Trainer Rune Haugen has a first Flat runner on the turf since relocating to England from his native Norway when Baltic Eagle lines up at Beverley’s opening meeting of the season on Wednesday (April 19).
The Group Two-winning handler is now based in Newmarket and will be making his Beverley debut after his three-year-old gelding was one of six declarations for the Westwood Handicap (5.10).
Baltic Eagle faces last-time-out scorers The Blues Master, Global Revival and Taxmeifyoucan, but the mount of Jack Mitchell made an encouraging British bow at Wolverhampton in February, when a staying-on second over this mile-and-a-quarter trip.
Haugen said: “He has got a very good chance at Beverley. He enjoyed running over the longer trip at Wolverhampton last time and I think the Beverley track should suit him. He has the stamina for this mile-and-a-half trip and has been working at home with Quarterback, who is a very nice horse and runs in the Group Three (John Porter Stakes) at Newbury on Saturday. That was his first time on the all-weather at Wolverhampton, but he is much, much happier on the turf. We’ve had to be patient with him, but he’s in very good form now and if all goes to plan at Beverley, the target is for him to run in the Norwegian Derby in August.”
Haugen was a regular on these shores when living in Norway, and is delighted to have made the move to Newmarket, from where he operates at Rae Guest’s yard on the Hamilton Road.
The former Norwegian champion trainer said: “I’m very happy with how things are going. We didn’t have a winner during the winter, but we came close a couple of times and the horses have been running well. Now the season is getting going, we hope a good run from Baltic Eagle at Beverley can kick-start the year.”
Racing at Beverley on Wednesday is due to begin at 2.15pm, with the five-furlong Opening Day Sprint Trophy Handicap (4.35) the highlight of an eight-race card.
Last season’s renewal was impressively claimed by Arctic Feeling, whose trainer Richard Fahey this year runs Powerallied, the mount of Paul Hanagan.
The current going is described as good, good to firm places, following six millimetres of rain on Sunday night.
Wednesday’s forecast ahead of White Rabbit in Easterland Raceday is for a dry afternoon, sunny spells and a high of 12C.