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Sunday, July 26, 2015

A big "Grattis" and happy 70th birthday ...

by Peter Lawrence, Contributor to VFTRG

... to the great Swedish trainer-driver "Stig Ho," Stig H. Johansson, a European harness horse business legend, who is well-known here in North America, too.

Stig H. Johansson, Photo credit Travronden
(And look, he's smiling in this recent photo! What next, countrymate Berndt Linstedt laughing? Swedish stoicism is not to be trifled with.)

Where to start on SHJ's accomplishments? Stig H.'s top horses have included, but are by no means limited to The Onion, Utah Bulwark, Napolitano, Peace Corps, Gum Ball and my personal favorite, Victory Tilly (all winners of the Elitlopp trotting classic, by the way), the latter of whom wowed us at the Meadowlands with a win in the 2002 Nat Ray (now, John Cashman) FFA in 1:50-4/5.

That would be a very fast time now, and it was accomplished 13 years ago!

Stig H. also won the prestigious Prix d'Amerique trot at Vincennes, France with Queen L. In 1993.

Still active as a trainer, SHJ retired from driving in 2005. His first driving win, and his last - in, respectively, 1963 and 2005 - both were recorded at Solvalla in Sweden, a track where he was leading driver 29 times, including 27 straight years.

Stig H. has 6,222 driving wins, and more than 7,000 training wins.

So again "Grattis" and happy 70th birthday to Stig Henry Johansson!

(Note: Statistics courtesy of Wikipedia and the SHJ website, plus the writer's feeble remembrances.)

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