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Premier championship heats steal the limelight

Yesterday’s meeting at the Marsa racetrack heralded the start of the Cassar Petroleum Championship for Premier class trotters with four heats staged over a rather short distance of 2,140 metres.

The Premier heats formed part of the 41st meeting of the season that was made up of nine races, all trotting, as Sunday afternoon meetings were back after the summer break.

Yesterday, 24 horses moved to the semi-final stage of the Premier championship.

In the opening heat, young driver James Briffa put Maximal Value in front with a lap to go.

This Swedish horse went on to register its first win of the year, a length-and-a-half ahead of German newcomer Sultan November (Frank Portelli).

Zilver Boko (Tony Demanuele), Oncle Sam (Clive Gerada), Shakira Trot (Nathaniel Barbara) and Nuper (Andrew Farrugia) also made it to the next stage of the championship in that order.

There was a keen tussle in the next heat when Celebrity Photo (Marvin Cauchi) and Livi Cantona (Charles Camilleri) sprinted neck and neck in the final straight.

At the post it was Celebrity Photo that clinched victory, its first at Marsa, with Veikko Hornline (Carl Caruana), Nelson du Val (Salvu Cutajar), Night Inlet (Noel Baldacchino) and Noble d’Ete (Raymond Clifton) joining Livi Cantona into the semi-finals.

Favourite Yatzee

Favourite Think Yatzee (Clint Vassallo) upped its pace from the outside with 500m to go in the third Premier heat to gain its second win of the season.

Think Yatzee was a length ahead from Troy Boshoeve (Salvu Vella) at the finish line with Matrix Reloaded (Rodney Gatt), Count of Life (Samuel Bezzina), St Andrew LB (Noel Baldacchino) and Op Le Cosseen (Charlo Debono) following in that order.

Mont Cenis Honey (Noel Baldacchino) stormed clear of the field with some 700m to go in the remaining championship heat for its first win of the season.

Label Chouan (David Ellul), Major Chaleonnais (Charlo Debono), Joker de Choisel (Frenċu Cassar), Max d’Avignere (Marius Mizzi) and Quipo de Billeron (Andrew Farrugia) also qualified.

Another programme of racing at Marsa will be held next Sunday, starting at 2 p.m.

The winners
Race 1: Copper, Jibilo du Terme (Ramon Briffa) – 1.18.6.
Race 2: Bronze, Icare de Jemma (Tony Demanuele) – 1.17.7.
Race 3: Silver, Orage du Pont (Charles Camilleri) – 1.17.9.
Race 4: Premier, Maximal Value (James Briffa) – 1.16.1.
Race 5: Premier, Celebrity Photo (Marvin Cauchi) – 1.15.1.
Race 6: Gold, Netter Williams (Redent Magro) – 1.17.1.
Race 7: Premier, Think Yatzee (Clint Vassallo) – 1.15.9.
Race 8: Premier, Mont Cenis Honey (Noel Baldacchino) – 1.15.8.
Race 9: Silver, Zerbin (Charlo Debono) – 1.18.

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