ANNIKE BYE HANSEN
Captain America - a true champion
Norway's Sprinter of The Year in 2019 is getting ready for another season, and it seems logical to assume he will be pointed to some of the same races he took part in last year. Captain America returned from an injury break to make his mark in the sprint division in 2019, and selecting him as Sprinter of The Year must have been an easy choice for the panel of experts.
The imposing son of Academy Award burst back onto the top stage when gaining an impressive off-the-pace win in the Zawawi Bro Park Vårsprint (LR) in Sweden in June. Winning the 1200-metres event going away at the finish, he was much too good for the likes of Riwaj, Brownie, Land's End and Sarookh. Captain America was coming off an eye catching third over 900 metres at Øvrevoll ten days earlier, beaten less than a length when trying to give 12kg to the in-form sprinter Story Minister. Captain America's season continued in fine style after the Bro Park Vårsprint, though Sarookh gained revenge on him when they ran first and second in the Challenge Stakes over 1400 metres two weeks later. Perhaps three tough races within the space of 24 days was his undoing, but Espen Ski's champion lost by just half a length and he was game in defeat. That was the case also when he went down by a length to Scandinavia's best miler, Duca di Como, in the Giant Sandman Polar Cup (G3) over 1370 metres at Øvrevoll in August. Finishing strongly, Captain America snatched second from the Group 3 winner Brian Ryan in the dying strides. Getting second in this race was as impressive as it was frustrating but there were weeks left of the big race season and more to look forward to. Just under a month later, Captain America was back at Bro Park, to contest the Clarion Sign Bro Park Sprint Championship (LR) over 1200 metres. For whatever reason, Brian Ryan was sent off the 2-1 favourite for the 13-runner affair, while Captain America looked much better value at 11-2. He was actually 22-1 when taking the Vårsprint, and seems to be a horse the betting public underestimates. Now, both these Norwegian trained contenders lost on the day, but Captain America's fourth place finish, 1 3/4 lengths behind the English trained Corinthia Knight, was a fine performance. Brian Ryan was unplaced. With one big sprint left in the calendar, the Norsk Jockeyklubs Sprintløp (LR) over 1170 metres back on home soil in early October, Annike freshened 'the Captain' up for another crack at Duca di Como. Brian Ryan was in the mix once more, as rain made the ground soft. The weather did not bother Captain America, who closed his season out with another big win. He took the race by a length from the surprise package of the race, Prime Red, who beat Duca di Como by the same margin for third. That Duca di Como went on to win the Peas And Carrotts Mile in Sweden a week later did the form no harm at all.
Captain America is now on handicap 92, as high as he has ever been through a career spanning 63 starts with 17 wins and 2.372.219 kroner in total earnings. There should be more to come.
Sprinter of The Year!
1 Feb 2020: He has long since been a stable star, and a favourite with racing fans, and he has a cv packed with impressive achievements. Now Espen Ski's old warrior Captain America also has a well deserved title, Norway's Sprinter of The Year 2019, to his name. The sprint division was a very tough one last season but Captain America beat them all - on the track and in the annual votings for champions. Video: Captain America winning the Bro Park Vårsprint.
Annike's Super Sunday
Two major stakes races on the card - both won by Bye Hansen
Captain America and Swedish Dream provide big race double
Øvrevoll 6 Oct 2019: It's a great shame the 2019 season is heading towards its close, as Annike's horses just keep on winning - and they keep on winning big. On this high profile Sunday, we saw Captain America bounce back to winning form by capturing Norsk Jockeyklubs Sprintløp (LR). Running a huge race under Carlos Lopez, he defeated the Swedish trained win machine Prime Red and the hot favourite Duca di Como readily by 3/4 length and 1 1/4 lengths. A first prize of 125,000 kr brings the nine-year-old's career total to an impressive 2,372,219 kroner. Photo: Hesteguiden
A strong field of seven lined up for a crack at 150,000 kroner in the Arnfinn Lunds Minneløp (LR). Amongst them was Stall Øvrevollkollen's Swedish Dream, and he was the one who came back a winner after the mile race had been completed. Proving half a length too good for Buddy Bob, Swedish Dream gained his third win of the season. Like Captain America, he was partnered by leading rider Carlos Lopez. Five-year-old Swedish Dream's career earnings now stand at 850,774 kroner. There should be more to come. Please click photos to enlarge. Photo: Hesteguiden
Captain America game in defeat at Bro Park
Sweden 4 Sep 2019: Captain America - fresh from an excellent second in the Polar Cup (G3) on Norwegian Derby day - ran another fine race in the Svenskt Mesterskap for Sprinters at Bro Park on this Wednesday afternoon. Having won the Bro Park Vårsprint (LR) over 1200 metres on turf at this venue in June (photo: Elina Bjørklund), he now switched back to dirt, and came with a game run from off the pace to get up for second, beaten only by Basie. The track favoured speed on the day and this was an impressive runner-up effort. Captain America, one of the most consistent in the top division of sprinters, won this event in 2016.
takes Bro Park Vårsprint
Bro Park 16 June 2019: Captain America, keeping his form and enthusiasm at age nine, put up yet another top class performance to beat the best sprinters in Scandinavia in the Bro Park Vårsprint (LR) over 1200 metres (about 6 furlongs) on this important fixture. Ridden by the in-form Sandro De Paiva, he came with a strong run from off the pace, delivering his challenge going wide to win the race going away by a length from Riwaj. Brownie stayed on to get up for third place. Swedish Dream ran third in the prestigious Stockholm Stora Pris (G3) on the same day.
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