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Ufa is not a city that is easily surprised by horse races, but last weekends race at the Akbuzat hippodrome attracted a lot of attention.

On September 5-6, the the Akbuzat international equestrian center hosted the Second All-Russian Orlov Trotter festival, featuring leading jockeys from seven European countries and ten regions of the Russian Federation behind 105 of the best Orlov Trotters, the first Russian stud breed created by Count Aleksey Orlov at the turn of the 19th century.

Several honorary guests were in attendance, including Murtaza Rakhimov, President of the Republic Bashkortostan; Konstantin Tolkachev, Chairmen of the Kurultay Republican State Assembly; Rail Sarbaev, Bashkortostan Prime Minister; Alexander Nikerin, Minister of Youth Policy, Sport and Tourism; Pavel Kachkaev, head of the Ufa City Municipal Administration; Russian Federation Duma representatives Andrei Knor and Nikolai Kharitonov; and Nikolai Isakov, president of the Association of Trotter Horse Breeding of Russia.

Bashkir jockeys took several awards at the festival. Two horses owned by UralAgroTekhService won prize in two nominations with jockey Vener Absalikov. One of the horses, Kadril, won the 2,400 m race for the Russian Stud Farms prize and the prize dedicated to the 85th anniversary of Moscow Stud Farm No. 1. The second horse, Nika, won the first stage of the national 2,400 m Orlov maiden race for horses ages four years and older with a record time of 3:12.6.

The same distance race for 4-year-old Orlov Trotter stallions was dedicated to the breeds creater Count Aleksei Orlov and featured top stallions Pijon, Krek, Nimph and other horses known to every equestrian fan in Russia. The winner was Biatlon, with a time of 3:15.6, driven by master jockey Timur Tungatarov from Moscow.

The 2,100 m trotting race for the Sports prize was a breath-taking, colourful show. Jockey Lisa Matusevich from Ufa drove stallion Lornet to the win with a time of 2:57.2.

The 3-year-old bay stallion Zavet from Dyurtyuli region and jockey Natalya Yevstigneeva won The Future of Russia prize in a 2,400 m race with a time of 3:22.1.

The Russian troikas show was the highlight of the festival. The Small Cup prize went to the Duvansky District, Republic of Bashkortostan. The Big Cup was won by a troika from the Moscow region.

The first day of the festival included the Russias Open Championship for owner-jockeys. Jockeys from Ufa, Perm, Samara and Moscow and five riders from Finland participated in it, with the prize going to Oleg Sheptalov from Samara on stallion Nebosvod. The 2,100 m Russian team race winner was the gray stallion Mech behind jockey Vladimir Khrustalev from Perm Stud.

Based on the results of the two days of competition, Kovcheg from the Perm region with jockey Sergei Akulov (2:03.7) was named the best Orlov trotter stallion in Russia; Pallada from the Khrenovsky Stud with jockey Leonid Mahinov (2:07.1) was named the best Orlov trotter mare in Russia.

The final stage of the International Equestrian Championship for Mediterranian and Black Sea Region Countries was the main event of the festival, featuring jockeys from 12 European countries. French jockey Jean-Paul Fasquel came away the winner of this cliff-hanger of a competition. Fasquel also won the fourth stage of last years Ufa City Championship.

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