Day At The Track

West Cork award winners banquet Saturday, Nov. 18

02:46 AM 07 Nov 2017 NZDT
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Jamie Hurley, harness racing
Jamie Hurley is the top road racing jockey in 2017
Clodagh Hellen photo

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


Jockey - Jamie Hurley

Female Jockey - Deirdre Goggin

Horse - Saunders Paris

Traine- r - James Hurley 


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


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