05/29/2016 12:19PM

Elitlopp: Nuncio overcomes wide journey, wins fastest final in history

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Peeo Ploff
Nuncio has never finished worse than third in 48 career starts after his Elitlopp victory

Nuncio wound up first-over for the entire journey, but he showed great heart and determination to prevail in the Elitlopp final Sunday at Solvalla Racecourse in Sweden.  The time was 1:51 2/5, which goes into the record books as the quickest final heat in the race's history.

Driven by Orjan Kihlstrom, Nuncio wound up at the flank of elimination winner Un Mec d'Héripré (Joseph Verbeeck) throughout the race, but forged his way into the lead in the stretch.  Resolve (Ake Svanstedt), who had a third-over trip and then was three-wide in the backstretch, closed at Nuncio in deep stretch, but Nuncio held him off to win by half a length.  Un Mec d'Héripré had to settle for third.

Stefan Melander trains and his Stall Tz owns Nuncio, a 5-year-old by Andover Hall.  Nuncio, who won the Kentucky Futurity and the Yonkers Trot during his 3-year-old season in North America, has been racing in Europe as an older horse, and he has been very successful, winning 15 times.  He was third in the Elitlopp last year.

It was Melander's second Elitlopp win, Kihlstrom's third, and the second win for sire Andover Hall.