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Possession with Ulrika Holmquist

Stabell talk 2022

Possession - there should be more to come

Possession won once from eight starts last year, when he was also placed twice. Having rounded his four-year-old campaign off by running second over 2400 metres on the dirt track in early November, he goes into the new season on handicap 73 – making him one of the better run of the mill horses active in Norway these days. 2400 metres / dirt was also the task as he found his way to the winners' enclosure back in September, when winning the Taniec Handicap with such ease. They way he cruised home that day made one think that much better form would soon be just around the corner. He was so much the best, storming home 5 lengths ahead of Moonflash, a clear runner-up fully 12 ½ lengths in front of Perfect Illusion, who ran 6 ¼ lengths better than the fourth placed horse, Twisted. These were most unusual margins and do not for a minute believe it was as a result of the race being uncompetitive. Yes, Possession only had five to beat but those five have 26 wins between them as these lines are being written, and Possession slipped effortlessly away from horses that were in good form at the time. Moonflash, who has 9 wins, boosted the form with two subsequent wins, while three-time winner Perfect Illusion also went on to win again later in the autumn. Twisted, beaten 17 ½ lengths by Possession, has won 8 races and Hodor, who was hopelessly beaten into fifth, was coming to Norway with a strong CV, having notched up three wins on the trot in Sweden in the summer. Any one of these five could have won, without it being billed as a shock result – but none of them stood any sort of chance when Possession got into full flight.

Willa Synøve Schou partnered Possession in this race, while Jan-Erik Neuroth had the call when the son of Iffraaj ran second to Pine River two months later. Producing another game performance, Possession went down by 1 ½ lengths on that occasion, beating Red Valley by a length for second place. Scandinavia is a small corner of the racing world, but there are plenty of international connections to keep us on the map. Emma Nordin, who partnered Pine River to victory at Øvrevoll, is currently riding at the championship meet at Gulfstream Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, one of the most important racing venue in North America. Losing against her partner Pine River was no mean feat. That filly, trained by Sandra Brolin, was hitting top form at the time and she went on to run two good races in defeat at Bro Park later in the month.

So what can we expect from Possession this term? As half-brother to Privilegiado, he has always been a horse with plenty to live up to. He has the looks and he is talented but it seems clear that, unlike Privilegiado, Possession has not been a precocious, fast developing sort. Whether the dirt track is where he will always feel most at home is hard to say. The form book may argue that it is, but Possession ran well on the turf when third behind Smazig and Perfect Illusion in Norsk Rikstoto Cup over 2400 metres on the lawn last July. He was going to gain revenge on both, as Smazing was last on the day when Possession won. This is often the nature of the game in the handicap division. While some horses find form in the second half of the season, others see their form tail off a bit. Hopefully, Possession will be in for a campaign of consistency, and more success, in 2022. There should be more to come from this runner. 

GS 220314

Ran rivals right into the ground

Possession's first win - and it's huge!

02 Sep 21: What was that? A procession? Well, actually it was Possession - and it was procession. Possession's first win was gained with style, as he quickened right away from his nearest rival, Moonflash, early in the straight and won the 2400-metres Taniec Handicap very easily by 5 lengths. Moonflash became rather lonely in second, passing the winning post 12 1/2 lengths ahead of Perfect Illusion. These two placed horses both went into the contest with decent form but they had no chance once Possession was let loose by his talented rider, Willa Synøve Schou. It was clear to see that Possession was about to hit form when he ran fifth behind Sankt Peder last time out - and on this Thursday evening he most certainly did. 

Possession first - the rest nowhere! Photo:

Stabell talk 2021

Possession - lightly raced

Possession, who moved across to Annike's stable after having two runs for Niels Petersen last year, is a lightly raced four-year-old with potential to improve. Hen has made just four starts to date, all at Øvrevoll in 2020. Possession was third to Raspberry Beret over 1980 metres last July and fifth to Macjack over 1730 metres the following month. Both these races were on turf.

He is a half-brother to Privilegiado, one of the best horses in Scandinavia in recent years. Privilegiado won the Norwegian Triple Crown in 2019, having been one of the best juveniles in Scandinavia the preceding year. He went on to win the Oslo Cup (G3) last season. Privilegiado is a son of Sea The Moon, while Possession is by the more speedy sire Iffraaj.

Iffraaj – who is a son of champion miler Zafonic – was a high class performer who did his best work over 6 and 7 furlongs, the distance he tackled when winning the Lennox Stakes (G2) at Glorious Goodwood and the Park Stakes (G2) at York as a five-year-old . Out of the Nureyev daughter Pastorale, Iffraaj has a world class pedigree and he has been very successful at stud, with Group 1 winners like Ribchester, Wootton Bassett, Rizeena, Chriselliam and Jungle Cat flying his flag. Possession's dam, Scarlett's Pride, won twice in France and once in Canada. She was successful over 1200 and 1400 metres at home, and she gained black type as runner-up in the Grosser Preis der Sparda Bank Hannover (LR) over 1200 metres in Germany. Scarlett's Pride's win in Canada came over 6.5 furlongs at Woodbine. She is also the dam of Libello (Archipenko), a strong stayer with eight wins to date. This is also the family of Whakilyric, an excellent mare who produced French Derby winner Hernando as well as Johann Quatz. GS 230421

New name on the training list

Possession joins Annike's team

28 Jul 20: Possession, a well bred three-year-old previously trained by Niels Petersen, has been bought by Champagnegaloppen and joined Annike's team at Skoganstallen. This half-brother to Triple Crown winner Privilegiado looks a really interesting recruit. The son of Iffraaj has had just two runs to date, and he was a promising third to Raspberry Beret in an eight-runner maiden over 1980 metres on the turf course earlier this month - beaten just a length.  Possession's catalogue page, Arqana Sales 2018

Possession pictured as a yearling