Day At The Track

Oakwood Stud to sponsor “Greys Only” FFA

12:35 AM 02 Apr 2015 NZDT
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Oakwood Stud, harness racing Shades Of Gray, harness racing
The front entrance to Oakwood Stud in Ireland
Nadina Ironia Photo
Shades Of Gray winning on the turf

ABERGELE, UK - Harness Racing fans all over the world love to see a grey pacer in full flow and none more so than the people of Great Britain and Ireland who intend on paying homage to these strikingly beautiful Standardbreds by featuring a novel “greys only” free for all event at Tir Prince Raceway in Wales on July 18th.

Sponsored by Oakwood Stud in Ireland, who are currently showcasing their new stallion, Foreclosure N, this eagerly awaited event will be called the Platinum Free For All and some ever popular household names have already thrown their hats into the ring to take part in this contest, the first of its kind ever held in the UK or Ireland.

Early ante-post favourite for the race is the locally trained Blue Incredible. Conditioned by Jason Podmore, Blue Incredible is renowned for his toughness and is the winner of 14 races and 23 placed efforts including a five-straight victory streak back in 2013, culminating in a grade final win at Aberystwyth in July of that campaign.

Another Aberystwyth grand final winner, Wellfield Ghost, is also being aimed at Platinum Free For All and the 2014 victor is a big improver over the past 12 months with 11 wins and has only been out of the money 3 times in 26 lifetime starts. 

Jack Frost is also likely to prove popular with punters, being virtually white in colour at this stage of career but with 8 wins under his belt, including 2 grand finals at Wolsingham and Appleby, he showed he can still be equally as potent on the hard tracks as well as on grass tracks with a 1:59.2 record.

Another big improver right thru the 2014 seas was the Andrew Cairns trained Coalford Chief and although only six years old, he has made 12 visits to the winners enclosure so far in and came of age in no uncertain terms last September when he landed the Joe Murdock Memorial Open Final at the Scottish venue Corbie Wood. 

The only lady in the line up so far is the aptly named Shades Of Grey and her connections fancy her big time to whip the boys into submission. A US import by Camluck,  Shades Of Grey continues to improve with age and ran out a game winner of the George Bell Memorial grand final in Scotland making it 9 wins in total and almost £9000 in prize money.

The Irish raider Oakwood Outlaw could prove to be the fly in the ointment to them all however. A 9 year old by Armbro Operative out of a Laag mare Snow Whitey, was actually bred by the sponsors and is now in the care of top reinsman Alan Wallace. Pacing sub 1:59 miles right through the 2014 season, she topped off a stellar year with a win in the Barney Richardson Memorial at Portmarnock in October.

The race remains open for additional entries right up until seven days before the unique contest and hopes are high that some other grey pacers will emerge up through the ranks and line up in this most unusual field of pacers. Tarawood Messi, Coalford Showtime and Krakatoa spring to mind and a full field of 10 greys is a distinct possibility as the starting car pulls away at Tir Prince on July 18th.

Speaking to Derek Delaney, a representative of sponsors Oakwood Stud, stated that “It is an honour to sponsor a unique free for all with just grey horses only and I’m sure it will be a very special race. It’s an ideal opportunity to showcase our new stallion, Foreclosure N, as we believe that he is also something out of the ordinary, being the first ever Rocknroll Hanover to stand in the British Isles.”

Foreclosure N has a record of 1:48.4 and almost $1 million dollars racked up in prize money. With an infusion of New Zealand blood, he is bound to prove popular with breeders in the UK and Ireland who highly value the ability to stay longer distances and remain sound right throughout a long career on both hard and turf tracks where his offspring are likely to ply their trade.

By Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink.com

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