Mick Appleby finds the key to British lockdown: send runners to Sweden!

Horse Racing Mick Appleby trainer
Malmo-bound trainer Mick Appleby (pictured with jockey Andrew Mullen).
Photo: Middleham Park Racing/Shamela Hanley Photos

By Jon Lees

GB: In an enterprising move, trainer Mick Appleby has found a way to overcome the suspension of racing in Britain – by sending runners to Sweden.

While France and Germany have remained closed to international competitors since racing resumed, Sweden will offer a warm welcome to Britain’s champion all-weather trainer as he saddles two horses at Malmo track Jagersro on Sunday.

The Appleby-trained Mohareb and Star Of Southwold will become the first British-based runners to race in Europe since the coronavirus-enforced lockdown.

Racing has been under way in Sweden since April behind closed doors, with strict protocols in force.

Horse Racing Jagersro, Sweden
Racing at Jagersro, where Mick Appleby will saddle two runners on Sunday’s card.
Photo Stefan Olsson/Svensk Galopp

However, Appleby discovered that not only could he have runners in Scandinavia, but he could travel there too, albeit with a 14-day quarantine period on his return.

Speaking as he travelled to Immingham to catch a ferry, the trainer said: “I looked into it as Sweden is somewhere we have been to before. I had entered the horses at the first stage and when I checked if we would be allowed to travel, we were told we were.

“I am in the horsebox with the driver now,” he went on. “We are getting a ferry from Immingham to Denmark and it’s a short drive from there to Malmo. There should be no problem getting in. It will be 18 hours on the boat and four hours’ drive the other side.”

Mohareb and Star Of Southwold, both 91-rated, were part of Appleby’s championship-winning all-weather squad until racing was suspended in March.

They will each contest Listed races – Mohareb in the Jagersro Sprint and Star Of Southwold in the Pramms Memorial – at the meeting, which has also attracted runners from Norway and Denmark.

“They will be fit enough,” said Appleby. “They have both been busy on the all-weather. I have freshened them up and they have done plenty of work.

“The Pramms looks a pretty tough race but I think he has a good chance of getting in the frame. Mohareb looks to be in a slightly easier race.”

Appleby is no stranger to success in Scandinavia, having saddled Hakim to win the G3 Polar Cup at Ovrevoll in the Norwegian capital Oslo in Agust 2018,

The Pramms Memorial is worth 1 million kr (£85,000) and was last won by a British challenger when the Chris Wall-trained Premio Loco struck in 2012.

This year’s contest features three of the best older horses in Scandinavia in Plata O Plomo, a winner in Dubai this year, Duca Di Como and Red Cactus. Sweden’s top sprinter I Kirk, another Dubai winner, heads the field for the Sprint.

Appleby has booked Dale Swift for both horses at Jagersro. Best known in Britain for his association with G3 winner Top Notch Tonto, the jockey is rebuilding his career in Scandinavia after spending time out of the sport serving suspensions for drug-test failures.

“I’ve known Dale from riding for me in the past,” Appleby said. “He is based in Scandinavia now so he knows the tracks. He is riding in Norway and is going to come over to ride the horses out on Friday and Saturday for me.”

More about racing in Sweden at horseracingsweden.com

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