The TRM Trainer of the Quarter award has been won by Niels Petersen. Petersen and his team will receive a selection of products from the internationally acclaimed range of TRM supplements as well as a bottle of fine Irish whiskey.
WORDS: Oscar Yeadon PICTURES: Hesteguiden.com
As one of Scandinavia’s leading trainers since taking out his licence in 1998, and a multiple champion trainer, few would have been surprised to see the Niels Petersen-trained Square De Luynes prevail in the latest renewal of the Norsk Derby at Ovrevoll on 26th August.
After all, this was the Ovrevoll-based trainer’s fifth success in the race, but while Petersen had long held Square De Luynes in high regard, the route to the Norsk Derby hadn’t been the most straightforward and came after a year of planning.
“We knew we had him in outstanding condition for the Norsk Derby, so the result wasn’t a complete surprise. He had had a fetlock operation at two, which meant we had a quiet winter last year. It was then when we decided to aim him for the Norsk Derby.
“We had fantastic weather this summer but the downside of this was that the ground was fast, fast, fast everywhere, so he went to the Guineas for his seasonal debut, and finished an unlucky second.
“I wanted to try him over distance before the Norsk Derby, so we sent him to the Swedish Derby, where maybe the ground didn’t suit him and he finished sixth. The race served its purpose and left five or six weeks until his target race.”
Square De Luynes finished behind his winning stablemate Nordic Defense in the Swedish Derby, but tables were turned when the pair met each other in the Norwegian equivalent a month later.
“On the day, we were confident [about Square De Luynes]”, remembers Petersen. “The race panned out as we thought it might, and Nordic Defense wasn’t fluent on Ovrevoll’s undulating ground.”
So what next for Square De Luynes? “He’s a wonderful horse if maybe a little fragile, and we decided in mid-September that we should put him away now, and build him up for next season. We are going to think about Dubai this winter. He’s an unexposed type and can go further. As he’s also still unfurnished, a winter with the sun on his back could be to his advantage.”
Square De Luynes’ Norsk Derby victory was backed up on the same card by that of his stablemate, Our Last Summer, who won the Group 3 Marit Sveaas Minnelop. As well as providing Petersen with a fourth winner in the race, the trainer could be having a busy autumn on the international scene as Our Last Summer could head to the Canadian International at Woodbine if - at the time of writing - he wins or runs well in the Stockholm Cup.
Further ahead, Petersen is also looking towards 2019. “We have some lovely two-year-olds, including a couple of really nice types, by Sea The Moon and Siyouni, so we look look really good for next year.”
Factor in the likes of Square De Luynes and Our Last Summer with the rest of Petersen’s 50-strong string and it’s easy to see the trainer adding to his current tally of 10 Scandinavian derbies.