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Marathon meeting at Marsa

Samuel Bezzina’s Vasterbo Paradise winning the Premier Class race. Photo: Steve Zammit Lupi

Samuel Bezzina’s Vasterbo Paradise winning the Premier Class race. Photo: Steve Zammit Lupi

The first edition of the Twanny Bugeja Memorial Festival was held at the Marsa Racetrack, yesterday.

This annual Boxing Day marathon series was really looked forward to by all horse racing enthusiasts as during the programme owners had an opportunity to drive their own trotters instead of handing the reins to the more experienced drivers.

The racing festival was held in the memory of Twanny Bugeja, a dedicated horse racing journalist as well as racetrack commentator for many years. Bugeja, also a former Malta Racing Club general secretary, passed away two years ago.

The day-long programme included 44 races. Apart from monetary prizes, each winner was also presented with a trophy.

The most important race on the card was the one open for Premier Class, held over a short distance of 2,140m.

Here, Samuel Bezzina put Vasterbo Paradise in front around 500m from the finish line and the Swedish trotter held its pace to finish first, easily ten lengths ahead of Atomic Rapida and Jacques.

At the end of the race, Minister of Finance Edward Scicluna presented a commemorative plaque to Bezzina in the presence of Twanny Bugeja’s relatives and Edwin Borg and Tony Demanuele, the racing club’s chairman and secretary general, respectively.

In the first Gold Class race on the card, Ranch Get On ran out of steam when the front horses turned for the straight for home.

Ranch Get On was eventually overtaken by P.A. Surprise (Lorraine Cunningham) which triumphed from Ronson Cloc. Quattro d’Ar had to settle for third place.

Chapeau Bas (Ramon Grima) stormed ahead midway through the final straight of the other Gold Class race. Grima’s trotter finished first and unchallenged, two lengths ahead of Quartz Pierji and Quoi De Neuf Ici.

In the only flat race in programme yesterday, a keen tussle developed between three horses for the victory.

At the post, it was newcomer Bognor, mounted by Michael Sultana, which sped to victory ahead of another debutante Slippery People. Favourite Gold As Good was third.

Main results

Copper: Enjos TS (Stephen Vassallo) – 1.19.5”
Copper: Qumran De La Motte (Christopher Farrugia) – 1.18.2”
Bronze: Petrus Du Vivier (Roderick Debono) – 1.18”
Bronze: Rotkho Inn Ronco (Christian Pullicino) – 1.15.6”
Bronze: Ultra Sport (Jurgen Azzopardi) – 1.18.7”
Silver: Tirana CN (Alistair Azzopardi) – 1.17.8”
Premier: Vasterbo Paradise (Samuel Bezzina) – 1.15.8”
Gold: P.A. Surprise (Lorraine Cunningham) – 1.15.6”
Flat race: Bognor (Michael Sultana) – 1.12.9”
Gold: Chapeau Bas (Ramon Grima) – 1.15.4”
Silver: Lajos Bellan (Neil Fenech) – 1.16.1”
Silver: Ollico Pellois (Joseph Agius) – 1.17.1”
Silver: Broslatts Boy (Etienne Mallia) – 1.16.8”

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