Day At The Track

It has been announced today that Diamond Creek Farm in the USA and Oakwood Stud in Ireland have become the sponsors of Sire Stakes Ireland for the 2018 season. Sire Stakes Ireland is a new racing series for Standardbred horses that was first started in 2014. The objective of Sire Stakes Ireland is to encourage breeding mares, increase prize money and to promote harness racing in Ireland and the UK. The series is open to horses bred and foaled in Ireland and the UK, and sired by stallions nominated into the program. Diamond Creek Farm has two locations in the USA in Kentucky and Pennsylvania. They currently stand world champion stallions A Rocknroll Dance, Always B Miki, Creatine, Father Patrick, Ponder, Southwind Frank and Sweet Lou. "Our involvement with the Vincent Delaney Memorial has created a great relationship between Diamond Creek and Oakwood Stud," Said Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Farm. "We are excited to partner with them to offer Sweet Lou to the UK and Ireland. As sponsors of the VDM, we are also big fans of Irish racing and are pleased to be able to support the stakes racing through our sponsorship." Oakwood Stud in Ireland has emerged over the past five years as one of the top breeders of yearlings in Ireland and the UK. Currently they stand Foreclosure N and Rachmoninov Seven and have frozen semen shipped from Sweet Lou in the USA. "We recently were at Diamond Creek Farm in Kentucky," said Sire Stakes Ireland founder, James Delaney of Oakwood Stud. "And sealed the sponsorship with Adam Bowden. "What a great boost this will be for Sire Stakes Ireland in 2018," Delaney said. "Now breeders and owners have something extra to look forward in racing opportunities in 2018. All yearlings that were foaled in either Ireland or the UK from the stallions eligible for Sire Stakes Ireland, need only to fill out the nomination form and make the payments to be eligible. And now with the Diamond Creek Farm and Oakwood Stud sponsorships, the purses will be greater than ever in 2018. "We are also introducing a Breeder's Premium for the Breeder of the winning horse in all divisions," Delaney added, "The person(s) who owned and bred the foal at conception will receive a trophy in all divisions plus a cash bonus too. We hope this will help stimulate more people to breed horses. We feel it's our duty to honor and reward the breeders who have been loyal to our stallions. "We are so thankful to Adam Bowden and Diamond Creek Farm and Oakwood Stud for coming on board with Sire Stakes Ireland with their generous sponsorships." Delaney said. For the nomination forms, payment schedule and list of stallions eligible for Sire Stakes Ireland, visit their website at www.sirestakesireland.com. Here is the list of Sire Stakes Ireland nominated stallions. 1) Ayr Glory 2) Armbro Duece 3) Arts Conquest 4) Arts Professor 5) Check On Jack 6) Connors Dragon 7) Crown Manhattan 8) Doonbeg 9) Eagle Luck 10) Forafewdollarsmore 11) Foreclosure N 12) Hasty Hall 13) Kiki Kolt 14) My Pan Mar 15) No Pan Intended 16) Stonebridge Galaxy 17) See And Ski 18) Total Truth 19) Yankee Lariat. From Sire Stakes Ireland  

Starting in late 2016, TROTBritain in association with Le Trot in France, imported consignments of three-year-old’s to race for huge purse money come September 2017. Many horse owners took the plunge as management at the North Wales hard track, Tir Prince Raceway, decided to get behind the TROTBritain initiative and sponsor the race day final along with holding many of the preliminary Le Trot heats during the season. Some were skeptical as to whether the prize money would ever really be as high as the figures being thrown around. They were very wrong. This Saturday TROTBritain and LeTrot will host at Tir Prince, the Gold, Silver, Bronze and a consolation division for three-year-old trotters that will race for total prize money of £61,850 ($80,000 US), then adding the rest of the race card making total purses at just over £70,000, thus becoming the richest single race program ever held in the United Kingdom. The LeTrot 3YO Gold Final will go for £30,000 ($39,000 US) with all eight starters getting prize money (also in the Silver & Bronze Finals), with £15,000 to the winner of the Gold Final. This will be the richest single race ever held in the UK or Ireland. “It is so great that in over just two years the TROTBritain/LeTrot Program has worked out as well as we said it would,” said George Button of TROTBritain. “This Saturday is the icing on the cake as more and more people are getting involved in the TROTBritain/LeTrot program, buying race horses, mares for breeding and the program is growing by leaps and bounds. “Everyone who purchased a three-year-old for the LeTrot series,” Button added, “has had an opportunity to race throughout the season and also this Saturday with the Gold, Silver and Bronze finals plus an additional consolation race. We want to thank management at Tir Prince for their support in hosting many of these races, especially Saturday’s finals, at their track.” The draw for post positions for the 3-year-old LeTrot finals will take place live Saturday at 5pm at Tir Prince Raceway, hosted by the UK’s top horse racing commentator, Darren Owen, and Emmanuelle Morvillers, head of the International Development at Le Trot, the French Trotting Governing Body. The Gold Final features eight starters, six fillies and two geldings, who will go behind the gate. The early favorite is the filly Equilea Du Hauty for trainer/driver Rhys Evans. She has four wins in her last five starts.  Another top performer is the filly Ecume De Mer, who has also won four of her five starts for trainer/driver Jak Fooy. She is also the fastest of the eight finalists with a record of 2:06.10 taken at York. By TROTBritain and Tir Prince

WALES, UK - After a number of years of wet or overcast conditions, the Tregaron committee were finally graced with some glorious weather and some top-quality harness racing to match. Some incredible equine performances were seen over the weekend non-more so that of Evenwood Sonofagun in the Battle of The Big Guns race, who won in an impressive 2.04, giving him his fourteenth straight victory and with it the favourites tag for the Crock of Gold final in two weeks' time where he will go head to head with the mighty Miraculous. However, the weekend belonged to driver Michael O'Mahony who won an incredible nine races over the weekend, seven of which he trained himself. Lyons Lememay (Lyons Danny-Lyons Montana) continued her tremendous form to take out the Little Welsh Dragoness heat and final from a very game Greenhill Debatable (James Haythornthwaite) and the other heat winner Crown Victoria (David Bevan) in third. He drove Style Matters (trained by Lowri Jones) and Southern Sunshine to victory to secure their places in the Strata Florida handicap, with the latter his charge in the final. The race panned out perfectly for Southern Sunshine the 7-year-old gelding by Best Sunshine who was able to settle himself during the first half a mile, then he moved into a challenging position going down the back straight for the final time before pulling away up the home straight. Second went to Cardigan Flashman (Richard Haythornthwaite) with Reeds Scarlett in third (Rhun Wilson). The victory meant an incredible amount to connections as the horse had incurred a number of setbacks over the last twelve months and their patience proved lucrative in the end. That took Michael's tally to five winners on day one. Day two was more of the same for Michael with In the Ayr (trained by Bethan Kelly) and Meldoon taking out the first two heats of the Welsh Classic and Lyon's St. Mary taking out a division of the maidens taking the tally to an impressive eight wins but the best was yet to come. Ten pacers stepped on to the track for the Group 1 Welsh Classic final to the poignant sounds of Chariots of Fire. Happy Hands was the market leader but his 40-yard trail was too much to conquer, instead it was the four-year-old mare Meldoon (by new super sire Doonbeg out of the Real Artist mare Real Melody) who showed a tremendous turn of foot to kick clear of the field and secure O'Mahony his third final winner over the festival. Second went to Rhyds Passion (James Haythornthwaite) and third went to the impressive Llwyns Delight (Lee Price) who had to overcome a 50-yard trail. The three-year Dragon for colts and geldings was a very open affair. All Good Hanover (Lee Fletcher) was an impressive winner of heat one whilst recent Portmarnock winner Tarawood CJ (Grant Cullen) took out heat two, beating favourite Rhyds Rockstar (James Haythornthwaite). However come the final it was neither of these three who took victory, instead it went the way of No Brakes (Hasty Hall - Panama Canal) in the hands of Steve Lees with local hope My Buddy (Alan Jones) back in second. Due to the number of entrants in the two-year-old Junior Dragoness two heats were ran on the Friday with Lyons Rosella (Rhys Evans) and Greenhill Hanover (Mick Lord) taking out the two divisions. Greenhill Hanover (Mick Lord) took advantage of her plum draw in the final and went on to win by one and three quarter lengths from Brown Eyed Girl (Patrick Kane Jnr). The colts division may not have gone the way everyone anticipated with stablemates Matticulous and Merrington Movingup fighting it out at the finish with Movingup taking the spoils on this occasion. Two Le Trot races also took place on the Saturday. Equilea Du Hauty (Rhys Evans) made it four victories from as many runs and looks the one to beat in the three year old championship. Valseur Du Cygne (Rocker Laidler) made it another win on the Ceredigion soil in the aged division having won a similar event at the Ceredigion Trotting Club event held in July. by Kayleigh Evans, for the Tregaron Trotting Club

The following are the posts by USA’s title sponsor, Bill Donovan, on experiencing the Red John Memorial Weekend in West Cork, Ireland August 19 & 20. Day 1 of the races in Cork has been absolutely delightful. A grand time was had by all. They race over the grass here, unlike the dirt tracks we have in America. The two major races are the "'Red' John O'Donovan Memorial Pace" and "The Maven Trot". "Red" John was an enthusiastic young man who loved harness racing and was establishing himself as a very talented driver when he tragically died in his early 20's. This race honors his memory and I am proud to sponsor it this year. Earlier in the day I stopped at the Skibbereen heritage center and talked to one of their genealogists so perhaps I will find out that I am related to Red John! The Maven Trot is of course named in honor of my greatest trotter and I am pleased to also sponsor that race in partnership with the French Trotting association. Today were the eliminations and the Finals will be held tomorrow. Kudos to all involved in preparing for the racing as everything was incredibly well done. Day 2 of the Red John O'Donovan Memorial racing weekend in West Cork started off with steady rains and a delay in post time until 3PM. The rains stopped and by 4PM the sun was shining! The day's events were kicked off by a wonderful performance of pipes and drums. A ceremony was held and I was presented with a unique and beautiful sculpture designed specifically for this day! The racing began and in the 2nd race "the Oakwood Stud" was won by none other than the great Rebel Rouser, owned by yours truly! "Rebel" had won last week in Dublin and is now 3 wins in 4 lifetime starts. Rumors abounded that he might ship to America to challenge the great "Downbytheseaside", but those rumors are not yet confirmed!  The feature races of the day were "The Maven Trot" and "The Red John O'Donovan" Memorial Pace. They were great races with well-deserved winners and I was privileged to present the trophies! The weekend of racing in West Cork was great fun, or great "craic" as the Irish would say. I'm already looking forward to next year's racing! ######### And here are some final thoughts from the Red John Memorial Weekend organizer, Tim Kelleher. The rain on Sunday morning around 11 am in Lyre was torrential. Down on the track I could see Denis O Reilly and Timmy O Donovan moving the pegs on the track to fresh ground.  Are these boys mad to be out in this weather? As a committee, we were faced with a decision to run or cancel. I knew in my heart that cancelling would be the last option. I gathered my thoughts and looked west through the rain. A tiny break of light in the sky. Is this the signal from our departed friend Red John … right lads we delay the start for an hour and hope for the best mentioned Ger Hegarty the owner of this beautiful venue. Within ten minutes the rains had passed and the skies began to clear. Rain jackets discarded we set about checking that all was well. Another blip the race cards had not arrived. The printer Rob had worked until 5 am to get in the finals. Then like the break of light his van arrived “Sorry folks I slept it out.“ Panic over. Slowly the horse trucks and trailers arrived and a steady stream of cars began to make their way to the car parks. At 2:30 pm Gretta Cormican, who organized the stewards in military fashion, had a worry look on her face “Not a space left in the car park” (again a green field) “Open the wire to the next paddock” quipped her brother Ted. Bang on 3 pm the show began. For the amount of rain which fell the grass oval was still in good condition. The day passed in an instant. My personal highlight was the pre-race parade for the Maven Trotters Derby. The Ballingeary Pipe Band paraded on the track everyone was out to see the pipers and drummers strut their stuff and were accorded the biggest cheer after they had finished. This scribe had a funny moment which could have been serious. I was having a quick word walking on the track next to Donal Murphy on IB A Magician before the Red John Consolation Final and suddenly his race cart broke at the bridge. His quick reaction ensured all was OK. New cart on horse and he goes out and wins the race. Thanking people after events can lead to trouble but as one of the organizers I feel the following need special mention Bill Donovan our main sponsor. Caroline Collins out treasurer. Ger Hegarty the land owner. All at the IHRA office! Members of the ITHRF. 2018 won’t be long coming around. BIGGER AND BETTER!

A harness racing event reined-in £1,110 for Manorlands. Organisers announced the total this week and thanked everyone who had supported last month's extravaganza. "The weather forecast that day was for thunderstorms and torrential rain which I think deterred some people from attending but we did better than we might have," said Trish Wood, for the Bronte Vintage Gathering (BVG) Group. "I would like to say a big thank-you to all those who gave support in so many ways." Participants from as far afield as Wales and Newcastle entered the event. Six races were held, at the showfield in Haworth Road, Cullingworth. There were on-site bookmakers and other attractions included an Old Spot bar, cake stall, tombolas, catering and entertainment for young visitors, including a bouncy castle. Since the harness racing was first held 17 years ago, it has coined-in tens of thousands of pounds for the Oxenhope Sue Ryder hospice. Overall, the BVG group has now raised more than £400,000 for Manorlands. Next event on the BVG calendar is a grand charity evening at Keighley Rugby Union Football Club on November 11. For more details about the group, go to the BVG Facebook page. By Alistair Shand Reprinted with permission of The Keighley News

WEST CORK, Ireland - 16-year-old harness racing driver John O'Mahony drove the first double of his fledgling career at Dunmanway on Sunday. O'Mahony had to share the top driver honors with Donal Murphy, who also drove a brace of winners. Tenor Meslos was all the rage in the Le Trot off a 65 yard trail behind Picasso but it was Un Boss who have been a revelation all season and made every yard of the running to give teenager O'Mahony his first of the day. The high grade pace only attracted four runners but this rendition was one of the best seen at this famous grass oval. Brywins Picasso, a catch drive for Patrick Hill, set the early fractions with Sunnyside Kildare in close attendance. Heading into the last three furlongs, Meadowbranch Demon (off a 50 yard trail ) made his move off the back with Cruise Howard following the move. Facing for home "Picasso" was not weaning and in a titanic finish, Cruise Howard held off "The Demon" by a short head with Brywins Picasso a half a length third .This was the second winner of the afternoon for John O'Mahony, who was not over awed by his first brace of winners. Donal Murphy is like a fine wine getting better with age and the Baltimore based reinsman was responsible for two of the winners. Veteran Rhyds Hearbeat loves to run from the front and was not for catching in the Grade F pace for owners Angela and Martin Hurley. This 11-year-old son of Hasty Hall has been a great servant to his owners. Three-year-old Sunnyside Unique looks a smart recruit for owner Sean Buckley. This son of Rogue Hall overhauled longtime leader Meadowbranch Matt in the final 100 yards and completed the brace for driver Murphy. In West Cork we pride ourselves with racing horses under saddle and todays renewal saw a classic battle between Rhyds Panache and Hail Spartacus with the former getting up in the final stride. Cian O'Reilly on the winner and Eoin Murphy on the runner up must both be credited with their horsemanship (both only 12-years-old). Brywins Starship followed up on his heat win in The Red John weekend with anothe facile win in the Grade E & D pace. Richard Kingston drove the winner with confidence and will be a force to be reckoned with next season. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS GRADE G & G1 Pace 1st S Buckley SUNNYSIDE UNIQUE D Murphy 2nd O'Farrell / Healy MEADOWBRANCH MATT L Kelleher 3rd Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG D McCarthy DIST 1/2L 10L TIME 2.46.1 3 Ran   GRADE F PACE 1st A & M Hurley RHYDS HEARTBEAT D Murphy 2nd O'Reilly/O'Driscoll LYONS STALLONE C O'Reilly 3rd M O'Donovan MR SECURITY Owner DIST 3L 2L TIME 2.43.3 4 Ran   UNDER SADDLE 1st C O'Reilly RHYDS PANACHE C O'Reilly 2nd P Hill HAIL SPARTACUS E Murphy 3rd D McCarthy RHYDS DILLEMA C O'Driscoll DIST 1/2L 10L TIME 2.36.5 4 Ran   GRADE E & D PACE 1st M Healy BRYWINS STARSHIP R Kingston 2nd S O'Reilly SPRINGHILL DOYLE L Kelleher 3rd P J Cleary WESTERN DREAMER S Quill DIST 10L 1/2L TIME 2.39.8 7 Ran   LE TROT 1st J O'Mahony UN BOSS J O'Mahony 2nd IB Stables TENOR MESLOS D Murphy 3rd P Hill AUBADE A HEHENE P Hill DIST 1L 2L TIME 2.30.1 6 RaN   GRADE C B & A PACE 1st C O'Brien CRUISE HOWARD J O'Mahony 2nd Kelleher Bros MEADOWBRANCH DEMON L Kelleher 3rd Kelleher/O'Farrell BRYWINS PICASSO P Hill DIST SH 1/2l TIME 2 34.3 4 Ran