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HP Paque headed home

June 04, 2004
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HP Paque is headed home after racing in Europe for the past month. Trainer Trond Smedshammer told The Horseman Friday (June 4) he would be returning to the U.S. from Sweden this weekend.



"His next start will be the elimination for the Titan Cup (June 25) here at the Meadowlands, if everything is ok," Smesdhammer said.



HP Paque's performance in Europe was not what Smedshammer was hoping for, especially after handily sweeping the Su Mac Lad Series at the Meadowlands before leaving for Europe. "I'm a little disappointed, obviously," Smedshammer said. "I don't know what the reason was. He was real good here in the Su Mac Lad. He just didn't have the right luck."



After winning his elimination in Italy's Lotteria, HP Paque made a break in the final. "He (driver Jorma Kontio) had a nice spot for him. The track had a tendency to be rock hard on that day," Smedshammer explained.



In Norway's Oslo Grand Prix HP Paque got parked. "I don't think this horse can go on the outside a mile and quarter like that and still be competitive," Smedshammer added.



In Sweden's Elitlopp, Smedshammer said he was a little disappointed in HP Paque's first heat performance. "He gave up a little too easy for some reason," Smedshammer lamented. "If he had hung on for third, I think that would have made enough difference that he would have been at least third in the final. Being fifth (in the elim), he drew the eight-hole (for the final) and they took him back and he sat last. He finished up (fifth) with a lot of trot in the final."



In retrospect, Smedshammer thinks HP Paque did about as well as could be expected. "It might not be anything very wrong with him," he continues. "It's just that the horses over there are tougher than they are here in the U.S. He won so easy in the Su Mac Lad. The class of horses is just completely different; what he was racing against here and what he raced against over there.



After seeing HP Paque race the best trotters in the U. and Europe, does he think there is a horse who can beat Elitlopp winner Gedde Palema?



"No way," Smesdhammer responds emphatically. "That horse is monstrous right now. There's no horse out there right now that can beat him."



Smedshammer would not be surprised is Gidde Palema's owner, Karl-Erik Bender, accepts the invitation to race in the Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands in late July, especially "after seeing that Victory Tilly came over here and win and there's obviously a chance to go a little bit faster here. Solvalla is a very, very fast track but when a horse gets on a two turn track instead of three turns it makes a little bit of a difference. He went (1):52.3 on the outside there the whole race. He ought to be able to go (1):51 here, or maybe even better. I think they (owners) are thinking seriously about brining him over."
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