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Victory for Jesmar Gafa in the European Championship for Gentleman Drivers 2023

The European Championship for Gentleman Drivers (FEGAT) came to an end with another positive performance for Malta represented by Jesmar Gafa.

Organised in Finland, this championship saw 13 participants from all over Europe drive 5 races over two days. The first two races were raced at Vermo racetrack on Wednesday whilst the last three races were run at Lahti racetrack the following day.

Gafa had a quiet start to his championship placing 7th on Hold Me Cloud and 8th on Le Lovetail for the first two races held in Vermo; results respecting very much the quality of horses drawn in the races.

The second day of the championship however was of a totally different tune.

Gafa won the first race in Lahti on Just Kidding, a four-year-old Finnish mare. He left his covered position to go into the dead seat with 1600meters to go and accompanied the leader to his outside for another lap before asking a last effort from the mare that saw her take the lead and cruise to victory with ease.

The second race of the day Gafa managed a well-fought fourth place on Albino Flame and by now his excellent results placed him in second spot in the championship behind the Swedish driver and at par with his Belgian counterpart.

The last race was what made this experience bittersweet. Here, the championship was suspended because of an accident a 1,000meters into the race when Gafa was leading the way on his horse Outwit.

When it was decided to restart the race, the owner of Gafa’s horse decided to pull the horse out of the race and the Maltese rider lost his ride in what could have been the race to give him the highest honour in the championship.

Availing himself of only 4 rides out of 5, Jesmar Gafa still succeeded in an excellent fifth-place ranking in the championship. This result continues to build on the excellent performances of drivers representing the Maltese trotting scene internationally throughout this summer.


1. Patrick Fernlund (Sweden) 52; John Seydoux (Switzerland) 48; Rune Raeyras (Norway), Martin Sjoholm-Jensen (Denmark) 44; Jesmar Gafa (Malta) 43.

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