ANNIKE BYE HANSEN
Horse of The Year 2022
3yo of The Year, Stayer of The Year '22
Top rated 3-year-old, Scandinavia 2022
Top earner, all horses, Sweden 2022
Won Stockholm Cup International (G3), 2400 m turf Bro Park
Won Norwegian Derby, 2400 m turf Øvrevoll
Won Swedish Derby , 2400 m dirt Jägersro
Hard One To Please – Horse of the Year
Last year's undisputed star in Scandinavia, Hard One To Please, was voted 2022 Horse of The Year in Norway, a title that was never in much doubt. What was, however, was his prospects of landing the odds in the Stockholm Cup International (G3), a race where he looked a certain loser turning for home – only to produce a tremendous finish and get up to beat the English challenger Outbox in a thrilling photo finish. That must have been one of the most exciting races of the season. Hard One To Please showed us a new dimension that day, as he proved that not only did he have the talent to get himself out of trouble, but also that he was well equipped for a street fight.
Landing a punch is one thing, and he had seen him doing that to some effect, but being able to take a punch is quite different. Some highly talented runners have been lacking in that department, many because they had become too accustomed to winning with ease. Not Hard One To Please. He knuckled down gamely as he was chasing the leaders coming down the home straight at Bro Park, and he found another gear in the closing stages. It was as easy as his two classic wins, in the Swedish Derby and the Norwegian Derby, both won comfortably. Actually, that's not quite right. His winning run at Jägersro, where he proved himself on dirt, did ask a lot more of him than his stroll back on turf in Norway, and perhaps it was a valuable learning experience. He came from off the pace to win the Swedish Derby by 2 measured lengths from Steinar, with the rest a long way further back. Steinar went on to win big himself next time out and it was rather obvious what horse they all had to beat when we came to the Norwegian Derby in late August. Derby Trial winner Pas de Faux had his supporters and was backed as as if he would have a serious chance, but looking at the formbook one might say “really?” The answer out of the course was an emphatic “not at all”. Hard One To Please, who had been ridden by Oliver Wilson in the Swedish Derby but now had Jacob Johansen on board, absolutely trounced his rivals to win by 14 lengths. Pas de Faux was outstayed by the fily Sea Lodge for second as the two Neuroth trainees filled out the trippel. The runner-up went on to win the Danish Oaks two weeks later. That result made the Norwegian Derby form a bit easier to assess, it was undoubtedly the best seen amongst the three-year-olds in Scandinavia.
The next test would be a lot more informative. Hard One To Please was being pointed at the Stockholm Cup International (G3) at Bro Park in September, when he would be facing older horses. The Cup, often billed as Scandinavia's 'Arc', drew a solid field of 15 runners. Amongst them was the German trained Virginia Storm, who had run third to Prix de l'Arc winner Torquator Tasso and second to German Derby runner-up Alter Adler at home. Virginia Storm's best form made him one to fear. Then we had Outbox, flying the English flag for a second time at Bro Park, having run such a good second in the 2021 edition of the Stockholm Cup, Oslo Cup (G3) winner Quebello and local hero Espen Hill. Ulf Zeider, one of the best judges of form in Sweden, gave this prediction in his racecard preview; Hard One To Please first, Outbox second, Virginia Storm third. He wasn't far wrong. Virginia Storm ran no sort of a race and finished second last, running as if something was amiss, while Hard One To Please pipped Outbox to win by a nose. Master Bloom, like Outbox another horse to have been placed in a previous edition of the event, ran third, while Quebello took fourth.
His win at Bro Park, where he was partnered by Pat Cosgrave, gave Hard One To Please a unique treble; the Swedish Derby on dirt, the Norwegian Derby over the undulating and testing course at Øvrevoll, and the Stockholm Cup at Bro Park, a flat, more US-style oval. Will this treble ever be repeated? It may, but it's probably long odds-on that he won't happen anytime soon. Väsby Häst AB's top performer is an unusually versatile performer, and a well deserving Horse of The Year. His 2023 campaign could be really exciting, though there will be no more cruising runs against his own age group only. The gloves will come off more than once in 2023, as he takes aim at the top races in Scandinavia. Those with similar aspirations have one thing in common; they all know that they will be up against a true champion. GS 290123
Top Ten, 3-year-olds Scandinavia 2022
2022 season - facts and figures
Top earners, top strike rate,
best average earnings
21 Nov 22: Annike Bye Hansen finished second in the trainers' standings, with 16 winners, 18 runners-up and 8 third place finishers from 75 starters. The stable generated total domestic earnings of NOK. 2,775,249. As many as 56% of all starters saddled by Annike finished in the first three and the stable's win strike rate was an impressive 21.3%, better than any other trainer with more than ten starters during the season. Average earnings per start, NOK 37,003, was also markedly the best return of all trainers with more than ten starters.
The stable's total Scandinavian earnings were close to 5.6 million.
I Rest My Case became the highest earning horse in Norway in 2022, with NOK 775,849 from eight runs. She just edged out her stable companion Hard One To Please on this list, as his domestic earnings were NOK 725,000 from four runs. Hard One To Please would probably get most votes if we decided to crown a Scandinavian Horse of The Year though, and perhaps it's about time to get those Scandinavian stats back up and running? With two easy Derby wins and a gutsy success in the Stockholm Cup International (G3), he earned NOK 2,812,764 all told – and he also became the highest earner in Sweden this year. His fellow Väsby Häst flag bearer Youonlyliveonce sits in tenth place on the list of top earners in Norway this year, with NOK. 322,600 from 11 starts that yielded 2 wins and six other top three efforts. GS
Top earners - Norway 2022
Incredible finish to the Stockholm Cup
Hard One To Please wins big - again!
18 Sep 22: He looked beaten approaching the home bend, when he lost some ground, then got back into a rhythm that seemed positive enough to bring him back up to get some prize money. Turning for home he definitely looked like he was facing an impossible task - and that was the case also with just 200 metres to run. After such a troubled trip, Hard One To Please had too much ground to make up. Or so we all thought - until he found the right gaps and kicked in with a serious finish close home that brought him up for a narrow, well deserved and impressive win. The Stockholm Cup International (G3) became Hard One To Please's third top class success. The Swedish Derby, Norwegian Derby and Stockholm Cup treble is truly unique and this horse is special - no doubt about that.
Jockey Pat Cosgrave after the race; "We had a smooth start, but found trouble in running, we got stopped turning for home, and the horse got me out of trouble - if he had been beaten it would have been my fault. With a clean run he would have won by two or three lengths. He is a very good horse - I hope I can come back and ride him again next year."
This result confirms that Hard One To Please is a high class performer. Runner-up Outbox was second in this race also last year, when he went on to win the Amir Trophy (LR) in Doha, and he was now coming off a good third in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes (G3) at Newbury, behind Zechariah - a very good stayer who had been beaten just a nose by this year's St. Leger (G1) winner Elgar Eldarov in the Queen's Vase (G2) at Royal Ascot. Geir Stabell
Stockholm Cup International winner!
Photos: Elina Björklund
Hard One To Please simply the best - at home and abroad
1 Hard One To Please
2 Sea Lodge 3 Pas de Faux
Stockholm Cup International
1 Hard One To Please
2 Outbox 3 Master Bloom
Hard One To Please gets big test
Cosgrave booked for Stockholm Cup ride
12 Sep 22: The Stockholm Cup International (G3), with a full field of 15 runners, will be some test for dual Derby winner Hard One To Please. "Scandinavia's Arc" - the highlight of an excellent card at Bro Park on Sunday - means a first run against older horses for Hard One To Please, and it will also be his third big race over a third course. Dirt racing in Malmoe, turf racing over the undulating Øvrevoll course and at the flat oval at Bro Park, well, those are three very different tasks. It's rare that a horse produces his best form over all three of these courses. Then again, Hard One To Please appears to be a rare horse, and perhaps he is up to it.
Pat Cosgrave, who has won the race twice in the past, has been booked to ride. A top jockey is obviously an advantage and stall 11 looks a good position to start from. The likely favourite, Germany's Virginia Storm, will break from stall 12, while Oslo Cup (LR) winner Quebello was handed stall 14 at the draw. One lane further out, in the widest stall, we find the English raider Outbox, who will be ridden by Hollie Doyle - one of the world's best female riders. She partnered Outbox to a good second in this event last year. Miss Doyle is enjoying an incredible season, with wins in the Prix de Diane / French Oaks (G1) and Nassau Stakes (G1) on Nashwa as the high points - in a campaign that has brought her 136 wins so far in England.
Pat Cosgrave will also ride Takeko and Youonlyliveonce. The latter meets nine rivals in the Bro Park Sprint Championship (LR), while Takeko goes for the Lanwades Stud Stakes (LR), a race she finished fourth in last year. She will be renewing rivalry with Ascot Brass, who beat her when they ran first and second for Norway in the Bloomers' Vase (LR) at Bro Park in June. GS
Wins second Derby with ease
Hard One To Please - he's different class!
I Rest My Case, Admiral de Vega complete Derby day treble
Takeko, Youonlyliveonece game stakes runners-up
21 Aug 22: Hard One To Please outclassed his rivals for a comfortable win in the Norwegian Derby, proving to be just as good - perhaps even better - on turf than he was on dirt in the Swedish Derby. Ridden by Jacob Johansen, he beat Wido Neuroth's duo Sea Lodge and Pas de Faux. I Rest My Case and Admiral de Vega were also winners on the big day, while Takeko and Youonlyliveonce added to the 'Bye Hansen show' by running second in stakes races.
How good is this horse?
Hard One To Please. How good is this horse? One thing's for sure - he is the best three-year-old seen in Scandinavia since Square de Luynes won the Norwegian Derby in 2018. Is Hard One To Please as good as that champion? Could he be better? It's impossible to say at this stage but Hard One To Please seems to be a more complete racehorse. Whereas Square de Luynes could manage only sixth place when racing on dirt in the Swedish Derby, Hard One To Please won that classic with ease. Not many horses manage to produce their best form on turf and dirt. Hard One To Please certainly looks more like a turf horse and one can argue that his 14-length romp at Øvrevoll was better form than his comfortable 2-length win over Steinar in Sweden last month. And it probably was. Then again, let's not forget that Steinar went on to win the Hurricanelöpning by 11 1/2 lengths on his next outing.
Still, the Norwegian Derby form is what makes Hard One To Please look like a bit of a freak. He was so much the best, simply humiliating Sea Lodge, a well bred filly who proved her worth on turf, and Pas de Faux, who was coming off a 3-length win in the Derby Trial, where he beat I Rest My Case. I Rest My Case was also in action on Derby day. She won the inaugural running of Drømmemilen. All right, she was long odds-on to do so, but when she cruised home by over 15 lengths many punters pointed to one horse for the upcoming Derby; Pas de Faux. His form had just been given some boost. He's good, though nowhere near as good as Hard One To Please - who went by him with ease and quickened right away to leave the placed horses in a different county. It was his third win from four starts and his bankroll now stands at 1.936.884 kroner. His next task may be Stockholm Cup International (G3) at Bro Park next month. If he goes for that race, it will be an attempt at winning big over a third (once more quite different) course and, more importantly, a first clash with the best older horses. When that happens we can hope to get the answer to our question; how good is this horse?
Annike talks Derby with Birger Christensen
From outsider to leading contender
17 Aug 22: Øvrevoll Galopp's senior writer Birger Christensen's feature on Annike, where she reflects on her life in racing, how she feels that 'the horses should always get most of the attention' and looks forward to Derby day, when her contender Hard One To Please - who won the Swedish Derby as a massive longshot - will be one of the favourites.
Super Sunday for Annike's team
Hard One To Please wins the Derby, Takeko takes the Wettermark
Hard One To Please won Sweden's premier classic geared down by 2 lengths, after being given a patient ride by Oliver Wilson, undoubtedly one of the finest riders in Scandinavia these days. The winning margin could have been bigger and it's worth noting that the third placed horse, Downtown Leo, was outclassed to the tune of 9 lengths, with another 3 1/2 lengths back to the local favourite, Tin Win. This was a high class performance. Click photos above to enlarge in pop-ups.
17 July 22: Hard One To Please, masterfully ridden by Oliver Wilson, came from well off a strong pace to win the Swedish Derby - Jockeyklubben Svenskt Derby - beating his rivals with ridiculous ease. Wrapped up approaching the winning post, he was an easy winner from Steinar, while Downtown Leo had to settle for third place. The victory propelled Hard One To Please right up to the top echelon of thoroughbreds in Scandinavia, and his bankroll increased by a handsome 1.2 million kronor. Read more on Svensk Galopp
Jockeyklubben Svenskt Derby 2022
HARD ONE TO PLEASE / A Bye Hansen / O Wilson
3 ch g Fast Company - Alyssum / New Approach
Owned by Väsby Häst AB / Bred by Lodge Park Stud
Results & Replays
An excellent day for Väsby Häst AB
02 June 22: Väsby Häst AB, great supporters of Annike's operation - and of Scandinavian racing in general - enjoyed an incredible half-hour on this Thursday evening fixture, as three of their horses made it to the winners' circle after the first two races on the card. Well, 'only two' won of course - but it was a fine gesture to invite General de Vega's gallant runner-up, Youonlyliveonce, to the enclosure as well.
Early-June silk fashion is green and white!
Stable companions General de Vega - who was prepping for a bigger task at Bro Park in ten days' time - and Youonlyliveonce ran 1-2 in the first race on the night, a high class sprint over 1170 metres on turf. While General de Vega - last year's champion sprinter, was held up at the back - Younlyliveonce went to the front and set a good pace. He kept on really well up front but General de Vega cruised up to him, took over 200 metres from the winning post, and was pushed out for a tidy win. The two stable companions had the race between them throughout the finish. General de Vega landed de odds easily by half a length and there was a 4 1/4-length gap between Youonlyliveonce and the third placed horses, Backcountry, a winner of 22 races. Half an hour later the exciting
three-year-old Hard One To Please (right pic) followed up by winning a good maiden heat over 1600 metres. Making only his second start, the son of Fast Company raced too freely going down the back straight but settled better when negotiating the turn. Front-running Holiday had opened up a massive lead at this point and looked strong - though Hard One To Please reeled him in with a smooth run coming up the homes straight. He passed the leader just below the distance and held on gamely to beat the staying-on Sugar Crust. Holiday and Sugar Crust ran second and third behind Game Changer - albeit on dirt - four weeks ago.
We Got The Boss also signaled a return to form with a fine runner-up effort, beaten just half a length behind Valence, later on the card. Please check back for more on Monday. GS
Stabell talk 2022
Hard One To Please - a classic hope
One of the new horses in the stable for 2022, the Fast Company son Hard One To Please - bought by Walter Buick on behalf of Väsby Häst AB at the Tattersalls Sales in Newmarket - is an unraced colt from one of Aga Khan's best known families. Unraced, Hard One To Please is out of Alyssum, a filly trained by Jim Bolger in Ireland. Alyssum ran just four times and her runner-up effort in a Naas maiden on her debut was her best placing. She is a daughter of top class performer New Approach and Alasha (Barathea). Alasha was trained by Sir Michael Stoute, who handled her to win the Dick Hern Stakes (LR) over a mile at Bath, and run second in the E P Taylor Stakes (G1) over 10 furlongs at Woodbine in Canada. Her best piece of form, however, was when she finished third, beaten just half a length behind Kazzia, in the 1,000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket. Alasha became the dam of Alanza, a smart 7-furlong performer by Dubai Destination. Alanza won the Ballycorus Stakes (G3) at Leopardstown and the Sceptre Stakes (G3) at Doncaster. Hard One To Please's dam has a juvenile daughter by Dandy Man currently in training with Ralph Beckett in England. That filly was sold for £45,000 at Tattersalls last autumn, and she is a candidate for the valuable Tattersalls October Auction Stakes.
The third dam, Alanasa (Darshaan), was a half-sister to Aliysa, Champion 3yo filly in England and at the centre of the 'doping' scandal that robbed her connections of a win in the Epsom Oaks (G1) back in 1989. Alanasa was not in the same league but she was a useful filly, trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre in France. She won twice, scoring over 1,600 metres at Dieppe and over 1,800 metres at Saint-Cloud, and she stretched her stamina to finish third over 2,100 metres at Longchamp. She produced a Listed winner called Alaiyma and became the granddam of the G2 placed Listed winner Shared Ambition, a winner of 7 races in Australia.
Hard One To Please's sire, Fast Company (Danehill Dancer), was a highly talented juvenile but unfortunately he raced just three times. He won the 7-furlong Acomb Stakes (G3) at York, easily outpointing Lucifer Sam by 3 ½ lengths, and went on to run second in the Dewhurst Stakes (G1) over the same distance at Newmarket, checking in half a length behind Hard One To Please's broodmare sire New Approach. Whether Hard One To Please will appreciate a test of stamina is impossible to say at this stage - but there is some staying power in his family and he holds an entry for the Norwegian Derby in August. GS 220413
Tattersalls Catalogue page / Hard One To Please / PDF download