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Foreclosure N, harness racing

Foreclosure N semen heading "down under"

Oakwood Stud in County Offaly, Ireland has reported that semen from their top harness racing pacing stallion, Foreclosure N, will be made available in Australia and New Zealand shortly. Kody Charles of KTC Bloodstock in Perth, Australia has been friends via Facebook with Derek and James Delaney of Oakwood Stud for years and they finally met face-to-face in 2015. "When we first got Foreclosure N in Ireland," Derek Delaney explained, "Kody contacted me to say he has his dam in Australia and he had a keen interest in him and had followed his success as a sire in the USA. He asked about shipping his frozen semen to use for some of his mares and we stuck a deal to also make it available for outside mares too." This will be the first time that KTC Bloodstock, which is run by Kody with his mom and dad and Brittany, have been involved with shipping semen overseas and they are very excited to see his foals on the ground next year in Australia and New Zealand. "This is a new venture for KTC Bloodstock," said Kody Charles. "We are very pleased to be selected as Agent for the frozen semen of Foreclosure in Australia and New Zealand. "It has been a dream of ours for some time to get involved in a stallion, Kody explained. "and I can't think of no better stallion to get involved in at our first attempt. He is already competing with the best in the states and already has the points on the board from his first small crop. I think he will a big plus for local breeders. He will be supported by our own mares and frozen semen will be available in Australia and New Zealand for a fee of $2,500 including GST." Foreclosure N, (Rocknroll Hanover - Pleasing Package A - Fake Left) was bred in USA and foaled in NZ, then shipped back to USA as yearling, raced in the USA and Canada, then bred one crop with 21 foals in the USA. His oldest foals are now age 4 and have earned over $1 million through their three-year-old season. He finished 6th on the top 20 sires for average earnings for three-year-old pacers in 2017 and sired the Ohio Sire Stakes Championship winner, Drunk On Your Love p,3 1:51.1f. He was also recently honored as the top Ohio-bred 3-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the year in 2017 and earned $328,286 to date. Foreclosure N's richest daughter is Rosemary Rose p,3 1:51.4h $255,692, and holds the track record for 3-year-old fillies at Northfield Park with her record mile of 1:51.4 and won multiple legs of the OHSS and won the Grand Circuit event, the Courageous Lady. World renowned driver Tim Tetrick had this to say about Foreclosure N: "I think this stallion has a very good opportunity at stud," Tetrick said. "He is already having fantastic results from a small crop in the USA. I really liked him as a racehorse. He was a real professional on the track that tried hard every inch of the mile. He had a great gait with a great attitude and really wanted to do his work and was one super-fast horse." Foreclosure N was sold to Oakwood Stud in 2015 and bred mares in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England and now is going to be breeding foals in Australia and New Zealand, so it's fair to say he's well-travelled once again in his career. "Our first crop here in Ireland from Foreclosure N are now 2," Derek Delaney said. "and in training they look superb and the feedback from trainers is phenomenal at this early stage." For more information about getting semen down under for Foreclosure N, please contact either Oakwood Stud at www.oakwoodstud.ie or KTC Bloodstock at www.ktcbloodstock.com.au. By Steve Wolf, for Oakwood Stud      

Van Helsing, harness racing

Big finish at Ballygurteen in Grade E Pace

WEST CORK, IR - Van Helsing with was a popular winner of the Grade E Pace at the annual Ballygurteen Road Trotting races on Sunday. The race produced the best finish of the five race program with four horses crossing the line in a blanket finish. Hillside Aurelius, who was having his first outing in the grade, led early in this mile contest .Turning for home Van Helsing and Fairdays Bret joined the leader and in a sprint to the line Van Helsing got the nod by half a length. This was a real family occasion with the winner bred by Paddy O'Brien from Schull and is owned and trained by his son Micheal and ridden by another son Patrick. "He got a slight knock in Drimoleague which meant he missed Durrus but was spot on for today, " added Micheal O'Brien in the post race media briefing. Maitha Buachaill and Rhyds Ponder went "at it again" in the top grade pace and this time the pendulum swung the way of Maitha Buachaill. Rhyds Ponder set the early fractions with the winner never more than a length in arrears .At The final turn the two big guns were joined by Tactician Du Lys and with all guns blazing the trio were spread across the road. Entering the last eighth Maitha Buachaill just got the upper hand and led home Tactician Du Lys by a length with Rhyds Ponder another length third. "He gets bone lazy in front so i had to bide my time before going to the front," said winning jockey Jamie Hurley. Saunders Paris continued her unbeaten run in the Grade B & C with a facile win.This was her first run over the maximum two mile trip and finished strong and Deidre Goggin played down the hype about her running against the big guns in Grade A. "We cant be but happy with her first time over the distance and look Ponder and Buachaill are another matter completely," said Goggin, whose cheeky smile couldnt hide her delight. Fair Enough took out a competitive Grade D pace. Sunnyside Kildare was the punters choice in his first outing in Grade D and his cause wasnt helped by a bad first turn. But to be fair Matthew O'Reilly was never in danger on the winner eventually seeing off "Kildare" by two lengths. "I bought him out of the Newtown Stud in Dublin and he had a few small niggles, but I think we have him in the right frame now," said owner Chris O'Reilly, who dove a winner at Pompano Park Florida in 2016. Shanes Income has been knocking at the door in the Novice grade for the last few days and finally got the win he deserved today. The son of Earned Income led from start to finish and was not for catching. The Big Skibbereen Memorial Day is next on the circuit on Sunday 28th January and this meeting attracts a large infux of visitors from Dublin,.Scotland, Wales and The UK. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink Details of entries on www.harnessracingcork.com RESULTS NOVICE PACE 1st McCarthy/Daly SHANES INCOME A McCarthy 2nd Kane / Crowley / O Mahony MOORSIDE CAPTAIN T O Leary 3rd D McCarthy KENTUCKY FINALE D Goggin DIST 8L 10L 3 Ran GRADE E PACE (The Denis Dullea Memorial Cup) 1st M O'Brien VAN HELSING P O'Brien 2nd D McCarthy FAIRDAYS BRET A McCarthy 3rd L O'Brien HILLSIDE AURELIUS J Hurley DIST 1/2L 1/2L 5 Ran GRADE D (The Jeremiah Keohane Memorial Cup) 1st C O'Reilly FAIR ENOUGH M O'Reilly 2nd S Buckley SUNNYSIDE KILDARE T O'Leary 3rd Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG J Healy DIST 2L 4L 6 Ran GRADE B & C (The William O Sullivan Memorial Cup) 1st M Goggin Jnr SAUNDERS PARIS D Goggin 2nd D McCarthy RHYDS DILEMMA A McCarthy 3rd G Cooke MEADOWBRANCH ROMEO M O'Reilly DIST 10L 1L 3 Ran GRADE A (The Paddy Keohane Memorial Cup) 1st Hegarty / Hurley MAITHA BUACHAILL J Hurley 2nd G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O'Leary 3rd N Forbes RHYDS PONDER D Goggin DIST 1L 1L 3 Ran  

Harness racing

Fireworks galore at Durrus road racing meet

WEST CORK, IR - Only a few hours into the new year and there was more fireworks at the annual New Years Day harness racing fixture in Durrus . All last season the meetings of Rhyds Ponder and Maitha Buachaill have proved the talking point on all race goers lips and on Monday they served up another classic to rival any of their previous meetings.  Both horses took turns at leading which normally has Rhyds Ponder as the pace setter.  Coming off the final turn, Maitha Buachaill had Rhyds Ponder in his sights, and took up the mantle and looked a winner in the final 200 yards, but Deirdre Goggin had one more effort on Ponder and overtook the winner to win by two lengths . Like all personal duels the talk already is of another rematch in Ballygurteen on Jan 14th. This was the second leg of a riding double for Deirdre Goggin, who earlier in the afternoon combined with her brother Micheal to land the Grade B & C aboard Saunders Paris.  This impeccably bred filly is the apple in the eye of the Goggin family and led home Lakeview Walter and the  die hards of racing were even talking about the possibility of Saunders Paris meeting "The Big Two" later in the year.  Sunnyside Kildare and Hillside Aurelius both winners in Drimoleague both contiued their winning runs. Hillside Aurelius made every yard of the Novice contest over a mile and led home Shanes Income and newcomer Kentucky Finale. Sunnyside Kildare was a warm order favorite in the betting ring and gave the odds on punters a small fright winning in a blanket finish in the Grade E contest .as always "Cool Hands"Timmy O'Leary was in the winning seat .  Fair Enough who finished second on his first run on tarmac in Drimoleague went one better today taking out an ultra competitive Grade D. Matthew O'Reilly had Fair Enough always near the front and hit the front in the final two furlongs to win by six lengths. Fair Enough looks like a shrewd buy for owner Chris O Reilly (cousin of the winning jockey) who purchased him out of the Newtown Stud in October. Sunday 14th January the action moves to Ballygurteen  Details on www.harnessracingcork.com  by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS  GRADE A (The Timmy Daly Memorial Cup) N Forbes RHYDS PONDER D Goggin  Hegarty / Hurley MAITHA BUACHAILL J Hurley  G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O Leary  DIST 3L Dist 3 Ran  GRADE B & C (The PJ Barry Memorial Cup & Cottage Tables Cup) M Goggin Jnr SAUNDERS PARIS D Goggin  R Joyce LAKEVIEW WALTER M O Reilly  D McCarthy RHYDS DILEMMA A McCarthy  DIST 8L 2L 3 Ran GRADE D (The John O Sullivan Memorial Cup) C O Reilly FAIR ENOUGH M O Reilly Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG J Healy One For the Road Syn IB TWEEDY J Hurley DIST 6L 2L  6 Ran  GRADE E (The Charles Cremin & Jack Connolly Memorial Cup) S Buckley SUNNYSIDE KILDARE T O Leary D McCarthy ON THE OTHER SIDE D Goggin  D McCarthy FAIRDAYS BRET A McCarthy  DIST 1L 1/2L 4 Ran  NOVICE (The Jan Goregrimes Memorial Cup) L O Brien HILLSIDE AURELIUS J Hurley McCarthy / Daly SHANES INCOME A McCarthy  D McCarthy KENTUCKY FINALE D Goggin  DIST 6L 10L 3 Ran     

Greenhill Lillian, harness racing

Wales review of the year: Harness racing

Looking back on Mid Wales trotting during 2017 one inevitably thinks of the weather, which generally provided good conditions for racing, it was a little dry early on, but the showers in the latter part of the season helped the tracks provide some wonderfully competitive harness racing. As usual the season began on the all weather track at Amman Valley with two meetings a fortnight apart, the prestigious Llangadog meeting has provided the opening meeting of the season for generations and still retains the atmosphere of anticipation for the start of racing. The winner of the very first race of the season was Greenhill Lillian (Thomas, Rhymney) in the nursery when she clocked up an excellent time which that day was only beaten by the open horses. We should have taken notice then, that this was a mare to watch. After a few outings in May and June it was July before she got into her stride to win five races in three weeks including, Aberystwyth, Caersws, the STAGBI mares’ free for all and completing the series by winning Novice heat and final at Penybont along with two wins on her final appearance of the year she secured the Mathew Tromans cup for the most improved horse. Also she had third place in the junior President’s cup and ninth in the prizewinners’ list winning over one thousand pounds in just 12 starts. This homebred five year old looks all set to reach racing heights. The President’s cup for junior horses was dominated by five year old mares, Rhyds Panalulah (Gething, Ewyas Harold) was second while the hard working Turn the Paige (Miles, Merthyr) secured the trophy. The President’s cup for the open horses was won by the top money winner for the season Chinatown Kolt (Jones, Llanllwni) on his first season with Mid Wales racing, he claimed £2,230 from 30 starts, his first success came at Knighton races, the first grass meeting of the season, he kept up the Hitchcock stable tradition and took heat and final at Penybont this helped secure the title of people’s favourite for the year. Second in the President’s cup was the stunning Ayr Ontario (Weigel, Llanddewi Velfrey) he won the Presteigne grade B final along with several others, and in third place was Lakeside Pan (Elder, New Quay) he was another horse winning at the first meeting in May, as well as the prestigious Talgarreg meeting, the Ammanford free for all in July as well as several heats, despite his handicap going back to fifty yards for this he was awarded the Terry Boxhall Memorial cup for outstanding performance. Pan was also third in the winners list with £2,030 to his credit. Ithon Inmate (Price, Brecon) didn’t collect any silverware at the annual awards, but he was again in the list of the top prizewinners with over two thousand pounds and 8 wins to celebrate. Rebus (Thomas, Rhymney) a little horse who proved to have a big heart was fourth in the prizemoney stakes winning over £1,500 he had to play second fiddle to Chinatown Kolt at Penybont but at the Llandrindod meeting a couple of weeks later he took heat and final. He finished the season with 6 wins one of which was his first saddle with daughter Lucy in the plate. Fold the Notes (Perks, Presteigne) is a well named horse, he took the Kington grade B heat & final as well as the Caersws B final with two saddle wins, one at Penybont and one at Almeley he and partner Rebecca Williams have shown great adaptability to clock up 6 wins and £1,225 and now transfers into the Grade A. George Gentle began the season in the Novice division and with four wins on the trot, he also won the Grade B final at Old Radnor races and finished the season with £1,045 in the pot. No Mercy (Weigel, Llanddewi Velfrey) hung up his harness at the end of the season after another good year when he retained his title as saddle horse of the year partnered as always by Jayne Bevan from Llanddewi who retained the leading jockey title. Alongside his saddle success he claimed wins at Ammanford and the A final at Talsarn, his total prizemoney for the year was £1,030. Chinatown Samuel (Moorhouse, Llandinam) was another horse who joined us this year, on only his second outing he won the Talgarreg Novice final this graduating him into open company. Although he enjoyed a couple of heat wins it wasn’t until the Llandrindod meeting on August Bank Holiday Monday that he secured his second final win, this making his season’s total £1,025. The Bold Jack tenth in the list of winners of over one thousand pounds prize money changed hands in the closed season. His new owner young Jonny James from Dorstone rejuvenated the horse, winning the B finals at Ludlow and Aberystwyth as well as a heat at Penybont, unfortunately he picked up an injury and his season was cut short, otherwise what stats would he have lodged? Second to Jayne Bevan in the saddle jockey championship was Rebecca Williams from Ludlow where she claimed saddle wins on Fold the Notes (Perks, Presteigne) and her own Nia Patrol. In the main drivers championship it was Mel Langford from Onibury who beat all comers winning 22 races and being placed 38 times. The horses which provided most of her wins were Chinatown Samuel (Moorhouse, Llandinam) Evenwood Thumps Up (Lewis, Llanbister) with a tally of 8 wins and Ayr Hero (Bevan, Llanddewi) who won the Aberystwyth A final. Second in the lady drivers’ championship with 14 wins, was Rebecca Williams showing she is just as happy in the saddle or on the sulky, most of her driven wins were with Fold the Notes and Ithon Hannah both belonging to the Perks family from Presteigne, and in third place was Janet Thomas from Tregroes with 11 wins most of them coming from Turn the Paige (Miles, Merthyr) and her own Hyar Temptation. The male drivers’ championship was won by Mathew Tromans with 22 wins and 15 places most of these wins came from Habberley Playboy (Johns & Gittins, Shrewsbury) Lakeview Meg (Atherton-Rees, Narberth) Made in Wales (Evans, Red Roses) and Meadowland Olympic (Evans, Newcastle Emlyn). Runner up in the drivers’ championship for the men was Derek Pritchard from Rhosgoch with 21 wins many with the iconic Ithon Inmate (Price, Brecon) while Rhyds Panalulah and Cool Ice both from the Gething stable at Ewyas Harold added to his total. Mark Evans from Brecon was third with 16 wins, his most successful drives coming with Greenhill Lillian and Rebus from the Thomas stable at Rhymney as well as his own Ook whos coming. The junior driver/rider championship was keenly contested again this year with the title going to Ellie Tromans from Newcastle Emlyn several of her wins were on Habberley Playboy (Johns & Gittins, Shrewsbury) so father and daughter enjoyed a double celebration of their respective drivers’ championship. Second in the junior was Rachel Bevan-Thomas who enjoyed 4 wins while cousins, Josie Duggan (Howey) and Issy John (Llangunllo) shared third position with one win and one second each. Time marches on, the horses have been turned out for a well-earned rest, while owners, trainers and drivers begin to plan their 2018 campaign. Reflections on 2017 turn into expectations for 2018. Soon it will be spring, horses will be brought back into training ready to start next season at the beginning of May, the sporting cycle continues as it has done for generations in this traditional equine activity of Mid Wales. By Maureen Lloyd Reprinted with permission of The Brecon and Rodnor Express

WEST CORK, IRE - The 2018 Winter Road Racing season got underway at Drimoleague on St Stephens Day and despite terrible weather conditions there was some good finishes in the five-race card. Jamie Hurley who was champion jockey in 2017 kicked off the new season with two winners. Maitha Buachaill and Rhyds Ponder were arch rivals all last year and the rivalry continued in the Grade A & B. This time Maitha Buachaill got the verdict leading home Rhyds Ponder by two lengths with Tactician Du Lys a further ten lengths third. This gave Jamie Hurley his second win of the afternoon having earlier teaming up with newcomer Hillside Aurelius in the Novice Pace who led home On The Other Side by six lengths. The winner is owned by Liam O’Brien. Another Hillside Farm bred Hillside Mustang took the Grade D. This was the best finish of the day with Fair Enough and Hillside Mustang battling out a driving finish with Mustang prevailing by a neck. Sunnyside Kildare a former multiple track winner made his debut on tarmac a winning one leading from start to finish in the Grade E. Timmy O’Leary was in the plate for owner Sean Buckley. Saunders Paris notched up another win in the Grade C and Deirdre Goggin teamed up with this one who is owned and trained by her brother Micheal. New Years Day action moves to Durrus with another five-race program. Check www.harnessracingcork.com for details of entries. By Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS GRADE A & B (The Tommy McCarthy Memorial Cup) Hegarty/Hurley MAITHA BUACHAILL J Hurley N Forbes RHYDS PONDER D Goggin G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O’Leary DIST 2l 10l 3 Ran   GRADE C (The Joe O Sullivan Cup) M Goggin SAUNDERS PARIS D Goggin D McCarthy RHYDS DILEMMA A McCarthy J O Sullivan HILLSIDE DARTANIAN M O’Reilly DIST 5l 2l 3 Ran GRADE D Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG J Healy C O Reilly FAIR ENOUGH M O’Reilly N Forbes GADGIE PAN D Goggin  DIST NK 4l 5 Ran GRADE E S Buckley SUNNYSIDE KILDARE T O’Leary H Kelleher BLACKFIELD JENNY J Healy M O Donovan MR SECURITY J Hurley DIST 2l 4l 4 Ra NOVICE L O Brien HILLSIDE AURELIUS J Hurley D McCarthy ON THE OTHER SIDE D’Goggin J O Mahony EDERLEZI T O’Leary DIST 4l 6l 5 Ran

Harnesslink would like to wish all our harness racing readers a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.   As the year comes to a close, Harnesslink can reflect on another successful twelve months in reporting on and airing the issues that matter if Harness Racing is to have a successful and sustainable future. We thank our visitors for their continued support and we pledge to work as hard again in 2018 to keep the Harnesslink site at the high level at which it presently operates. Safe travels and Merry Christmas    Management and staff at Harnesslink.

England, UK - Today, Friday 8th December, sees the official launch of a new organisation set to work towards securing the future of racing in the UK. The British Harness Racing Development Fund (BHRDF), founded by Coalford Stud's Joseph Maw, seeks to generate sufficient funding to purchase a suitable piece of land for the development of a half mile hard track in a central location for the benefit of all BHRC licence holders to race on in 2019. In a statement to be published in the British Harness Racing Club's (BHRC) membership calendar, the BHRDF describes the present situation as follows: "British harness racing is currently at its lowest ebb; we are at rock bottom and if we continue on our current path then harness racing will cease to exist in Britain in the not so distant future. Over the last 10 years the fixture list has been reduced dramatically. The main reason? The sport's two main facilities (York Harness Raceway & Tir Prince Raceway) are owned/operated by private individuals who, for various reasons, choose not to operate a regular weekly fixture list and can take the venues away at any time (York Harness Raceway is currently for sale). Corbiewood Stadium has been purchased for development and is currently rented for each racing season, thus making it inadequate for the future development of harness racing. Tai'r Gwaith (Amman Valley) also does not operate a regular weekly fixture list. There is absolutely no sense in buying, owning, breeding, training, racing and investing in Standardbreds if we do not have regular all-weather facilities where we can race them. No sense whatsoever. The only people who can save this sport are ourselves." Under the tagline 'Save our sport - back this plan', the BHRDF has set out a detailed action plan to raise the much-needed funding to proceed with the plan to purchase land and build an all-weather track. A steering committee, featuring 15 of the UK's leading breeders, owners, trainers, drivers and commentators, has been formed to forge ahead with this plan with the full backing of the country's harness racing governing body, the BHRC. In addition to money pledged by members of the steering committee, licence holders will be asked to pay an annual membership to the fund which, further down the line, will reward them with certain benefits once the track is up and running and give them stakeholder status. The message is that this will be a track run by the members, for the members, and will secure the future of harness racing in the UK. In conjunction with the official launch of the Development Fund, a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BHRDevelopmentFund) has been set up which will feature regular updates on the progress of the steering committee. Another key feature of the organisation is transparency, and the committee wishes to keep interested parties up to date via an easily accessible platform. Finally, the BHRDF has set up a GoFundMe account (https://funds.gofundme.com/dashboard/britannia-parklets-make-it-happen) and it is hoped that harness racing enthusiasts from every corner of the earth will hear their plight - UK harness racing has an enthusiastic and unique array of participants and this may well be our last chance at saving this wonderful sport on our shores before it is too late. by Sarah Thomas, for the BHRCF  

WEST CORK, IE - The dates for the 2018 Red John Memorial Festival of Harness Racing in Lyre ,Clonakilty West Cork were released this week. Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th of June have been chosen for the 4th running of the event which honors the late "Red" John O Donovan from Leap who tragically passed away in Janurary 2015. From humble beginings the festival has grown to become the biggest turf meetings in Ireland and the UK. In 2017 the meeting moved from Manch to Lyre approx 5km from the bustling town of Clonakilty . Caroline Collins of the RJM committee takes up the story. " In 2015 and 2016 we raced in Manch but due to farming of the venue we could only avail of around 1/3 of the field," Collins explained. "and with Bill Donovan, a leading owner in the USA coming on board as our major sponsor, we felt we needed a bigger venue. James Hurley and Donal Murphy came to us saying that a venue in Lyre would be worth looking at and Ger Hegarty who owns the high quality dairy farm where the track is located was willing to allow us use the venue. "This year the event grew beyond our expectations with massive crowds flocking to the meeting." Collins said. "When the dust settled we began planning for 2018.To be fair Ger Hegarty was anxious to improve the track and remedial works have been carried out to get a few "bumps" out of the track. "As the venue is a top class dairy farm we looked at the dates and came up with mid June as the best possible date. "June is traditionally a month when there is no big clashes with other festival meetings and the weather is more predictable at that time aswell. "People say you learn from your mistakes and we as a committee set very high standards to ensure we can offer the best to all who attend . "We sat down and ironed out the mistakes and look ahead with real excitement. "2018 will again see The Maven Trotting Derby and the Red John Memorial Pace as our main events . "One issue that struck us was that we needed to accomadate as many pacers as possible so this year we are along with The Red John Memorial we are having a Low Grade handicap for pacers. This ensures that every pacer can have a crack at the big prizes on offer . "Again there will be three sustaining payments for The Maven and RJM . "We will be posting details of payment dates over the next few weeks." Collins concluded. So its all systems go for the 2018 Red John Memorial Festival, June 16th and 17th are dates for your calender. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink  

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  

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

 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

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

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