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Jamie Hurley, harness racing

West Cork award winners banquet Saturday, Nov. 18

WEST CORK, IE - The Drimoleague Inn will play host to the annual trotting & harness racing awards night on Saturday night November 18th at 9 PM. Every year presentations are made to honor both human and equine stars of the sport which has two distinct codes in one year. From St Stephens Day to Easter Sunday saddle racing of pacers and trotters takes place on roads in the West Cork region . Mid May signals the start of the turf racing with Inchadoney beach the opening venue for the Summer season . This year the road racing season was cut short due to weather conditions and scarcity of entries with six meetings going ahead . Drimoleague on St Stephens Day hosted the opening meeting and with mild weather the crowds flocked to this famous venue. Tradition says that Durrus on New Years Day is next on the fixture list and again mild weather ensured a bumper Bank Holiday crowd. Ballygurteen was followed by the big Memorial Day in Skibbereen with Dunmanway and finally Goleen ending the season on a high note . Deirdre Goggin again won leading female jockey and her partnership with Saunders Paris was a match made in heaven and Saunders Paris was Road Horse of the Year. Jamie Hurley took the overall jockey of the year with his father James getting the leading trainer award . Inchadoney beach saw a well run meeting setting the standard for a successful year of turf racing. Honoring deceased members of harness racing is a very important part of the sport . The George Deane and Paddy Connolly Memorials are long standing pacing handicap classics on the West Cork circuit and with the addition of The Red John O Donovan Memorial and the emergence of The Willie Bradfield Memorial there is plenty for horse owners and trainers to aim for and with support coming from the USA through Bill Donovan and others the sport is on an upward curve both here in Cork and nationwide. The Willie Bradfield Memorial is promoted by Ballineen Race Committee and this meeting was to be the judged as best turf meeting overall . Cruise Howard who tragically past away recently following an illness was the Pacer of The Year . Luke Kelleher was Top C Class Driver and was joint second to overall driver (Behind)Donal Murphy who is retained driver for IB Stables .His brother Tadhg was the leading trainer. The Le Trot scheme has become very popular and Cupidon De Breteil taking totter of the year with Ecrin De Brusseres voted as three year old trotter. Rhyds Panache owned by Chris O Reilly took the award for leading saddle pacer and his jockey Cian O Reilly was champion jockey. Eoin Murphy, Chelsie O Driscoll , Ryan Manning and Oisin Quill were other jockeys to compete and will also get merit awards Hurry Up Abi owned by John Manniong took three year old pacer accolade and was also voted as Mare of the year . 2017 saw the introduction of a few new awards . Newcomers to our sport are always welcome and Richard Kingston , Anthony McCarthy and John O Mahony although all involved in the sport for a few years were honored as they began new careers as drivers this season . People working behind the scenes in the sport are sometimes taken for granted . Con O'Sullivan and Angela Hurley have been involved in the sport for decades and both will honored with Contribution to racing Merit Awards The full list of awards reads as follows ROAD RACING Jockey - Jamie Hurley Female Jockey - Deirdre Goggin Horse - Saunders Paris Traine- r - James Hurley  FIELD RACING Jockey - Cian O'Reilly Merit Awards - Oisin Quill, Chelsie O'Driscoll, Eoin Murphy,Sean Twomey, Ryan Manning Pacer (Harness) - Cruise Howard Pacer (Saddle) - Rhyds Panache 3 Year Old Pacer - Hurry Up Abi Mare of the Year - Hurry Up Abi Trotter - Cupidon De Breteil 3 Year old Trotter - Ecrin De Bruisseres Driver - Donal Murphy C Class Driver - Luke Kelleher Trainer - Tadhg Murphy Newcomers  - Richard Kingston , Anthony McCarthy & John O Mahony Best Turf Meeting - Ballineen Contribution To Racing Merit Awards - Con O'Sullivan and Angela Hurley by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink  

Irish harness racing

Review of the Irish harness racing sector

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today published the Indecon Review of the Irish Harness Racing Sector. Commenting on the Review, the Minister said; “I am delighted to be able to publish this report which will provide the sport with a road map for its potential development. From the outset, I can support the recommendations within my Department’s remit”. Following a stakeholder consultation process and a review by Indecon, Minister Creed has accepted the Indecon report which includes the following recommendations: that the responsibility for the operation of the Harness Racing industry in Ireland should be vested in the IHRA the early implementation of IHRA plans to enhance their corporate goverance to align with best practice. that the board of IHRA shoild develop a 5-year strategic plan for this sector. That the Board of IHRA shouild identify funding requirements to support the expansion of the sector including the potential role of seed funding from the Exchequer. that the pilot integration programme implemented should continue. On foot of the report, Minister Creed announced that the Pilot integration programme will not only continue, but also be expanded.   This educational integration programme focuses on areas such as Horse Welfare, Rules and Regulations of Harness Racing, and Animal Husbandry inter alia.   The Minister also voiced his support for the IHRA to be vested with the responsibility for the operation of the Harness Racing Industry in Ireland, subject to the agreement of relevant Harness Racing Clubs.  The report can be found on the Department’s website right here. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing

Grand finale held at Annaghmore Raceway

 Annaghmore, IE - The curtain fell on the 2017 season at Annaghmore Raceway last Saturday afternoon where every contest was a memorial cup race in posthumous honour of legendary Northern Irish harness racing figures down through the decades. The programme opened with the Anto Russell Memorial and Gabriel McDonaghs Chinatown Jess prevailed in this over Shane Gallaghers Derrybeg and Damien Holians Endoftheline in 2:05.7. It was a welcome return to form for the filly and her proud owner vowed that it wouldn’t be the last we hear of Jess promising a lot more to come from this Welsh bred juvenile. Bobby Hanson was a legendary OTD on the harness racing scene in Ireland best known for horses such as Dorney Reveller, Worth Seeing, Stoneriggs Lady, Spice Girl, Fair Kitty, Stormy Reveller, Frisco Titan and too many more to mention. His Memorial Cup race on Saturday was a close run affair that was won by New London Hanover and beaming driver John Richardson was visibly thrilled to have won this prestigious race in 2:02 from IB Cymru and Amy Camden. If it wasn’t for Patsy Dean we wouldn’t have son Greg or daughter Brenda involved in the sport and both have proved pivotal in the success of harness racing in Ireland over the past 4 decades. His memorial cup race was won by the son of another living legend in Lawrence Stewart son of living legend Walter. Driving Porterstown Courage the combination defeated Lucky Cam, denying Greg Deans the pleasure of winning his fathers cup but that’s racing and the unlucky loser congratulated Lawrence in the winners enclosure in the ultimate act of sportsmanship. The time was a respectable 2:02 and Mystical Carbs took third The Nixon family reached the pinnacle of the sport in the 1980s when The Lucky One triumphed in the Famous Musselburgh Pace but it is with trotters that George Nixon will be most associated with. His memorial cup race on Saturday was a French imported trotters event and ended in the closest finish of the day between Bravoure De Mai and Umbratica. The latter hit the front with a circuit to run and just as it seemed that John Richardson had did enough to win with the chestnut mare, along came Martin Loughran to swoop late and land the spoils with the former in 2:06. The recently acquired Blanpain Le Fol claimed third place for Gabrial McDonagh. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house in the seasons finale when Martin McSparron won the Kyle McSparron Memorial Cup with stable star Astounding. The partnership had the final say on the final day, a fitting tribute to son Kyle who died in tragic circumstances in 2016. Kyle drove Astounding all last season and Martin took over the training and driving in 2017 in honour of his son, and keeping the spirit alive of the young man who loved harness racing and loved Annaghmore raceway just as much. Taking up the running just after the off, Astounding never seen another rival and despite Rhyds Boots and Im Impartial Toos efforts in the home straight the Scottish bred gelding held on to win in an electric 2:00.6. All the McSparron family were on hand for the presentation of the cup, a fitting end to a great season at Annaghmore. 2017 was arguably the best season for harness racing in many years in Northern Ireland with a classic race staged at Annaghmore virtually every week throughout the summer and NISA would like to thank all sponsors, owners, trainers, drivers, stewards, bookmakers and punters alike for their unwavering support all season in what were often challenging times. Its truly appreciated by all those determined to keep the sport alive and thriving in Northern Ireland.  by Thomas Bennett, for  Annaghmore Raceway

Harnesslink, harness racing

Happy 15th birthday to Harnesslink

It was 15 years ago that Harnesslink first entered the internet world and it has grown to become one of the world’s best harness racing sites and is still going strongly. Throughout the years we grown by leaps and bounds as our stats show that we have an exceptional high return reader rate of over 70%, while most news sites throughout the world have an average of just 10% return on reader visitor rates.  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 2017 which will make Harnesslink the world’s most read harness racing site. Harnesslink was one of the first four harness racing sites on the Internet and have continued to grow ever since. Although we only got started with Facebook about five years ago we have currently surpassed 8,000 likes and continue to grow. We are still looking for ways to improve and provide you, our customers, with better coverage throughout the world, but that is not an easy task. 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. As we celebrate our 15th birthday, we are also looking for aspiring journalists and sales personnel to help our staff so we can continue to excel and provide more coverage world-wide. We want to thank all our readers and advertisers over the past 15 years and promise to continue to work at providing the best news coverage of harness racing around the world. The Harnesslink Staff

A Government minister has called for new measures to completely outlaw sulky racing on public roads in Ireland. Communications Minister Denis Naughten told Cabinet today that he is deeply concerned about the impact the practice is having on road safety. Sulky racing is particular popular among the Traveller community. However, many unlicensed races have taken place on public roads. They have resulted in serious injuries in some cases. Sulky racing involves a driver placing himself in a two wheeled cart that is driven by a horse attached to a harness. Videos have appeared online showing unregulated races taking place. In many circumstances, innocent motorists have been placed in danger. At Cabinet today, Mr Naughten secured support in his calls for measures to address the issue of sulky racing. It’s understood Mr Naughten is seeking the introduction of bye-laws. He will discuss the issue this week with Agriculture Minister Michael Creed with the aim of having the issue addressed through amendments to the Animal Welfare Bill, which is due to be voted upon by TDs this week. By Niall O'Connor Reprinted with permission of The Independent.IE site

Mid-Wales and Border Counties Harness Racing staged their final meeting of the season at Almeley. The nursery race was for young horses or new drivers to hone their skills before moving into competitive racing. Evenwood Predator, with owner David Duggan from Howey in the seat, took first place from another improver Talavary Zodiac (Thomas & Staples, Merthyr) while Shannon Edmunds on Jets Girl (Langford, Onibury) gained valuable driving experience in third. In the first novice race, the impressive Rhyds Panalulah claimed another win for the Gething family from Ewyas Harold under the guidance of trainer Derek Pritchard, while in second was the aptly named Second Affair (Thomas, Rhymney). In the second novice race, it was Turn the Paige driven by Janet Thomas from Tregroes that continued its fine form, beating Beacon Spellbound (Davies, Huntington). while the quirky Hurricane Howard (Duggan, Llangunllo) was third. In the baby novice race, the strong minded Garth Vader (Williams, Brecon), partnered by Lynne Boxhall, was first past the post with stable mate Brywins Awesome (Hardwick, Brecon) in second. In the grade B, husband and wife team Robert and Louisa Barton went head to head and it was Robert having his first drive for several months who inspired Makemeamillionayr to thrust his head out and beat Louisa on Ayr Ontario. Rebus (Thomas, Rhymney) is a little horse who has come into his own in the last half of the season, and with Mark Evans at the controls they claimed the Grade A prize beating the long time leader Scoobys Dream (Williams, Brecon). After the presentation of the season’s awards the afternoon proceeded with the light hearted races. The first was the human race where the horse was replaced with a person. There was plenty of rivalry with most of the ‘drivers’ being chosen for their small size, while most of the ‘horses’ were young and athletic. The non whip race followed when Rhyds Panalulah (Gething, Ewyas Harold) with trainer Derek Pritchard in the seat needed little encouragement to claim a second win. Six entries in the saddle race provided a wonderful spectacle for the public with two of the entries bidding farewell to their racing careers. Ten year old Meadowland Hasty (Price, Brecon) has been a wonderful horse and has especially excelled under saddle usually accompanied by Emma Layton, while No Mercy (Weigel, Llanddewi Velfrey) the saddle horse of 2017, is 12-year-old and he is bowing out at the end of a very successful career. In contrast Rebus , who was in a saddle race for the first time, flew to the front to win from Makemeamillionayr (Weigel, Llanddewi Velfrey) while Brywins Jo Jo (Jones, Ammanford) took third. The Junior race saw Ellie Tromans from Newcastle Emlyn complete a championship season by beating from Hurricane Howard, which twas ridden by Josie Duggan. The non-drivers saw Stella Havard, having hung up her race colours nine years ago due to injury, sneak a victory with her new acquisition Talavary Activator (Roberts, Dinmore), while the final race of the day being a mike-and-a-quarter 'free for all'. Ithon Inmate (Price, Brecon) claimed the honours, with trainer Derek Pritchard in the seat claiming a fitting end to the season. Proceeds on the day went to the air ambulance. Reprinted with permission of The Hereford Times

Albrighton, UK - Authorities working to host the Wolverhampton Dunstall Park harness racing meet this Sunday, October 1 have announced that they will be raising charity aid for Leukemia Research will money going to the Leukemia ward at Leeds Hospital which treated Jaqueline Gill, who is now in remission. “Everyone has so far been so kind,” said meet organizer Claire Fletcher. “It just shows when we all pull together anything can be done. “We are expecting a great meeting,” Fletcher said. “And we hope to have 16 races run that Sunday.” There will be a disco and bar Saturday night in a private room for entertainment and after the races on Sunday, a singer at the upstairs bar at the racetrack. Donations have already been given for the charities including services to Western Jackpot, Matador, and Smack Talk. A new set of harness, a holiday trip to Spain, a spa weekend, designed jewelry, even the breaking/gentling of a racehorse. World-renowned equine artist, Nadina Ironia, is also donating an oil painting of a horse of their choice to the highest bidder on Saturday. Gates open at 11:30 am on October 1 and the first race is scheduled to go out at 1:00 pm. For more information or to make a donation and to place a bid on the many auction items, please contact Claire Fletcher at Clairefletcher7@icloud.com or via Facebook.  by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

If harness racing fans, owners, breeders and trainers thought 2017 was a banner year for trotters with the richest purses ever in the history of the UK and Ireland, thanks to the support of LeTrot, then just wait for the 2018 season! The 2017 season recently concluded at Tir Prince Raceway on Saturday, September 9 with the €30,000 Gold Final, which is now the richest race ever for trotters or pacers in UK/Ireland history. Total purses that evening for the Gold, Silver, Bronze and the consolation race were a record £61,850 ($80,000 US) for just the four finals. “The 3-year-old 2017 TROTBritain/LeTrot Series was an unqualified success,” said George Button, a director for TROTBritain. “This year’s series captured the imagination of the harness racing community in the UK and led to the biggest Series ever to be held in the history of our sport. The 2018 TROTBritain/LeTrot series for French 3-year-old trotters will be bigger and better. “The emphasis now is on the young horses racing in the UK,” explained Button. “And encouraging the breeding of a Trotteur Francais for the sustainable future of our sport. Never before has there been an opportunity to progress trotting here, and TROTBritain will continue to push forward with their ambition to establish LeTrot racing as a major force in the UK. We thank LeTrot for their continued support with sponsorship enabling us to help achieve our objectives.” The LeTrot Super Finals at Tir Prince saw the €30,000 Gold Cup Final go to Equilea Du Hauty and trainer/driver Rhys Evans in the closest finish of the series finals, winning by just a half-length in 2:07.60 for the 1,760 yard race over Ecurme De Mer (Jak Foody) with Eliothrope (Steve Lees) third. Equilea Du Hauty is owned by Geoff Lyons-Mound, Sr. In the €15,000 Silver Cup Final, it was Eldivina D’Esge and trainer/driver Rhun Wilson, who were able to post a two-length triumph in 2:11.50 over Espoir Lila (Joseph Ripley) with Eclair Du Torp (Joss Edwards) third. Jobie Randall owns Eldivina D’Esge. Then in the €9,025 Bronze Cup Final, driver Richard Haythornthwaite blew away the field, winning by six open lengths in 2:13.80 with Emirat Du Levant. Second was Emeraude De Dourse (Andrew Cairns) with Etoile Vive (Gary Dowse) third. Emirat Du Levant is trained by Teresa Haythornthwaite for the Globe Trotters Stable. “The finals night was such a great success,” Button added. “And we thank Emmanuelle Morvillers, Head of Overseas Development at LeTrot for attending the race card, and everyone involved with TROTBritain for all their hard work as it has really paid off! We also want to thank the management at Tir Prince Raceway for hosting not only the finals, but many of the legs of the series this summer. Also thanks to all the tracks that held heats of LeTrot and to all the individuals who participated in the series and gave their support to the LeTrot 3-year-old initiative. It was so great this season.” By Steve Wolf, for TROTBritain

Durham, UK - On Friday 29th September the grey stallion, Smack Talk, is due to land in the UK in preparation for the 2018 breeding season where he will be standing at Greentree Standardbreds, County Durham, England. The six-year-old son of Cams Card Shark will join the 16-strong broodmare band where Western Jackpot (Western Ideal-Caesars Jackpot-Big Towner) has stood in previous years. A winner of six starts at 2, with a record of 1:50.4 and earnings of $90,254, Smack Talk will be the first grey stallion to stand in the UK since Young Commander and Coalford Laag. His sire, Cams Card Shark, hails from one of the strongest sire lines in modern history (Meadow Skipper-Most Happy Fella-Cam Fella-Cams Card Shark), all being noted 'sire of sires'. Sire of Bettors Delight, Million Dollar Cam and Timesareachanging, all winners of the Little Brown Jug (half mile track). Bettors Delight himself a sire of two Little Brown Jug winners (Vegas Vacation & Betting Line). His dam, Chippie Gabby, from 7 foals the dam of 7 winners in North America. His maternal grand-dam, Chippies Ruler, was the USHWA Dan Patch Award winner for Two Year Old Pacing Fillies and a winner of over $440,000 with a prolific two-year-old career which included victories in the Matron Stakes Final and the Three Diamonds. As well as Chippie Gabby, also the dam of Whitefish Falls (Cams Card Shark), p, 2, 1.52 ($384,358), elimination and final winner of the prestigious early season two-year-old flagship race at the Meadowlands, the Woodrow Wilson where he set his mark. Smack Talk, a beautiful, striking grey stallion, brings to the UK a modern pedigree full of early speed and has all the credentials required to be a top sire. Co-owner John Clark said "We are very excited about Smack Talk joining us. He's by the sire of sires Cams Card Shark who crosses well with all of our mares as well as showing great early speed. We can't wait to get some of foals on the ground". Smack Talk will be Breeders Crown & Sire Stakes nominated for 2018. For more information please contact John Clark at 07918 934379. by Sarah Thomas      

Annaghmore, IE – With five full elimination divisions, the Christopher Dunne Memorial Derby is set with plenty of harness racing action coming this Saturday at Annaghmore Raceway. There are eight horses in each of the five division with the winner and second place finisher of each race returning later on the race program to compete in Dunne Memorial Derby Final. Total purses for the Dunne Memorial is €15,250 with the winner in the ninth race final getting €6,000. The Dunne family are long steeped in harness racing going back some three generations, with a fourth generation now coming through from their base in Kill, County Kildare under the name of the “Porterstown Stud”.   Christopher’s parents, Christy and Carol Dunne, along with their children Geoff, Jonathan and Alison, have fittingly organized and heavily sponsored the annual race to honor the memory of their son Christopher, who died tragically back in 1994 at age 18 while on holiday.  The Derby has now become one of the highlights of the Irish harness racing calendar.  Some of outstanding horses that will be competing include Newtown Rock, Streamside Star, Tarawood CJ, Rhyds Rambler, Sarah's Gift and special credit goes out to the connections of Pan Cam Drift, who are traveling nearly the length of Ireland, 380 km, to compete in the race. Also on the program in the eighth race is the James Stewart Memorial Free-For-All Cup. The meet will also feature the Annaghmore Bookmakers Pace and the Belmont Stables Pace. First race post time Saturday is 2:00 pm. By Carmel Stewart, for Annaghmore Raceway

The most prestigious harness racing 'Free For All' in The United Kingdom The Crock Of Gold Final took place at Tir Prince Raceway on Saturday 9th September. There were concerns over the weather earlier on in the day as black sky's and seriously heavy rain threatened to turn this marquee event into a swamp but thankfully the preparation work done to the track all week meant that it took the downpour well and by 6pm the sun was shining. The race had been billed as a head to head between Evenwood Sonofagun and Miraculous but when they drew 5 and 8 respectively, Porterstown Chris also became fancied from draw number 1. The atmosphere was electric as the horses came behind the gate and Porterstown Chris blasted out of the gate quickly followed by favourite Evenwood Sonofagun with Party At The Spa tucked in third on the rail. Miraculous meanwhile had managed to tuck back and get on the rail very early in the race. The first quarter was registered in 27.3 and they hit the half in 56.3 with Porterstown Chris bravely fending off Evenwood Sonofagun. As they headed down the back straight there was an air of inevitability about the fact that Sonofagun was going to hit the front and he duly did so but Miraculous was hot on his heels! As they turned for home the roar of the crowd drowned out the commentary with Sonofagun still in front but Rocker Laidler had been forced to use a lot of horse and Miraculous looked to have him in the straight getting up on his rival as they approached the line amazingly Sonofagun got back up again only for Miraculous to stick his head out again on the line in a truly amazing finish. Photo Finish Photo Finish shouted a breathless Darren Owen. Both connections thought they had won as a crowd surrounded the winners enclosure and after what seemed an age the result was declared a dead heat with the judge simply unable to split them. Both horses had also equalled the track record of 1.56.2 making it even more amazing. Two top class animals fought it out in a super race right to the line and in the end they both refused to be beat so they are both The Crock Of Gold Champions of 2017 and harness racing is the biggest winner of all.  

A Rural businesswoman’s hopes of expanding her harness racing enterprise have been dashed after councillors refused permission to build a home on the site. Lyn Mould applied to Stafford Borough Council for permission to build a rural worker’s home on land next to Oaklands on Lapley Road, Church Eaton. The application was recommended for refusal because it was considered an unsustainable development and insufficient evidence had been provided to demonstrate an essential need for a rural worker to live onsite. But agent John Hinson told the council’s planning committee that Ms Mould would be unable to expand her equine business without accommodation for a worker. There are currently 15 horses in the equestrian enterprise and the site is also home to a beef cattle breeding enterprise, which had 19 cattle at the time of a supporting statement being produced. “This unique rural business was established 29 years ago and has been on this site since 2004. It is owned by a top British harness racing trainer, supported by her daughter and son in law,” Mr Hinson said. “Because of the lack of dwelling it couldn’t begin to fulfil its potential. If the business develops to include third party horses there would be an essential need for a worker to live on site for husbandry and security on the site.” A report to the council said that if the home was built “the holding will have the capacity to house an additional 10 horses in training, owned by others and presumably accommodated on a training livery basis”. Ward councillor Stephen Leighton backed the application. He said: “I would like to call this project in (for consideration by the planning committee) offering my support as I think it will add to the value of the village and support a much-needed business in the village and borough.” Church Eaton Parish Council and neighbours raised no objections. But neighbouring Bradley Parish Council said the home would be over-development of agricultural land and movement of animals in the narrow lanes would prove a further hazard. Councillor Ray Sutherland said: “A couple of things concern me; one is the request for financial accounts for the last three years hasn’t been answered. The other thing that concerns me is the number of cattle on the farm has decreased from 24 to 19 and the number of horses has reduced from 17 to 15.” Six committee members voted in favour of the planning officers’ recommendation and six voted against. Chairman Andrew Harp used his casting vote to refuse planning permission. By Kerry Ashdown Reprinted with permission of The Sentinel

It has been announced today that Diamond Creek Farm in the USA and Oakwood Stud in Ireland have become the sponsors of Sire Stakes Ireland for the 2018 season. Sire Stakes Ireland is a new racing series for Standardbred horses that was first started in 2014. The objective of Sire Stakes Ireland is to encourage breeding mares, increase prize money and to promote harness racing in Ireland and the UK. The series is open to horses bred and foaled in Ireland and the UK, and sired by stallions nominated into the program. Diamond Creek Farm has two locations in the USA in Kentucky and Pennsylvania. They currently stand world champion stallions A Rocknroll Dance, Always B Miki, Creatine, Father Patrick, Ponder, Southwind Frank and Sweet Lou. "Our involvement with the Vincent Delaney Memorial has created a great relationship between Diamond Creek and Oakwood Stud," Said Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Farm. "We are excited to partner with them to offer Sweet Lou to the UK and Ireland. As sponsors of the VDM, we are also big fans of Irish racing and are pleased to be able to support the stakes racing through our sponsorship." Oakwood Stud in Ireland has emerged over the past five years as one of the top breeders of yearlings in Ireland and the UK. Currently they stand Foreclosure N and Rachmoninov Seven and have frozen semen shipped from Sweet Lou in the USA. "We recently were at Diamond Creek Farm in Kentucky," said Sire Stakes Ireland founder, James Delaney of Oakwood Stud. "And sealed the sponsorship with Adam Bowden. "What a great boost this will be for Sire Stakes Ireland in 2018," Delaney said. "Now breeders and owners have something extra to look forward in racing opportunities in 2018. All yearlings that were foaled in either Ireland or the UK from the stallions eligible for Sire Stakes Ireland, need only to fill out the nomination form and make the payments to be eligible. And now with the Diamond Creek Farm and Oakwood Stud sponsorships, the purses will be greater than ever in 2018. "We are also introducing a Breeder's Premium for the Breeder of the winning horse in all divisions," Delaney added, "The person(s) who owned and bred the foal at conception will receive a trophy in all divisions plus a cash bonus too. We hope this will help stimulate more people to breed horses. We feel it's our duty to honor and reward the breeders who have been loyal to our stallions. "We are so thankful to Adam Bowden and Diamond Creek Farm and Oakwood Stud for coming on board with Sire Stakes Ireland with their generous sponsorships." Delaney said. For the nomination forms, payment schedule and list of stallions eligible for Sire Stakes Ireland, visit their website at www.sirestakesireland.com. Here is the list of Sire Stakes Ireland nominated stallions. 1) Ayr Glory 2) Armbro Duece 3) Arts Conquest 4) Arts Professor 5) Check On Jack 6) Connors Dragon 7) Crown Manhattan 8) Doonbeg 9) Eagle Luck 10) Forafewdollarsmore 11) Foreclosure N 12) Hasty Hall 13) Kiki Kolt 14) My Pan Mar 15) No Pan Intended 16) Stonebridge Galaxy 17) See And Ski 18) Total Truth 19) Yankee Lariat. From Sire Stakes Ireland  

Starting in late 2016, TROTBritain in association with Le Trot in France, imported consignments of three-year-old’s to race for huge purse money come September 2017. Many horse owners took the plunge as management at the North Wales hard track, Tir Prince Raceway, decided to get behind the TROTBritain initiative and sponsor the race day final along with holding many of the preliminary Le Trot heats during the season. Some were skeptical as to whether the prize money would ever really be as high as the figures being thrown around. They were very wrong. This Saturday TROTBritain and LeTrot will host at Tir Prince, the Gold, Silver, Bronze and a consolation division for three-year-old trotters that will race for total prize money of £61,850 ($80,000 US), then adding the rest of the race card making total purses at just over £70,000, thus becoming the richest single race program ever held in the United Kingdom. The LeTrot 3YO Gold Final will go for £30,000 ($39,000 US) with all eight starters getting prize money (also in the Silver & Bronze Finals), with £15,000 to the winner of the Gold Final. This will be the richest single race ever held in the UK or Ireland. “It is so great that in over just two years the TROTBritain/LeTrot Program has worked out as well as we said it would,” said George Button of TROTBritain. “This Saturday is the icing on the cake as more and more people are getting involved in the TROTBritain/LeTrot program, buying race horses, mares for breeding and the program is growing by leaps and bounds. “Everyone who purchased a three-year-old for the LeTrot series,” Button added, “has had an opportunity to race throughout the season and also this Saturday with the Gold, Silver and Bronze finals plus an additional consolation race. We want to thank management at Tir Prince for their support in hosting many of these races, especially Saturday’s finals, at their track.” The draw for post positions for the 3-year-old LeTrot finals will take place live Saturday at 5pm at Tir Prince Raceway, hosted by the UK’s top horse racing commentator, Darren Owen, and Emmanuelle Morvillers, head of the International Development at Le Trot, the French Trotting Governing Body. The Gold Final features eight starters, six fillies and two geldings, who will go behind the gate. The early favorite is the filly Equilea Du Hauty for trainer/driver Rhys Evans. She has four wins in her last five starts.  Another top performer is the filly Ecume De Mer, who has also won four of her five starts for trainer/driver Jak Fooy. She is also the fastest of the eight finalists with a record of 2:06.10 taken at York. By TROTBritain and Tir Prince

WALES, UK - After a number of years of wet or overcast conditions, the Tregaron committee were finally graced with some glorious weather and some top-quality harness racing to match. Some incredible equine performances were seen over the weekend non-more so that of Evenwood Sonofagun in the Battle of The Big Guns race, who won in an impressive 2.04, giving him his fourteenth straight victory and with it the favourites tag for the Crock of Gold final in two weeks' time where he will go head to head with the mighty Miraculous. However, the weekend belonged to driver Michael O'Mahony who won an incredible nine races over the weekend, seven of which he trained himself. Lyons Lememay (Lyons Danny-Lyons Montana) continued her tremendous form to take out the Little Welsh Dragoness heat and final from a very game Greenhill Debatable (James Haythornthwaite) and the other heat winner Crown Victoria (David Bevan) in third. He drove Style Matters (trained by Lowri Jones) and Southern Sunshine to victory to secure their places in the Strata Florida handicap, with the latter his charge in the final. The race panned out perfectly for Southern Sunshine the 7-year-old gelding by Best Sunshine who was able to settle himself during the first half a mile, then he moved into a challenging position going down the back straight for the final time before pulling away up the home straight. Second went to Cardigan Flashman (Richard Haythornthwaite) with Reeds Scarlett in third (Rhun Wilson). The victory meant an incredible amount to connections as the horse had incurred a number of setbacks over the last twelve months and their patience proved lucrative in the end. That took Michael's tally to five winners on day one. Day two was more of the same for Michael with In the Ayr (trained by Bethan Kelly) and Meldoon taking out the first two heats of the Welsh Classic and Lyon's St. Mary taking out a division of the maidens taking the tally to an impressive eight wins but the best was yet to come. Ten pacers stepped on to the track for the Group 1 Welsh Classic final to the poignant sounds of Chariots of Fire. Happy Hands was the market leader but his 40-yard trail was too much to conquer, instead it was the four-year-old mare Meldoon (by new super sire Doonbeg out of the Real Artist mare Real Melody) who showed a tremendous turn of foot to kick clear of the field and secure O'Mahony his third final winner over the festival. Second went to Rhyds Passion (James Haythornthwaite) and third went to the impressive Llwyns Delight (Lee Price) who had to overcome a 50-yard trail. The three-year Dragon for colts and geldings was a very open affair. All Good Hanover (Lee Fletcher) was an impressive winner of heat one whilst recent Portmarnock winner Tarawood CJ (Grant Cullen) took out heat two, beating favourite Rhyds Rockstar (James Haythornthwaite). However come the final it was neither of these three who took victory, instead it went the way of No Brakes (Hasty Hall - Panama Canal) in the hands of Steve Lees with local hope My Buddy (Alan Jones) back in second. Due to the number of entrants in the two-year-old Junior Dragoness two heats were ran on the Friday with Lyons Rosella (Rhys Evans) and Greenhill Hanover (Mick Lord) taking out the two divisions. Greenhill Hanover (Mick Lord) took advantage of her plum draw in the final and went on to win by one and three quarter lengths from Brown Eyed Girl (Patrick Kane Jnr). The colts division may not have gone the way everyone anticipated with stablemates Matticulous and Merrington Movingup fighting it out at the finish with Movingup taking the spoils on this occasion. Two Le Trot races also took place on the Saturday. Equilea Du Hauty (Rhys Evans) made it four victories from as many runs and looks the one to beat in the three year old championship. Valseur Du Cygne (Rocker Laidler) made it another win on the Ceredigion soil in the aged division having won a similar event at the Ceredigion Trotting Club event held in July. by Kayleigh Evans, for the Tregaron Trotting Club

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