Day At The Track

Dates set for 2018 Red John Memorial Festival

01:22 AM 28 Nov 2017 NZDT
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Harness racing
Red John Memorial Weekend sponsor, Bill Donovan, with some lovely ladies presenting gifts from the Red John Committee in 2017.
Nadina Ironia Photo

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


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