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WEST CORK, IE - Rhyds Panache took out the first big handicap of the season The George Deane Memorial at a sunny Dunmanway on Saturday evening. Three heats saw two qualifiers going forward to the grand final HEAT ONE Rhyds Heartbeat set all the fractions in the opening heat .Donal Murphy sent the veteran to the front and led until the final corner.Here the chasing pack closed in and Western Dreamer got up on the line to beat Heather Breeze and Springhill Doyle in a blanket finish HEAT TWO Earnies Umpire was all the rage in the betting ring .Hurry Up Abi off the plum one draw went to the front early and was not for catching with Earnies Umpire running on to claim the second qualifing slot with The Hitman third HEAT THREE Rhyds Panache was quick at the start to lead from Hail Spartacus.Heading out on the final circuit the field had closed in on the leader but Chris O Reilly let out an inch of rein and eased to a 7 length winning margin from Hail Spartacus with Supreme Sunshine third FINAL Hurry Up Abi was again quick from the start and was follwed by Earnies Umpire and Heather Breeze . The order remined much the same until the final quarter where Rhyds Panache was st alight and won going away from Hurry Up Abi. 6 lengths the distance . "I think he needed the run on the beach and ran well in Dundalk so I was confident of a big performance today" said winning owner /trainer and driver Chris O Reilly about the nine year old son of The One Night Pan "He take a hit in the handicap for today but we tak our chances in The Red John Memorial next weekend" O Reilly added and himself and Red John were workmates and life long friends . Waxies Dargle broke his Maiden tag for Mike Shanahan in the G & G1 Pace . The pair led after the firts circuit and were not for catching Cupidon De Breteil took the le Trot race. Himself and Avetot traded blows for most of the contest but the latter went off stride in the final 100 yards to hand the race to the winner. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS George Deane Memorial Heat One 1. Western Dreamer PJ Cleary 2. Heather Breeze S Jennings 3. Sprighill Doyle M O Reilly DIST 1 1/2 TIME 2.12.2 Heat Two 1. Hurry Up Abi J Manning 2. Earnies Umpire M O Reilly 3. The Hitman M Goggin Jnr DIST 3 1 TIME 2.08.1 Heat Three 1. Rhyds Panache C O Reilly 2. Hail Spartacus P Hill 3. Supreme Sunshine J Boyle DIST 8 1/4 TIME 2.05.6 Final ! Rhyds Panache C O Reilly 2. Hurry Up Abi J Manning 3 Earnies Umpire M O Reilly DIST 6 11/2 TIME 2.04.3 Race 5 1. Waxies Dargle M Shanahan 2.Moorside Captain J O Mahony 3. Shanes Income D McCarthy DIST 6 3 TIME 2.14.8 Race 6 1. Cupidon De Breteil F Quill Jnr 2. Avetot D Murphy 3. Un Boss J O Mahony DIST 8 20 TIME 2.19.7 Next weekend the Red John Memorial Festival weekend takes place in Lyre Clonakilty with racing on Sat and Sun First Race both days 2 PM start .

WEST CORK, IE - Sean Kane drove two winners at Annaghmore on Saturday and repeated that feat with another brace at the opening meeting of the 2018 West Cork harness Racing season at Inchadoney Beach on Sunday.   Brasilia Match a winner in Portmarnock a few weeks ago followed up with another victory in the Grade F & E Trot. Kane sent the winner to the front from the off and despite a late challenge from Un Boss he was never in danger and stayed on to win by 1 3/4 lengths . His driving double came in the finale The High grade trot . This time Kane employed the same front running tactics aboard Uldiem Alfa and was never for catching holding off Tarnao Josselyn for a 5 3/4 length winning margin Kane who is retained driver for Moorside Stables is enjoying a rich vein of form in the early season and the four hour drive back to their Naul base in County Meath will be made shorter by their winners . Racing opened with a four year old trot and here Denis O Reilly got a well over due win on his Empereur Souverain . O Reilly led off the number on slot and was never in any sort of danger eventually winning by 6 3/4l lengths from Eve Du Parc "He was very unlucky not to win in Portmarnock a few weeks back and done everything right today.We head to Dundalk for the big PMU meeting on the June weekend" explained winning driver Denis O Reilly . Reclamation opened her three year old campaign with a facile victory in the Grade G & G1 pace . This daughter of A Rock N Roll Dancer led from the start and was not over extended by Donal Murphy .She is owned by the Florida based Bill Donovan and The Murphy Bros and the plan is to race her in all the big three year old races both in Ireland and The UK and will most likely be shipped back to the US at the fall of the year. Canadian visitors Carla Selig and Kathy Byrne were on hard to make the presentation . King Wills Arrival justiofied good market support in the saddle race . Coalford Bruce and Hail Spartacus battled it out early but at the 3/4 pole Oisin Quill went through the middle of the two pace setters and ran out an easy two length winner. Earnies Umpire (Earned Income / Elizabeth Ann) followed up on his win in Portmarnock last Sunday with a victory that would suggest that he could be a very smart type .His eight length win from Pan Cam Drift was most impressive " We think he could right to the top and we will aim him at The Red John Memorial Handicap and then The big Handicap at The Grendon Memorial weekend" were the thought of winning owner Tadhg O Reilly The Iron Horse Meadowbranch Demon showed scant regard for his three rivals in the High Grade Pace.Running off a thirty yard hard handicap driver Luke Kelleher made his move down the back straight and passed with ease and "sat back in the armchair " on the run to the line "Hes just simply the best we ever had and at 12 years of age he seems to be enjoying himself .We give him ma week or two off and plan after that" winning owner Mike Kelleher said of this son of The Commissioner . Next Sunday is George Deane Memorial Day in Dunmanway with heats and finals for pacers By Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslinl RESULTS Race One 1 Emperaur Souverain D O Reilly 2 Eve Du Parc D Murphy 3 Extase Des Epines L Kelleher Distance 6 3/4 6 Time 3.21.6 Race Two 1 Reclamation D Murphy 2 Riverdance Hanover L Kelleher 3 Moorside Captain S Kane Distance 21 1/4 7 1/4 Time 2.10.1 Race Three 1 King Wills Arrival O Quill 2 Coalford Bruce M Shanahan 3 Hail Spartacus E Murphy Distance 5 2 Time 2.06.5 Race Four 1 Brasilia Match S Kane 2 Un Boss J O Mahony 3 Dream Des Broeuts Distance 1 3/4 1/4 Time 3.23.8 Race Five 1 Earnies Umpire M O Reilly 2 Pan cam Drift L Kelleher 3 Brywins Starship R Kingston Distance 8 2 Time 2.07.5 Race Six 1 Meadowbranch Demon L Kelleher 2 Rhyds Panache C O Reilly 3 Kestrels Dot Sammy J O Mahony Distance 3 3/4 1/4 Time 2.08.1 Race Seven 1 Uldiem Alfa S Kane 2 Tarnao Josselyn 3 Aubade A Helene Distance 5 3/4 38 1/2 Time 3.17.3  

WEST CORK, IE - The 2018 West Cork Harness Racing season opens on Sunday next at the beautiful Inchadoney Beach at 3.30 PM Described by the purists of the sport as one of the best venues to be found anywhere in the world Around 1pm on Sunday The Great Atlantic Ocean tide will be begin to turn outwards and a hippodrome for harness racing will begin to uncover at this Blue Flag Beach (An award only given to the cleanest beaches in Ireland) . Committee members will then mark out the track ,a temporary judges box will be driven on to the beach and at 3.30 racing begins A seven race program is on offer with a mix of three pacing races ,three races for trotters and one saddle race . "Everyone helps setting up the track owners ,drivers and even the race day officials "added Donal Murphy " Its a race against time in every manner firstly setting up the track then getting through the card and finally taking down the track and of course timing all the races " according to Timmy O Donovan a member of the ITHRF (The Irish Trotting and Harness Racing Federation) one of the clubs which make up the Irish Harness Racing Club. " With South West winds due lunch time on Sunday the beach should be at its very best with a half mile oval "coming out of the sands" it is one of our show piece meetings and I have sun glasses ready for the good weather which is forecast" said O Donovan This scribe through the medium of social media had contact from Canada from people who "had it on their bucket list " to make it to the famous beach and will be guests on the day and will enjoy the famous West Cork hospitality . So 3.30 pm at Inhadoney Beach is the place to be and remember TIME NOT TIDE WAITS FOR NO MAN! By Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

WEST CORK, IE -The harness racing community in West Cork has always been generous when it comes to looking after local charities. Following the record breaking Red John Memorial Festival of harness racing in Lyre last August, the committee made a presentation recently to Cork University Hospital Charities Committee. "We feel that it is important to look after those who may need medical help and CUH was our chosen charity this year." said Caroline Collins, treasurer of the RJM. "In 2018 we are going local with Bantry Pallative Care the charity "added Collins. Harness racing received a massive boost recently with the government funded Indecon report into the industry published and following on that report the government have announced funding of a five year strategic plan giving the sport a chance to grow further. The West Cork season opens at Inchadoney Beach on May 13th with the Red John Memorial Festival pencilled in for Sat 16th and sun 17th June at Lyre. By Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink      

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   

WEST CORK, IE - Deirdre Goggin was the star of the show on her home road in Goleen when riding a treble at the beautiful Causeway venue on Sunday last. Two of the winners were for her brother Micheal. In the grade A & B Pace Rhyds Ponder set the early fractions leading to the first and second turns heading to the third turn Goggin sent Saunders Paris to the front and from here to the last turn they were in command. They were roared home by the local partisan crowd and were four lengths in front at the finish . Saunders Picasso another Goggin trained inmate was making his road debut and ram out an easy winner in the grade E Pace. This time the winner was in front from the start and when Van Helsing made a mistake at the second turn Picasso was clear and won easily. The third leg of the Deidre Goggin treble came aboard Gadgie Pan in the Grade C & D . This one has had a few niggling problems during the season and put them behind him today winning in good style . Fair Enough who was placed third in the All Ireland was back to Grade C today and with Matt O Reilly in the Saddle jumped off in front and were not for catching. "I gave him a week or two to recover but I will run him during the Summer"' said Chris O Reilly owner of the winner. Kentucky Finale has found a few smart Novices a bit too good for him over the last few runs but looked a different horse today disposing of his only rival Captain Morgan in the opening Novice Pace. He will also be kept going for the turf season . So Goleen brought the curtain down on the Winter season . The turf season opens in Cork on Sunday 20th May at Inchadoney Beach . Portmarnock Raceway in Dublin will open on Easter Sunday. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink Goleen Road Trotting Races Results. Race 1: Novice Trot. 1st: Kentucky Finale, T. O' Leary. 2nd: Captain Morgan, D. Goggin. Race 2: Grade D Trot. 1st: Gadgie Pan, D. Goggin. 2nd: Blackfield Jenny, M. O' Reilly. 3rd: On The Other Side, T. O' Leary. Race 3: Grade C & D Trot. 1st: Fair Enough, M. O' Reilly. 2nd: Fairdays Bret, D. Goggin. 3rd: Meadowbranch Romeo, T. O' Leary. Race 4: Grade E Trot. 1st: Saunders Picasso, D. Goggin. 2nd: Shanes Income, M. O' Reilly. 3rd: Van Helsing, P. O' Brien. 4th: Ballyhill Jimmy, T. O' Leary. Race 5: Grade A/B Trot. 1st: Saunders Paris, D. Goggin. 2nd: Rhyds Ponder, T. O' Leary. 3rd: Rhyds Dilemma, M. O' Reilly.            

WEST CORK, IR - Maitha Buachaill claimed the 2018 All Ireland Road Trotting Championship before the biggest crowd seen at Skibbereen in many years on Sunday. With the defection of Rhyds Ponder due to injury the winner was a warm order in the betting ring. Fair Enough and Saunders Paris set the early fractions with Fair Enough making the opening two turns in front. At the second turn Saunders Paris got a poor turn as did Tactician Du Lys. Heading for the final turn it was a three way battle up front between Paris Buachaill and Fair Enough. Off The final turn Fair Enough was just in front and looked to be a winner . Entering the final furlong the three runners were as one stretched across the tarmac and it was Maitha Buachaill who edged to the front to win by two lengths from Saunders Paris with Fair Enough two lengths back in third . The crowds flocked onto the road to applaud all the horses who gave their all in a classic renewal of the race. Joint owner Ger Hegarty was carried shoulder high as was jockey Jamie Hurley. "Since I was a boy I dreamed of this day and winning the All Ireland, Today the dream came through. It was a team effort by winning jockey James Hurley (co owner) and all the Hurley family. We will enjoy tonight and the ride back home In Lyre." added Hegarty in the winners enclosure. Deirdre Goggin, jockey on runner up Saunders Paris commented. "She gave her all but to be fair we were beaten by the better horse on the day." Jamie Hurley rode two winners on the afternoon, having earlier guided Hillside Aurelius to victory in the Grade E . Shanes Income took the opening Novice Pace. Anthony McCarthy was in the plate and the pair ran out easy winners. Sunnyside Kildare returned to winning ways in the Grade D. Timmy O'Leary waited with this son of Bear Dance, taking up the running at the final turn and ran out a four length winner. Rhyds Dilemma gave a polished performance in the Grade B & C .Hillside Mustang led for most of the contest but was reeled in by the winner with three furlogs remaining and won going away. The Skibbbereen committee must be complimented for hosting the event and were blessed with fine weather and a bumper crowd. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS Race 1: Novice Trot. 1st: Shanes Income, A Mc Carthy. 2nd: Moorside Captain, T O' Leary. 3rd: Kentucky Finale, D. Goggin. Race 2: Grade B & C Combined. 1st: Rhyds Dilemma, D. Goggin. 2nd: Hillside Mustang, J Healy. 3rd: Meadowbranch Romeo, T O' Leary. Race 3: Grade D Trot. 1st: Sunnyside Kildare, T O' Leary. 2nd: IB Tweedy, J. Hurley. 3rd: Gadgie Pan, D. Goggin. Race 4: Grade E Trot. 1st: Hillside Aurelius, J. Hurley. 2nd: Blackfield Jennie, J. Healy. 3rd: Fairdays Bret, A. Mc Carthy. Race 5: All Ireland Saddle. 1st: Maitha Buachaill, J. Hurley. 2nd: Saunders Paris, D. Goggin. 3rd: Fair Enough, M. O' Reilly. 4th: Tactician Du Lys, T. O' Leary      

WEST CORK, IR - Road trotting fans from all over Ireland and The UK are set to flock to The famous "Marsh Road" on the outskirts of Skibbereen for the 2018 renewal of The All Ireland Road Trotting Championships this Sunday, January 28. The local committee are pushing the boat out this year with the annual "Memorial Day" hosting road trottings biggest prize The "All Ireland". Along with the purse of €1800, the winning connections will carry away The Tim "Cooper" Kelleher Memorial Trophy in memory of the founder of the Kelleher Racing Stables and "Cooper" was one of the leading bookmakers in harness racing before his untimely death in 1995 . This years renewal has attracted entries and below is a guide to their form MAITHA BUACHAILL Is the oldest horse in the race .A former multiple winner on turf and track has taken to the tarmac code and last year won five of his six starts . A winner in Drimoleague he finished second In Durrus before returning to winning ways in Ballygurteen . He is jointly owned by Ger Hegarty (Owner of the splendid Lyre Raceway home of the Red John Memorial ) and James Hurley who also trains him . Jamie Hurley is his tried and trusted Jockey and will start as favorite. RHYDS PONDER Is the arch rival of Maitha Buachaill and their battles both this season and in 2017 will go down in the folklore of this sport which is unique to West Cork.He finished second in Drimoleague and came out on top in Durrus and finished third in Ballygurteen . With usual jockey Deirdre Goggin riding Saunders Paris no confirmation of who will take the ride for owner /Trainer Ned Forbes. Loves to be in front and the Marsh Road holds no prisoners with a slight uphill pull to the finish can he last out . TACTICIAN DU LYS This French Bred trotter has been a consistent type last year but seemed to loose his way at the start of this year but put that behind him last time in Ballygurteen only finishing two lengths behind Maitha Buachaill. The tough two mile trip in Skibb will suit this imposing type who is owned by Ger Kane from County Meath and is trained by Jeremiah O Mahony in Dunmanway."Cool Hands" Timmy O Leary gets the ride and if any of the leading lights were to falter he could be there to pick up the pieces SAUNDERS PARIS This regally bred filly has worked her way up the ranks and will take her chances against the "big guns" for the first time .Deidre Goggin had the most difficult decision to come off Rhyds Ponder in favor of "Paris" but this filly is the apple in the eye of the Goggin family from Goleen with her brother Micheal the owner and trainer. She loves the front and distance should not be an issue as she won in Ballygurteen over the maximum trip. Would be a popular winner FAIR ENOUGH Has been a revelation since joining Chris O Reillys yard from the Newtown Stud in October Second on his debut in Drimoleague he has recorded wins in Durrus and Ballygurteen albeit in lower grades .Will be having his first run over two miles but seems to have the staying power and may be the one to upset the big names .Matthew O reilly will take the ride Cups to honor Jack Pat Collins , Pat Hurley, Martin and Joe Bennett, Gerald Collins and Paddy & Jason Kane will be on offer for winners of the other four races on the day. First race takes place at 2:30 pm. Details on www.harnessracingcork.com by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

WEST CORK, IR - The annual Memorial Day harness racing meet in Skibbereen has proved one of the biggest meeting on the Winter Road Trotting Circuit and this year the event takes on an even bigger significance as the famous Marsh Road venue on the outskirts of "Skibb" will host the 2108 All Ireland Road Trotting Championships the blue riband of the Road Racing season. Committee member Donal Murphy takes up the story. "Memorial Day here in Skibbereen has always had a high profile and this year we felt that staging the All Ireland would further enhance this great meeting. So an application was made to the governing body and our request was granted." Murphy said. "The Marsh Road has always been a venue to attract the crowds and the annual influx of harness racing fans from Dublin ,Scotland ,Wales and the UK has added a real international flavor to the day . To be fair we have a great committee here and our sponsors are loyal to us."added Murphy. The talk all season has been the meetings of Maitha Buachaill and Rhyds Ponder and last week Tactician Du Lys came between the two arch rivals in his best run so far this year. The emergance of Saunders Paris and a real contender has really wet the appetites of followers of this sport which is unique to West Cork . Entries for the classic close next Sunday night at 9:00 pm and there will be a full preview early next week by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink      

WEST CORK, IR - Van Helsing with was a popular winner of the Grade E Pace at the annual Ballygurteen Road Trotting races on Sunday. The race produced the best finish of the five race program with four horses crossing the line in a blanket finish. Hillside Aurelius, who was having his first outing in the grade, led early in this mile contest .Turning for home Van Helsing and Fairdays Bret joined the leader and in a sprint to the line Van Helsing got the nod by half a length. This was a real family occasion with the winner bred by Paddy O'Brien from Schull and is owned and trained by his son Micheal and ridden by another son Patrick. "He got a slight knock in Drimoleague which meant he missed Durrus but was spot on for today, " added Micheal O'Brien in the post race media briefing. Maitha Buachaill and Rhyds Ponder went "at it again" in the top grade pace and this time the pendulum swung the way of Maitha Buachaill. Rhyds Ponder set the early fractions with the winner never more than a length in arrears .At The final turn the two big guns were joined by Tactician Du Lys and with all guns blazing the trio were spread across the road. Entering the last eighth Maitha Buachaill just got the upper hand and led home Tactician Du Lys by a length with Rhyds Ponder another length third. "He gets bone lazy in front so i had to bide my time before going to the front," said winning jockey Jamie Hurley. Saunders Paris continued her unbeaten run in the Grade B & C with a facile win.This was her first run over the maximum two mile trip and finished strong and Deidre Goggin played down the hype about her running against the big guns in Grade A. "We cant be but happy with her first time over the distance and look Ponder and Buachaill are another matter completely," said Goggin, whose cheeky smile couldnt hide her delight. Fair Enough took out a competitive Grade D pace. Sunnyside Kildare was the punters choice in his first outing in Grade D and his cause wasnt helped by a bad first turn. But to be fair Matthew O'Reilly was never in danger on the winner eventually seeing off "Kildare" by two lengths. "I bought him out of the Newtown Stud in Dublin and he had a few small niggles, but I think we have him in the right frame now," said owner Chris O'Reilly, who dove a winner at Pompano Park Florida in 2016. Shanes Income has been knocking at the door in the Novice grade for the last few days and finally got the win he deserved today. The son of Earned Income led from start to finish and was not for catching. The Big Skibbereen Memorial Day is next on the circuit on Sunday 28th January and this meeting attracts a large infux of visitors from Dublin,.Scotland, Wales and The UK. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink Details of entries on www.harnessracingcork.com RESULTS NOVICE PACE 1st McCarthy/Daly SHANES INCOME A McCarthy 2nd Kane / Crowley / O Mahony MOORSIDE CAPTAIN T O Leary 3rd D McCarthy KENTUCKY FINALE D Goggin DIST 8L 10L 3 Ran GRADE E PACE (The Denis Dullea Memorial Cup) 1st M O'Brien VAN HELSING P O'Brien 2nd D McCarthy FAIRDAYS BRET A McCarthy 3rd L O'Brien HILLSIDE AURELIUS J Hurley DIST 1/2L 1/2L 5 Ran GRADE D (The Jeremiah Keohane Memorial Cup) 1st C O'Reilly FAIR ENOUGH M O'Reilly 2nd S Buckley SUNNYSIDE KILDARE T O'Leary 3rd Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG J Healy DIST 2L 4L 6 Ran GRADE B & C (The William O Sullivan Memorial Cup) 1st M Goggin Jnr SAUNDERS PARIS D Goggin 2nd D McCarthy RHYDS DILEMMA A McCarthy 3rd G Cooke MEADOWBRANCH ROMEO M O'Reilly DIST 10L 1L 3 Ran GRADE A (The Paddy Keohane Memorial Cup) 1st Hegarty / Hurley MAITHA BUACHAILL J Hurley 2nd G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O'Leary 3rd N Forbes RHYDS PONDER D Goggin DIST 1L 1L 3 Ran  

WEST CORK, IR - Only a few hours into the new year and there was more fireworks at the annual New Years Day harness racing fixture in Durrus . All last season the meetings of Rhyds Ponder and Maitha Buachaill have proved the talking point on all race goers lips and on Monday they served up another classic to rival any of their previous meetings.  Both horses took turns at leading which normally has Rhyds Ponder as the pace setter.  Coming off the final turn, Maitha Buachaill had Rhyds Ponder in his sights, and took up the mantle and looked a winner in the final 200 yards, but Deirdre Goggin had one more effort on Ponder and overtook the winner to win by two lengths . Like all personal duels the talk already is of another rematch in Ballygurteen on Jan 14th. This was the second leg of a riding double for Deirdre Goggin, who earlier in the afternoon combined with her brother Micheal to land the Grade B & C aboard Saunders Paris.  This impeccably bred filly is the apple in the eye of the Goggin family and led home Lakeview Walter and the  die hards of racing were even talking about the possibility of Saunders Paris meeting "The Big Two" later in the year.  Sunnyside Kildare and Hillside Aurelius both winners in Drimoleague both contiued their winning runs. Hillside Aurelius made every yard of the Novice contest over a mile and led home Shanes Income and newcomer Kentucky Finale. Sunnyside Kildare was a warm order favorite in the betting ring and gave the odds on punters a small fright winning in a blanket finish in the Grade E contest .as always "Cool Hands"Timmy O'Leary was in the winning seat .  Fair Enough who finished second on his first run on tarmac in Drimoleague went one better today taking out an ultra competitive Grade D. Matthew O'Reilly had Fair Enough always near the front and hit the front in the final two furlongs to win by six lengths. Fair Enough looks like a shrewd buy for owner Chris O Reilly (cousin of the winning jockey) who purchased him out of the Newtown Stud in October. Sunday 14th January the action moves to Ballygurteen  Details on www.harnessracingcork.com  by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS  GRADE A (The Timmy Daly Memorial Cup) N Forbes RHYDS PONDER D Goggin  Hegarty / Hurley MAITHA BUACHAILL J Hurley  G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O Leary  DIST 3L Dist 3 Ran  GRADE B & C (The PJ Barry Memorial Cup & Cottage Tables Cup) M Goggin Jnr SAUNDERS PARIS D Goggin  R Joyce LAKEVIEW WALTER M O Reilly  D McCarthy RHYDS DILEMMA A McCarthy  DIST 8L 2L 3 Ran GRADE D (The John O Sullivan Memorial Cup) C O Reilly FAIR ENOUGH M O Reilly Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG J Healy One For the Road Syn IB TWEEDY J Hurley DIST 6L 2L  6 Ran  GRADE E (The Charles Cremin & Jack Connolly Memorial Cup) S Buckley SUNNYSIDE KILDARE T O Leary D McCarthy ON THE OTHER SIDE D Goggin  D McCarthy FAIRDAYS BRET A McCarthy  DIST 1L 1/2L 4 Ran  NOVICE (The Jan Goregrimes Memorial Cup) L O Brien HILLSIDE AURELIUS J Hurley McCarthy / Daly SHANES INCOME A McCarthy  D McCarthy KENTUCKY FINALE D Goggin  DIST 6L 10L 3 Ran     

WEST CORK, IRE - The 2018 Winter Road Racing season got underway at Drimoleague on St Stephens Day and despite terrible weather conditions there was some good finishes in the five-race card. Jamie Hurley who was champion jockey in 2017 kicked off the new season with two winners. Maitha Buachaill and Rhyds Ponder were arch rivals all last year and the rivalry continued in the Grade A & B. This time Maitha Buachaill got the verdict leading home Rhyds Ponder by two lengths with Tactician Du Lys a further ten lengths third. This gave Jamie Hurley his second win of the afternoon having earlier teaming up with newcomer Hillside Aurelius in the Novice Pace who led home On The Other Side by six lengths. The winner is owned by Liam O’Brien. Another Hillside Farm bred Hillside Mustang took the Grade D. This was the best finish of the day with Fair Enough and Hillside Mustang battling out a driving finish with Mustang prevailing by a neck. Sunnyside Kildare a former multiple track winner made his debut on tarmac a winning one leading from start to finish in the Grade E. Timmy O’Leary was in the plate for owner Sean Buckley. Saunders Paris notched up another win in the Grade C and Deirdre Goggin teamed up with this one who is owned and trained by her brother Micheal. New Years Day action moves to Durrus with another five-race program. Check www.harnessracingcork.com for details of entries. By Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS GRADE A & B (The Tommy McCarthy Memorial Cup) Hegarty/Hurley MAITHA BUACHAILL J Hurley N Forbes RHYDS PONDER D Goggin G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O’Leary DIST 2l 10l 3 Ran   GRADE C (The Joe O Sullivan Cup) M Goggin SAUNDERS PARIS D Goggin D McCarthy RHYDS DILEMMA A McCarthy J O Sullivan HILLSIDE DARTANIAN M O’Reilly DIST 5l 2l 3 Ran GRADE D Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG J Healy C O Reilly FAIR ENOUGH M O’Reilly N Forbes GADGIE PAN D Goggin  DIST NK 4l 5 Ran GRADE E S Buckley SUNNYSIDE KILDARE T O’Leary H Kelleher BLACKFIELD JENNY J Healy M O Donovan MR SECURITY J Hurley DIST 2l 4l 4 Ra NOVICE L O Brien HILLSIDE AURELIUS J Hurley D McCarthy ON THE OTHER SIDE D’Goggin J O Mahony EDERLEZI T O’Leary DIST 4l 6l 5 Ran

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  

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 ROAD RACING Jockey - Jamie Hurley Female Jockey - Deirdre Goggin Horse - Saunders Paris Traine- r - James Hurley  FIELD RACING 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  

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!

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      

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