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Sean Kane scores double at Inchadoney Beach

WEST CORK, IE - Sean Kane drove two winners at Annaghmore on Saturday and repeated that feat with another brace at the opening meeting of the 2018 West Cork harness Racing season at Inchadoney Beach on Sunday.   Brasilia Match a winner in Portmarnock a few weeks ago followed up with another victory in the Grade F & E Trot. Kane sent the winner to the front from the off and despite a late challenge from Un Boss he was never in danger and stayed on to win by 1 3/4 lengths . His driving double came in the finale The High grade trot . This time Kane employed the same front running tactics aboard Uldiem Alfa and was never for catching holding off Tarnao Josselyn for a 5 3/4 length winning margin Kane who is retained driver for Moorside Stables is enjoying a rich vein of form in the early season and the four hour drive back to their Naul base in County Meath will be made shorter by their winners . Racing opened with a four year old trot and here Denis O Reilly got a well over due win on his Empereur Souverain . O Reilly led off the number on slot and was never in any sort of danger eventually winning by 6 3/4l lengths from Eve Du Parc "He was very unlucky not to win in Portmarnock a few weeks back and done everything right today.We head to Dundalk for the big PMU meeting on the June weekend" explained winning driver Denis O Reilly . Reclamation opened her three year old campaign with a facile victory in the Grade G & G1 pace . This daughter of A Rock N Roll Dancer led from the start and was not over extended by Donal Murphy .She is owned by the Florida based Bill Donovan and The Murphy Bros and the plan is to race her in all the big three year old races both in Ireland and The UK and will most likely be shipped back to the US at the fall of the year. Canadian visitors Carla Selig and Kathy Byrne were on hard to make the presentation . King Wills Arrival justiofied good market support in the saddle race . Coalford Bruce and Hail Spartacus battled it out early but at the 3/4 pole Oisin Quill went through the middle of the two pace setters and ran out an easy two length winner. Earnies Umpire (Earned Income / Elizabeth Ann) followed up on his win in Portmarnock last Sunday with a victory that would suggest that he could be a very smart type .His eight length win from Pan Cam Drift was most impressive " We think he could right to the top and we will aim him at The Red John Memorial Handicap and then The big Handicap at The Grendon Memorial weekend" were the thought of winning owner Tadhg O Reilly The Iron Horse Meadowbranch Demon showed scant regard for his three rivals in the High Grade Pace.Running off a thirty yard hard handicap driver Luke Kelleher made his move down the back straight and passed with ease and "sat back in the armchair " on the run to the line "Hes just simply the best we ever had and at 12 years of age he seems to be enjoying himself .We give him ma week or two off and plan after that" winning owner Mike Kelleher said of this son of The Commissioner . Next Sunday is George Deane Memorial Day in Dunmanway with heats and finals for pacers By Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslinl RESULTS Race One 1 Emperaur Souverain D O Reilly 2 Eve Du Parc D Murphy 3 Extase Des Epines L Kelleher Distance 6 3/4 6 Time 3.21.6 Race Two 1 Reclamation D Murphy 2 Riverdance Hanover L Kelleher 3 Moorside Captain S Kane Distance 21 1/4 7 1/4 Time 2.10.1 Race Three 1 King Wills Arrival O Quill 2 Coalford Bruce M Shanahan 3 Hail Spartacus E Murphy Distance 5 2 Time 2.06.5 Race Four 1 Brasilia Match S Kane 2 Un Boss J O Mahony 3 Dream Des Broeuts Distance 1 3/4 1/4 Time 3.23.8 Race Five 1 Earnies Umpire M O Reilly 2 Pan cam Drift L Kelleher 3 Brywins Starship R Kingston Distance 8 2 Time 2.07.5 Race Six 1 Meadowbranch Demon L Kelleher 2 Rhyds Panache C O Reilly 3 Kestrels Dot Sammy J O Mahony Distance 3 3/4 1/4 Time 2.08.1 Race Seven 1 Uldiem Alfa S Kane 2 Tarnao Josselyn 3 Aubade A Helene Distance 5 3/4 38 1/2 Time 3.17.3  

Harness racing

West Cork race season opens at Inchadoney Beach

WEST CORK, IE - The 2018 West Cork Harness Racing season opens on Sunday next at the beautiful Inchadoney Beach at 3.30 PM Described by the purists of the sport as one of the best venues to be found anywhere in the world Around 1pm on Sunday The Great Atlantic Ocean tide will be begin to turn outwards and a hippodrome for harness racing will begin to uncover at this Blue Flag Beach (An award only given to the cleanest beaches in Ireland) . Committee members will then mark out the track ,a temporary judges box will be driven on to the beach and at 3.30 racing begins A seven race program is on offer with a mix of three pacing races ,three races for trotters and one saddle race . "Everyone helps setting up the track owners ,drivers and even the race day officials "added Donal Murphy " Its a race against time in every manner firstly setting up the track then getting through the card and finally taking down the track and of course timing all the races " according to Timmy O Donovan a member of the ITHRF (The Irish Trotting and Harness Racing Federation) one of the clubs which make up the Irish Harness Racing Club. " With South West winds due lunch time on Sunday the beach should be at its very best with a half mile oval "coming out of the sands" it is one of our show piece meetings and I have sun glasses ready for the good weather which is forecast" said O Donovan This scribe through the medium of social media had contact from Canada from people who "had it on their bucket list " to make it to the famous beach and will be guests on the day and will enjoy the famous West Cork hospitality . So 3.30 pm at Inhadoney Beach is the place to be and remember TIME NOT TIDE WAITS FOR NO MAN! By Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

Standardbred Horse Sales Company.jpg

Star Maker Series off to a strong start

On Saturday 12th May, the BHRC Star Makers Series sponsored by the Standardbred Horse Sales Company (USA) kicked off with its first leg of nine at Tregaron. The Alexis Laidler-trained mare Laneside Layla held off a strong challenge from Colin Bevan's Laughing Buck to secure her place in the grand final, to be staged at Tir Prince Raceway on Saturday 14th July. The series was developed for horses aged 4YO+ with lifetime earnings of £1000 or less. The remaining 8 heats are scheduled to be staged at a variety of hard and grass tracks across Scotland, England and Wales in the coming weeks. Thirty-three horses were originally staked, with heat winners automatically progressing to the final. Those horses which have not won a heat, can enter the remaining heats an unlimited number of times in an attempt to secure their places in the final. The tenth horse in the final will be the highest point scorer from the heats (with a reserve list to account for subsequent withdrawals from the final). The horses which have been staked for the series are: Al Jolson Ayr Freedom Blytheview JJ (1 run) Borntorun (1 run) Brywins Mayhem Cash All Ceiron JD Coalford Insignia Coffee Mate Country Major Dynaramic Father Ted Finley Wells GDs Hurricane Hawthorns Melinda Hilltop North Art (1 run) Ithon Orbit Ladyford Warrior Laneside Layla (1 run - WINNER OF HEAT 1) Laughin Buck (1 run) Lyons Aceofspades Lyons Comet Lyons Saint Marys (1 run) Mahogany Charmer Natalie Camden Olivia Camden Rhyds Girlpower Rodney Camden Soul Searcher Springhill Calaburn The Dark Destroyer The Lion King Wye Joels Best The remaining heats are as follows: Corbiewood - 18th May Presteigne - 25th May Corbiewood - 1st June Amman Valley - 3rd June Tir Prince - 9th June Evenjobb - 10th June Corbiewood - 21st June Pikehall - 1st July The grand final at Tir Prince, the home of the Crock of Gold, has an estimated purse of £6000 and will be the feature race on the card on Saturday 14th July. With entries from all corners of the UK, the series has captured the imaginations across the board and promises to be a competitive and prestigious event. British Harness Racing would like to take this opportunity to thank the Standardbred Horse Sales Company (USA) for their continued support of harness racing in the United Kingdom and hope that this series will become a regular event in the calendar in years to come. by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink      

Riders taking part in an endurance competition at Tentsmuir Forest.

Saddling up for the mane event

Endurance riding events – long-distance competitions against the clock which challenge both horse and rider – are run across the UK. Gayle Ritchie meets those taking part in one round Tentsmuir Forest A breathtakingly beautiful Friesian stallion canters through the forest, his glossy coat shimmering in the sunlight. His luxurious mane and tail flow freely and his ears prick forwards, listening to the gentle tones of the rider perched on his majestic back. The stallion in question is 16.3hh Oscar and his rider is Blairgowrie-based Janine Mason. The duo is taking part in a timed ride around Tentsmuir Forest alongside 71 other horse and rider combos. © Kris Clay Janine Mason taking part in an endurance ride at Tentsmuir Forest on Freisian stallion Oscar. Run by the Scottish Endurance Riding Club (SERC), the goal is to complete a set distance in an allocated time and with the horse in sound condition, its heart rate below a certain level. Routes today range from a “taster” 9km to a full-on 62km challenge but some riders can boast of completing longer rides – up to a staggering 160km. Some ride in teams while others go solo and there are horses of all shapes and sizes – from slinky, speedy Arabs to hairy Highlands. Overall, there’s a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere; there’s no snobbery or elitism whatsoever. A major focus is on fun and there are some fantastic colour combinations going on, with riders matching their hat silks to their horse’s bridles. Horse welfare and safety are hugely important. Spurs, martingales, blinkers and other restraints are not permitted and horses are vetted before the ride. © Kris Clay From Highlands to Arabs, all breeds take part. “Heart rates must be at a certain level and during the ‘trot up’, they mustn’t be lame,” chief steward Nancy Murdoch tells me. “Those doing big distances have another vet check half way round, and again at the end. “Rather than having a winner, mileage accumulated over time can result in awards.” Top team Mary Stockdale and her stunning black Arab Cumbria Khafifa, and Fiona Kirk with handsome Mr Charles, a Welsh D Cross Thoroughbred, are the first team to hit the half-way 32km mark. As they take a quick break to feed and sponge down their horses, they reveal why endurance is their favourite equestrian discipline. “You can be as competitive or non-competitive as you like,” beams Fiona. “You build a lovely partnership with your horse – a fantastic bond. You can ride all day as long as your horse is sound. “Performance is based on merit, unlike showing, which is based on someone else’s opinion.” © Kris Clay Mary Stockdale on Cumbria Khafifa. Mary, meanwhile, who has awards coming out of her ears – having clinched SERC’s 2017 trophy for rider with most mileage – tells me Khafifa has completed 3,742km under competition rules. “It’s a great opportunity to ride across beautiful countryside we’d never otherwise be lucky enough to see,” she smiles. “There’s a wonderful community and it’s a simple sport to get into. Any horse can do it, provided it’s reasonably fit, and taster sessions allow you to get a feel for the sport. “The relationship that horse and rider build together over the years is deeper than for many other disciplines.” © Kris Clay Mary shares a moment with Khafifa. Lorraine Laing is competing in the 30km option with her Standardbred ex-harness racing horse Tom, who is 20 years old. “We started with shorter pleasure rides then progressed to competing,” she tells me. “We’ve done 50km but prefer to do 30km. I ride in a team with Anne Scott and her Arab, Smokey. “We really love it and are trying to encourage more people to give it a go!” Sheila Bruce, chair of the Tayside branch of SERC, says the sport is open to everyone. “You go out, have fun, set your own parameters and ultimately, compete against yourself,” she says. “Our motto is: ‘To complete is to win’. We believe in challenges – and in the welfare of the horse.” © Kris Clay Janine Mason and Oscar about to be vetted. It wouldn’t be possible to run rides without helpers and roles include everything from runner to vet writer, timekeeper, gate opener, road crossing marshall and checkpoint steward. It’s hugely rewarding and addictive and who knows, it could inspire you to get involved in the sport yourself. To check the calendar or to sign up as a volunteer, see www.scottishendurance.com INFO The Scottish Endurance Riding Club organises three types of ride: pleasure rides, normally between 16 and 29km, competitive rides of 30km and over, and endurance rides of 60km and over. The ultimate competition is the endurance race, which may be up to 160km in one day but is always 60km and over. By Gayle Ritchie Reprinted with permission of The Courier

A tribute to Lazarus has been put together and shown on New Zealand's premier harness racing television weekly show 'The Box Seat' May the 9th 2018. You can watch the video below; Here is a behind the scenes feature video taken on Lazarus on the morning of the 22nd of February 2017 the day that Lazarus won the Victorian Cup. Harness Racing New Zealand produced this Good Luck Lazarus video;  

New Zealand's greatest racehorse Lazarus has been sold to a North American syndicate in a record deal and will not race here again. The $3.8million earner will leave for the US on May 24 where he will be aimed at a possible four-race mini career in an attempt to secure a major win there to help his dual hemisphere stallion credentials. While the exact price is confidential the Herald estimates it must be close to $4 million when the other public offer for the five-year-old stallion is taken into account. Lazarus has been purchase by US thoroughbred breeding giant Taylor Made Stallions, a Kentucky-based operation run by the Taylor brothers, who started their racing lives in harness racing but have concentrated on thoroughbred breeding and yearling preparation for the last three decades. It is believed they have recently reignited their interest in standardbred breeding by purchasing at least part of champion US trotter What The Hill but the Lazarus deal, put together by South Auckland agent John Curtin, breaks new ground. While North America's best horses shuttling here to stand at stud in their off-season is common, trying to turn an Australasian standardbred into a dual hemisphere stallion is extremely rare. Christian Cullen stood one season at stud in the US but without having raced there was never going to be hugely commercial. Lazarus will be given his chance with two races at the famous Red Mile track in October targeted as well as the Breeders Crown at Pocono, a series his new connections would need to pay a supplementary payment to make him eligible for. But he will head to the US without his champion trainer Mark Purdon, with two of North America's leading trainers apparently in the frame to take over his training. If, and it is a big if, Lazarus could win a serious race in the US and pace a super fast mile he has the attributes to become that rare dual hemisphere stallion. In his 45 start career he has proven to be one of the greatest stayer bred in this part of the world, with some remarkable wins in two New Zealand Cups, an Inter Dominion, Hunter and Victoria Cups. But just as importantly from a stallion appeal point of view he was a sensational two and three-year-old, suggesting his stock will have the natural speed to run early. And he is bred on Australasia's golden cross, being by breed-defining stallion Bettors Delight out of a Christian Cullen mare. The one down side to that he is obviously can't serve Bettors Delight mares, who could be the dominant broodmare bunch in Australasia over the next decade. Details on where he will stand and for which studs in either hemisphere are yet to be decided. His departure will sadden many local harness racing fans as it means Lazarus will not get the chance to attempt a third New Zealand Cup win at Addington in November. And with several other high profile retirements or exports in the last year - Smolda, Heaven Rocks, Vincent being the biggest - next season's open class pacing ranks looks the most open in a decade. LAZARUS Breeding: 5h Bettors Delight-Bethany Trainers: Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Record: 45 starts, 35 wins, nine placings. Earnings: $3,821,066. Highlights: New Zealand Cup (twice), Inter Dominion, Hunter Cup, Victoria Cup, Chariots Of Fire, Messenger, Taylor Mile, New Zealand, Northern and Victoria Derbys, Harness Jewels 2-yo, Sires' Stakes Final 3-y-o. By Michael Guerin Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald New Zealand Cup 2016 New Zealand Cup 2017 2017 Inter Dominion Grand Final Hunter Cup Victoria Cup

A training course for ‘sulky’ drivers and trotting horse owners will begin next month in the Dublin area as part of a “carrot and stick” approach by the Government to curb illegal road racing. The Department of Agriculture has commissioned the training programme, which will also be rolled out in other areas of the State, and is currently examining the issue of regulating sulky racing. This follows an increase in the number of collisions on public roads involving such vehicles and the death of a 12-year-old boy in a sulky incident in Dublin. A sulky is an unprotected lightweight, two-wheeled cart usually drawn by a horse or pony. The department said the course would be run by a team of veterinary surgeons and nurses with a “clear understanding of the cultural sensitivities surrounding participation in road racing”. Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said the issues around sulky racing were complex and not always clear cut “particularly as a variety of horse-drawn vehicles are legitimately and safely used on Irish roads”. “The course will encourage participants to move away from road racing practices and move to racing on tracks and to engage with the regulated sport of harness racing on tracks, as operated by the Irish Harness Racing Association,” he said. People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny has expressed concern that sulky racing would be banned, something which he said would not work. Independent TD Mattie McGrath has stated an intention to introduce legislation to ban the practice. Complex issue Describing the sport as popular among the Traveller and working-class communities, Mr Kenny said banning it “will simply drive the practice underground”. Raising the issue in the Dáil this week, the Dublin South-West TD referred to a sulky event in Portmarnock, Co Dublin and said that while the track was not widely known about it was “very good and very positive for those who use it”. Mr Creed said the unregulated nature of sulky racing on public roads was dangerous for horses, their owners and the public at large. Describing it as a complex issue, he said: “We need both the carrot and the stick in this area. We have the legislative toolbox necessary but we need to ensure all actors involved in the implementation of that legislation live up to their respective responsibilities”. The Minister said the department was keen to raise awareness of the importance of good horse welfare among sulky participants and the owners and keepers of trotting horses. Mr Creed last year formally opened the Clondalkin Equine Club in Dublin, a facility for urban-owned horses where local youths are taught about equine care and welfare. He said “the urban horse is as much a part of the story of the Irish horse and cannot be forgotten or written out” but “there is an issue around welfare that is disproportionately evident” in urban areas. Mr Kenny said urban horse ownership sometimes had very negative connotations, “but it is actually a very positive thing, particularly for young people in working-class communities. Travellers have also been unfairly criticised in relation to horse ownership.” Marie O'Halloran Reprinted with permission of The Irish Times

WEST CORK, IE -The harness racing community in West Cork has always been generous when it comes to looking after local charities. Following the record breaking Red John Memorial Festival of harness racing in Lyre last August, the committee made a presentation recently to Cork University Hospital Charities Committee. "We feel that it is important to look after those who may need medical help and CUH was our chosen charity this year." said Caroline Collins, treasurer of the RJM. "In 2018 we are going local with Bantry Pallative Care the charity "added Collins. Harness racing received a massive boost recently with the government funded Indecon report into the industry published and following on that report the government have announced funding of a five year strategic plan giving the sport a chance to grow further. The West Cork season opens at Inchadoney Beach on May 13th with the Red John Memorial Festival pencilled in for Sat 16th and sun 17th June at Lyre. By Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink      

WEST CORK, IE - Nominations for the 2018 Red John Memorial Pace ,The Maven Trotting Derby and the Oakwood Stud Irish Three Year Old Grass Pacing Championships closed recently and once again the biggest Grass Festival in Ireland has attracted bumper entries . 65 pacers have been nominated for the Red John Memorial Pace. 2018 sees a change in format for the pacers with a high grade and low grade heats and finals with entries from the UK among that number. The Maven Trotting Derby has attracted 55 French bred trotters . Nine three year olds are nominated for their aged grass pacing championship. Both the Maven and Red John Memorial have Florida based Bill Donovan as the main sponsor. Bill has traced his roots to Skibbereen and has forged a formidable alliance with the Murphy Brothers of IB Stables where he has sent some US bred pacers to be trained by the famous Harness Racing Nursery which is located on Innisbeg Island between Skibbereen and Baltimore deep in the heart of West Cork . Caroline Collins of The committee takes up the story. "Last year Bill Donovan came on board as our main sponsor and after a record breaking meet last year we wanted to make the festival even better .So we looked at the pacers format and came up with having a high and low grade format thus ensuring as many horses could have a shot at winning . We are delighted to have got 65 entries which all going well means four low grade heats and four high grade heats with two qualifiers going forward to each to form two eight horse finals. The Maven Trotters derby has seen a 30% increase in entries(40 last year to 55 this term) and we are delighted especially for Bill as this final honors Maven one of the finest trotters to grace Harness Racing all around the world who was owned by Bill . We have a small committee in name but come June all the harness racing community come on board. The track is owned by Ger Hegarty who over the Winter has carried out improvement works on both the track and spectator facilities and we will be ready to welcome people from all over Ireland and The UK .We are also blessed to have Gretta Cormican a brother of Ger and her army of stewards to help out for the weekend. As another great man said "Failure in our eyes is not an option" added Collins in a recent interview. The committee will be making a presentation to Cork University Hospital with proceeds from last year and will offically launch this years Festival later this month. So reserve the 16th and 17th June for the Red John Memorial Weekend Festival of harness Racing. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   

Following on from the success of the Oakwood Stud Mares' Pacing Series at Corbiewood in 2017, the Scottish Harness Racing Club has approved the return of the series for 2018 with the same format of six legs and a grand final to be staged on Thursday 9th August. The 2018 running of the series will welcome a new sponsor in Greentree Standardbreds, run by the Clark family based in County Durham, north England, who recently imported the impressive grey stallion Smack Talk to stand his first season at stud in the UK. Conditions for the series remain largely unaltered, with nominations invited on or before Sunday 3rd June. Last year's series saw five different mares win the six qualifying legs, with Starzapan (2016 Scottish Horse of the Year) the only mare to win twice. The aggregate winning distances across the six legs and final was only 8 and a half lengths, illustrating the close and competitive finishes throughout the series. It was the Gilvear family's DONTSTOPTHEPARTY (Dreamfair Vogel-Party West-Western Hanover), the winner of the fifth leg, who landed the spoils in a thrilling final with a well-timed run to take up the lead in the closing stages of the race. In addition, there will be two STAGBI Future Broodmares races staged at Corbiewood in 2018, complimenting a solid programme of races for mares racing in Scotland this year. "The aim of the Greentree Standardbreds Mares' Pacing Series, in conjunction with the STAGBI Future Broodmares races," said Sarah Thomas, who created the series in 2017. "is to provide the owners and trainers of mares not only in Scotland but in neighbouring regions who race at Corbiewood with the opportunity to keep mares in training longer before considering the option of breeding.  "These races add real merit to any mare's CV," Thomas explained. "and the grand final for a decent purse rewards connections who defer going down the breeding route for an additional season or two.  It was hoped that these races would be the type that connections really wanted to win and based on the atmosphere on the night of the final last year, this was certainly achieved.  With some of last year's mares already known to be back in training, plus the potential pool of mares who will become eligible this year, the 2018 series should be a really exciting prospect!" A new drivers' series is currently in the final stages of production and more details of this will follow in due course. Corbiewood will stage in excess of 20 meetings this year with the season kicking off on Sunday 6th May. Come Harness Racing!! by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink      

Public representatives have called for a full clampdown on sulky harness racing and the introduction of new bylaws after an exhausted horse collapsed and died in a residential neighbourhood. The horse, which appears to have collapsed from exhaustion, was attached to a sulky cart when it began to become fatigued in the Hawthorn Mews housing estate in Dublin Hill. According to witnesses, the drivers took the harness off the horse and left it to die, leaving with their equipment. Sinn Féin councillor for the area Thomas Gould said people already had major concerns about the care of horses during the cold spell and this latest incident needed a full investigation. “Last year there was a major round up and something similar needs to be done.” A dead horse covered in a blanket at Dublin Hill yesterday   “Every day there is sulky racing taking place in Cork. Up in Ballyhooley Road, Kilmore Road, Mahon, and the Straight Road,” he said. Fianna Fáil councillor Ken O’Flynn described it as “revolting behaviour by anybody’s standards”. “I believe at this stage that we need a full assault on the individuals that are causing the problem. People putting up their hands and saying they don’t know anything about it and it’s not their animal is not acceptable. “Cork City Council needs to penalise those who are treating animals in an appalling condition and we need to introduce sulky bylaws, the same as Kilkenny, to ban it from our streets and take those animals into care.” County Councillor Ger Keohane also described the incident as “barbaric and beyond cruel”. “That animal must have suffered and gone through stress, hurt and torture right up until its last breath. For someone to just unhook it and leave it there and discard it on the side of the road, as if it is nothing, is disgraceful.” Workers’ Party Councillor Ted Tynan said it was an appalling incident. “It was not a natural death. It was a young female horse. It is appalling treatment of an animal,” he said. Mr Tynan said it reminded him of an issue he had battled with previously of horses left on the outskirts of Rathcooney to starve to death. He called on the Department of Agriculture to step up and tackle the issue of animal mistreatment. “I thought the legislation brought in in 2009 would help to curb this kind of behaviour and make people more accountable, but obviously it hasn’t worked. “I am calling on the Department of Agriculture to get to work and deal with this issue.”   The horse being removed from an estate at Dublin Hill. Pic: Damian Coleman. ISPCA inspector Lisa O’Donovan said she has noticed a trend of young people carrying out these acts of cruelty and described it as a scary phenomenon. “It is not acceptable that you have young kids going out there driving a horse into the ground and then just walking away,” she said. “A few people said to me that they were laughing as they went which I think is even more horrifying. There is no remorse, guilt. The horse is of no more value to them than anything else. “What way are these kids being brought up? What moral values, what ethical values are being instilled in these children from their parents? because it begins at home. This behaviour begins at home,” added Ms O’Donovan. She has called on the public to report incidents of animal cruelty and to hand over any information they may have on the incident in Hawthorn Mews estate to the authorities. “We need the public to be vigilant and we need the public to stand up and say: ‘look this isn’t on, this isn’t going to be accepted’. “Someone out there who saw this knows who these people are. “People have mobile phones — there could be video footage of it. There could be someone who had photographs of the people involved and we ask them to either report it, either go to the gardaí or contact us, send the information to us. “It’s all confidential,” said Inspector O’Donovan. Local resident Noreen Murphy said she and other residents were in shock at the severe cruelty that was displayed by the sulky drivers. Ms Murphy said there are often horses being driven at speed around the area and it is a regular occurrence to have horses flogged and raced in the area. “They seem to be training them for sulky races, driving them around at speed.” Ms Murphy said more needs to be done to protect the horses. “There needs to be more inspections and more control over animals. If you can’t look after animals, you shouldn’t have them. All it requires is a basic level of respect, not to be cruel.” To contact the ISPCA helpline call 1890-515515 or email: helpline@ispca.ie; there is a web form available online at: www.ispca.ie/contact_us. Mayfield Garda station can be contacted on 021-4558510. By Roison Burke Reprinted with permission of The Evening Echo

Harness racing, one of Britain’s most exciting equine sports, takes place right on Falkirk’s doorstep yet many have never heard of it. The unique sport, also more commonly known as ‘trotting’, is a form of horse racing in which the animals race at a specific gait. Either a trotter or pacer then pulls a two-wheeled cart, known as a sulky, and its jockey/driver round a track at speeds of up to 35mph over distances of one mile or longer. All this while the driver is barely two feet from the ground. It is also one of the few sports that allows men and women to compete together on an equal level. Corbiewood Stadium, near Bannockburn, has been host to the Scottish Harness Horse Racing Club for over 50 years. It has offered American-style harness racing to members since 1966 and many Falkirk horses and trainers have come to call it their home. Falkirk members of the club, Wilma and Davie Morton, have been heavily involved in harness racing for decades. The couple have owned Corbiewood three times, and been members for 34 years and 60 years respectively. Along with the sense of community that the club brings, members are very competitive and strive for the highest standards of horses to achieve national awards. Wilma and Davie have trained numerous top level horses who all went on to win renowned races in the UK. Most recently, their horse, Stoneriggs Mystery, won British Harness Racing Club Horse of the Year. Wilma is also the former UK champion Lady Driver, a prestigious nationwide award. She said: “I married into the world of harness horse racing. “Until I met Davie I had never heard about the sport. It’s such an incredible and fascinating sport yet many people don’t realise it exists.” Over the years the track has changed hands and its other purposes, such as greyhound racing, have ceased to exist, however, harness racing remains a permanent fixture. There was an uncertainty over the track’s future due to land redevelopment in the surrounding area but in 2016, Corbiewood celebrated its golden anniversary, making it the longest running harness racing venue in the UK. The club is a non-profit organisation made up of local members and it is run only by those directly involved in the sport. Now the club is reaching out to the people of Falkirk to get involved and support them. James Patterson, club member, said: “The club is always open to having new members as it is great to have fresh faces bringing fresh ideas for the sport. “We’re eager to open it up to a whole new generation of trainers and drivers. “It’s great to see the success of the club still going strong after 50 years and we’d like to keep that going.” Those looking to get involved in harness horse racing can visit their website www.BHRC.org.uk for more information and news on the full race calendar.‚Ä®Admission for spectators is £10 and children under the age of 16 go free. By Eve Macdonald Reprinted with permission of the Falkirk Herald  

WEST CORK, IE - Deirdre Goggin was the star of the show on her home road in Goleen when riding a treble at the beautiful Causeway venue on Sunday last. Two of the winners were for her brother Micheal. In the grade A & B Pace Rhyds Ponder set the early fractions leading to the first and second turns heading to the third turn Goggin sent Saunders Paris to the front and from here to the last turn they were in command. They were roared home by the local partisan crowd and were four lengths in front at the finish . Saunders Picasso another Goggin trained inmate was making his road debut and ram out an easy winner in the grade E Pace. This time the winner was in front from the start and when Van Helsing made a mistake at the second turn Picasso was clear and won easily. The third leg of the Deidre Goggin treble came aboard Gadgie Pan in the Grade C & D . This one has had a few niggling problems during the season and put them behind him today winning in good style . Fair Enough who was placed third in the All Ireland was back to Grade C today and with Matt O Reilly in the Saddle jumped off in front and were not for catching. "I gave him a week or two to recover but I will run him during the Summer"' said Chris O Reilly owner of the winner. Kentucky Finale has found a few smart Novices a bit too good for him over the last few runs but looked a different horse today disposing of his only rival Captain Morgan in the opening Novice Pace. He will also be kept going for the turf season . So Goleen brought the curtain down on the Winter season . The turf season opens in Cork on Sunday 20th May at Inchadoney Beach . Portmarnock Raceway in Dublin will open on Easter Sunday. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink Goleen Road Trotting Races Results. Race 1: Novice Trot. 1st: Kentucky Finale, T. O' Leary. 2nd: Captain Morgan, D. Goggin. Race 2: Grade D Trot. 1st: Gadgie Pan, D. Goggin. 2nd: Blackfield Jenny, M. O' Reilly. 3rd: On The Other Side, T. O' Leary. Race 3: Grade C & D Trot. 1st: Fair Enough, M. O' Reilly. 2nd: Fairdays Bret, D. Goggin. 3rd: Meadowbranch Romeo, T. O' Leary. Race 4: Grade E Trot. 1st: Saunders Picasso, D. Goggin. 2nd: Shanes Income, M. O' Reilly. 3rd: Van Helsing, P. O' Brien. 4th: Ballyhill Jimmy, T. O' Leary. Race 5: Grade A/B Trot. 1st: Saunders Paris, D. Goggin. 2nd: Rhyds Ponder, T. O' Leary. 3rd: Rhyds Dilemma, M. O' Reilly.            

On Saturday 3rd February 2018, members of BHRC and STAGBI met for the Annual Awards Event to celebrate the successes from the breeding of Standardbreds and the sport of Harness Racing. After an enthusiastic welcome from non other than Roger “The Voice” Huston, and a hearty three course meal, the awards ceremony commenced. Hosted by the respected Thoroughbred and Harness racing commentator, Darren Owen, the attendees were directed through the past season and regaled of each individuals achievements. Every review was complimented with screen compilations courtesy of co-host Sarah Thomas and individual congratulations from Roger Huston. The pinnacle of the event is the announcement of Horse of the Year – the top accolade afforded to Standardbreds competing in Great Britain under the governance of the British Harness Racing Club. The names in the hat are the award winners from throughout the season which are voted for by the members of the sport. These are – Pacer of the Year, Mare of the Year, Trotter of the Year, 3YO Colt of the Year, 3YO Filly of the Year, 2YO Colt of the Year, 2YO Filly of the Year and Overseas Horse of the Year. Although many attending were sure there was a far away winner within the room who was always destined to be crowned, all connections present still awaited the announcement with bated breath. This duty fell to Sarah Thomas and as she opened the golden envelope to declare the victor as Evenwood Sonofagun, the room erupted into rapturous applause and congratulations. What a season the connections of this fantastic equine experienced – winning multiple races, breaking track records, setting new track, BHRC and WORLD records. Horse, Owner, Trainer, Driver – they are all record breakers. The horse himself – Evenwood Sonofagun A now six year old son of The Firepan, out of Im The Last finished his 2017 campaign with THREE Grade 1 races on his profile, unbeaten during the season with 11 wins and a streak of 15 in a row, Track Records and a WORLD Record plus whispers of exportation to race abroad. Earlier in the evening he had already scooped awards for his breeders, the Nicholson family of County Durham, in the Breeders Premium for England, The British Breeders Bonus for victory at Musselburgh and two in the Group 1 British Breeders Bonus. The high point of his season came at the York Major 3YO fixture in late June 2017, where Evenwood Sonofagun (‘Gunner’) was aimed at a saddle pace. He had claimed victory just four weeks previously under saddle by an impressive 11 lengths on the grass surface of Appleby. With this June venue a half mile hard track, the event was prepped to challenge the World Record for pacers under saddle. Gunner was again partnered by Alexis Laidler and in a blistering pace they completed the mile in 1.57.3 – a new World Record. The previous World Record was held by Darla Frakes (nee Conklin) who clocked 2.00 in July 1998 at Northfield Park, USA with the gelding Highly Rated. Thanks to the race organisers, Alexis Laidler and her charge, Evenwood Sonofagun, entered the Harness Racing history books. The seasons climax was one of the mostly hotly anticipated Free For All races the British Isles have ever seen – The Crock of Gold Final staged at Tir Prince in North Wales. As the horses were called in by the starter there was lots of jostling in the crowds for the best views, but there was also a stillness. As the horses raced down the home straight the atmosphere changed and the din of the crowd cheering on the competitors was so much that it concealed the commentary. A photo finish was called – after a spectacular race and an agonisingly tense judging of the photo, a Dead Heat of the Crock of Gold Final was declared between Evenwood Sonofagun and Miraculous. A fantastic end to his season. The owner – Raymond Huschka Already presented with the 2017 Leading Owner earlier in the evening, Raymond’s charges amassed 70 top three finishes during the previous season. The 43 victories surpassed any other owners achievements in the last decade of the award, the closest rival being John J Howard Snr who scored 39 wins back in 2009. As well as ‘Gunner’, some other Standardbreds that recorded triumphs for Mr Huschka in 2017 include: Happy Hands (Yankee Lariat x Silvertail) – Appleby Monday Grade 1 Final Winner Jack Swagger (Soulofthematter x Lyons Kellie Ann) – Tregaron Welsh Classic Heat Winner Merrington Movinup (The Preacher Pan x What A Commotion) – Junior Welsh Dragon 2YO Winner Mikey Camden (Camluck x Electrical Art) – Bells Field Heat & Final Winner Valseur Du Cygne (Kaiser Soze x Oxana de Chanterne) – Castell Howard Foods Le Trot Grass Championship Winner The driver – William ‘Rocker’ Laidler Top BHRC Driver by number of wins an astonishing nine times, only halted from a consecutive ten years in 2016 by a shoulder injury sustained whilst preparing horses for racing. In 2013 ‘Rocker’ recorded 97 driving victories, which equated to more than 10% of the total number of races staged that year. It also set the record for number of wins recorded by an individual driver – a record which ‘Rocker’ has stated in the past he wishes to surpass with a century of conquests within a season. The trainer – Alexis Laidler The wife of William ‘Rocker’ Laidler, this team have been the at the top of the Leading Trainer list for eleven consecutive years. Boasting 600+ race wins during this period – 68 recorded during 2017 and a record breaking 101 training wins in 2013. With these statistics it comes as no surprise that almost all of Great Britain’s prestigious races appear on their CV: Appleby Spring Handicap (Grade 1) – Rhyds Ponder in 2013 and Happy Hands in 2017 York 3YO Championship – with Camden Daniel in 2012 and Stamp Hill in 2013 Ceredigion Handicap (Grade 1) – Evenwood Sonofagun in 2017 Famous Musselburgh Pace (Grade 1) – Laneside Lexus 2009, Mahogany Jasper 2011, Springhill Alibi 2013 and Evenwood Sonofagun 2017 Breeders Crown – 2YO division with Matticulous in 2017, 3YO division Merrington Missile in 2012 and 4YO division with Duggans Pride also in 2012 Vincent Delaney Memorial 2YO – Matticulous 2017 Welsh Dragon Series – multiple winners but most impressively the 2YO, 3YO and 4YO divisions all with the same charge, Stamp Hill Crock of Gold (Group 1) – a remarkable three finals with Laneside Lexus in 2011 (who was exported to Canada shortly afterwards), Stoneriggs Mystery in 2012 and Evenwood Sonofagun in 2017 Alexis was as usual modest and unassuming (and extraordinarily glamorous) when receiving the award expressing how proud she is of how far herself and her husband and their team have come in the sport of Harness Racing and extending humble thanks to Mr Huschka for his unwavering support. All in all, the team scooped six of the sixteen BHRC awards presented on the night. And just to finish on a high, confirmed that ‘Gunner’ (Evenwood Sonofagun) is back in training and preparing for the 2018 season! Congratulations Raymond, Rocker, Alexis and team! CLICK to VIEW Horse of the Year Video Presentation Other award winners recognised on the night were: Battle of the Big Guns Champion – Miraculous (Arnie Flower) 2YO Filly of the Year – Greenhill Hanover (Marina Thomas) 2YO Colt of the Year – Matticulous (BKB & Morgans) 3YO Filly of the Year – Rhyds Mystique (Victoria Elvin) 3YO Colt of the Year – Rhyds Rock Star (Claire Fletcher) Mare of the Year – Rhyds Passion (Sally Teeboon) Trotter of the Year – T’es Trop Foot (Millstream Stud) Overseas Horse of the Year – Robyn Camden (All Out Syndicate) Tim Tetrick Drive of the Year – James Haythornthwaite From the British Harness Racing Club

There is a company looking to employ people from anywhere around the world to analyse trotting races across Europe.  This position is ready to go as our company is growing and expansion.  The job is: - reviewing races using online replays - on a supplied template, placing horses in order at various points of the race - a comment on how each horse performed   The job is casual and can be structured so someone only needs to work when they can - there is no minimum requirement, just a time limit to complete the work.   Pay is per race completed. Position requires people who have an understanding of harness racing/trotting. If you are interested in this part-time work, please send CV's/relevant details to labracing2016@gmail.com

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