05/31/2015 12:14PM

Harness: Magic Tonight wins the 2015 Elitloppet

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Patrik Widlund
Magic Tonight and caretaker Viktor Flink Ideborn heading back to the paddock.

Magic Tonight took on all comers and refused to be defeated in the 2015 Elitloppet at Sovalla in Sweden on Sunday.  The 6-year-old son of Andover Hall took home the race for the best trotters in the world in front of a crowd of 26,842.

The prestigious event requires elimination races on the same day as the final and in the first elimination, favorite Mosaique Face was sent directly to the front by driver/trainer Lutfi Kolgjini. Royal Fighter, parked every step of the mile, took up the charge first over and was tracked by Nuncio and U.S. entrant Wind Of The North. Despite the tough trip, Royal Fighter kept coming hard on the outside and wore down Mosaique Face, who was nosed-out for second by Nuncio. Vincennes finished fourth to advance to the final.

Winning driver Jennifer Tillman couldn’t have been happier. “I can never, ever describe how I felt when I went over the wire,” said Tillman.

Royal Fighter is trained by Per Eriksson.

Magic Tonight took charge from the start and held off a sustained charge from U.S. entrant Maven to capture the second elimination.

With Magic Tonight in control, 2014 winner Timoko was parked every step and followed on the rim by Bret Boko and Maven. As the field went down the backstretch the final time, Maven uncorked a strong, yet controlled bid to get into contention. The 6-year-old mare had her sights set on the winner but could not reach driver Orjan Kihlstrom and Magic Tonight.

B.B.S. Sugarlight was third and Timoko held for fourth.

“I don’t want to change horses with anybody in the final,” said trainer Roger Walmann.

With post positions for the final chosen by order of finish in the elimination races, the horses lined up behind the gate for the final as follows: 1-Magic Tonight; 2-Royal Fighter; 3-Maven; 4-Nuncio; 5-B.B.S. Sugarlight; 6-Mosaique Face; 7-Timoko; 8-Vincennes.

The Elitloppet final was a mad scramble from the word GO. Magic Tonight gunned away from the cones and was joined to his outside by B.B. S. Sugarlight and Mosaique Face. Mosaique Face would continue on to challenge Magic Tonight and was soon joined by a three-wide Nuncio. That trio battled for three quarters of the mile right up to the wire. In the end, there could only be one—Magic Tonight.

Magic Tonight won a narrow victory over Mosaique Face with Nuncio taking home third. Maven launched a four-wide move into the stretch and could not maintain her rally.

“He felt phenomenally good today,” said driver Kihlstrom.

“Everything has to fall into place and it was our turn today,” said trainer Walmann. “He looked beaten, but he’s a fighter and came back on the inside.”

Magic Tonight was bred in the United States by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. He is owned by AB Svensk.

Magic Tonight is heavily staked in the United States later in the year and will make the trip back home on June 2, according to Harness Racing America.