Experience Traditional Swedish Harness Racing
Where? Västerlösavägen 12, Mantorp
When? Dates for races and events can be found on the website: www.mantorptravet.com
Dozens of cars are lined up along the racetrack. The regular visitors have set up folding chairs in front of their cars in order to view the starting line in comfort. Closer to the main building, racing enthusiasts flock to make bets on their favorite horses at the bookmakers in the large ”Toto hall”. Here, many will also pick up refreshments at the hot dog stand, before finding a seat on the benches ready for the start of the race. Upstairs in the restaurant, spectators enjoy a well-stocked buffet while viewing the race through the panoramic windows or on the screens at each table.
”Today we are hosting Breeder's Crown, a series of several large races. It is a wonderful evening with great weather and about 2,800 spectators,” says Thomas Knutsson, sports director at Mantorptravet racetrack.
He adds: “Swedish harness racing plays an important role internationally, and thanks to its location near the E4 motorway, Mantorp is a popular destination. If you are traveling in the region of Östergötland, whether on vacation or just passing through, you should definitely come by and experience a trotting race. Two or three times a year we organize family days, for example around the V75 day in June. There are free activities for children like carousel, bouncy castle, pony riding and riding in a sulky pulled by a pony.”
Thomas tells us that the harness racing track, Mantorptravet, is currently undergoing an exciting development process. He talks of long-term plans to build a multi-arena, which would include tracks that can be booked for races and training. In addition, the harness track will be extended from 1,000 to 1,200 meters, which is likely to make Mantorptravet more attractive to both competitors and visitors.
At the fence — which encloses the entire track — stands the Gustafsson-Westerström family from Söderköping in Östergötland. They came to watch the race and place bets. ”I've been here with colleagues before,” says Daniel. ”Our daughter Ella loves horses and likes to watch trotting races on TV. Now she can finally experience it in real life.”
Ella is well-accustomed to the world of trotting: ”I hope the mare „Peekaboo” will win. I know her from the TV show ”Stjärnkuskar”, where celebrities ride in the sulky, and I'm glad to see her up close.”
To make sure she doesn’t miss anything, she climbs on her dad’s shoulders. The family agrees that the harness racing arena Mantorptravet is an ideal destination for warm summer evenings. Daniel says, „We'll definitely be back for a race or to try some family activities.”
Good to know:
- The harness racing track Mantorptravet opened during the midsummer weekend of 1965.
- In the first year, there were 10 days of harness racing, and that grew to 19 races the following year. Today, 35 races take place each year, making the racetrack an integral pillar of the sporting community, in the region of Östergötland.
- By Swedish standards, the racetrack is medium size in terms of visitors and sales. The oval racetrack is currently 1,000 meters long and is being extended to 1,200 meters.
- The harness racing school offers riding courses and events for children and teenagers, and sometimes even for adults too. School classes or groups, e.g. bachelor parties, can book short beginner courses upon request.