Aussie mare to stay in Europe to finish her career

31 May 2018 | Greg Hayes
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Maori Time will continue her career in Sweden with Stig Johansson

Maori Time will continue her career in Sweden with Stig Johansson

Owner Fred Crews has confirmed Maori Time has run her last race in Australia and will do the rest of her racing in Europe before retiring to the breeding barn.  Maori Time competed in Sunday’s controversial first elimination of the Elitloppet and finished sixth after galloping at the start.

“We always had the option of leaving her with Stig Johansson for a period of time after the weekend but after her performance on Sunday (in the Elitloppet) it makes sense to leave her here for good,” Crews said.

“Stig is confident she can compete in some of the best races in Europe and I’d love to see her have another crack at Solvalla in twelve months that’s for sure.”

Crews was approached by a number of administrators at Solvalla representing different racetracks in Europe with offers to compete in feature events but has confirmed the mare’s future racing campaign will be decided by Johansson.

“As an owner I try and remain in the background and let the trainer do their job and pick and choose where the horse races.

“The only time I have really stepped in and told a trainer where and when we will be racing is with Maori Time and Brent Lilley when I wanted her to come to Sweden, so I’ll be going back to letting my trainer decide what races to target.

“There are a couple of options coming up for Maori Time, there is a race in Norway in just over a week, but that will depend on how she pulls up from her run at Solvalla and we also received an invitation from Finland for a race on July 15, but Stig can deal with those decisions.”

Solvalla Racing Manager Anders Malmrot has confirmed Maori Time ran the fastest final 1400 metres in her elimination after galloping at the start.  The track has an advanced individual timing system in place and she was electronically timed to run the final 1400 metres in a kilometre rate of 1:08.9 or a mile rate of 1:50.8.

Interestingly, the Elitloppet final was won by Ringostarr Treb in equal race record time.  The kilometre rate was 1:09.0. 

“It wasn’t the result we wanted but it hasn’t changed my thoughts about Sweden and the people, what a remarkable country and what lovely people, they just all make you feel so welcome and hopefully we can be back here again.

“To get to Sweden there was a lot of work going on behind the scenes and without the support from people like Duncan McPherson and his Aldebaran Park it wouldn’t have been possible.  Duncan introduced me to the right people, knew who was who and his love of trotting is so infectious. 

“Andrew Kelly from Harness Racing Australia is another person who needs a special mention because he was looking after issues that I didn’t even know were dramas.  He put her name up in front of the team from Solvalla but then he was able to get her into Sweden when there was an issue with customs and taxes, he does a remarkable job.”

There has been no decision on when Maori Time will be retired to become a mum and she will continue to race while she holds her form and is injury free.

“I own horses to race and that’s what she will do until she tells us she has had enough and then I will sit down and work out which stallion to send her to in Europe and whether to serve her to northern or southern hemisphere time.  

“If she is served to southern hemisphere time I look forward to seeing her return to Australia.

“It has been one great ride for Elisabeth and I, we have made some lifelong friends.  I look forward to watching Maori Time continue her career in Sweden with Stig.”