, mother of Roger Federer, was presented with a cheque for 15,000 Swiss Francs for the Roger Federer Foundation. The amount came about from entry ticket sales, of which White Turf donates one Franc for every ticket sold to the Foundation.
In the Arab race the big favourite Alibaba del Sol (Racheal Kneller) had to accept his first defeat on snow, this time taking second place. Galloping home over the finishing line to win this year’s ‘H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship (IFAHR)’ was ten year-old Al Janoob from the Swedish stable of Maria Hagman Eriksson, which should make the three-day journey to the Engadine very worthwhile. Swiss lady jockey Astrid Wullschleger was greeted with abundant applause for the victory. This race is part of a series called the ‘HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship’. These are races specifically reserved for ladies in the racing saddle and take place across the whole world. The grand finale will be held in Abu Dhabi in November. Astrid Wullschleger will receive an invitation to race.
The race day started with the GP Moyglare Stud, with Footprintinthesand trained in Zurich Urdorf by Miroslav Weiss deciding the race in his favour with Olivier Plaçais in the saddle. The owner is Sandro Gianella’s Appapays Racing Club.
The Grand Prix Schlossatelier caused some emotional moments with the victorious Duchess of Andorra (Colin Keane), trained in Ireland by Joanna Morgan. The trainer, once a successful professional rider and the first woman to win at Royal Ascot, ended her successful career on the Lake of St. Moritz with a victory and was celebrated accordingly.
Honour was also bestowed upon eleven year-old Song of Victory, who finished fourth in this testing race, ridden by Robert Havlin. The gelding from the stables of Miroslav Weiss won the Grand Prix of St. Moritz in 2009 and will race no more in the future.
The final GP of the racetrack Berlin-Hoppegarten at last produced a superior Swiss victor in the shape of Soundtrack (Milan Zatloukal) from the stables of Philipp Schärer.
photos by swiss-image.ch/Photo Andy Mettler