Santtu Raitala, who dominates the Finnish riders’ league, has a chance for a trick that only one trainer has achieved on Finnish racetracks.

    Santtu Raitala directs victories at a furious pace. Juho Hämäläinen / Finnish Hippos

    Turned 31 last week Santtu Raitala has dominated Finnish rider statistics for the past few years. The driver’s league victory goes to the Pihitupataan for the fourth time in a row, and his superiority in the statistics is downright confusing.

    Last year, Raitala made trotting history by becoming the first instructor to win more than two million euros in prize money on Finnish tracks in a year. This year, Raitala has surpassed last year’s money record, and a new milestone would also be within reach.

    By November 24th, Raitala has driven 373 wins this year, so the historic limit of 400 wins is completely realistic for him. Only a driver legend has driven 400 wins in a year on Finnish tracks Jorma Kontiowho had a record 417 wins in 1989.

    Even Konti’s winning record, considered completely unsurpassable, is in principle within Raitala’s reach. He has calculated 1.14 wins per day this year, and if he continues at the same pace until the end of the year, he would make 416 wins.

    The limit of at least 400 wins is completely realistic for Raitala, even if he himself is struggling to paint the number of wins.

    – For many years now, I have toured in December at a slightly slower pace than usual, and it will be the same this year. For example, achieving 400 wins is not the number one or even number two priority, Raitala emphasizes.

    A more normal life

    Reaching the new century is very possible for Raitala, even if he races less than usual in December. A calculated daily pace of 1.14 wins would mean reaching 400 wins in 350 days.

    – It would be nice if I reached 400 wins, but I won’t start changing my biorhythms terribly because of that, Raitala laughs.

    He outlines his driving volume for the coming December to be roughly the same as last year. Then in December he drove 75 starts and 15 wins, when normally starts and wins are twice as many.

    – In the last couple of weeks of December, I raced only on Saturday, and in the beginning of the month I also raced less than usual. It felt like the right pace then and the same feels right now, Raitala outlines.

    – December is the darkest time of the year, i.e. it’s dark when you go to raves and it’s dark when you come back from raves. During Christmas, it’s also nice to live a slightly more normal social life, when Pihtiputaa is also visited by many friends who no longer live here permanently.

    A rare feat

    Even if Raitala does not reach the limit of 400 wins, his number of wins this year is already the second highest number of wins in Finland ever. Jorma Kontio has driven more than 300 wins in eight years in Finland, but the number of wins in his second best season is 333 wins.

    In addition to Konti and Raitala, more than 300 wins in one season have only been driven in Finland Antti Teivainen, Ari Moilanen and Mika Forss, all of whom have crossed the line once. Moilanen’s career record year was the season 2001, when he drove 304 wins, Teivainen’s was the year 2000, when there were 302 wins. Mika Forss’ career record year 2016 brought 307 wins.

    Santtu Raitala’s dominance in the driving league is confusing. This year, Raitala has achieved more victories than those in the next places in the league Hannu Torvinen and Ari Moilanen in total.

    According to Raitala, you don’t have to be numb to win.

    – Winning always feels good, and especially in a trotting competition, you always have to remember how many surrounding things are behind each performance. The best feeling comes from seeing the joy of the people behind the horse.