Day At The Track

A cheque for £725 was handed over to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance by organisers of Nidderdale Harness Racing. The event in July, 2016, was held at Bewerley Park in Pateley Bridge. Over £1,050 was raised at the event which was split between the YAA and the Princes Countryside Fund,. A further £200 raised by the car park stewards, Ilkley Motor Club, through a bucket collection was also donated to the ambulance service. Don Leeming, President of Nidderdale Agricultural Society, presented a cheque to Mike Bevington of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance at the Show Committee’s Schedule Meeting. Mr Bevington thanked everyone for their support which he said had been tremendous over the years. He said the YAA needed £12,000 a day to keep their helicopters flying with two new helicopters, kitted out with the latest equipment, carrying patients to major trauma centres, the James Cook university hospital in Middlesbrough or Leeds general infirmary. He said crews are currently going through training to use night vision goggles so they can apply for permission for longer flying times. The 2017 Nidderdale Harness Racing event will be held at Bewerley Park, Pateley Bridge on Sunday, June 25 with the first race starting at 2pm, for information go to www.nidderdaleharnessracing.co.uk By Mark Foster, Chief Reporter (North Yorkshire)  Reprinted with permission of the Darlington and Stockton Times

Tina Sugarman, author of one of the top equine novels of 2016-2017, Horse Flesh, has agreed to share excerpts of her book with Harnesslink. Horse Flesh is a thriller mystery fiction novel based around a Standardbred racetrack in Ontario, Canada. It is the first novel ever penned by horsewoman, Tina Sugarman. Each week, Harnesslink will feature an excerpt from Horse Flesh. If you wish to purchase the book either in paperback or ereader formats, click here. Here is this week’s excerpt from Horse Flesh! Horse Flesh by Tina Sugarman The commotion around the winner’s circle had not escaped the eagle eyes of the judges, perched high above the grandstand. Two floors below them, the new boy, Alastair McTavish, recently appointed as Director of Iroquois Downs Raceway, was gazing down at the scene with an increasing feeling of unease. Al was an imposing 6 feet 3 inches with the kind of presence that demands respect. At 58, he didn’t have a single grey hair, though he was thinning on top. Even though it was his first week on the job, he recognized trouble when he saw it. He reached for the red phone, his direct link to the presiding judge. John Jewells was a no-nonsense type who had trained at the famous judge school in Arizona, known locally as Jewells’ School. “What’s going on down there, John?” Al McTavish boomed. Jewells ducked the question. “What can I do for you, Director McTavish?” he asked. “I’m a little concerned about that last race,” Al persisted. “Already on it. Got the Mutuels Manager looking for any suspicious betting patterns. Probably nothing in it, but you never know.” Thirty seconds later, the presiding judge had an intriguing fact to ponder. Twenty $2 tickets had indeed been punched sequentially for the winning combination. It was a highly unusual sized bet for two long shots. “Instruct the teller to check each winning exacta ticket,” Jewells told the Mutuals Manager. “If anyone tries to cash in all or part of that sequence, hold them on any excuse.” “You betcha, John.” John Jewells, tight lipped, picked up his own red phone, his direct line to the Paddock Judge, a Mr. T. Roberts, who controlled the Race Barn like an army sergeant. On any given night, there were over a hundred horses, almost twice that many horsemen and a few dozen drivers to keep in order. Roberts thrived on it. Despite the torrential downpour, he was on the case, rallying the troops, determined that the fifth race would leave the Race Barn on time. “Automatic hundred-dollar fine for any trainer late for post parade! Let’s get moving!” Mr. Roberts shouted. “We go in thirty seconds with the fifth, men. Get ’em ready! Mr. Hall! Where the hell are you with your horse? Get ’im out there now, and I mean NOW!” The ring of his red phone interrupted the Paddock Judge’s diatribe in mid-stream. “Mr. Roberts. It’s John here.” No one was on first name terms with the Paddock Judge. “Yes sir!” Mr. Roberts replied eagerly. “I want to talk to McCoy, Price and Rankin in that order, right away.” “Mr. Rankin’s in the fifth sir.” “Get me the other two. I’ll talk to Rankin when he comes back in.” “Yes sir!” Mr. Roberts replied slamming down the phone. “Lead ’em out, men! Mr. McCoy, Mr. Price. Judges want to talk to you!” Scotty McCoy’s outraged tone echoed down the phone line when the judges suggested that he’d been stiffing Raiders Moon in her previous races. “I never stiffed a horse in my life,” he declared, puffing himself up in self-righteous indignation. “She was tying up! Ask my vet. He’s been treatin’ her for it.” Andy Price too had an airtight explanation, “I only got the filly ten days ago,” he declared. “She came down from Quebec. It’s her first start for me. You accusing me of doin’ too good with her or what?” Moose Rankin came in after the fifth race soaking wet, splattered with mud and in a foul mood, having finished last. “Lazer told me to give Gypsy Queen a covered-up trip,” Moose said scowling at the phone. “Ned Beazer did the job on me. I’m sick about it!”  The judges reluctantly took him at his word. They all agreed a hot head like Moose Rankin was the last driver any sane person would pick to pull off a betting coup. None of them felt it necessary to question the leading driver, Theo Vettore. He was always trying to win. “Which leaves only Pete Summers,” John Jewells told Al. “But it’s the first time he’s driven Raiders Moon, so we can’t pin it on him.” The judges were still scrutinizing the tape of the fourth when the presiding judge’s phone rang. It was the Mutuels Manager. “Looks like we got your man, John. Listen to this! He’s a trainer just come back from suspension, a Dave Bodinski.” “Hold off payment. Tell him we need more I/D and to come back in the morning. Tell him he’ll have to see the judges first, but it’s just pro forma,” Jewells replied. “Pro what?” the Mutuals Manager asked uncertainly. “Routine,” Jewells replied irritably. “Gotcha,” the manager said, sounding relieved. Everything appeared to hinge on the judges’ interview with Dave Bodinski the following day. But a call back from the Mutuals Manager clouded the issue somewhat. “You’d better hear this for yourself,” he told John Jewells. “I remember the guy!” a flustered teller confessed. “He accused me of punching in the wrong numbers. Made a big stink about it! But it was too late to do anything. The starting bell had gone off.” Pretty soon the judges had a more urgent problem on their hands. The drivers had got together and were refusing to go out for the seventh race, claiming that conditions were too dangerous. It was true enough. The worst storm to hit Ontario in a decade was showing no signs of abating. Visibility was close to zero. Mr. Roberts, the Paddock Judge, was desperately searching through his rule books for guidance on extreme weather conditions. Taking advantage of the lull, Moose Rankin collared Theo Vettore in the drivers’ room. “What the fuck were you playing at in the fourth, cutting the mile like that?” Moose hissed, “I thought your filly didn’t like the front end.” “She doesn’t,” Theo replied sullenly. “I figured you’d cut it, you moron!” “Listen to me,” Moose exclaimed, lighting his cigarette and glancing over at Theo, his eyes half closed. “You’re in big trouble. I heard the guys in dark glasses bet the bank on the exacta tonight and it sure as hell included you. Your horse was fucking even money!” “She lost! It happens!” Theo retorted. Moose didn’t reply. He just drew his finger across his own throat, then pointed to Theo. The sound of rain drumming on the roof was deafening. Theo swallowed hard but said nothing. “Attention horsemen!” the Paddock Judge’s voice rang out. “Under rule 147, section 3, the stewards have decided to abandon the rest of tonight’s program due to dangerous racing conditions. I repeat, racing has been abandoned due to inclement weather.” “Roberts doesn’t get to yell at us any more tonight,” Moose said happily, turning to Theo. There was no one there. “Encore du vin, Monsieur?” a voice murmured at André’s Fontainbleu’s elbow. He motioned the waiter away. He had caught sight of the young Frenchman he had recently hired standing at attention, keeping a discreet distance from the dinner table conversation. When André raised a finger, Henri approached and spoke, sotto voce, in his ear. “Ze young lady, she is waiting for you, Monsieur,” Henri said. André Fontainbleu picked up his fork. The twinkle of silver on glass produced the desired effect. His guests fell silent. “I regret, but always, business calls,” he announced charmingly, rising to his feet and turning away from the Caribbean Sea, the backdrop for dinner. The Australian girl was waiting downstairs, gazing up at the soaring ceiling and glittering candelabra. He ran his eyes over her slim figure, her full breasts. She was young, barely twenty at a guess and suitably virginal. According to his sources, she had been marooned on the island when her boat was caught in a freak storm. June was generally a calm month. Unlike the rest of the crew, she apparently wanted to stay on. As she wasn’t independently wealthy, she needed a work permit, a lengthy bureaucratic process on Sainte Marie unless one knew who to bribe. That is where André Fontainbleu came in, provided, naturellement, that the woman in question was young and attractive. There was a determined set to this girl’s jaw, but he had no doubt that common sense would prevail, after he had laid out his terms. One weekend, that was what he required. Her body was the only thing she had to offer in return. The feeling of power was intoxicating. As he walked down the spiral staircase to greet her, he caught her eye and imagined undressing her. She blushed but she held his gaze without faltering. Her long dark hair revived bitter sweet memories. But that was long ago. This was going to be easy like everything else on this island. Almost too easy. Despite, or perhaps because of, his age, he was still attractive to women. The touch of silver in his crop of dark curls reassured them. It gave him a fatherly air. Also, the power and the money drew them in. It promised to be a pleasant weekend, a very pleasant weekend indeed! Stay tuned in to Harnesslink every week for another excerpt from Horse Flesh!

Tina Sugarman, author of one of the top equine novels of 2016-2017, Horse Flesh, has agreed to share excerpts of her book with Harnesslink. Horse Flesh is a thriller mystery fiction novel based around a Standardbred racetrack in Ontario, Canada. It is the first novel ever penned by horsewomen Tina Sugarman. Each week, Harnesslink will feature an excerpt from Horse Flesh. If you wish to purchase the book either in paperback or ereader formats, click here. Here is this week’s excerpt from Horse Flesh! Horse Flesh by Tina Sugarman At Iroquois Downs, the fillies for the fourth race were slowly making their way out onto the track, their flanks gleaming with sweat. Theo made a beeline for the 2 horse, Heart of Darkness, who had a startling white star on her forehead and a long full mane. Along with the glamour came a ton of courage. She’d need that courage tonight. She was racing against the top three-year-old fillies in North America. “She’s the best!” her trainer, Jim Mercer, growled as he handed over the lines, increasing the pressure Theo was already feeling. Theo merely nodded. He swung himself effortlessly onto the race bike, the place he felt most at home in all the world. Out on the track, the spotlight played on him and Heart of Darkness for a brief moment. Then the filly took off on him, her neck arched, her feet dancing on the stone dust track. He glanced at the odds board. She was even money. Suddenly he felt high, a natural high that was almost as good as the drugs he did on occasion. The only cloud on his horizon was the $35,000 he owed the mysterious individual known as the Scorpion. Theo had never met him and never wanted to either. The name fit him all too well: deadly with a sting in the tail. He shuddered. $35,000! How had his cocaine habit gotten so totally out of control? He stifled the thought. For now, he needed to focus on the race ahead. He eyed the competition, careful not to speak to any of the other drivers. The judges, who watched their every move, would assume they were plotting to get a long shot home. Moose’s filly, Gypsy Queen, was the one to beat. Except for the two outsiders, Jolie Dame and Raiders Moon, it was a strong field. The sky darkened. Two minutes to post! Floodlights were beaming down onto the racetrack, creating the illusion of a bright sunny day. Seagulls from Lake Ontario swooped over the infield and perched on the grandstand roof, their raucous cries filling the air. Black thunderclouds looked ready to drop their load as crowds of people clutching their tickets rushed down to the rail, anxious not to miss the start of the feature race. Dave Bodinski slunk out with them, checked his tickets and gulped. The teller had messed up! Instead of doubling up Raiders Moon with the favourite to win, he’d doubled her up with the 10 horse, Jolie Dame, a rank outsider. Praying his eyes were deceiving him he checked again. But there it was 10–6, clear as day. Cursing loudly, he fought his way back through the throng. Less than one minute to post! Three people ahead of him in the line. He’d never make it, he thought despairingly. Out on the racetrack, the wings of the starting car opened. “Turn your horses, gentlemen, please,” the suit in the car said. At those words, Theo’s heart started pumping fast. Adrenalin flooded his body and brain. His senses became super clear, his reaction time instantaneous. Ten horses were lined up behind the car, noses on the gate. As the vehicle picked up speed, the sound of the revving engine was drowned out by the rattle of sulkies and the drumming of hoofbeats. A split second before the car sped away, Theo glanced swiftly to his left. The horse on the rail wasn’t keeping up. To his right, he could see Moose getting ready to leave with Gypsy Queen. Theo made a split-second decision. He urged his filly on. All around him he heard whips cracking and drivers screaming. He paid no heed. He made the top before the turn. To his surprise, instead of taking over the lead, Moose slipped into second place, behind him. The crowd roared with delight, drowning out the call. Dave Bodinski couldn’t hear a word. As short as he was, with a wall of people in front of him, he couldn’t see anything either. It looked like he was stuck with the tickets. Right after he’d told his story to the teller, the starting bell had rung, making exchange impossible. Though he could hardly bear to watch the race, he doggedly fought his way down to the rail. Raiders Moon had got away last and was sitting at the back of the bus. He was well and truly fucked, Dave thought despairingly. At the half mile point, the timer flashed 55.2. Time to back it off, Theo decided, giving Heart of Darkness the message. As the pace slowed, drivers behind him began edging their horses out. Glancing back, Theo was surprised to see the 10 horse, Jolie Dame, powering up on the outside. What on earth was Ned Beazer playing at? Jolie Dame was 50-1! “I’m the power here, Bud!” Theo roared, loosening up on the lines. Heart of Darkness lurched forward and Jolie Dame fell back, but not very far. She was sitting outside Gypsy Queen now, trapping Theo’s main rival, Moose Rankin, along the rail. Theo grinned to himself. Anyone who wanted to challenge him now would have to take the long way around and go three wide. As for Gypsy Queen, she was literally breathing down Theo’s neck, banging her head on his helmet. She needed out bad. Theo grinned again. He was enjoying this! They rounded the last turn into the stretch, Theo cracked the wheel disc with his whip. The sound set Heart of Darkness alight but to his astonishment, the long shot Jolie Dame reappeared beside him, matching him stride for stride down the lane. As they fought head to head for the top, Gypsy Queen pushed through on the inside, sandwiching Heart of Darkness between the other two fillies like a piece of pastrami between two slices of bread. They were only 100 feet from the wire now. It felt like 500. Theo’s filly still had her head in front. Just! Then out of the corner of his eye, he saw a horse on the far outside, moving like an express train with Pete Summers at the helm screaming like a banshee. It was the 6 horse, Raiders Moon. The caller’s voice was rising hysterically. “They’re coming down to the wire! Four of them across the track! Heart of Darkness, Gypsy Queen, Jolie Dame and on the far outside Raiders Moon! Too close to call! Photograph! Photograph! Hold all tickets. I repeat, hold all tickets!” From his vantage point down by the rail, Dave Bodinski had seen and heard everything but he had no idea who’d won. He ran around quizzing complete strangers. No one had a clue. All four fillies were still on the racetrack so even the drivers didn’t know for sure. Dave kept his eyes glued to the tote board. He wasn’t religious, but clutching his ticket, he prayed. Thanks to the idiot teller, the only way he’d make any real money was on the 10–6 combo, Raiders Moon to win with Jolie Dame second, the most unlikely of the lot. Ten agonizing minutes later, the results of the fourth race finally appeared on the board. The number 6 appeared first, then the number 10. Dave groaned. Exacta meant exactly that. The horses had to be in the correct order. His tickets were worthless pieces of paper now. There was a sudden murmur from the crowd. The numbers 6 and 10 were flashing on and off. “Attention! The judges have declared a dead heat. There will be a payout on both horses to win. Exacta payout on 6 and 10 in either order!” “I’m a winner!” Dave screamed, punching his fist in the air. “I’m a fuckin’ winner!” All around him, people were ripping up their tickets, cursing. Dave did a rapid calculation in his head. Every one of his $2 tickets were worth $1,200. Unbelievable! His mind reeled at the high numbers. Then it sunk in…He was rich. He was a fuckin’ millionaire! Well, he realized, not quite a millionaire but $24,000 was enough to put him back in the horse business. With a clash of thunder, the storm broke, drenching the spectators. The mood turned ugly. Losers were crowding around the winner’s circle in the rain, booing and shouting obscenities. Jolie Dame and Raiders Moon hadn’t just beaten the favourite, they’d beaten the best three-year-old filly in Canada and the darling of the betting public. They’d felt she simply could not lose and had bet the bank on her. Dave hung back watching a bemused local bigwig clutch the trophy to his chest, unwilling to hand it over to either trainer, as both had won. In the end, the two of them, an ecstatic Scotty McCoy and a smirking Andy Price, worked it out by holding it between them in a rare show of trainer co-operation. Stay tuned in to Harnesslink every week for another excerpt from Horse Flesh!

WEST CORK, Ireland - Poster girl Deirdre Goggin rode a double at her local track when road trotting made a welcome return to Goleen on the tip of the Mizen peninsula after a hiatus of six years on Sunday. The road, which stretches along the Dauch Causeway, is a setting of real beauty with the tide from the nearby Atlantic Ocean, nestling in under the Causeway Bridge at the Northern side of the course . The meeting of the"Big Two" of road trotting Rhyds Ponder and Maitha Buachaill reads 4 to 0 to the latter before today and he had to take a 20 yard handicap for those wins. Goggin set Rhtds Ponder alight from the start and led through the opening two turns. Heading to the third turn the advantage was five lengths to Meadow Branch Kiki with Maitha Buachaill back in fourth. Approaching the final turn, Goggin on Rhyds Ponder, began to turn the screws on her rivals and flew off the last turn and was not for catching with trotter Tactician Du Lys snatching second from Maitha Buachaill.  After dismounting her horse Goggin was carried shoulder high into the presentation area by the partisan local crowd. Earlier the huge local crowd roared Deirdre home on Saunders Paris in the Grade C.  This looked a tough one to call with Rhyds Artist also well touted in the betting ring, but Saunders Paris made light work of her rivals careering away to win her fifth of the season by six lengths. "Home is always the place to win and Paris is owned by my father Micheal and I am so proud to win here," said the modest Goggin after the race. Jamie Hurley still the leads the jockeys championship after recording a double Sunday. IB Tweedy in the grade E was sent to post at prohibitive odds and was never in danger giving owners "The One For The Road Syndicate" their fourth win of the year. John Woodland made the four hour journey from Limerick with Coalford Hardy a winning one. Jamie Hurley was on board to lead from the start and despite the late intentions of Big Jim held on by three lengths. This was the first winner for owner trainer Woodland, who is based in Limerick City. Jamie hurley now stands on ten winners one ahead of Deirdre Goggin on nine . Racing opened with an a win for Rock On Jo Jo on his tarmac debut. Matthew O Reilly allowed Van Helsing and Shanes Income battle it out early and sent Jo Jo to the front after the final turn to win by four lengths. Old Chapel in Bandon is the next meeting on Sunday 26th March with the All Ireland Championships which were cancelled last week re scheduled for Sunday April 2nd. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS NOVICE The Lobster Pot Bar Cup 1. M O'Reilly ROCK ON JO JO Owner 2. McCarthy/ Daly SHANES INCOME A McCarthy 3. M O'Brien VAN HELSING P O Brien GRADE E The Fastnet Bar Cup 1. One For The Road Syn IB TWEEDY J Hurley 2. P Kane RETURN OF THE MAC M O'Reilly 3. G O Callaghan TROOPERS HARMONY M Goggin Jnr GRADE D The O Mearas Bar Cup 1. J Woodland COALFORD HARDY J Hurley 2. G Kane BIG JIM T O'Leary 3. G Cooke WESTERN BEACH D Goggin GRADE C The Twins Memorial Cup 1. M Goggin SAUNDERS PARIS Deirdre Goggin 2. P Manning SPRINGHILL JAZZ D Brickley 3. R Joyce BEAUTYS HARMONY M O'Reilly THE CAUSEWAY CLASSIC GRADE A & B The Frank & Anna Goggin Memorial Cup 1. N Forbes RHYDS PONDER Deirdre Goggin 2. G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O'Leary 3. Hegarty/ Hurley MAITHA BUACHAILL J Hurley  

When we first started the harness racing newsletter feature "Insider Access" we aimed to release new issues every two weeks, however the workload to produce the Stallion reviews, combined with the day to day management of the Harnesslink website has been making this difficult. So henceforth we will release these issues within a longer, more sporadic timeframe. We appreciate your support and continued readership. Starting in this months Insider Access, author Tina Sugarman, whose debut novel, Horse Flesh, has been a number one top selling equine novel on Amazon.com, is going to share special excerpts from her superb novel only to Harnesslink.com followers! Then every week on Harnesslink, racing fans will get to read part of Horse Flesh. The novel is a page-turning thriller based around harness racing in Ontario, Canada. Harnesslink thanks author Tina Sugarman for sharing her great novel with the harness racing world! Also this month we bring you the most prolific analysis of the equal fastest three-year-old on the Planet, world champion racehorse and stallion, He's Watching. We also review the New Zealand Yearling Sales and salute our own operations director Steve Wolf on his Hall of Fame introduction at the Dan Patch Awards! It's FREE to sign up for Insider Access, just fill out the box below. If you are already a member you got our newsletter already!   Sign up to "Insider Access" Full Name Email Subscribe

The organizers of TROTBritain along with management at Chelmsford City Racecourse (CCR), have agreed to host dates for the running of LeTrot races in 2017. Two LeTrot races will take place on the Chelmsford City’s all-weather track on Tuesday, August 15, Saturday, September 30 and Thursday, October 12. All dates are subject to British Horseracing Authority and British Harness Racing Club approval. “Last season we experimented with our inaugural TROTBritain LeTrot races at Chelmsford City Racecourse and it was a smashing success.” Said TrotBritain’s George Button. “Both organizations were pleased to increase the racing for 2017 and now we have three race dates this season.” The races will again be shown in all the Betfred shops and as before some of the other big bookmakers will also feature the races. With the continued growth of LeTrot races, and the influx of horses due to the success of the new LeTrot three-year-old stakes initiative, TROTBritain hopes by 2018, to have full meetings at the South East of England All Weather Track. “CCR has recently received planning permission for a racino and a turf track to be built inside the existing all-weather track.” Said Button. “These are exciting developments for CCR. The ambitious commitment CCR management have made for the future, to develop their track, is great for horse racing in Great Britain, and also for TROTbritain and LeTrot. TROTbritain will endeavor to continually take trotting forward,” Button added. “to enable all the owners, trainers and drivers who have prepared to buy into what we are trying to achieve, the opportunity to race on the bigger stage for increasingly bigger prize money.” By Steve Wolf, for TROTBritain

WEST CORK, Ireland - Due to high winds and heavy rain the Owenahincha Road Trotting races which was to feature the All Ireland Road trotting Championships had to cancelled . With the track close to the Atlantic ocean at this beautiful venue the swirling winds were blowing at such speeds (130 km per hour was recorded at 11am) the committee took the sensible option to cancel the races as the ocean swell along with the heavy rain were encroaching on the tarmac . It is a huge disappointment for the organisers who had pulled out all the stops to ensure a great day . The ITHRF along with the promoters are organising to re fix the meeting Next Sunday the action switches to Goleen the most westerly venue on the circuit and on a fine Summers day one can almost see the East Coast of the USA . Details of entries will be published on www.harnessracingcork.com by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

WEST WALES, UK - Tir Prince Raceway are delighted to announce that PJI Engineering have confirmed that they will once again be sponsoring the Sire Stakes races in 2017. This year the races will be run on three separate nights with the 4 Year Olds competing on 15th July, the 2 Year Olds on the 25th July and the 3 Year Olds on Friday 1st September. Management at Tir Prince are extremely grateful to Paul Johnson for his kind sponsorship and look forward to hosting these races in 2017. The Sire Stakes Program consists of 18 nominated stallions whose progeny are automatically eligible for Stakes Races for 2, 3 and 4 Year Olds. The owners of the horse then have to pay three sustaining fees to keep the horse in the series. Last years races were a success and we are looking forward to seeing the likes of Rhyd's Decoy, Jessie's Conquest and Rhyd's Mystique grace the track once again. The following payments are due on 31st March for The Sire Stakes Series; Stallion Nomination  £250 Yearling Sustaining Fee £20  2 Year Old Sustaining Fee £40 3 Year Old Sustaining Fee £40 4 Year Old Sustaining Fee  £40 by Eric Witherspoon, for Tir Prince Raceway  

WEST CORK, Ireland - For road trotting followers all roads lead to Owenahincha on Sunday next the 5th of March for the staging of the 2017 All Ireland Road Trotting Championships . The venue is just off the the N71 just on the Eastern side of Rosscarberry. Owenahincha boasts a blue flag beach and is a top tourist attraction for holiday makers during the Summer season . Although a tiny hamlet in off season during the peak season the population swells to over 2000 with Hayes Holiday parks holding the majority of the visitors . The rack is a testing run from Castlefreake Cross on the Sothern side past the hoilday park and Ocean View hotel to Owenahincha bridge on the Northern side of the venue. Spectators gather on the natural Grand stand on the Sand Dunes which run down to the Atlantic Ocean (Next stop west is the USA) It is one of these places only God himself could have designed . But at approx 4 PM next Sunday it will be All Reland time at the seaside Maitha Buachaill will start as favourite in the classic .He has won all of his four outings this season and looks the one thay all have to beat . Owned by Ger Hegarty and James Hurley this former grass specialist will be ridden by Jamie Hurley a second season jockey . Rhyds Ponder the 2106 champion is back to defend his title which he won in Old Chapel .Owned and trained by Ned Forbes he finished second to Maitha Buachaill on there four meetings this season but won in Dunmanway wherehis great rival was absent . Top female jockey Deirdre Goggin will once again team up with Rhyds Ponder Tactician Du Lys an imported French trotter takes on the pacers once again .He isowned by County Meath based Ger Kane but is trained locally by Jeremiah O Mahony in Dunmanway .His last run was in Dunmanway where he only went down to Rhyds Ponder after a titanic battle. "Cool Hands"Timmy O Leary gets the leg up on this imposing type. The enrty of Rhyds Destiny has really thrown new light on the race. This former track and turf specialst will be having his initial run on tarmac but trainer John Shanahan is no stranger to winning the classic .The owner of Lakeview Stud in Leap Shanahan has often being dubbed "Mr All Ireland" with Fidlin ,Dream Maker ,Hilos Pride .Eastwood Florist,Perfect Dream and Bodeen all former winners . Destiny is owned by Shanahan in partnership with Derbyshire UK dairy farmer John Mycock. David Brickley has been the stable jockey for the firm but has his own Meadowbranch Kiki listed as an entry so riding arrangements need to be confirmed. Kiki has been a model of consistency all year but will start as anoutsider . Racing on Sunday has a 2 30 start time with details of entries on www.harnessracingcork.com by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink  

WEST CORK, Ireland - Young Finn Brickley,  age 10 from Drimoleague, Ireland, attends the Drimoleague National School.   While many kids his age love to play football or rugby, Finn's real passion is with harness racing.    Last October Finn bought  a pacer named Young Deano from his own savings.   After a few placings Young Deano won in Dunmanway a few weeks back. Finn helps his dad, David, (also Jockey) to train the horses. Finn is up at 7:00 am every morning to clean out the stables while his Dad works out the horses. In the evening once homework is finished Finn helps to school the horses to the bale and also jogs out "Deano" On the morning of races Finn feeds the horses early so that his Dad can have a lie in. Finn loves going to the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend where he gets to meet his heros - Dexter Dunn, Stevie Lees, Martin Loughran, Alan Wallace Snr, Mick Lord, and Rocker Laidler to name a few. On the local scene Finn says his Dad is his hero because of all the wins he has had and FInn hopes to follow in his steps as a jockey and driver while also having a big training yard of his own. Finn can't wait to be 12 where he will be able to ride in saddlle races and when he is older he would love to go to drive in West Cork, Portmarnock and Dundalk. Finn's older sister, Shelley, has had several wins in saddle races while grandad Finbar still competes in the sulky with his French trotters. When Finn was seven he got a sulky from Santa, which he had great fun along with his pony "Bob" which included leading out the horses in Portmarnock. Last Christmas, Finn's presents all involved horses, including some riding boots and a Champion helmet for himself along with pop ups and a saddle cloth for "Deano". Young Finn Brickley will most certainly be one to watch as harness racing continues to grow by leaps and bounds in both Ireland and the UK. HIs passion for the sport is super.  by Caroline Collins, for Harnesslink

On the 22 February, 2017 a Panel of Appeal was convened to hear Mr David Taff’s appeal against the decision of a Panel of Enquiry which found on 26 November, 2016 at York Raceway, Mr. Taff to be in breach of section Y13 of the Rules and Regulations of the British Harness Racing Club (BHRC).  Mr. Taff was negligent in his position as a public trainer in that he failed to take all reasonable precautions in respect of the horse known as Johnny Camden, to avoid that horse’s exposure to a prohibited substance namely, Cobalt. He was found positive on 03, September, 2016 after competing at Tir Prince Raceway. The BHRC’s reply to those grounds of appeal took place at the hearing held at Tower Wharf, Bristol. Mr Taff represented himself, the BHRC were represented by Rory Mac Neice and Joanne Saye of Ashfords LLP, instructed by Kirsty Lee of the BHRC. The Panel of Appeal heard submissions from Mr. Taff and from Mr. Mac Neice. Having heard from the parties and having considered the written submissions and other evidence produced to them, the Panel dismissed Mr. Taff’s appeal and confirmed the finding and penalties imposed by the original enquiry panel. As a consequence, Mr. Taff shall have the following penalties imposed upon him: A fine of £2,500; suspension of all licenses with effect from 26 November, 2016 for a period of 5 years;  In addition Mr. Taff is ordered to pay the costs of the BHRC in the sum of £5,550. The BHRC reserve the right to inform any and all animal welfare organizations of the penalties issued under Y24[b]. This decision is published in accordance with A3 of the BHRC’s Rules and Regulations. From the British Harness Racing Club

A new mares’ series to be staged at Corbiewood in 2017 is to be sponsored by Oakwood Stud (Co Offaly, Ireland).   The series, which will be staged over 7 weeks, will be run by the Scottish Harness Racing Club (SHRC) for its members and is open to mares aged 4 and above with a BHRC handicap of Grade 1 or above.   Mare owners must be members of the club at the date the entries close.  SHRC members do not need to reside in Scotland. The Oakwood Stud Mares’ Pacing Series will be limited to the top 12 BHRC handicapped mares which enter, with the handicap mark to be determined on the date the nominations close (Friday 9th June).   The series will consist of 6 legs, with the first 3 legs run as open preferred handicaps in two lines as per the BHRC handicap system (lowest earnings drawn 1, highest earnings drawn 8) and the remaining 3 legs run as open preferred handicaps in two lines based on monies won within the series.   The series will culminate with a £1500 purse final for the top 8 highest earners in the series, with the winner receiving £1000 as well as a rug and trophy also sponsored by Oakwood Stud. Derek Delaney, speaking on behalf of Oakwood Stud, was quick to get on board with the idea: “We love to be involved in great start up ideas in UK & Irish Harness racing from the beginning and we believe there needs to be more racing for the mares and love the idea of them racing their own sex as older mares and not only juvenile stakes racing.  When Sarah Thomas told me her thoughts, I was immediately interested in supporting her forward thinking.” Each of the 12 mares will be guaranteed 4 runs in the series should they enter for all of the legs, with the purse for each leg set at £550.  The nomination fee to stake a mare is £150, with the entry fee for each leg being £40.  The final will be run in two lines with all 8 mares to ballot for position. The order of priority for the first leg will be the top 8 BHRC handicapped mares; any mares returned from the first leg will take priority for the second leg. The order of priority for the remaining legs will be as follows: Any mares returned from the previous leg; Mares with the lowest number of runs within the series; Mares with the lowest earnings within the series; Highest BHRC handicap mark. The idea for the series stemmed from the success of the three STAGBI Future Broodmares races staged at Corbiewood in 2016.  All three races were fully subscribed and provided competitive and thrilling finishes in the open preferred handicap format.  In 2017 there will be a maximum of two STAGBI Future Broodmares races sponsored by STAGBI, which will supplement the mares’ series. Further details of the series will be published via the SHRC and BHRC websites and social media pages in due course, however if anybody has any queries regarding the series, please contact Sarah Thomas. by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink

The all-new 2017 TrotBritain Le Trot £60k 3YO Trot Series and 3YO Derby for minimum £10k is offering a unique raffle to win one of two French trotters for this year’s stakes races. So here is your chance to be part of it! Raffle tickets are £60 per number – winners decided on the official Lotto bonus ball (soonest date after all 59 numbers sold). Thanks to the kind agreement of TrotBritain the two French trotters will be made available to raffle (two separate Lotto draws to determine winner). These three-year-olds will be fully staked into two of Great Britain’s most lucrative trotting race series to date: The Le Trot 3YO – Heats throughout the racing calendar at various tracks with Finals at Tir Prince on 9th September Series with the purse at a whopping £60,000. The TrotBritain Le Trot 3YO Derby – minimum £10,000 purse which will include consolation races, so all eligible horses are guaranteed a run and return on stakes fee (at Tir Prince on 23rd September (Heats) & 14th October (Final & Consolations). The Le Trot 3YO French trotters will be selected by TrotBritain during their next French visit w/c 13th March 2017. Horses will arrive w/c 20th March 2017. Do not miss out on this opportunity to be part of these fantastic new races and the Le Trot initiative under TrotBritain. And each raffle ticket is just £60 per number. Contact the British Harness Racing Club at 01405 766877 to pick your number. Draw date will be announced once all 59 tickets are sold. The two French trotters will be made available to the raffle subject to sufficient sales of numbers. All funds raised will be divided equally between the 2017 PRAKAS & Roosevelt Race Series. From the British Harness Racing Club

The Cheltenham Festival is almost upon us. Weeks, months and even years of hard work and dedication have been building towards the four-day horse racing extravaganza at Prestbury Park -  where the best horses in the business will gather on the second full week of March, vying to take home some of the most famous and prestigious prizes in the world of sport. Racing enthusiasts, who have been crossing off the passing days on their calendar, will already be researching the races and tracking their favourite horses in the build up to the festivities. If you don’t have the time, knowledge or energy to go into such detailed measures of preparation – don’t worry, cheltenhamfestival.net has got you covered. Visit the site for all the breaking news, tips and ante-post previews of every single race at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival. Cheltenham Festival tickets have been on sale throughout the season. It’s not too late to book your seats in the Tattersalls Stand, or even a place in the Best Mate Enclosure, but 250,000 horse racing fans flock to Gloucestershire every year to watch the best action the sport has to offer, so you better get those tickets booked today. Whether you are in attendance on the opening Tuesday or the final Friday, you are guaranteed an action packed day of sporting drama, full of intrigue, suspense and top quality entertainment. Irish Champion Trainer, Willie Mullins has often dominated the proceedings on the opening day of the Festival. However, recent tragedies and set-backs have thrown a spanner in the works this season and the first day flood gates have been thrown wide open for some of the other top trainers in the world to steal Mullins’ limelight.  Yorkhill’s predicated late switch to the Champion Hurdle - covering for injured duo Faugheen and Annie Power - will give Mullins a great chance of retaining the title ahead of a hungry chasing pack, led by Nicky Henderson’s Buveur D’Air and Alan King’s Yanworth. Mullins’ star mare, Vroum Vroum Mag will be favourite to hand the Irishman a ninth-straight victory in the Mares Hurdle. However, Gordon Elliott’s Apple’s Jade resigned the star to a surprise defeat earlier in the season and the two look set to renew their mouth-watering rivalry at the Festival. The best first-season hurdlers will get the Festival off to a flying start in the Supreme Novices Hurdle. Altior claimed that crown in stunning fashion last year and he will be flying the Nicky Henderson flag on the first day of the Festival once again. He will head into the Arkle as the overwhelming favourite, as he looks to establish himself as the top dog in the two-mile chasing division. One who will have something to say about that is the Willie Mullins’ Douvan, who puts his fourteen-race unbeaten streak on the line in the feature Championship race on day two of the Festival - the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Fox Norton and God’s Own will be out to try and upset the odds-on favourite, but another stunning victory is expected, as the horse racing world anticipates an incredible showdown between Douvan and Altior in the very near future. Finian’s Oscar and Neon Wolf have been in excellent form this season and a possible battle between the two in the Neptune will thrill onlookers in the first race on day two at Cheltenham. The RSA Chase is a three mile contest of the highest order and the Cross Country wows fans year-in-year-out, as it winds an unusual route around Prestbury Park, taking on a unique mixture of hurdles, fences and strategically placed shrubbery.  The Stayers’ Hurdle is the main event on the penultimate day of the Festival, with Unowhatimeanharry bringing plenty of form and confidence with him to Cheltenham, having landed the Albert Bartlett crown on Friday at the Festival last year. Former Champion Hurdler, Jezki has returned from injury this season and could provide Harry Fry’s favourite with stiff competition. As could 2015 victor Cole Harden, who looked back to his old self when finishing just behind Unowhatimeanharry in the Cleve Hurdle earlier in the year. Un De Sceaux will be stepping up in trip in a bid to land the Ryanair Chase for Willie Mullins, but there will be a strong field opposing him as he looks to repeat his Festival heroics in the Arkle back in 2015. Novice chasers will get Thursdayoff to a flying start in the JLT, with the Pertemps Final at the Byrne Group Festival Plate providing fans with plenty handicap excitement later in the day.  Friday at the Cheltenham Festival is always an electrifying day to be in attendance and the opening contest, the Triumph Juvenile Hurdle, is shaping up to be one of the most exciting races of the entire week. Defi Du Seuil will defend his unbeaten seasonal record, but the likes of Charli Parcs, Cliffs Of Dover and a large Irish battalion of young challengers – headed by Bapaume, Mega Fortune and Merie Devie – will make this race one of the most memorable contests staged at Cheltenham in recent years.  The County Hurdle is amongst the best and most profitable handicaps of the meeting and the final race of the Festival, the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase, is one of the most historic sporting contests in the country – having first been run back in 1834. However, the highlight of the final day and the jewel in National Hunt racing’s crown, is the Cheltenham Gold Cup. For over 80 years, the biggest and best names in the sport have come to Prestbury Park, looking to get their name etched into the famous Gold Cup trophy, alongside all-time greats like Arkle, Best Mate and Kauto Star.  Thistlecrack is the hot favourite to claim the title and to watch Colin Tizzard’s charge attack the obstacles in his majestic, swashbuckling style is worth the admission fee alone. Fan’s favourite Cue Card will garner plenty of support from the crowd, as will seasonal victors like Native River and Bristol De Mai. The Guinness Grandstand will be bouncing as Djakadam, Outlander and Sizing John whip the Irish fans into a frenzy, ensuring this year’s Gold Cup – and the 2017 Cheltenham Festival as a whole – is a sporting occasion you simply cannot afford to miss. 2017 Cheltenham Festival Preview

WEST CORK, Ireland - Harnes racing jockey's David Brickley and Jamie Hurley both rode two winners on the day while Rhyds Ponder returned to winning ways in the featured Grade A & B Pace that were the headlines on a bitterly cold but dry day at the annual Dunmanway Road Trotting Races on the Killbarry Road . Brickley, the former multiple champion jockey, started off the day guiding The Red Rebel (a winner on Memorial Day in Skibbereen) to victory in the Novice Pace. On The Other Side was sent off a warm favorite and sat in behind Fame Earned to the first turn. Both horses over shot the turning point and this allowed The Red Rebel and jockey Van Helsing to go clear with The Red Rebel eventually going on to win by 2 lengths with eight lengths back to On The Other Side. Young Deano, a dashing grey pacer, has finished second on three of his four tarmac outings and this time put it right on the day, taking an ultra competitive Grade D and gave David Brickley his second win of the day . The winner and Millers Boy, ridden by Ciaran Brickley (a brother of David), were at the head of affairs for most of the contest .At The final turn Young Deano had edged in front in the "Battle of The Brothers" and ran out a three length winner from newcomer Coalford Hardy with Millers Boy staying on to finish third. Jamie Hurley has been racking up the winners in his second season on the road and added two more on the day. IB Tweedy wont get an easier assignment all year when landing the Grade E at prohibitive odds. IB Tweedy was sent to the front after a furlong and the six length winning margin could have been a lot more with Return Of The Mac putting in its best performance to date to finish second. Ryds Artist has been mixing it with the big boys in the top grade but was down in the handicap today in the Grade C, but came up against the unbeaten Saunders Paris who was having her first outing in higher company today. Both market principles were prominent at the opening turn. There was drama at the second turn where Deirdre Goggin got unseated from Saunders Paris leaving Rhyds Artist clear and this gave Jamie Hurley his second win of the afternoon. Thoughts then turned to the fallen jockey and horse, but thankfully both returned unscathed. Deirdre Goggin is made of stern stuff and following the compulsory check over by the Medical Staff, sat back on Rhyds Ponder in the grade A . With his arch rival Maitha Buachaill an absentee, "Ponder " got back to winning ways but not before a great battle with Tactician Du Lys. The imposing French bred trotter really served it up to the 2016 Horse of the year and it was only in the final furlong that Rhyds Ponder got the better of Tactician, winning by four lengths. The All Ireland Road Championships are next on the menu in three weeks time at Owenahincha and we will preview that next week by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS GRADE A & B (The George & Monica Deane Memorial Cup) 1. N Forbes RHYDS PONDER Deirdre Goggin 2. G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O Leary 3. D Brickley MEADOWBRANCH KIKI Owner GRADE C 1. L O Brien RHYDS ARTIST J Hurley 2. J Manning SPRINGHILL JAZ D Brickley GRADE D 1. D Brickley YOUNG DEANO Owner 2. J woodland COALFORD HARDY J Hurley 3. C Brickley MILLERS BOY Owner GRADE E 1. On For The Road Syn IB TWEEDY J Hurley 2. P Kane RETURN OF THE MAC M O Reilly 3. G O Callaghan TROOPERS HARMONY M Goggin Jnr NOVICE 1. D O Callaghan THE RED REBEL D Brickley 2. M O Brien VAN HELSING P O Brien 3. D McCarthy ON THE OTHER SIDE Marie Moloney    

WEST WALES, UK - Management at Tir Prince Raceway are delighted to announce that Top Notch will be sponsoring the British Harness Racing Club (BHRC) Derby and the BHRC Oaks, which will take place at Tir Prince Raceway on Saturday 9th September. Formed in 1984, Top Notch is a family run business and are leading importers and suppliers of toys to the Amusement Arcade & Holiday Park Industry.   Tir Prince Raceway is delighted to have secured this sponsorship and would like to thank Martin Millar of Top Notch. This promises to be a great night of racing as The BHRC Derby and Oaks races are steeped in history and are for Three Year Old Pacers, run over a very tough one and a half mile distance.   This year the races have been granted Group One Status for the first time, which elevates their importance in the harness racing calendar even higher. by Eric Witherspoon, for Tir Prince