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  • Dr Paull Khan

Swedish racing waited 23 years for a home bred winner of the Derby - by Bjorn Eklund

The Swedish Derby has been run since 1918. Until 1995 it was restricted to horses bred in

Scandinavia which resulted in wins for 37 Swedish bred horses, 36 Danish bred horses and 2

Norwegian bred horses.

The first open Derby gave the victory to Swedish bred Bloomarace (by Diaghlyphard). Just a

few horses bred outside Scandinavia competed. But after that opening year the picture

changed almost completely. Just one homebred winner has appeard. It was in 2000 that Double

Net (by Diaghlypard) was succesful. Instead the winners have been imported to Scandinavia. 10

have come from Ireland, 5 each from France and USA, 3 from Great Britain, 1 from Germany –

and one from Norway.

So the relief was huge after the running of the Swedish Derby this year. The winner Ayani (by

Starspangledbanner) is not only bred in Sweden but the maternal line have been in Sweden for

four generations.


That the breeder is the well known and very popular composer Benny Andersson, of 'Abba-

fame' as he usually is presented in British racing press, did not diminish the triumph.


It all started when Benny bought a filly by Rainbow Quest-Riva Spey by Mill Reef, named

Mondschein. Trained By John Dunlop she won almost 25 000 pounds, including a listed race at

Maisons-Laffitte. Mondschein became mother to Beatrice Aurore (by Danehill Dancer), winner of

£ 221 353, among the four victories was a Group 3 race. She was owned by Benny's company

Chess Racing and trained by Ed Dunlop.

Mondschein became also winner of the 2004 Danish Derby winner Sibelius (by Night Shift).

Trained by Caroline Strömberg he also triumphed in the Danish St Leger. In 2002 she bred the

filly Vigelegere (by Be My Chief) who won the Group 3 Scandinavian Grand Prix in 2006..

Vigelegere was covered by a top sire, as most of Benny's mares - High Chapparal. The result in

2011 was the filly Inaya who won the Danish St Leger, the Danish Oaks and the Scandinavian

Grand Prix. The St Leger was also a triumph for her brother Sergel (by Archipenko), born in

2012.

Inaya spelt backward is Ayani, the winner of this year's Swedish Derby, whose marginal to the

second horse was five length. The trainer is Jessica Long, daughter of Caroline Strömberg. She

takes care of all of Benny's horses in Sweden.

Ayani won't take part in the Danish Derby. Instead he goes to the Hurricane Stakes run over

2600 m at Jägersro, the day after the Danish Derby.

For Swedish breeding the success of Ayani was very encouraging. And for Benny Andersson it

was a well earned first victory in the Swedish Derby. He has won the Danish Derby twice.

Besides Sibelius it was with Ready Teddy (by Sir Percy) in 2020, trained by Jessica Long.

Ready Tedy comes from another successful and longstanding maternal line, Red Guitars (by

Nijinsky), who once was imported by Benny Andersson.

By the way, all horses belonging to Chess Racing have been named by Benny himself. You can

observe musical names like Sibelius, Ready Teddy, Beatrice Aurore (a popular Swedish song

some decades ago) and also names related to the musical Kristina.



The 2023 Swedish Derby winner Ayani together with trainer Jessica Long, jockey Oliver

Wilson, Jessica's husband Padraig Long, owner Benny Andersson and the trainers

children. Photo Stefan Olsson.



Benny Anderson with Sibelius, winner of the Danish

Derby in 2004

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