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One Photo leaves his mark in Gold final

Charles Debono leads One Photo to victory in the Johnny Walker Cup final. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Charles Debono leads One Photo to victory in the Johnny Walker Cup final. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Seven-year-old One Photo won the major event of the 44th meeting of the season, the Johnnie Walker Cup final for class Gold trotters, on a short distance of 2,140m.

Yesterday’s programme also included two President’s Cup championship semi-finals and a normal flat race on a long distance of 1,750m.

Nine horses lined up for the class Gold final.

As expected, it was favourite Big Ben (Salvu Cutajar) which made the fastest start and during the first metres opened a small lead from Seul En Tete (Charles Camilleri) and Ronson Cloc (Carmelo Farrugia).

However with 200m to go, Big Ben started to slow down and midway through the final straight was overtaken by Italian One Photo (Charles Debono) which dashed strongly from the outside in the final straight.

Ourasi Diams (Emmanuel Fenech) and Pacific Joy (Anthony Bartolo) finished in third and fourth place respectively. For One Photo this was its first win in Malta.

At the end of the final, Alfred Braddick, on behalf of the sponsors, presented the Johnnie Walker Cup to Etienne Grima and Charles Debono, owner and driver respectively of the winning horse.

From the two class Premier semi-finals, ten horses qualified for the final.

Nico Oland, led by Gozitan Julian Farrugia, was unchallenged during the opening semi-final. This Danish ten-year-old gained its fourth win in a row by a half length from Ripsos De Fa (Ivan Bilocca) and Vasterbo Paradise (Claudio Refalo).

Quo Williams (Noel Baldacchino) and Rainbow Dancer (Michael Ellul) also made it to the final stage.

Farrugia also managed to triumph in the second semi-final.

Driving French trotter Ohime Mag, Farrugia took the lead when the front horses turned for the final straight.

Ohime Mag grabbed its second win of the year easily by three lengths from Rio De Lou, which was driven by French professional driver Jean Philippe Bazire and Orcas Bac (Rodney Gatt).

Quillian Joyeux (Andrew Farrugia) and Zalgado Transs R (Nicholas Bonello) followed home in that order.

In the only flat race on the card, it was British newcomer Zinnobar (Michael Sultana) which led all the way and notched its first win in Malta from Pearl Storm (Oliver Briffa) and Timolin (Eric Zammit).

Another meeting at the Marsa Racetrack will be held on Friday. The first race is scheduled for 7pm.

Yesterday’s winners

Race 1. Class Copper – Phenix d’Or (Charles Mifsud) – 1.22.3”
Race 2. Class Bronze – Ogor (Anton Cassar) – 1.18.9”
Race 3. Class Bronze – Britt Buitenzorg (Rodney Gatt) – 1.19.3”
Race 4. President’s Cup semi-final, Class Premier – Nico Oland (Julian Farrugia) – 1.14.9”
Race 5. Class Silver – Rubis d’Olivier (Noel Baldacchino) – 1.18”
Race 6. President’s Cup semi-final, Class Premier – Ohime Mag (Julian Farrugia) – 1.15.1”
Race 7. Johnnie Walker Cup Final, Class Gold – One Photo (Charles Debono) – 1.15.1”
Race 8. Class Silver – Salvador Vrie (Jeffrey Pace) – 1.19”
Race 9. Class Flat – Zinnobar (Michael Sultana) – 1.46.4”

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