Day At The Track

Bumper entries for Red John Memorial

12:38 AM 06 Apr 2018 NZST
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Rhyds Destiny, harness racing Harness racing
Rhyds Destiny and driver Timmy O'Leary winner of the 2017 Red John Memorial Handicap
Nadina Ironia Photo
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 - 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 
 

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