Day At The Track

UK / IRE

Set as Homepage

Face Time Bourbon, harness racing

Face Time Bourbon wins Prix d’Amerique

Vincennes, France – Following the outside cover of Davidson Du Pont, harness racing driver Bjorn Goop and Face Time Bourbon weaved their way around horses and was able to post a two-length triumph to win the 100th Grand Prix d’Amerique race at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes Sunday. It was the 19th victory in just 22 career starts for Face Time Bourbon. The five-year-old son of two-time Prix d’Amerique winner, Ready Cash, is now harness racing newest international trotting star. The race began with a Calvary charge for control of the early lead with horses racing three-wide for the first half mile of the 1.67-mile race (2,700 meters). Billie De Montfort (Gabriele Gelormini) held the early lead, then Excellent (Alexandre Abrivard) got to the front and Propulsion (Orjan Kihlstrom) was able to drop into the two-hole along the rail. And all the while there was Davidson Du Pont and driver Franck Ouvire parked out first-over and not giving up an inch. Meanwhile, Goop and Face Time Bourbon were following their cover second over. Excellent then went off-stride and that allowed Looking Superb (David Thomain) a brief time on the lead, but as they finally reached the top of the stretch, Davidson Du Pont, parked the mile, was in the lead, but Goop moved down along the rail and passed them by with Face Time Bourbon for the victory in 1’11’50. Davidson Du Pont held for the second place with the mare, Belina Josselyn (Jean-Michel Bazire), last year’s Prix d’Amerique winner, finishing third. Bold Eagle was never in the hunt and finished 10th in the field of 18 starters. Ringostarr Treb, making his final start before going to the stud barn, make a break and finished last. Trained by Sebastien Guarato, Face Time Bourbon is owned by Scuderia Bivans SLR. It was his sixth straight win. He went off at odds of 4.9-1 odds. Before the Prix d’Amerique race, everyone at the track was treated to an unbelievable show on the racetrack celebrating American soldiers coming to help France in World War I. The crowds were so packed that is was impossible to try and get on the track apron to watch the show. Luckily for most, it was broadcast on all three jumbo screens in the infield. It was a presentation that left many speechless, amazed and proud to be part of this special day’s events. On the track were the following: 100 children dressed in driver colors with helmets 100 Horse costume parade and dance 100 Harley-Davidson motorcycles parade, each with an American Flag 100 cheerleaders in USA outfits carrying Prix d’Amerique and American Flags Introduction of the 18 drivers in the Prix d’Amerique race, each driver came through the throngs of crowds, holding the hand of a child dressed in USA colors. Drivers giving Hi-Fives to fans, posing for selfies and then were escorted off the track on two-seater Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Before the Prix d’Amerique race there was an outstanding performance of horsemanship by the French Royal Lancers. They performed precision riding with both lances and sabers while their special band played. There was also a very strong undercard at Vincennes with seven Graded Stakes. Total purses for the day was over 1.6 million euros. Major sponsors of this year’s Prix d’Amerique included Case IH Agriculture, Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, Lalique, RMC Sports Talk Radio, Gras Savoye, Lenotre Paris, FRM (Medicale), 20 Minutes and Printemps Nation. 100,000€ Prix Harley-Davidson This Groupe II stake was monte (racing under saddle) going 2700 meters (1.67 miles). It was a standing start and once the word go was given, jockey Mathie Mottier came charging from the far outside with Fame Music to take a commanding six length lead. As the field settled down, Flicka De Blary and jockey Camille Levesque went on the outside and had to settle for a pocket trip behind Fame Music as those two held a five-length lead over the field. Then as they came around the final turn, Fame Music went off-stride and was pulled to the inside of the track. That left Flicka De Blary and Levesque all alone in the lead and they held that lead through the stretch to win by six open lengths in 1”14’10. Flicka De Blary is a five-year-old mare by Sam Bourbon. She is trained by Thomas Levesque for the Levesque Stable. Flicka De Blary was the 2-1 favorite. 100,000€ Prix Case This Groupe II stake was another monte event but longer in distance at 2,850 meters (1.77 miles). The race belonged to Emir De Robomard and jockey Julien Raffestin who took the early lead away from Aribo Mix (Guillaume Martin) and then led the field nearly the entire race. As they charged down the stretch, Canan Prior and jockey Aurelien Desmarres kept gaining ground and collared Emir De Robomard at the wire to win by a half-length in 1’13’80. It was the 21st win for the eight-year-old son of Sancho Panca, who is owned and trained by Sylvain Desmarres. He went off at odds of 4-1. 100,000€ Prix RMC Sports Talk Another Grade II stake, only this race went behind the starting gate with 14 starters. Gotland (Eric Raffin) was first to leave the cut the mile until halfway through the race when Green Grass (Mathieu Mottier) came first-over, giving live cover to Gu D’Heripre (Franck Nivard). Then in a classic stretch drive to the wire, Gu D’Heripre was able to hold off a late charge by the race favorite, Gunilla D’Atout (Bjorn Goop), to win by a neck in 1’11’60. For Gu D’Heripre, a four-year-old son of Coktail Jet, it was a lifetime mark for trainer Philippe Billard and the D’Heripre Stable. He was the second choice in the race at odds of 4-1. TRACK NOTES: John Campbell, President and CEO of the Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Society has been in Paris this week for the big race and was overheard saying that plans are in the works for Bold Eagle to come back to America and race. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Harness racing

Skibbereen Road Trotting Report

West Cork, Ireland - Saunders Picasso made it four wins from as many starts when landing The Tim Cooper Kelleher Memorial Top Grade Pace at the annual Skibbereen Memorial Day on Sunday.   Rhyds Solution and Kestrels Dot Sammy set the early fractions to the opening turn.   At the inside turn the order remained the same with Saunders Picasso turning badly along with race favorite Ghengis Pride .As they headed to the final turn Saunders Picasso was still five lengths off the leaders.   Heading for home Rhyds Solution had three lengths to spare and Saunders Picasso now second began to close Passing the fish factory it was a battle royal with Saunders Picasso getting his nose in front in the final stride to win by a short head with Rhyds solution loosing nothing in defeat and Ghengis Pride running on to finish third.   This was Saunders Picasso first run in the top grade and will be a force to reckon with, It was a family affair as Mike Goggin Jnr owns the winner who is trained by his father Mike Snr and ridden by sister Deirdre.   Matthew O Reilly was leading jockey on the day with two wins.   Billycoan Colt, who changed ownership since Ballygurteen, but is still trained by Chris O Reilly and Coalford Bruce were market leaders but Matthew O Reilly on Billycoan Colt had always his rival in sight and ran on to a six length winning margin.   O Eeilly doubled up on Diplomatist who is owned by his father Tadhg. Captain Morgan set a scorching pace but again O Reilly reeled in the leader and had three lengths to spare at the finish.   The Grade C saw punters opinions differ between Lets Party and Dreamfair I Say and the bookmakers nearly got the "Result" with Rhyds Dilemma leading to the final 100 yards before Lets Party came with a late challenge to win by a length.   A stewards inquiry was called but the result stood.   Splash The Cash and The Red Rebel have had some great battles since the opening of the year and again served up another thriller with Splash The Cash coming out on top this time by a length.   Next on the calendar is Barnahulla on the 9th February and with different winners in the top grade for the past few meetings it promises to be a day not to be missed.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS Novice / Grade E Trot. 1st: Splash the Cash, J. Hurley 2nd: Red Rebel, J. O' Driscoll 3rd: Fire Fly Z, D. Goggin 4th: Hint of Mist, C. O' Driscoll. Grade C Trot. 1st: Lets Party, A. Mc Carthy 2nd: Rhyds Dilemma, T. Moloney 3rd: Dreamfair I'd Say, J. Hurley. N/R Camden Jimmy, M. Moloney. Grade D Trot. 1st: Billycoan Colt, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Coalford Bruce, T. Moloney 3rd: Lyons Super Nova, D. Goggin 4th: Newtown Amber, T. O' Leary. Grade E Trot. 1st: Diplomatist, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Captain Morgan, J. Hurley 3rd: Brywins One Off, D. Goggin 4th: Kentucky Finale, C. O' Driscoll Grade A / B Trot. 1st: Saunders Picasso, D. Goggin 2nd: Rhyds Solution, T. O' Leary 3rd: Ghengis Pride, C. O' Driscoll 4th: Kestreldotdsammy, J. O' Driscoll    

The Eden Valley Harness Racing Association

Association was odds-on to raise cash for charities

Supporters of a charity harness racing day were odds-on to raise cash for good causes. The Eden Valley Harness Racing Association staged the charity meeting at Wolsingham, with funds raised split equally between the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) and the Teesdale fundraising group of Marie Curie. Representatives from the two organisations picked up cheques for £500 each from the racing association. Les Coward, treasurer of the harness racing association said: “We have run this meeting for about four year. “Each time, we have given a donation to the air ambulance as we have needed them on two or three occasions. “We have also given to cancer charities. My family and those of other members of the committee have been affected by cancer,” he added. Liz Beadle, secretary of the Teesdale fundraising group of Marie Curie, said the £500 donation would provide 25 hours of nursing. Marie Curie's Barnard Castle shop manager Julie Deehan explained that all money raised in the dale goes to the regional office in Newcastle to be support the charity's efforts in the north east. Reprinted with permission of The Teesdale Mercury

Harness racing

Blue Top Gun takes top honors at Ballygurteen

Blue Top Gun, who changed ownership and trainer since Durrus on New Years Day, took the top grade pace at Ballygurteen Road Trotting Races on Sunday.   Rhyds Solution set the early fractions with Blue Top Gun in company.The order remained to the first and second turns where market leader Ghengis Pride took a bad turn and lost ground. At the final turn Rhyds Solution and Blue Top Gun were locked in battle .   On the run to the finish it was all to play for but Jamie Hurley on Blue Top Gun got the upper hand and won by a length. There was pandemonium in the winners circle as joint owner Ger Cooke was carried shoulder high by the partisan local supporters who flooded in for the presentation .   "Myself and Ger Cooke bought him after Durrus and we changed tactics by using him earlier in the race and it worked a treat. We celebrate tonight and look forward to Skibbereen in two weeks time"said winning jockey and joint owner Jamie Hurley.   Deirdre Goggin was leading jockey on the day after riding a brace of winners.   Newtown Amber upset the odds in the Novice & Grade E Pace upstaging hotpot Captain Morgan by three lengths.   Goggin completed her double in the Grade C & D Pace on Saunders Picasso who had a facile victory making it three wins from as many starts leading home Lets Party by five lengths.   Billycoan Colt was another to have things his own way in the Grade D Pace .Garths Sharegar put it up to his more fancied rival but Matthew O Reilly always had the leader in his sights and took up the running after the last turn and eased down to an eight length win.The winner is owned by Dublin based Ned Stafford and trained locally by Chris O Reilly.   There was drama aplenty in the Grade E Pace. Coalford Bruce was away to a quick start and joint favorite Diplomatist went off stride in the early stages .Coalford Bruse led at both turns .Turning for home he remained clear but Diplomatist began to close and actually led with 200 meters to go but again lost stride and lost ground allowing Coalford Bruce to win by a length.   Next on the calendar is The Big Skibbereen Memorial Raceday on Sunday 26th January and already race goers are eagerly awaiting the top grade pace where Saunders Picasso will join the big boys in The Tim Cooper Kelleher Memorial Top Grade Pace.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS Race 1: Novice / Grade E Trot. 1st: Newtown Amber, D. Goggin 2nd: Captain Morgan, M. O' Reilly 3rd: Cool Direct, T. Moloney 4th: Hint of Mist, C. O' Driscoll DIST 3L 6L Race 2: Grade E Trot. 1st: Coalford Bruce, T. Moloney 2nd: Diplomatist, M. O' Reilly 3rd: Splash the Cash, J. Hurley 4th: The Red Rebel, J. O' Driscoll DIST 1L 4L Race 3: Grade D Trot. 1st: Billycoan Colt, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Garths Sharegar, T. Moloney 3rd: Lyons Super Nova, D. Goggin DIST 8L 8L Race 4: Grade C Trot. 1st: Saunders Picasso, D. Goggin 2nd: Lets Party, A. Mc Carthy 3rd: Rhyds Dilemma, T. Moloney DIST 5L 10L Race 5: Grade A / B Trot. 1st: Blue Top Gun, J. Hurley 2nd: Rhyds Solution, T. O' Leary 3rd: Ghenghis Pride, C. O' Driscoll 4th: Kestrel Dot Sammy, J. O' Driscoll. DIST 1L 6L

When writing on any sector in the equine industry - it's a positive sign when the sport in question threw up so many feel good moments and exciting events that the problem is condensing the news into the allotted space. 2019 saw world class harness racing performances on the track and major progress at organisational level in Irish harness racing. Despite huge efforts by the IHRA to entice horsemen to race early in the season the local scene got off to a stuttering start. The April columns in this paper were buoyed by good news from America where Reclamation, still part owned by Donal Murphy (the main owner being Bill Donovan ) and Robyn Camden, owned by Dubliner Jason O'Sullivan, both ran up winning sequences. The latter mare continued her winning ways into ' the fall '. Another feature of 2019 was healthy progress in the career of Jack Killeen of Tallaght as a driver in the USA and Ballydehob born Robbie Cleary, who is building a big reputation as a public trainer in New Jersey. Robbie featured in an October report wherein he signed for the top priced pacing yearling at the Harrisburg sales. Back at home, both Billy Roche and John Richardson took headlines in the pre - Delaney meetings and the two great rivals traded blows all summer. Richardson was to take both the national and Portmarnock drivers titles - a late surge ( a four timer in fact ) at the deciding meeting secured The Irish Field silver salver and a generous cheque. Billy won a separate title for driving the most Trotteurs Francais winners. He has no peers when it comes to freshening up old battle hardened geldings. May saw a feast of nostalgia as the followers celebrated 50 years at Portmarnock. Jack Wilson (86) who won the final at the opening meeting is still alive and well and was guest of honour at a dinner at the track. There was much mention of the visionary Hughie Richardson who teamed up with thoroughbred breeder WJ Mc Enery to open a 400 yard track. The 18th May meeting was full of memories of man and beast : Paddy Kane, Paddy Manning , Walter Cunningham, Ulex, Eastwood Relko and Smoke Away. The summer highlights came and went - racing at ' heaven on earth ' (Inchydoney Strand ), followed a few weeks later by the superbly organised Red John Memorial near Clonakilty. The world renowned Vincent Delaney meeting was graced by a skilful American driver, one Jordan Stratton, and saw a home victory in the fillies (Rainbow Writer) and a British based winner in the colts (Mattuceuous). In September John Richardson and Jonny Cowden brought the house down at Tir Prince, North Wales. Jonny won a graded race with the Coreys' Fairdays Western. JR took Britain's biggest race for French Trotters with Maxie Collins' Besame Mucho and followed up with their biggest race for pacers ' The Crock of Gold ' on his own Gentleman Jim. The Coleraine yard of Walter Stewart hit winning form in the autumn. Porterstown Courage won the Red Mills All Ireland Final and Ladyford Dollar picked up major races for three year olds in Ireland and one across the water. Sean Kane, second on four occasions previously in France shook off his jinx on November 16th when he drove the unfancied Delsa Derangere to win during the France vs. Ireland competition at l' Hippodrome d'Argentan in Normandy. Sean has only 3,999 to go to catch up with Charlie Mills, the Irishman, who dominated European trotting on the post - war years. Late in the season Bobby Barry's Blackwell Ruby, lightly raced in these islands won her first start in the USA. BEST MOMENTS IN 2019 ; To see Jack Wilson sitting alongside John Richardson in a two seater training cart behind Emeric Perreux summed up a lifetime of racegoing for me. Jack actually owned Windys Son, John's first drive in a race in 1981. Windys Son failed to win a race. The driver went on to win 1300 and counting. A few weeks later Jack presented a cup to Stevie Lees who won the Bookmakers Pace with Panam Colt, a catch drive for Billy Roche. The hardened pro, with the scars to prove it and Corinthian Jack, a baker by trade. I was within earshot, and was impressed that little Stevie took so much interest in Jack. PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR : The performance of the year was on Irish soil from a pair of gifted English hands. Stevie Lees' inspired move when he sensed a lull in the pace at the half in the Bookmakers Pace ( Lees was on the aforementioned Panam Colt ). That stuff cannot be taught - you either have it or you don't. The aptly named Miraculous put up the equine performance of the year in breaking the track record in August. The time of 1.54.6 is stunning when we consider that most of the Irish and British horses which have tried their hand in the US have 'found ' six or seven seconds due to climate and tracks. I refuse to say training methods as I would back the best of the Irish and English trainers against all comers. ONE THING WE GOT RIGHT IN 2019 : The introduction of the Tiny Hooves Series of pony racing has been an unqualified success. The joy on the children's faces and also their adult co -drivers was sight to behold. Well done to Nadina, Mary and Leah and any other helpers. Plans and some welcome funding from Horse Sport Ireland are afoot to improve the racing and most importantly the training of the young drivers. ONE THING WE NEED TO IMPROVE : I am mindful that the racing is run by unpaid volunteers, therefore I am loath to criticise any aspect of the sport. I must also confess a vested interest as a working bookie at the track. There is simply too much confusion in communicating driver changes and handicap marks over the PA system. I have lost count of the number of horses which went behind the car with a driver in the bike different to the card and/or the announcement. Scottish and Welsh harness racing and also point to points are also run by volunteers and in my experience have an almost 100% accuracy in this aspect. If we wish to sell the product to betting chains this has to be ' regimental ' AN UNSUNG HERO : Ivan Swindle of Fermanagh has done sterling work in building a glass fronted bar and canteen at Annaghmore Raceway. Hopefully the little facility will be open in 2020. Another of our unsung heroes, a giant in the sport, is currently on a sabbatical from fence painting, track grading, battery charging, and number cloth repairing. I appeal to this individual to come back to the fold, the racing is poorer without your input. Come back, and then we can sing about you ! PREDICTION FOR 2020 - 2019 will be a hard act to follow. My gut feeling is that with so much knowledge and effort amongst Irish horsemen that something is going to break ( not that type of break ! ) that puts Ireland on a world stage. It could be a horse ( Blackwell Ruby, Reclamation or Gentleman Jim ) or a horseman ( Sean Kane, Alan Richardson or Robbie Cleary ) or a major race in Ireland. I put in my letter to Santa that it would be great if a US based trainer would buy a colt or filly (he / she wouldn't need to be a sales topper ) for the VDM and then get the horse ready for the big race in North America before flying the animal here for the big weekend. The venture won't break even but what a story that would make ! by Dan Carlin, for the Irish Field    

WEST CORK, IE - Road trotting holds a special place in the hearts of people in West Cork, Ireland and at Durrus on New Years day the harness racing crowds flocked to this tiny hamlet on the Sheeps Head Peninsula.   Those that attended were treated to some fantastic racing and it was jockey Matthew O'Reilly who stole the headlines riding thrtee winners on the day.   As it was last day out in Drimoleague, O'Reilly kicked off his treble aboard Captain Morgan in the Novice Pace. This well bred type was away in front early doors and had too much in hand for Fire Fly Z who again had the bridesmaid tag as there was six lengths the winning margin.   The meeting of The Red Rebel and last weeks winner Splash The Cash was well touted as a match race .Kentucky Finale, who was friendless in the market almost caused a huge upse,t but Matthew O'Reilly was not to not to be denied sending The Red Rebel to the front in the final eighth of a mile and ran out a three length winner.   O'Reilly completed his treble in the second division of the Grade E.    Punters waged into Coalford Bruce and the smart money seemed to be well invested as Coalford Bruce led early and was three lengths in front at the turning point, but as in previous races Matthew O'Reilly played it cool on Diplomatist and got up on the line to collar Coalford Bruce by a short head. Matthew O Reilly may have stole the headlines but the lady jockeys wer not to be out done .   Firstly Deirdre Goggin followed up on her win in Drimoleague aboard Sunders Picasso to land another win in the Grade C & D.   Billycoan Colt tried to make all and looked a winner but Goggin produced the victory in the final 150 yards and was a 2 length winner.   Chelsie O'Driscoll, another of the female brigade, is as good as any one and was seen to her brilliant best in the top Grade Pace on Ghengis Pride. Rhyds Solution and Im Impartial set out the running but at the final turn in a true run rave Kestrels Dot Sammy and Ghengis Pride had overtaken the front running pair.   As like in Drimoleague the pair slugged it out for the last half mile with Ghengis Pride prevailing again.   Great credit is due to the local committee for staging the event which was well planned and this scribe met visitors from the UK, Florida, West Virginia, San Diego, Nova Scotia, Canada, Sweden, Germany and Thailand.   Many were amazed by this unique sport and were also taken aback by the welcome they got in Durrus. Next on the Winter season is in Ballingurteen on Sunday 12th Jan.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS Race 1: Grade Novice / E Trot. 1st: Captain Morgan, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Fire Fly Z, D. Goggin 3rd: Cool Direct, T. Moloney 4th: Hint of Mist, C. O' Driscoll. Race 2: Grade E Trot Division 1. 1st: The Red Rebel, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Kentucky Finale, C. O' Driscoll 3rd: Splash The Cash, J. Hurley Race 3: Grade E Trot Division 2. 1st: Diplomatist, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Coalford Bruce, T. Moloney 3rd: Lyons Super Nova, D. Goggin 4th: Newtown Amber, M. Moloney Race 4: Grade C / D Trot. 1st: Saunders Picasso, D. Goggin 2nd: Billycoan Colt, M. O' Reilly 3rd: Lets Party, A. Mc Carthy 4th: Garths Sharegar, T. Moloney Race 5: Grade A / B Trot. 1st: Ghenghis Pride, C. O' Driscoll 2nd: Kestrelsdotsammy, J. O' Driscoll 3rd: Blue Top Gun, T. O' Leary 4th: Rhyds Solution, J. Hurley.        

West Cork, IE - The 2020 Winter Road Racing season had its traditional start on St Stephens Day in Drimoleague and despite terrible weather conditions there was a good Bank Holiday crowd in attendance.   It was a special day for the Drimoleague committee as they were celebrating their 150th anniversary with harness racing records dating back to 1870 of road racing at the venue.   Jockey Matthew O'Reilly took the riding honours riding two winners on the day.   In the opening Novice Pace O'Reilly sent the well bred Captain Morgan to the front of this one mile event and was never in any danger coming home a distance clear of newcomer Fire Fly Z.   His brace of winners was completed by Billycoan Colt in the second division of the Grade E Pace. Coalford Bruce set the early fractions and led to the first turn but was not as fluent at the turn allowing Billycoan Colt to take over and he won by six lengths. The winner is trained by Chris O'Reilly for Dublin owner Ned Stafford.   The top grade A & B Pace attracted only four runners but produced plenty of drama .The quartet set a snails pace to through the first mile .Going to the final turn all four were still in contention with Blue Top Gun and Im Impartial Too vying for leadership.   At the final turning point Kestrels Dot Sammy was best off the sand and opened up a five length advantage heading for home. With 200 yards to go he still was four lengths to the good but Ghenghis Pride was closing and he wore down his rival to win by a length much to the delight of the passionate home crowd .The winner was ridden by Chelsie O'Driscoll.   Deirdre Goggin one of our best female jockeys was seen at her best aboard Saunders Picasso when landing the Grade C & D Pace. The pair had success in 2019 and the winning run continued as they were never headed in an eight length winning run.   Jamie Hurley also got on he score sheet in the opening division of the Grade E Pace. The Red Rebel was in control early but Hurley was oozing in confidence aboard Splash the Cash taking up the running with two furlongs to race and ran out to a five length victory.   The action moves to Durrus on New Years Day Jan 1st 2020 for their annual fixture.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS   Race 1: Novice Pace 1st: Captain Morgan, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Fire Fly Z, D. Goggin 3rd: Hint Of Mist, C. O' Driscoll Race 2: Grade E Pace Division 1 1st: Splash The Cash, J. Hurley 2nd: The Red Rebel, M. O' Reilly 3rd: Lyons Super Nova, D. Goggin 4th: Kentucky Finale, C. O' Driscoll Race 3: Grade E Pace Division 2 1st: Billycoan Colt, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Newtown Amber, M. Moloney 3rd: Coalford Bruce, C. O' Driscoll N/R Lakeview Panam, J. Hurley Race 4: Grade C/D Pace 1st: Saunders Picasso, D. Goggin 2nd: Diplomatist, M. O' Reilly 3rd: Garths Sharegar, T. Moloney 4th: DreamFair I'd Say, J. Hurley Race 5: Grade A/B Pace 1st: Ghenghis Pride, C. O' Driscoll 2nd: Kestrels Dot Sammy, J. O' Driscoll 3rd: I'm Impartial Too, J. Hurley 4th: Blue Top Gun, T. O' Leary  

The staff and management at Harnesslink wishes everyone a very merry Christmas, happy holidays and a safe and healthy new year! 

Auckland, NZ - John Curtin, founder and CEO of Harnesslink has announced that a team of harness racing journalists from North America and Europe will be in Paris, France the last week of January, 2020, to provide coverage of the prestigious Prix d’Amerique trotting classic.  With a purse of 900,000€ ($1 million US), the Prix d’Amerique is one of the richest Standardbred races in the world and is held annually at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. The race was first held in 1920 and it was developed as a tribute to America for its aid to France in World War I. Heading the Harnesslink team going to Paris is harness racing Hall of Fame Communicator, Steve Wolf. Wolf, who resides in Florida, has been Harnesslink’s Director of Operations for the past seven years and prior was the head of racing operations and publicity at Pompano Park and head of publicity at Freehold Raceway. “I have been fortunate in my career to have covered all the major harness races held in North America and also the Elitloppet in Sweden,” Wolf said. “But I have never covered the Prix d’Amerique in person and I think this will be one of the greatest weeks of my life. We have a top team assembled and promise to provide race fans around the world with full coverage of the events leading to and on Prix d’Amerique race day, January 26.” Providing the Social Media coverage will be the world-renowned Heather Vitale from Delaware.  Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, tweeting or any other social media platform, when you look up harness racing, there is Heather Vitale. Vitale will be covering the Prix d’Amerique for the first time and is over the top excited to be going to Paris. “When Steve Wolf called and asked if I would come to France and cover the Prix d’Amerique,” Vitale exclaimed. “I was in total shock. Then I asked him what the dates were and when he told me (and there were no conflicts), I said Yeah Baby, I’m going to Paris! “I have covered harness racing around the world,” Vitale said. “But this is Paris, the superb food, flowing champagne, the night life, the museums, the shopping….oh yes, and the great harness racing too. This won’t be work for me.” Plans call for trips to the world-renowned training center, Grosbois, just outside of Paris, where most of the horses racing in the Prix d’Amerique will be headquartered. Grosbois is also the home of the Trotting Museum in France. Coverage will also include Thursday and Friday evening at the Grand Prix Horse Auction and also, on Friday, the Standardbred Expo featuring trotting professionals, stud farms, equipment suppliers, associations and foreign trotting federations. Taking photographs for Team Harnesslink will be Scotland’s Sarah Thomas. Thomas, a consummate horsewoman, who first started out as a reporter for Harnesslink, will be covering all the events of the big weekend with her camera and video. This past year she won the World Trotting Conference Media Award for best Film/Video. “I have been to Vincennes twice,” Thomas said. “But never in a working capacity nor for the Prix d’Amerique. This will be very exciting and knowing both Steve Wolf and Heather Vitale, it will be a pleasure to be able to work with them again.” The final member of the Harnesslink Team lives right in Paris and is none other than renowned trainer Anders Lindqvist. The Swedish-born, French trainer has his stable at Grosbois Training Center. Linquest speaks fluent English, French and Swedish and will assist the Harnesslink Team with any translations needed as Wolf, Vitale and Thomas do not speak a word of French. “I first met Steve Wolf via Facebook and then at the Elitloppet in Sweden years ago and we became instant friends,” said Lindqvist. “I look forward to helping these young professionals to bring the Prix d’Amerique race coverage world-wide from France.” “The Prix d’Amerique is so prestigious,” Said Harnesslink’s John Curtin. “it really has no equal in the harness racing world and deserves the best coverage possible. Not only does the race draw over 40,000 race fans, but they wager on average, 31 million euros ($34.5 million US) on the afternoon program. Plus, there is all the pageantry and parades before the start of the race card. It really is a premier event with week-long activities.” Updates for the Team Harnesslink Prix d’Amerique 2020 coverage will be forthcoming. From Harnesslink Media

Silvano Bello, who was crowned best Trotteur Francais horse in Ireland for 2019, was honored at the awards ceremony organised by International Department of Le Trot in Mons Belgium.    He has been a dream horse since he set foot in Ireland for the Murphy family from Inishbeg Baltimore back in the winter of 2016. In his first year after being imported under the Le Trot  program from France, he gave Dexter Dunn, the world renowned New Zealand born harness racing driver, the thrill of breaking the track record on International VDM day in Portmarnock Raceway More success came in 2018 when this imposing chestnut trotter won The Maven Trot (The most valuable event for trotters in Ireland & The UK) at the hugely prestigious Red John Memorial Festival in Lyre. This past season his highlights as well as winning 8 times both on grass and hard tracks was claiming The Paddy Connolly Memorial Handicap at the Ballabuidhe Festival in Dunmanway in August This past season was his fifth season racing in West Cork and has racked up over 30 wins and over €30,000 in purse money. The veteran trotter turns 14 in January but Donal & Tadgh Murphy owners plan to race him in 2020. "Look he may be getting on in years," Donal Murphy said, "but he's healthy and fit and enjoying life so we will race him next summer. "Eoin (Tadgh & Christine son) jogs him all the time at home will drive him next year. He's as safe and sure footed as you can get and will give Eoin plenty experience and fun" said Donal who has been at the centre of Silvanos success over the years. "I suppose Silvano has become the family pet at home," added Tadgh. So success comes on the International stage for Harness Racing in West Cork and just around the corner on St Stephens Day in Drimoleague, the Winter Road Racing season kicks off . by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink  

It's hard to believe but today (down under, tomorrow in North America) harness racing's www.harnesslink.com celebrates its 17th birthday.  Harnesslink is the brainchild of international horse agent, John Curtin (J.C. International), who 17 years ago saw a need for a world-wide harness racing website that put online the latest harness racing news from around the globe. John says, "Our policy is to keep improving every single day - 365 days of the year. We have staff working every day of the year to bring you all the latest harness racing news from every corner of the world. When Harnesslink launched in 2002 there were only four harness racing websites on the internet, so we've been in a unique position to have watched the harness racing community embrace the technological world during this time. It has been our pleasure to keep harness racing fans around the world informed of what is happening within our sport. We are projected to have over 3 million unique IP users in 2019, which will make Harnesslink the world’s most read harness racing site. "We will also have some blockbuster improvements to our website shortly," Curtin added.  We are still looking for ways to improve and provide you, our customers, with better coverage throughout the world, we continously strive to do this! We currently have more than 170,000 photos in our library and over 250,000 articles. If any of our readers have a worthy news item, please feel free to send it to news@harnesslink.com and we will do our best, as always, to print your article. We'd like to thank all of you for coming back regularly to read Harnesslink, if you're reading this you're obviously one of our faithful followers and we thank you. From the staff at Harnesslink

Pembrokeshire horsewoman Louisa Barton, a successful Standardbred driver on the Wales and Borders circuit, is one of British Harness Racing’s busiest mums. She combines training a small team with driving at race meetings, motherhood and a full-time job. “Basically, I get up early, train Ayr Ontario and then get my two boys ready for school and myself ready for work. I then take the boys to school and go straight on to work,” Louisa said. “It’s busy and it takes a bit of juggling. Then we’ve got the after-school clubs and plenty to do with the boys as well.” Despite the gruelling schedule, Louisa wouldn’t have it any other way! “I do enjoy working with the horses. It’s always nice to see them getting fit and it’s exhilarating driving them too,” she said. Married to Rob Barton, also a harness racing driver, the couple have two boys – Ben, 9, and Tommy, 6. A qualified nurse, Louisa is a pre-assessment nurse at Withybush General Hospital, Haverfordwest. Louisa was born and bred into harness racing. Her mother Sandra Weigel and husband Horst have been involved in the Wales and Border Counties Racing Association as both participants and officials for more than 30 years. They prepare a successful team together on a 34 acre property at Llanddewi Velfrey with Horst having been a trainer-driver and Sandra a trainer in both racing codes – gallopers and pacers. Sandra has been a director of STAGBI (Standardbred and Trotting Horse Association of Great Britain) since 2015, a committee member of the Wales and Border Counties Racing Association for 10 years including three years as chairman and is a member of the WBCRA handicapping panel. Louisa has been in the gig in many of her family’s raceday successes. She started helping out with the horses when she was a 15-year-old. “I started out exercising the horses and riding them along the road, then we headed over to the races and basically I started riding in the saddle and doing cart racing in the juniors when I was 15,” Louisa said. Louisa landed her first winner in the juniors as a 16-year-old with Creative Jack at Brecon in mid-Wales. “It was my first drive in a race and my first win as well. It was a joint win with another girl. He (Creative Jack) basically just took a hold and I just had to sit there and make sure he got around really,” she stated. “My biggest win so far was in the Grade A at Caersws on a mare called Bon Bethan. She’s the best one we’ve ever had and the best one I’ve driven. In one year she won 16 races and I drove her in all of them. She was named Horse of the Year. “She was bought as a yearling at the Builth Wells sales in 2000 and we’ve still got her now as a broodmare.” In all, Bon Bethan won 73 races and Louisa was at the helm in 50 of them. Makemeamillionaire (37 wins), Ayr Ontario (34), No Mercy (18), Family Circle (trained by her husband Rob) and Creative Jack have been other good performers she partnered down through the years. A three-time winner of the Wales and Border Counties lady driver’s premiership, Louisa estimates she has driven around 200 winners to date. “Obviously winning is good and when you do get the win it makes it all worthwhile,” she said. “It’s also nice that even if they don’t win they run well.” By Peter Wharton, for Harnesslink        

West Cork, IE - The picturesque Cornfield Oval in Manch was the setting for the second "Premium Meeting" of the year in West Cork and organizers were blessed with fantastic weather and the harness racing was of the highest quality.   The feature was The Red Mills Cornfield Oval Handicap. Four elimination heats (raced over 1 1/4 miles) sent two from each into the final. The scene was set in the opening heat for a day of thrills and spills.   A Kind Of Magic was sent to post a favorite and led his five rivals away from the start. With four furlongs to pace he was joined by IB A Magician and the pair battled it out to the line with IB Magician prevailing by two lengths.   There was another titantic battle in heat two. Armoured Bear drew pole position and led No Big deal for the opening 6 furlongs. Then Earnies Umpire joined the pair and we were set for another dramatic finish.   Armoured Bear with 76-year-old John Boyle in the bike looked to have done enough but Jamie Hurley got Earnies Umpire up in the final strides to win by half a length. The winner was a recent purchase for new owners James Hurley and Pat Carberry.   Hail Spartacus was all the rage in the third heat but Fairdays Bret came with a wet sail to deny stable companion Rhyds Dilemma by two lengths.   Rhyds Destiny the recent Grand Prix winner was the punters pick in the final heat and the veteran came off a twenty yard handicap to lead home King wills Arrival by two lengths.   So, on to the final and again A Kind Of Magic set a seering pace followed by IB A Magican. The pair were three lengths clear entering the final circuit and all the while the field were closing in in the final eighth of a mile   IB A Magician got the upper hand and ran out a four length winner from King Wills, who stayed on late to finish second with Fairdays Bret a half a length back in third .   There were jubilant scenes in the presentation area as winning owner/driver Wayne Mc Nevin from Lucan Co Dublin was carried shoulder high by his supporters.   "I only bought the horse in early August and he's won at Annaghmore and twice today. I'm thrilled and its great coming to Cork and winning at a fantastic meeting. Fair play to the organizers." McNevin said at the post race press briefing.   There was further glory for the final winner as Benny Camden who Mc Nevin also owns and is trained in West Cork took out the fifth heat of the All Ireland Pace series.   Fairdays western led the four horse field until the final lap. Then Benny Camden hit the front and was followed by Sarahs Gift .Again we witnessed another epic battle with Benny Camden just coming out on top by 3/4 length.   "He won the low Grade Final at The Red John Meeting in Lyre and has improved in leaps and bounds .i dont think we have seen the best of him just yet" were the words of winning driver Donal Murphy and he takes his place in the series final in Portmarnock in late September.   The All Ireland Trot series also had its final heat today .Brooklyn Trixie led Vigo De Bassiere early with Aubade a Helene in third .This remained the order on the final lap Aubade A Helene threw down her challenge and when "Vigo" went off stride her task was made easier but general consensus was she would have won either way.   Oisin Quill drove two winners on the day both on trotters .Firstly Ariane Des Tithais looked in danger with a lap to go but out sprinted Empereur Souverain to win by eight lengths.   The double was completed in the very next race when Vallanzanna won a race which had so may leaders had the crowd almost asking what had won .   Another novice driver Jamie Hurley also drove two winners. IB A Warrior despite been drawn number eight made light work of his seven rivals winning by 11 lengths was the second winner for Hurley who won earlier on Earnies Umpire.   Dynamite Brouets since joining the Co Meath based Moorside Stables has sen a rejuvenated career and took to the Oval well and waas five lengths clear of Destin De Larre at the finish.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS ALL RACES RUN OVER 1 1/4 Miles UNLESS STATED   RACE ONE Heat One 1,IB A MAGICIAN W McNevin 2.A KIND OF MAGIC A Wallace 3.BEAT THE CLOCK J Richardson DIST 2L 16L TIME 2.41.9   RACE TWO Heat Two 1. EARNIES UMPIRE J Hurley 2.ARMOURED BEAR J Boyle 3.NO BIG DEAL S Kane DIST 1/2L 5L TIME 2.45.1   RACE THREE Heat Three 1.FAIRDAYS BRET A McCarthy 2.RHYDS DILEMMA C O Driscoll 3.HAIL SPARTACUS O Quill DIST 2L 5L TIME 2.42.8   RACE FOUR Heat Four 1. RHYDS DESTINY T O Leary 2.KING WILLS ARRIVAL O Quill 3.SUPREME SUNSHINE J Boyle DIST 2L 3L TIME 2.42.8   RACE FIVE 1.IB A WARRIOR J Hurley 2.MOORSIDE MYRA S Kane 3.MOORSIDE JOSEPH J O Mahony DIST 11L 2L TIME 2.47.3   RACE SIX 1 1/2 Miles 1.DYNAMITE BROUETS S Kane 2.DESTIN DE LARRE F Quill Jnr 3.BELLA DESPANA L Kelleher DIST 2L 2L TIME 3.27.4   RACE SEVEN 1 1/2 Miles 1.ARIANE DES TITHAIS O Quill 2.EMPEREUR SOUVERAIN D O Reilly 3.ANTINGO D Murphy DIST 8L 3/4L TIME 3.23.3   RACE EIGHT 1 1/2 Miles 1.VALLANZANA O Quill 2.BRUTENOR P Hill 3.BATMAN DU RELAIS A Wallace DIST 1 1/2L NK TIME 3.25.8   RACE NINE All Ireland Pace Series 1.BENNY CAMDEN D Murphy 2.SARAHS GIFT J Cowden 3.FAIRDAYS WESTERN A Walace DIST 3/4L 12L TIME 2.44.1   RACE TEN All Ireland Trot Series 1 1/2 Miles 1. AUBADE A HELENE P Hill 2. BROOKLYN TRIXIE S Kane 3. VIGO DE BASSIERE D Murphy DIST 3 1/2L 1L TIME 3.22.1   RACE ELEVEN The Red Mills Cornfield Oval Handicap Final 1.IB A MAGICIAN W McNevin 2.KING WILLS ARRIVAL O Quill 3.FAIRDAYS BRET A McCarthy DIST 4L 1/2L TIME: 2:44.1  

West Cork, IE - Rhyds Destiny and driver Timmy O'Leary were worthy winners of the 2019 Murphys/Hurley & White Grand Prix at a wet Ballabuidhe on bank holiday Monday.   Four elimination heats were held with two qualifiers from each heat.   In the opening heat Gamblers Gold a winner on his previous two starts tried to make all the running but was collared on the run in by IB A Magician.   In the second heat Just a promise led for most of the testing trip but Fairdays Bret made a race winning move with two furlongs to go and ran out an easy winner.   The third heat was settled in the stewards room .Hail Spartacus passed the post first but was found to have interfered with the runner up Coalford Bruce and the placings were reversed.   In the concluding heat Rhyds Destiny was all the rage in the betting and never gave his supporters any anxious moments and ran out to a four length winning marginIn the final punters again latched on to Rhyds Destiny despite a thirty yard handicap.   Fairdays Bret and Coalford Bruce were the pace setters on a track that was now running very heavy. Rhyds Destiny was slowly bringing down the handicap and Timmy O Leary made his move with four furlongs to pace and was not for catching winning by four lengths from IB A Magician with King Wills Arrival third .   The winner is owned by John Shanahan and UK dairy farmer John Mycock from Derby.   Shanahan and driver O'Leary had four winners on the day with American Rebel joining Rhyds Destiny heat and final and Coalford Bruce another heat winner in the winners circle.   O'Leary completed a five timer of wins when landing the maiden aboard Moorside Myra who has shown promise and got her day in the Sun today.   The other feature was The Paddy Connolly Memorial for trotters and here it was Silvano Bello and Donal Murphy who made all the running to win from Batman Du Relais with Vallanzanna back in third. Silvano Bello a former winner of The Maven Trot added another notch to his impressive CV.   In the consolation final for pacers John Boyle at 76 years of age steered home his own mare Supreme Sunshine to beat recent Red John Memorial winner Rhyds Panache while in the tro consolation Banialouka who hated the going on Sunday made amends when winning easy from Brutenor and Tarnao Josselyn.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS   Grand Prix final 1.Rhyds Destiny T O'Leary 2.IB A Magician D Murphy 3.King Wills Arrival O Quill DIST 4L 1L 7 Ran   Grand Prix Heat winners IB A Magician D Murphy Fairdays Bret A McCarthy Coalford Bruce T O'Leary RhydsDestiny T O'Leary   Paddy Connolly Memorial Final 1.Silvano Bello D Murphy 2.Batman Du Relais S Quill 3.Vallanzanna O Quill DIST 3L 1L 5 Ran   Consolation Grand Prix 1.Supreme Sunshine J Boyle 2.Rhyds Panache C O'Reilly 3.Sunnyside Kildare D Murphy DIST 2L 2L 4 Ran   Consolation Trot 1.Banialouka K Sheehy 2.Brutenor P Hill 3.Tarnao Josselyn S Quill DIST 4L 2L 7 Ran   Maiden Pace 1.Moorside Myra T O'Leary 2.Talented Girl S Jennings Jnr 3.The Red Rebel M Goggin Snr DIST 3L 2L 6 ran   Grade G1 Pace 1.American Rebel T O'Leary 2.Moorside Captain J O Mahony 3.Brywins One Off M Goggin Snr DIST 12L 12L 4 ran  

West Cork, IE - Following an early morning inspection, racing just about went ahead at the annual Ballabuidhe Festival.   Three elimination heats heats of The Paddy Connolly Memorial for Trotters saw two qualify for the Bank Holiday Monday Final.   In the opening heat Silvano Bello and Donal Murphy were all the rage in the betting market and this pair toyed with their rivals and despite being challenged by Ariane Des Tithais for most of the mile and a half ran out for an easy 2 length victory.   The second heat was rather a messy affair and after early mistakes it was Batman Du Relais who led home Antingo with Brutemor a remote third .The winner is owned and trained by Finbarr Quill.   In the final heat Banialouka a winner on her previous two starts was the punters choice but the ever consistent Vallanzana was not for catching giving owner Finbarr Quill his second win of the day and driver Seanus Quill a driving double .Amende De Cosse capturing the second qualifying spot .   The weather took a turn for the worse after this heat and promoters cancelled the remainder of the card.   The plan is to start at 1 Pm on Monday with the four elimination heats of the Grand Prix followed by two graded paces and then the Connolly Memorial Final and consolation Final followed by the Grand Prix Consolation and finishing off with the Grand Prix Final   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS   Paddy Connolly Memorial Heat One 1.SILVANO BELLO D Murphy 2.ARIANE DES TITHAIS F Quiil Jnr 3.BELLA DESPANA L Kelleher DIST 2L 1 1/2L 6 Ran   Heat Two 1.BATNAN DU RELAIS S Quill 2.ANTINGO D Murphy 3.BRUTENOR P Hill DIST 3L 12L 4 Ran   Heat Three 1.VALLANZANA S Quill 2.AMENDE DE COSSE E Kane 3.BANIALOUKA K Sheehy DIST 1/2L 1L 5 Ran   Rain caused cancelation of the remaining race card

« Article Archive
USA
Canada
Australia
New Zealand
Europe
Loader
Loader
Loader
Loader
Loader

Additional Articles