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TROTBritain set for bigger purses in 2018

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

Smack Talk, harness racing

Smack Talk to stand at Greentree in UK

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      

Harness racing

Christopher Dunne Memorial draws five heats

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

Crock Of Gold Final, Harness Racing

A dead-heat in the Crock Of Gold Final

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

The following are the posts by USA’s title sponsor, Bill Donovan, on experiencing the Red John Memorial Weekend in West Cork, Ireland August 19 & 20. Day 1 of the races in Cork has been absolutely delightful. A grand time was had by all. They race over the grass here, unlike the dirt tracks we have in America. The two major races are the "'Red' John O'Donovan Memorial Pace" and "The Maven Trot". "Red" John was an enthusiastic young man who loved harness racing and was establishing himself as a very talented driver when he tragically died in his early 20's. This race honors his memory and I am proud to sponsor it this year. Earlier in the day I stopped at the Skibbereen heritage center and talked to one of their genealogists so perhaps I will find out that I am related to Red John! The Maven Trot is of course named in honor of my greatest trotter and I am pleased to also sponsor that race in partnership with the French Trotting association. Today were the eliminations and the Finals will be held tomorrow. Kudos to all involved in preparing for the racing as everything was incredibly well done. Day 2 of the Red John O'Donovan Memorial racing weekend in West Cork started off with steady rains and a delay in post time until 3PM. The rains stopped and by 4PM the sun was shining! The day's events were kicked off by a wonderful performance of pipes and drums. A ceremony was held and I was presented with a unique and beautiful sculpture designed specifically for this day! The racing began and in the 2nd race "the Oakwood Stud" was won by none other than the great Rebel Rouser, owned by yours truly! "Rebel" had won last week in Dublin and is now 3 wins in 4 lifetime starts. Rumors abounded that he might ship to America to challenge the great "Downbytheseaside", but those rumors are not yet confirmed!  The feature races of the day were "The Maven Trot" and "The Red John O'Donovan" Memorial Pace. They were great races with well-deserved winners and I was privileged to present the trophies! The weekend of racing in West Cork was great fun, or great "craic" as the Irish would say. I'm already looking forward to next year's racing! ######### And here are some final thoughts from the Red John Memorial Weekend organizer, Tim Kelleher. The rain on Sunday morning around 11 am in Lyre was torrential. Down on the track I could see Denis O Reilly and Timmy O Donovan moving the pegs on the track to fresh ground.  Are these boys mad to be out in this weather? As a committee, we were faced with a decision to run or cancel. I knew in my heart that cancelling would be the last option. I gathered my thoughts and looked west through the rain. A tiny break of light in the sky. Is this the signal from our departed friend Red John … right lads we delay the start for an hour and hope for the best mentioned Ger Hegarty the owner of this beautiful venue. Within ten minutes the rains had passed and the skies began to clear. Rain jackets discarded we set about checking that all was well. Another blip the race cards had not arrived. The printer Rob had worked until 5 am to get in the finals. Then like the break of light his van arrived “Sorry folks I slept it out.“ Panic over. Slowly the horse trucks and trailers arrived and a steady stream of cars began to make their way to the car parks. At 2:30 pm Gretta Cormican, who organized the stewards in military fashion, had a worry look on her face “Not a space left in the car park” (again a green field) “Open the wire to the next paddock” quipped her brother Ted. Bang on 3 pm the show began. For the amount of rain which fell the grass oval was still in good condition. The day passed in an instant. My personal highlight was the pre-race parade for the Maven Trotters Derby. The Ballingeary Pipe Band paraded on the track everyone was out to see the pipers and drummers strut their stuff and were accorded the biggest cheer after they had finished. This scribe had a funny moment which could have been serious. I was having a quick word walking on the track next to Donal Murphy on IB A Magician before the Red John Consolation Final and suddenly his race cart broke at the bridge. His quick reaction ensured all was OK. New cart on horse and he goes out and wins the race. Thanking people after events can lead to trouble but as one of the organizers I feel the following need special mention Bill Donovan our main sponsor. Caroline Collins out treasurer. Ger Hegarty the land owner. All at the IHRA office! Members of the ITHRF. 2018 won’t be long coming around. BIGGER AND BETTER!

A harness racing event reined-in £1,110 for Manorlands. Organisers announced the total this week and thanked everyone who had supported last month's extravaganza. "The weather forecast that day was for thunderstorms and torrential rain which I think deterred some people from attending but we did better than we might have," said Trish Wood, for the Bronte Vintage Gathering (BVG) Group. "I would like to say a big thank-you to all those who gave support in so many ways." Participants from as far afield as Wales and Newcastle entered the event. Six races were held, at the showfield in Haworth Road, Cullingworth. There were on-site bookmakers and other attractions included an Old Spot bar, cake stall, tombolas, catering and entertainment for young visitors, including a bouncy castle. Since the harness racing was first held 17 years ago, it has coined-in tens of thousands of pounds for the Oxenhope Sue Ryder hospice. Overall, the BVG group has now raised more than £400,000 for Manorlands. Next event on the BVG calendar is a grand charity evening at Keighley Rugby Union Football Club on November 11. For more details about the group, go to the BVG Facebook page. By Alistair Shand Reprinted with permission of The Keighley News

WEST CORK, Ireland - 16-year-old harness racing driver John O'Mahony drove the first double of his fledgling career at Dunmanway on Sunday. O'Mahony had to share the top driver honors with Donal Murphy, who also drove a brace of winners. Tenor Meslos was all the rage in the Le Trot off a 65 yard trail behind Picasso but it was Un Boss who have been a revelation all season and made every yard of the running to give teenager O'Mahony his first of the day. The high grade pace only attracted four runners but this rendition was one of the best seen at this famous grass oval. Brywins Picasso, a catch drive for Patrick Hill, set the early fractions with Sunnyside Kildare in close attendance. Heading into the last three furlongs, Meadowbranch Demon (off a 50 yard trail ) made his move off the back with Cruise Howard following the move. Facing for home "Picasso" was not weaning and in a titanic finish, Cruise Howard held off "The Demon" by a short head with Brywins Picasso a half a length third .This was the second winner of the afternoon for John O'Mahony, who was not over awed by his first brace of winners. Donal Murphy is like a fine wine getting better with age and the Baltimore based reinsman was responsible for two of the winners. Veteran Rhyds Hearbeat loves to run from the front and was not for catching in the Grade F pace for owners Angela and Martin Hurley. This 11-year-old son of Hasty Hall has been a great servant to his owners. Three-year-old Sunnyside Unique looks a smart recruit for owner Sean Buckley. This son of Rogue Hall overhauled longtime leader Meadowbranch Matt in the final 100 yards and completed the brace for driver Murphy. In West Cork we pride ourselves with racing horses under saddle and todays renewal saw a classic battle between Rhyds Panache and Hail Spartacus with the former getting up in the final stride. Cian O'Reilly on the winner and Eoin Murphy on the runner up must both be credited with their horsemanship (both only 12-years-old). Brywins Starship followed up on his heat win in The Red John weekend with anothe facile win in the Grade E & D pace. Richard Kingston drove the winner with confidence and will be a force to be reckoned with next season. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS GRADE G & G1 Pace 1st S Buckley SUNNYSIDE UNIQUE D Murphy 2nd O'Farrell / Healy MEADOWBRANCH MATT L Kelleher 3rd Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG D McCarthy DIST 1/2L 10L TIME 2.46.1 3 Ran   GRADE F PACE 1st A & M Hurley RHYDS HEARTBEAT D Murphy 2nd O'Reilly/O'Driscoll LYONS STALLONE C O'Reilly 3rd M O'Donovan MR SECURITY Owner DIST 3L 2L TIME 2.43.3 4 Ran   UNDER SADDLE 1st C O'Reilly RHYDS PANACHE C O'Reilly 2nd P Hill HAIL SPARTACUS E Murphy 3rd D McCarthy RHYDS DILLEMA C O'Driscoll DIST 1/2L 10L TIME 2.36.5 4 Ran   GRADE E & D PACE 1st M Healy BRYWINS STARSHIP R Kingston 2nd S O'Reilly SPRINGHILL DOYLE L Kelleher 3rd P J Cleary WESTERN DREAMER S Quill DIST 10L 1/2L TIME 2.39.8 7 Ran   LE TROT 1st J O'Mahony UN BOSS J O'Mahony 2nd IB Stables TENOR MESLOS D Murphy 3rd P Hill AUBADE A HEHENE P Hill DIST 1L 2L TIME 2.30.1 6 RaN   GRADE C B & A PACE 1st C O'Brien CRUISE HOWARD J O'Mahony 2nd Kelleher Bros MEADOWBRANCH DEMON L Kelleher 3rd Kelleher/O'Farrell BRYWINS PICASSO P Hill DIST SH 1/2l TIME 2 34.3 4 Ran      

WEST CORK, Ireland - The 2017 Red John O Donovan Memorial Harness Racing Festival drew record crowds to the splendid Lyre Raceway over the weekend. With so much top class racing here is a brief outline of the action Elimination heats were held on the Saturday for both the Red John Memorial Handicap for pacers and the Maven Derby for trotters . Brywins Starship took the opening heat of the Red John Pace leading home Fairdays western Heat two went to On Top Big C who saw off The Govenor in a pulsating contest. Rhyds Panache ran his rivals ragged in heat three leading home Meadowbranch Roman by 11 lengths Streamside Star was most impressive taking heat four with Maitha Buachaill grabbing the second qualifing spot. Rhyds Destiny got up in the shadow of the post to deny Kickass Katie in the fifth and final heat. On to The Maven Trotting Derby Heats. Urbano Des Selles made all to lead home Cilando De Temps in the first heat. Brutenor and Silvano Bello made it a 1 2 for the locals in heat two. Balarou Des Iles just held on from Ariane Des Tithais in the third heat. The top grade heat went to Donal Murphy and Alineka Darche who was too good for Uldiem Alfa by two lengths . Sprinhill Doyle an Luke Kelleher upset the odds in the Grade E D & B Pace. El Tejar despite two breaks confirmed his status as leading three year old trotter getting back to beat Epice De La Goutte . Sunday was finals day and the organisers delayed the start of racing due to heavy morning rain . The features of an action packed weekend were The Red John Memorial Pace which saw a Rhyds Destiny come off a 40 yard trail to land the €10,000 top prize.On top Big C and Steamside Star finished second and third . Brutenor with Patrick Hill took The Maven trotting Derby with Alineka Darche a distance back in second and there were emotional scenes in the presentation area where Hill a best friend of the late Red John was presented with the Maven Cup by the main sponsor Bill Donovan . Hill also took the Maven Consolation with Aubade A Helene who came off an 80 yard trail to win by four lengths from Tarnao Josselyn The Red John Handicap Consolation produced an epic finish with IB A Magician just touching off Brywins Picasso and Sunnyside Kildare . The Oakwood Stud Irish Three Year Old Grass Pacing Championship went to Rebel Rouser who is owned By Bill Donovan and his entourage packed the presentation area after the race. Wellfield Ghost was a most impressive winner of the PJI Engineering Miracle Mile for driver John Manning Jnr who also steered home Hurry Up Abi in the G & G1 Pace. Tenor Meslos took the Anto Russell Memorial Free for All Trot beating his old foe Ultimo D,Ouville. The weekend concluded with a win for Ringo Lady in the Grade F Pace. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS SATURDAY Heat 1. 1. BRYWINS STARSHIP R Kingston 2. FAIRDAYS WESTERN S Kane 3. LYONS STALLONE C O'Reilly DIST 2L 6l TIME 2.35.77 Ran Heat Two 1. ON TOP BIG C P Kane Jnr 2. THE GOVENOR M McAleer 3. MEADOWBRANCH MILLI S Flanagan DIST 1/2L 7 3/4L TIME 2.34.3 9 Ran Heat Three. 1. RHYDS PANACHE C O'Reilly 2. MEADOWBRANCH ROMAN B Roche 3. RHYDS HEARTBEAT D Murphy DIST 11 3/4L 3/4L TIME 2.35.8 8 Ran Heat Four. 1. STREAMSIDE STAR E Joyce 2. MAITHA BUACHAILL D Murphy 3. SAUNDERS JUBILEE J Manning Jnr DIST 4 3/4L 4 3/4L TIME 2.32.4 8 Ran Heat Five . 1. RHYDS DESTINY T O'Leary 2. KICKASS KATIE J Richardsson 3. SUNNYSIDE KILDARE D Murphy DIST NK 4 1/4L TIME 2.33.2 8 Ran MAVEN TROTTERS HEATS 1 ½ Miles Heat One. 1. URBANO DE SELLES B Roche 2. CILANDO DU TEMPS J Richardson 3. BLANPAIN LE FOL P Kane Jnr DIST 1 3/4L 2L TIME 3.13.6 6 Ran Heat Two. 1. BRUTENOR P Hill 2. SILVANO BELLO D Murphy 3. ROHANS DES THIRONS P Kane Jnr DIST 7L 1 1/4L TIME 3.12.9 5 Ran Heat Three. 1. BALAROU DES ILES A Wallace 2. ARIANE DES TITHAIS S Quill 3. CUPIDON DE BRETEIL M Kelleher DIST 1/2L 6 3/4L TIME 3.12.0 6 Ran Heat Four 1. ALINEKA DARCHE D Murhy 2. ULDIEM ALFA S Kane3. AUBABE A HELENE P Hill DIST 2 1/2L 1 3/4L TIME 3.11.6 5 Ran Le Trot Three Year Old 1 ½ Miles 1. EL TEJAR A Wallace 2. EPICE DE LA GOUTTE J J McLeod 3. ELLA LOU LOU S Kane DIST 1/2L 3/4L TIME 3. 23.1 7 Ran Grade E D & B 1 Mile 1. SPRINGHILL DOYLE L Kelleher 2. TWO SCORE R Sheridan 3. ALERT CODE M O'Reilly DIST 3/4L 1 1/2L TIME 2.02.5 4 Ran SUNDAY RESULTS RED JOHN MEMORIAL FINAL 1 ¼ Miles 1. RHYDS DESTINY T O'Leary 2. ON TOP BIG C P Kane Jnr 3. STREAMSIDE STAR E Joyce DIST 3 1/2L 1 3/4L TIME 2.44.5 10 Ran MAVEN TROTTERS DERBY FINAL 1 ½ Miles 1. BRUTENOR P Hill 2. ALINEKA DARCHE D Murphy 3. BALAROU DES ILES A Wallace DIST 30L 1 3/4L TIME 3.21.0 8 Ran RED JOHN CONSOLATION FINAL 1 ¼ Miles 1. IB A MAGICAN D Murphy 2. BRYWINS PICASSO L Kelleher 3. SUNNYSIDE KILDARE S Quill DIST 1/2L 3/4L TIME 2.50.6 9 Ran MAVEN CONSOLATION FINAL 1 ½ Miles 1. AUBADE A HELENE P Hill 2. TARNAO JOSSELYN S Quill 3. SAXO DE MARONCOURT S Kane DIST 4L 1L TIME 3.29.1 8 Ran OAKWOOD STUD 3YO GRASS PACING CHAMPIONSHIP 1 Mile 1. REBEL ROUSER D Murphy 2. RHYDS RIVAL B Roche 3. EARNIES UMPIRE M O Reilly DIST 2 1/4L 3 1/2L TIME 2.09.7 7 Ran PJI ENGINEERING MIRACLE MILE 1. WELLFIELD GHOST J Manning Jnr 2. CAMDEN CASSANOVA J Richardson 3. RHYDS BOOTS S Duggan DIST 8L 1/2L No Time Available 8 Ran ANTO RUSSELL MEMORIAL FFA TROT 1 ½ Miles 1. TENOR MESLOIS D Murphy 2. ULTIMO D, OUVILLE A Wallace 3. BEST OF BURIOUS J Richardson DIST 2 1/4L 4 1/2L TIME 3.21.9 4 Ran GRADE F 1 Mile 1. RINGO LADY T O Reilly 2. MR SECURITY M O Donovan 3. I TOLD YOU SO M Goggin Jnr DIST 6 3/4L 6L TIME 2.17.3 5 Ran GRADE G & G1 1 Mile 1. HURRY UP ABI J Manning Jnr 2. HILLSIDE MUSTANG K Sheehy 3. MEADOWBRANCH MATT M Kelleher DIST 4 3/4L 18 1/2L TIME 2.15.9 6 Ran

Mid Wales & Border Counties harness racing held a fixture at Allensmore for the first time in 20 years on Saturday. A wonderful afternoon's racing was enjoyed by the enthusiastic public after the Lawrence family came to the rescue following the cancellation at Newbridge. Two nursery races started the afternoon, with Bets All Off securing a win in the first, while Krakatoa gave valuable experience to his new driver by winning the second nursery. The first races for the punters were the novice heats. The first one saw ex-steeplechase jockey Wayne Knox from Pandy with his impressive horse The Chancer ran on to win from the well respected Ook Who's Coming (Evans, Brecon) while the impressive Cool Ice (Gething, Ewyas Harold) was third. The stablemate Rhyds Panalulah (Gething, Ewyas Harold) has run exceptionally well during the last few weeks and again took top honours in the second novice heat with his trainer Derek Pritchard at the controls. In second place was the consistent Lanehouse Patch (Thomas, Merthyr) while Danny Blue (Peters, Longwood) ran well in third. The Grade B was a straight race, with Made in Wales who has recently changed hands, now in the Hawkes of Llanddewi stable taking the race under the guidance of Mathew Tromans. In second place was another impressive run for Chinatown Samuel (Moorhouse, Llandinam) while Brywins Jo Jo (Jones, Ammanford) was third. In the first Grade A heat, the diminutive Rebus (Thomas, Rhymney), driven as usual by Mark Evans, was first passed the post ahead of the grey Ayr Hero (Bevan Llanddewi), while another grey Krakatoa (Knox, Pandy) was third. Habberley Playboy (Gittins/Johns, Shrewsbury) ran a great race in the second A heat to win, from the people’s favourite grey Scoobys Dream (Williams, Brecon) while the improving Meadowland Hasty (Price, Brecon) was third. Beg for Mercy is a lovely little mare who is quietly enhancing her reputation, winning her first Baby Novice as usual driven by owner Mathew Tromans from Newcastle Emlyn. In second was another well fancied horse Garth Vader (Williams, Brecon) while newly promoted Bets All Off (Sergent, Howey) was third. In the second Baby Novice it was C U Maggie (Bevan, Llanddewi), another mare enjoying her first win, with Mel Langford in the seat who came home in front of Hilltop Recon (Lloyd, New Radnor) while the improving Afanbellsprincess (Jones, Cribyn) came third. In the Novice final, it was the winner of the first heat, The Chancer (Knox, Pandy) who romped home ahead of the fast finishing Rhyds Panalulah (Gething, Ewyas Harold) while Lanehouse Patch (Thomas, Merthyr) notched up another third. Five horses lined up for the Junior race which included the return from injury of Izzy John from Llangunllo who partnered Nia Patrol. The winner was the hard pulling Wellfield Wally with Rachel Bevan-Thomas on board just coming home in front of the young Jets Girl (Langford, Onibury) and Ceri Bevan, while in third was Jess Samuel from Newchurch driving the family’s Camden Lock. The grade A final completed the afternoon’s racing in which little Rebus (Thomas, Rhymney) driven by Mark Evans stormed up the home straight to claim the win from the ever popular twelve-year-old Scoobys Dream (Williams, Brecon) while Habberley Playboy (Gittins & Johns, Shrewsbury) had to settle for third. Next week’s racing is on Bank Holiday Monday when the Llandrindod committee stage their fixture at the Penybont track starting at 1.30pm. By Paul Rogers Reprinted with permission of The Hereford Times

Pompano Beach, FL...August 11, 2017...Avenging an earlier defeat on their home field of Pompano Park, a quintet of Florida Amateur Driving Club members journeyed to the United Kingdom and got a bit of revenge, eking out a 45-43 decision over their British rivals in a hot contested--but friendly--competition. The grand event was held, first, at the Tir Prince course in North Wales with the conclusion held over the Tany Castle turf course in Aberystwyth in North Wales. The Brits jumped out to an early lead as England's Richard Haythornthwaite (victorious at Pompano Park earlier in the year) took the opener with Ireland's Chris O'Reilly second and the U.S.A.'s Dein Spriggs third. With the American contingents "backs to the wall," Dennis Whittemore saved the day as he scored a hard fought, photo finish victory in the final. After that event, Whittemore remarked, "Wow! Let me tell you that was the most thrilling victory I have ever had. "There are some very serious challenges driving over a turf course--especially a wet one on a half mile track. "I thought I'd have a go at it taking the lead early and that worked out very well. On the backside the final time, (Patrick (Morris) made that big move and he took a short lead but my horse had some fight left in him and we got to the wire first. "Unforgettable is the only way to describe it!" The event was organized by Britain's Lee Morris and Jaimie Davies, along with the U.S.A.'s Dein Spriggs and Jeff Schaefer. Schaefer, Spriggs and Whittemore were to joined by Tony Dinges and Ron Cusimano to complete Team Florida. Patrick Morris completed the roster of Brits competing. Both Schaefer and Spriggs had high praise for their hosts, echoing each other about the hospitality enjoyed during their stay in the United Kingdom. "The competition was fierce, yes," said Schaefer, "but we felt right at home with their warm and generous hospitality." Spriggs said, "We are hoping that this type of competition will expand throughout the world as it seems to be a great 'shot in the arm' for our grand sport." by John Berry for the Florida Amateur Driving Club        

WEST CORK, Ireland - LLywns Allstar with Mike O Brien in the bike, was an upset winner of the 2017 Murphy /Heineken Coman Beverages Grand Prix at the second and final day of the Ballabuidhe Harness Racing Festival in Dunmanway Monday. Sunnyside Kildare and Wellfield Ghost, both heat winners on Sunday, were the market principals in the six horse final. LLywns Allstar led from the start, but was stalked by both Sunnyside Kildare and 2016 winner Hail Spartacus. Only a couple of lengths separated the field for the opening two circuits. Out on the final lap cruise, Howard and Wellfield Ghost began to move in on the leader, but LLywns Allstar was not for catching and in a blanket finish held on by a neck from Cruise Howard with Kestrels Dot Sammy a short head third . It was a first classic success for the O'Brien Family from Schull and was very popular with the bumper bank holiday crowd. Luke Kelleher captured his second big handicap of the Summer when giving Brywins Picasso a masterly drive in The Paddy Connolly Memorial Handicap., Saunders Jubilee and The Hitman were the early leaders. Going with four furlongs to pace the winner was edging closer. Then turning for home, Kelleher gaver Brywins Picasso the office and he ran out an easy four length winner..Luke is only 15 years of age and added The Connolly to the George Deane Memorial which he won at this venue earlier this year . There was a tremendous finish to the Le Trot race. Valliant Forgion seemed to have done enough but was collared closing for home by Va Reine Du Pont and the photo finish gave a dead heat between the two. . Hurry Up Abi, a three-year-old by Kiki Colt, looks an exciting prospect when landing the G & G1 pace. John Manning never looked in any danger ann won by 12 lengths in the finish Ccrin Du Bussire made it two on the bounce when coming home a distance in front of Ebene Des Brouets .Sean Kane was the winning driver.  Ballyhill Jimmy took the grade G Pace. Derry McCarthy sent the winner to the front with two furlongs to pace and won by three lengths from Meadowbranch Matt. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS THE MURPHY /HEINEKEN COMAN BEVERAGES GRAND PRIX 1st M O'Brien LLYWNS ALLSTAR Owner 2nd C O Brien CRUISE HOWARD T O'Leary 3rd K Sheehy KESTRELS DOT SAMMY Owner DIST HD SH 6 Ran   THE PADDY CONNOLLY MEMORIAL HANDICAP 1st O'Farrell / Kelleher BRYWINS PICASSO LKelleher 2nd J Hill THE HITMAN M Goggin Jnr 3rd S & T O'Reilly RINGO LADY T O'Reilly DIST 4l 1l 6 Ran   GRADE G PACE 1st J Manning HURRY UP ABI J Manning Jnr 2nd S Buckley SUNNYSIDE UNIQUE D Murphy 3rd D O'Sullivan BEST OF CLASS P Manning DIST 12l 12l 4 Ran   GRADE G & G1 PACE 1st W J Cooke BALLYHILL JIMMY D McCarthy 2nd O'Farrell / Healy MEADOWBRANCH MATT L Kelleher 3rd Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG K Sheehy DIST 3l 5l 4 Ran   LE TROT THREE YEAR OLD 1st O'Mahony/Crowley/O'Brien ECRIN DE BUSSIERE S Kane 2nd P Manning EBENE DES BROUETS Owner DIST A DIST 3 Ran(Only 2 finished)   LE TROT 1st DEAD HEAT O'Sullivan/Goggin VALLIANT FORGION M Goggin Jnr 1st DEAD HEAT  F Quill VA REINE DU PONT S Quill 3rd. F Quill TARNAO JOSSELYN S Quill DIST DEAD HEAT 2l      

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