10 Apr 2018

Elitloppet: Sweden’s biggest horseracing event

Elitloppet: Sweden’s biggest horseracing event
Elitloppet, which translates literally to “The Elite Race", is Sweden’s largest annual horse racing event, and one of the most prestigious international trotting events in the world. Taking place in Solvalla since 1952, the invitational Group One harness event is part of the European Grand Circuit and is a big phenomenon in Sweden, drawing crowds of over 50,000 fans every year for the races and surrounding festivities.

Traditionally raced on the last Sunday of May, the Solvalla racetrack also holds special races on Friday and Saturday, with all three days being generally extremely well visited by Swedish and international crowds alike, in what is commonly referred to in Sweden as "The Elitlopp weekend". The Elitlopp is considered by Swedes to be one of the biggest sporting events of the year and is widely watched throughout the country, with viewing parties taking place in practically every Swedish city or town.

Elitloppet is also one of Sweden’s most bet on sporting events. While traditionally Swedes are known for their award-winning casinos and online slots, this is completely eclipsed by betting on horses during the Elitloppet weekend, with record breaking figures being registered at the bookmakers practically every year. 

Last year, Elitloppet weekend drew in over 60,000 visits, approximately one million TV viewers, and 373 million SEK in revenue on ATG's game modes. This year the event will take place between May 25-27th, and the event seems on track to surpass those numbers already. As is customary, the winner being decided through two qualifying races, and subsequently the grand final being celebrated on Sunday May 27th. Each qualifying race will feature eight starters, as will the final race. 

The beginning of a tradition

While Elitloppet might be an established yearly tradition now, when it was first held in 1952 it was intended to be a one-time event. In order to celebrate its 25th anniversary, Solvalla’s racetrack decided to host a huge international race called “Solvallas Jubileumslopp”, or Solvalla’s Jubilee Race. With some of the finest racehorses from all across Europe travelling by train to the Swedish town, the event created high levels of anticipation along horse racing enthusiasts.

In the first edition, the format of the race was different than that which is currently used today. The winner was decided through two heats followed by a race-off, with German horse Permit ultimately being crowned victorious in a riveting race.

The Jubileumslopp was considered by all standards a smashing success, and the Solvalla Race Track decided to hold the event again next year, now under its well-known name of Elitloppet.

Racebooks release the odds

With all participating horses having been released, several different online bookmakers have already dutily posted odds for betting on the event, trying to entice bettors into placing early wagers.

As was to be expected, the favorite to win the event is the Swedish horse Readly Express, at odds of 3.25. Readly Express is one of the best Swedish horses in memory, being crowned the winner of the Grand Prix de l'UET, the Jubilee Cup, the Prix Tenor de Baune, the European Championship for 5 year olds, and the Swedish Championship. However, when he also took home the Grand Prix d'Amérique on the Vincennes Hippodrome in Paris in January - widely considered the world’s toughest tram - it was clear that Readly was something out of the norm and would be considered the favorite in home ground. 

Standout horses Propulsion and Bold Eagle are not far behind either, with odds of 4 each, with the closest competitor after, Twister Bi, lagging behind at odds of 9, making it clear who the favorites to place in the race are. You can check out the odds for all competing horses below:



Horse
Highest odds
Readly Express
3.25
Propulsion
4
Bold Eagle
4
Twister Bi
9
Cyber Lane
16
Ringostarr Treb
20
Belina Josselyn
25
Ferrari B.R.
40
Uza Josselyn
40
Cruzado Dela Noche
50
Diamanten
50
Takethem
50
Dante Boko
50
Lionel
50
Perfect Spirit
50
Buzz Mearas
60
Dd's Hitman
60
Love Matters
60
Lionel N.O.
65
Zenit Brick
75
Tjacko Zaz
75
Workout Wonder
75
Digital Ink
85
In Vain Sund
100
Traders
100
Southwind Feji
125
Volstead
150
Carabinieri
175
Elian Web
175

Photo source: Sko Info