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Takemetothelimit, harness racing

Team Haythornthwaite off to flying start

Wales, UK - Saturday night’s opening meeting at Tir Prince belonged to the trainer/driver duo Teresa and James Haythornthwaite, who took out three of the seven races on the card including the feature pacing event: the Anto Russell Memorial.  The mother and son team began their treble when TAKEMETOTHELIMIT led from pillar to post in the second race of the night, with James admitting in the post-race interview that father Alan’s advice had been to roll out slowly from post position 5; advice that he chose not to heed when deciding if “[he] was going to go out slow [he] was as well going out fast”.  The gamble paid off, with the five-year-old son of Art Professor coming home two and half lengths clear of IN THE MONEY (Grant Cullen) in 2.02.6.  DREAMFAIR DUKE (Hugh Menzies) filled the places back in third. The stable’s second winner came in the Dexter Dunn Spring Series heat, where Wales & West Leading Horse of last season KENTUCKY JUNGLEJOE (Mark Pritchard) stepped out of the gate in front and held off the initial challenge of RHYDS LOUIE (Jak Foody).  Heading to the three quarters Foody mounted a second challenge for the lead and in doing so drew the long time leader off the rail;  FRISCO GOTTAGO wasted no time in the hands of James Haythornthwaite and burst through the gap on the rail to take up the running with just under a quarter to go and ran out a comfortable winner by two and a quarter lengths in 2.05.6.  RHYDS LOUIE stayed on well for second and maiden KENOSHA COMET (Mike Evans) improved in the stretch to finish third. Team Haythornthwaite rounded off the night with a win in the final race on the card.  Heavy betting favourite COALFORD TETRICK (David Davies) led out in a blistering 28 first quarter and some felt the race was over at this point.  Going through the half in 58 seconds, it only took until the three quarter marker for the leader to start coming back to the chasing field.  Haythornthwaite and PLAN B opted to get first run on the front horse and cruised to the lead before turning for home, with NO BRAKES (Hugh Menzies) closing the gap to the wire to three parts of a length.  LAKESIDE PADDY (Mike Evans) finished third in the fastest race of the night, stopping the clock in 2.00.4.  The nine-year-old son of Hasty Hall will continue to be campaigned exclusively on hard tracks for the remainder of the season with the aim to keep him consistent in his racing. Last season’s Trotter of the Year DIAMANT DE GODREL overcame barrier draw 8 to land the Prix Bienvenue for owner Savannah Nicholson, trainer John Nicholson and driver John Henry Nicholson.  The stable’s star was taken back at the start and settled at the rear of the field as BROADWAY DU BOURG (Joby Randall) led out. With the race over a mile and a half, the group remained bunched as they passed the mile marker, until EMIRAT DU LEVANT (Richard Haythornthwaite) made a big move off the turn to take on the leader with a lap to go.  DIAMANT DE GODREL stayed close on his heels and down the back straight tipped three wide to challenge, kicking off the final bend to go clear by 2 lengths at the finish in 3.16.0.  EMIRAT DU LEVANT dug in to finish second with long time leader BROADWAY DU BOURG holding on for third. Owner/driver Joby Randall had tasted success earlier in the evening in the first of the two trots with new purchase COEUR DE VENISE.  The race, made up of 7 new imports from France under the Le Trot/TrotBritain scheme, was as much a fact-finding mission for connections as it was for spectators, with Randall establishing after the race that his new charge was brave in front and not willing to let another horse pass him.  Having led out, he held off all challenges over the mile and half distance to run out a length and a half winner from the eye-catching FLASH DE LONGUERUE (Mike Evans) and CEDRE PIERJI (Peter Mather) in 3.12.8. The first winner of the 2021 British season went the way of the track’s Racing Manager, Eric Witherspoon, who was celebrating his birthday with his family in attendance.  OAKWOOD BANDIT (Michael O’Mahony) was felt by Witherspoon to possibly be in need of the run but this proved not to be the case as the four-year-old son of Foreclosure N, purchased last year, held off the late challenge from SPER BUGGY (James Haythornthwaite) to give his owner a birthday to remember when recording his first lifetime win.  Debutant JOHN JAMES (Mark Pritchard) impressed onlookers to stay on for third with the race clocked in 2.04.2. Scottish trainer Hamish Muirhead was described as ‘shrewd’ on The Sulky Show which aired on the BHRC’s Youtube channel on Friday night and his decision to travel so far south yielded success in the form of STASHTHECASH (William Greenhorn). AYR PIONEER (Mark Pritchard) maintained a lead for three quarters of a mile before succumbing to the challenge from RING OF FIRE (Rhun Wilson), but Greenhorn stated in the post-race interview that the mare had warmed up really well and he was confident going into the race that he could land a place, and turning for home he felt he could get the win as she continued to race strong right to the line, running out a two length winner in 2.02.3 over RING OF FIRE, with ALL GOOD HANOVER (Jak Foody) staying on well after a long layoff from racing to finish third. Racing returns to Tir Prince on Saturday 15th May.  The next meeting in Great Britain is at York Harness Raceway on Saturday 8th May, featuring the Smart Bookmakers Final. by Sarah Thomas. for Harnesslink

Ayr Pioneer, harness racing

Harness racing underway in Great Britain

The 2021 harness racing season kicks off this weekend in Great Britain with a competitive 7 race card at Tir Prince Raceway in North Wales. After Covid delayed proceedings in 2020 until July, this year racing is able to commence on the original scheduled dates albeit behind closed doors for the initial meetings. The first race of the year is an 8 horse maiden event; the 7-year-old SPER BUGGY (Dragon Again x Dune Buggy Hanover), a yearling purchase at Harrisburg, makes his return to racing after a long layoff but caught the eye in a qualifier last week at York. AYR PROPAGANDA (Mypanmar x Out In The Opan) was another who looked to be ready to race in last week's qualifiers. OAKWOOD BANDIT (Foreclosure N x Olympic Sign) finished the 2020 season with a string of second placed finishes at Tir Prince although connections feel he could be a couple of races away from full fitness. Of the debutants, JOHN JAMES (Rogue Hall x Mahogany Jet) was noted as impressive in a qualifier at Amman Valley in recent weeks. The second race (for horses rated between 26 - 34) sees the newly adopted ratings-based handicap system come into force, an undertaking by the British Harness Racing Club with influences drawn from the southern hemisphere. INTHEMONEY (Check On Jack x Ladyford Lucy) finished second to Sper Buggy in last week's qualifier which gives a better indication of chances here than his lifetime mark suggests on paper. TAKEMETOTHELIMIT (Art Professor x Judy Hall) was a consistent performer in his stakes career and perhaps steps into the handicap races on a reasonable rating. DREAMFAIR DUKE (Dreamfair Vogel x Hustle) found his feet in 2020 after a difficult start to his career in late 2019 and makes the journey from Scotland to race. Locally owned and trained LYONS MAVERICK (Hasty Hall x Lyons Sharma) showed good form last season also and has the benefit of the rail with the second line draw. The Prix Welcome Back heralds the first of the trotting races for 2021 and features a host of new faces imported from France at the end of last year. Only one of the 8 starters has raced in Britain previously (ELKA DU PUY) and has changed stable since last season. FEERIE DE TRIOU (Redlight Jet x Poutrelle De Triou) impressed in her qualifier at York last week, showing a good turn of foot to lead out. EUROPE (Thorns Vedaquais x Romebelle) and EBONY STAR (Nuage Noir x Madone On Wood) crossed the line together behind her in the same qualifier and looked straight forward types. This is a race which will yield the most information going forward from this meeting. Race 4 is for horses rated between 35 and 58 and looks a very difficult race to select a winner. Stablemates LOOSECHANGE (Forafewdollarsmore x Call My Bluff) and STASHTHECASH (Dreamfair Vogel x Yoko Hall) make the trip from Scotland and connections could be confident with both. AYR PIONEER (Soulofthematter x Ayr Wing) won the final race of the 2020 season, the Green Hornet Final (in association with Yannick Gingras) in a thrilling four-way finish having improved all year. STATESIDE DUDE (Armbro Deuce x No Messin) comes out of stakes races in good form towards the end of the year to take on the older horses this time around. The Dexter Dunn Spring Series is a concept devised by Tir Prince Racing Manager Eric Witherspoon with qualifying legs over the coming weeks, culminating in a grand final and consolation final. The fifth race on the card is the first of these qualifying legs and sees 6 of the nominated horses face the starter. KENTUCKY JUNGLEJOE (Share The Delight x Mikes Starlight) was a winner of 5 races last year and connections will be looking to emulate that success again this season. FRISCO GOTTAGO is another stakes campaigner who comes into handicap races with a good rating and is a mare whose breeding suggests she may improve with age. RHYDS LOUIE (Sweet Lou x Rose Among Thorns) got off the mark at York last year and went on to win the SHRC 3YO Derby at Corbiewood which was a competitive affair. The second of the trot races is arguably the race of the night with some of the country's best trotters lining up. DIAMANT DE GODREL (Un Amour D'Haufor x Louisiane Witt), the 2020 TrotBritain Leading Trotter and BHRC Trotter of the Year, draws widest on the gate with some quality competition inside him, however looked to be in good form in a qualifier last week at York. CALIMERO BROUETS (Quix De Brouets x Olyoda) and UNIVERSAL CAT (Cygnus D'Oyssee x Kitten Cat) have both been subject to stable changes during the winter and connections will be hoping for their previous successes to follow them. BROADWAY DU BOURG (Repeat Love x Ocre D'Or) proved to be versatile over various distances last year and EMIRAT DU LEVANT (Otello Pierji x Laluska) will be looking to return to his 2019 form which saw connections travel to Belgium to collect the GB Leading Trotter award. The final race on the card is the Anto Russell Memorial with five quality horses lining up. BHRC Mare of the Year NEWTOWN JODY (Foreclosure x Onyx Killean) held the season track record last year with a 1.57.5 performance on Breeders Crown night and will be looking to return to the winner's circle at arguably her favourite track. COALFORD TETRICK (Rogue Hall x Sweet Tahoma) finished his 2020 campaign with a win here off a 50 yard trail and returns this year with the same driver and a position on the gate. LAKESIDE PADDY (Doonbeg x Lakeside M J) also tasted success at this track last year and proved he could race against the top horses time and time again. The season continues with York Harness Raceway's opening meeting next Saturday, 8th May, featuring the Smart Bookmakers Final; racing returns to Tir Prince on Saturday 15th May before Corbiewood welcomes the start of the Scottish season with the Smart Bookmakers Final on Friday 21st May. Amman Valley's season opener is scheduled for Sunday 23rd May, featuring the first of the STAGBI British Championship races. by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink        

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Happy Easter to everyone

The staff and management at Harnesslink wishes everyone around the world in harness racing a very happy Easter.

Teatimepreacher Gb, harness racing

Great Britain import takes first Canadian win

Great Britain import Teatimepreacher Gb scored her first harness racing win in Canada in Woodbine Mohawk Park's co-featured condition pace event on Friday, Mar. 5.   The seven-year-old went right to the motor for driver Bob McClure, setting a 27.2 first quarter. Team Kiwi N (Doug McNair) drove on and took the lead briefly going by three-eighths, but Teatimepreacher went right back around and cleared going to the half in 56. Kounnis (Sylvain Fillion) moved out of the three-hole and applied pressure going past the three-quarters in 1:25.1, but Teatimepreacher turned her away as they entered the stretch.   McClure needed only mild urging to get the daughter of The Preacher Man home as she cruised to a one-length win. Team Kiwi N consolidated second, and Nectar (Robert Shepherd) closed late for third.       Teatimepreacher took her 13th victory from 29 starts and surpassed $30,000 in earnings lifetime with the win. Colin Johnson has taken over training duties during the mare's Canadian campaign for owner Raymond Huschka of Penrith Cumbria, Great Britain. She went off as the heavy favourite and paid $3.20 to win.   Earlier in the card, Born A Dragon gained four positions in the last eighth of a mile to win the other co-feature pace.   Driver Travis Cullen dropped her into fourth from post five through the first turn as Major League N (Ed Hensley) controlled the pace early. Major League hit the quarter in 26.4 and half in 55.3. Meanwhile, Born A Dragon stepped around a gapping Majestic Virgin to move up to third. Major League led past three-quarters in a speedy 1:23.2 as the top five contenders separated themselves from the bottom three.   Born A Dragon, who was shuffled back to fifth in the third quarter, stalled upon first asking from Cullen. However, she exploded in the last 1/16th of a mile and got up with half a length to spare to win in 1:52.2. She broke the heart of place finisher Sly Elanor N (Chris Christoforou), who took over the lead just past the eighth pole but couldn't hold onto it. Bestseller Hanover (Louis-Philippe Roy) converted a pocket trip into show money.       Born A Dragon, a six-year-old mare by Custard The Dragon, took her first win of 2021 and her 17th lifetime from 74 starts. Cullen and Paul Sanders of Surrey own the Jodie Cullen-trained mare that has now earned more than $165,000.   Woodbine Mohawk Park will resume racing on Saturday, Mar. 6 with a 10-race card that kicks off at 7 p.m. EST.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Harnesslink would like to wish all our harness racing readers a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.   And Wow! What a year it has been. During these pandemic times harness racing is continuing to operate during difficult circumstances and although there will be a number of challenges facing harness racing in the coming year, we are confident the industry can come together and find the outcomes to the issues before us that will benefit harness racing well into the future. Harnesslink has a very good relationship with the national bodies of harness racing and we would like to thank you and also all our advertisers and sponsors for your support over the past year. At Harnesslink we will endeavor to continue to keep you up to date with all the latest news and stories about harness racing from around the world. Have a safe and happy holiday over the new year break. From the staff and managment at Harnesslink

It has been announced by the owners of Shartin N, the 2019 USA Dan Patch Harness Horse of the Year and the fastest pacing mare in history, has been retired from racing and has been sold. In a glittering harness racing career, the world champion mare won 46 of her 68 lifetime starts and $2,667,563 in purses- an average of $39,228 per start - and took a world record lifetime mark of 1:46.4. She clocked an amazing 20 winning miles in 1:50 or better. Bred in New Zealand, Shartin N did not race at age two and commenced her career in Australia as a three-year-old, winning seven races and $105,718 in purses including the Queensland and Tasmanian Oaks. Following her defeating Victorian Horse of the Year, Jilliby Kung Fu 1:48.4 ($529,710), at Melton in 2017, when Shartin N sat parked out the entire trip and won in a class record 1:52.5 mile rate over 1720 meters, Shartin N was bought by leading New Zealand bloodstock agent John Curtin on behalf of USA owner Richard Poillucci of South Easton, MA. Poillucci would then take on partners JoAnn Looney King of Delaware and later down the road, driver Tim Tetrick of Delaware. "In my wildest dreams I never thought I would have a mare like Shartin," said owner Richard Poillucci. "It does not happen very often in our industry or in a lifetime for an owner. "It was a hard decision to be made," Poillucci added. "We talked about it for the past few months and decided it would be in her best interest to become a broodmare. "It has been so surreal having Shartin these past few years. Poillucci said. "If you are into harness racing there is no greater feeling than owning a world champion like her. When she was good no one could beat her and when she was not good, she was still great." "She would not have been possible for her to do all that she did if it wasn't for trainer Jim King, Jr.'s tutelage and driver Tim Tetrick's patience," Poillucci said. "They, along with my co-owner JoAnn King, did such a superb job with her. When she first came into their barn, she was not a well-mannered mare and they made her the world champion she is today. "I can't thank my agent and friend John Curtin enough," Poillucci added. "He did not just find and purchase this mare for us, but he has been one of her biggest fans too, following every start she has made in North America. He does that with every horse I get with him." Shartin N took the North American racing scene by storm in 2018 for trainer Jim King, Jr., winning 19 of her 24 appearances and earning $1,053,236 - the highest total by a pacing mare ever in one season. She was named the Dan Patch Pacer of the Year and was second in the balloting for Harness Horse of the Year. She completed almost a clean sweep of the major races for mares in 2018, including the $373,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Final, $370,000 Roses Are Red, $270,000 Breeders Crown, $197,400 Lady Liberty, $175,000 TVG Free-for-all, $161,000 Artiscape Pace, $150,000 Betsy Ross Invitation, $102,200 Chip Noble Memorial and the $98,500 Allerage Farm Pace in a season's record 1:48.2. Shartin N put an exclamation mark on her 2019 career in August last year when she produced a jaw-dropping world record performance to win the $183,500 Lady Liberty at The Meadowlands, carving out the mile in 1:46.4 - 0.6 faster than the prior world mark. She also became the fastest Standardbred horse ever bred in New Zealand.   A month later Shartin N set another world record for mares on a five-eighths track when she was clocked in 1:48 at Harrah's Philadelphia in a $30,000 Open Pace. She continued her dominance of the distaff pacing ranks throughout the year, winning the $402,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker, $330,000 Roses Are Red, $179,550 Golden Girls, $137,000 Artiscape, $100,000 Clara Barton, $100,000 Betsy Ross and the $100,000 Chip Noble and finishing second in the Breeders Crown. Shartin N won 15 of her 19 outings in 2019 for $982,177 in stakes - a season's high for her gait and sex. As the result of a remarkable season, Shartin N was named 2019 Dan Patch Harness Horse of the Year and became only the fifth female pacer and the first horse bred outside of North America to pick up the prestigious award. In the voting she defeated the champion three-year-old's Bettor's Wish 1:47.3 ($2,781,240) and Warrawee Ubeaut 1:48.3 ($1,948,175), the top Free-For-Aller and world record holder Lather Up 1:46 ($1,917,935) and McWicked 1:46.2 ($5,103,271) and world record holders and leading trotters in Manchego 1:49 ($2,857,315) and Atlanta 1:49.1 ($2,859,610) in the end-of-year balloting. Shartin N returned to the track as a seven-year-old this year, winning an additional five races including the $177,100 Lady Liberty and $129,000 Artiscape for the third time each and notching consecutive wins in the $100,000 Clara Barton. "The barn will not be the same without her for sure," Said trainer Jim King, Jr. "Hard to imagine this barn without her and looking forward to her next race. "It's been the driving force for me these past three years. "We knew this day would come so ...it's tough." On the score of bloodlines, Shartin N has a great deal in her favor. Apart from being sired by the champion NZ pacer Tintin In America, a $906,422 winning son of McArdle, she is out of a mare by the Governor's Cup winner Live Or Die, a leading sire in NZ for many years, while her grand-dam, is a daughter of the Bret Hanover foal, Save Fuel, a brother to the glamour American filly of the 1970's, Guiding Beam. The family has produced a host of 'black type' performers including Italian Delight (1:50.2), Donegal Delight (NZ North Island Breeders Stakes), Im Bella Jay (WA Wesbred 2YO Classic) and Kanturk (NZ Celebrity Stakes). "I can't hardly tell you what it's been like to have owned and raced a world champion like Shartin," said co-owner JoAnn Looney King. "She's the dream horse I longed for since I was a young girl in the horse business. She's the dream horse everyone longs for. Imagine owning a horse that North America knows by name seems unreal but it happened and to me and our team I also want people to know that the experience of meeting so many nice people and well-wishers on the road traveling has been one of the high points of owning a horse like Shartin. "People have been so nice everywhere we travelled," King add. "We met so many nice people that I still stay in touch with and I'm so appreciative of their kindness. "For the past few days now that she has been sold," King explained. "When I walk by her stall and speak to her I have some sadness but I know it's best for her and for the team, but damn it's going to be hard to watch her walk out of that barn the final time. "It will be emotional for me, real emotional. It's really been the best three years imaginable. A dream come true and I thank God every day." Bloodstock agent John Curtin also confirmed the sale of Shartin N for an undisclosed sum to Ola Yoder, owner of Kountry Lane Standardbreds, LLC of Indiana. Ola Yoder stunned the harness racing world with a significant investment in buying five sensational broodmares at the 2019 White Birch Farm dispersal sale held at Harrisburg. Since then, he has purchased the Breeders Crown winner Winndevie 1:53 ($863,257) and now Shartin N. Shartin N is scheduled to be bred to Captaintreacherous in 2021 and then Lazarus N in 2022. Plans for a special retirement ceremony will be announced soon. By Steve Wolf  

Guelph, ON Dec. 15, 2020 Equine Guelph, the horse centre at the University of Guelph in Canada, has announced it is setting up a free virtual classroom for English-speaking youth around the world. Horse-crazy teenagers (ages 13-17) will have the opportunity to take an online Equine Behaviour & Safety course with access open until February 6, 2021 on www.TheHorsePortal.com   With no specific time to be online, the self-paced on-demand format was developed to be super flexible and user-friendly, a perfect way for youth to fuel their passion and learn more about their favourite animal over the COVID-19 second wave months.  There is approximately two-week’s worth of material and activities, but with this special free offering, kids can keep coming back as often as they like during the three month period.     Join over 350 students, from around the globe, that have already signed up in November to learn about:   Course topics include: 1.  Horse Behaviour – Wild vs Stabled 2.  How Horses See and Hear 3.  Herd Behaviour – How Horses Interact with Each Other 4.  Horse Handling – Basic Safety Around Horses 5.  Rider/Helmet Safety 6.  Safe Trailering – Basics 7.  Fire Safety 8.  Safety around the Barn and Paddocks 9.  Returning from an Injury   There will be many more points to ponder as students go through a multitude of videos from industry professionals including guest expert: Dr. Rebecca Husted-Gimenez from the United States. As a world-renowned instructor on technical large animal emergency rescue, Gimenez has a wealth of experience when it comes to horse behaviour and safe handling. For more information on Dr. Gimenez please visit the TLAER website.   Valued at $100, this offering will be a game changer for youth learning to speak horse! As such, Equine Guelph asks youth around the world to pass it on! Tell your friends, tell your barn, tell your ‘Ag’ group!     Equine Guelph thanks its generous sponsors in Canada for making this international youth initiative possible: ESSO, Kubota Canada, Ontario Equestrian, SSG Gloves, System Fencing and Workplace Safety & Prevention Services.   Get all your barn buddies together and sign up today for this awesome opportunity to stay safe and pursue your passion for horses online! Go to www.TheHorsePortal.com for more info.     Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications Equine Guelph  

In an attempt to lessen their dependency on bob-tailed nags, the pari-mutuel betting company behind the UK Tote is preparing to start taking wagers on human sports. Sky News announced on Friday that the UK Tote Company had received £ 20m from current investors in new equity. The money will be used in part to finance a diversification plan that will see a new football betting division set up by the race betting operator early next year. For the well-heeled people behind Alizeti Capital, which acquired the Tote from former owners Betfred last year a Tote spokesman stated that responding to “new opportunities… remains a key priority.” Alizeti includes important racing personalities, including owners of racehorses, breeders, trainers and jockeys. The CEO of the UK Tote Group is Alex Frost, a former trader for Merril Lynch, who in September accepted accountant John Williamson as chairman of Tote. The Tote spokesman said the new prospects on the horizon at present include “being able to expand into other sports” and introducing the Tote to a wider base of sports fans who have yet to succumb to the charms of pool betting. Although the Tote is said to be doing fine, there seems to be a growing consensus that it is no longer an advisable strategy to throw all the eggs into one basket. UK race betting has failed to recover from a series of pandemic constraints that forced racing with no punters in the stands behind closed doors. In October, GVC Holdings sold its on-course bookmaking operations in the UK and Ireland, which GVC said handled “minuscule” betting handles. Under strict health and safety precautions, UK racetracks in some pandemic regional ‘tiers’ welcomed back a small number of spectators this week. But the Jockey Club recently reported that with the damage bleeding into 2021, the pandemic will likely reduce its 2020 revenue by £ 90 million as well. In October, the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) announced that over the first four months of 2021, it will continue its “significantly increased support” for racing. From January through April, the HBLB spent nearly £ 32m, with nearly £ 7m in additional regulatory grants and another £ 650k to manage pandemic protocol-related costs. HBLB Chairman Paul Darling, however, cautioned that this level of funding… is beyond the short-term unsustainable. Darling encouraged stakeholders in racing and betting to “work together on future plans” as contributions return to normal levels. Last month at the end of the year the Arena Racing Company waived entry fees for fighting on-course bookies on all tracks that were allowed to admit spectators. ARC further promised to see what help the declining number of on-course bookmakers in 2021 could provide.     by Josh Stewart

Belfast, IE - It was a day to remember for harness racing driver Greg Dean at Racetime Raceway on Saturday when the Dunmurray man partnered 4 horses to victory for the first time in a driving career spanning almost five decades and what a day to do it on, his father Patsy’s Memorial Cup day meeting.   Generously sponsored by the Dean family with added prizemoney for all races, the event consisted of 3 heats with the first two home in each qualifying for a grand final. Those that did not qualify had a second bite of the cherry by entering a consolation pace with a square trot completing the programme of six races.   In the first heat, Dean steered Fairdays Dixie to a comprehensive three length victory over the skewbald Big Pete who denied race favourite Rio Bravo by a half length for the runner-up spot in 2:04.9. A gamble was landed in the penultimate heat when Ryan Hanson drove Mystical Carbs to a tactical victory over Waverly Jane and Lucky Cam in 2:02.2 with the margins four lengths and another length. The remaining heat provided the second leg of the eventual four-time for Greg Dean when Monugs Boy came from the third line to defeat Ladyford Jim by three lengths in 2:01.9 with North Art a further ½ length in arrears back in third.   Before the grand final a consolation pace sponsored by track bookmaker Charlie Finnegan was held for those who did not qualify for the feature and six went to post in this with Rio Bravo and Frisco Hold Up the joint 6/4 favourites. It looked as if punters had got it right as Peter Lyttle led them into the home straight with a commanding lead but Eamonn Griffin aboard rank outsider Hilltop North Art had other ideas and he came with a blistering late challenge to nail the luckless Rio Bravo in the shadows of the post. The time was a respectable 2:04.5 given the winners 25 yard starting deficit with Derrybeg which was trailing 35 yards also flying at the finish to snatch third. The distances were 1 length and a half length.   In the final of the Patsy Dean Memorial itself controversy reigned as favourite Monugs Boy and Mystical Carbs had a coming together with a circuit to run and although Monugs Boy emerged the best out of the altercation and went on to score impressively by eight lengths in 2:00.7, a seasons record.    A stewards enquiry was immediately called. After much deliberations by the panel of stewards on duty it was adjudged that although driver of Monugs Boy had caused interference on the top bend, this interference was not serious enough as to affect the end result as the margin of victory was so substantial. The result was therefore allowed to stand but Dean had a heavy fine imposed as to his driving of the race and a warning as to future driving etiquette regarding clearance whilst overtaking.   Monugs Boy was presented with the Patsy Dean Memorial Cup for 2020 to the delight of the Dean family who were present. The runner up spot went to Waverly Jane who fended off a rallying Mystical Carbs.   The afternoons square trot named after that mercurial grey mare RB Greystar was robbed of some its lustre when likely favourite Socrates Du Noyer was an absentee due to the recent increased Covid-19 regulations in Southern Ireland. Owner of Scorates Finbarr Brickley normally travels up from Cork, a 510 mile round trip every fortnight to compete but with that county now in lockdown Brickley was forced to withdraw on the morning of raceday.   That effectively left the trot a match race between Terry Hendersons Evan Jive (OTD) and Thomas Bennetts Bocage De Fornet which was partnered by man of the moment Greg Dean. Once the contest got underway a break in stride by Evan Jive on the first circuit handed the initiative to his sole rival and Bocage De Fornet was never headed thereafter eventually scoring by a distance in 3:18.3 for the one and a half mile trip.   This win made it a four-timer on the day for driver Dean and the Dunmurray man was visibly emotional after racing having absorbed the enormity of this achievement on what his fathers memorial race day.   Guest of honour on the day Brenda Hudson presented the rosettes and trophies to all winners and it was great to see living legend Brenda back on the track after a serious bout of illness which had affected her ability to participate or spectate at any harness racing meeting for the past 2 years. Looking a picture of health Brenda was surrounded by well-wishers all afternoon its hoped that she will become a regular again at Racetime in 2021.   All in all it was a fantastic days harness racing in golden autumnal sunshine and NISA have announced their next race meeting will be held at Racetime on Saturday October 24th where the feature will be the Anto Russell Memorial heats and final, a painted mile for skewbald pacers and a free-for-all.   Entries are now being taken for this meeting by NISA reps.   by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink    

Belfast, IE - A fantastic afternoon’s harness racing awaits those who make the journey up to Racetime Raceway this Saturday afternoon when the Patsy Dean Memorial Cup is staged at the Lisburn venue. Patsy was a legendary figure in Northern Irish harness racing down through the years being father to both Greg and Brenda with the horses campaigned by the Dean family through the years including some of the finest to ever grace the tracks of the British Isles – Ragman, Mayfly, Silent Running, Disco Kid, RB Greystar, Rambling Rover, Dorney Reveller, Double M, Spice Girl, Stormy Reveller to name but a few of them. Such is the popularity of this family that fierce competition is expected on Saturday in order to lift the cup which was last won by Walter Stewart and Porterstown Courage.   Getting underway at 3:00 pm a total of 21 pacers are set to go to post over 3 heats and a grand final with a consolation pace also held on the day giving all unplaced horses a second bite at the cherry. In the opening heat, Fairdays Dixie appears to be a standing dish having looking like a winner on his debut a fortnight ago only to tire badly late on. Expected to strip fitter for that run the Jimmy Long bred gelding looks the one to beat in this. Peter Lyttles latest stable star Rio Bravo is improving with every start and could give Fairdays Dixie most to do despite a 10 yard handicap trail. Others to consider are the consistent Back In Time and the skewbald Big Pete whilst Despicable Me needs to put in a clear round to figure. Frisco Hold Up has been knocking on the door in recent weeks at Racetime and this time around that door just might open for owner-trainer-driver Darren Smith giving him a well-deserved winner. Waverly Jane has taken time to adjust to the Northern Irish air since her recent importation from Scotland but shes very capable on her day and could spring a surprise. Lucky Cam is returning from injury picked up a couple of months ago and may just need the run in this whilst it wouldn’t be a major surprise should Mystical Carbs upstage them all. The remaining heat looks a very tricky puzzle to solve on paper as it boasts no less than 4 last time out winners. Newcomer Hilltop North Art was victorious on his last start at Amman Valley in Wales and is expected to run a very big race for new owner Eamonn Griffin. Ladyford Jim won a heat a fortnight ago on the day that Valentine Camden and John Barley dead-heated in the Charlie Finnegan sponsored consolation final and all three will take their chances again here. Don’t rule out the luckless Monugs Boy who has been placed on his last three starts for the days main sponsor Greg Dean. A valid case can be made five runners in what looks like a mouth-watering clash worth the admission fee alone.  In between the heats a square trotters contest will also be held and although quantity of runners is not at the forefront, the quality of runners participating almost certainly is. Evan Jive has tasted victory already this season at Racetime and if he puts in a clear round he will lead them a merry dance from the front. Bocage De Fornet was won twice this campaign but had his colours lowered by Socrates Du Noyer the last time they clashed in a very tactical affair. Finbarr Brickleys striking chestnut takes on Bocage De Fornet on slightly worse terms on Saturday and a close call is expected between these two titans of trotting when they lock horns. Also on the day will be a series of Rising Stars pony trotting races and these continue to prove popular in bringing the crowds to Racetime. At the time of writing this article the track can still welcome the general public to spectate on Saturday but as ever strict Covid-19 protocols are in place and NIS request all participants and spectators to adhere to Northern Irish Health Board guidelines. by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink  

Steve Dunne left Dublin, Ireland as a young boy and emigrated to Australia with his mother and father and family like many before and after him . . He said that Dublin never left his heart and he always vowed to return . On what was to be his journey back to his home country as a young man on a stopover in New Zealand, he met Theresa ,the love of his life . And that was that!. He remained in NewZealand with Theresa for almost 60 years .   In New Zealand he was involved in harness racing and it was here that Donal Murphy of IB Stables in Baltimore West Cork met him whilst on a placement as a young UCD student on a farm adjoining Steve's property.   Donal spent almost all of his 9 months there with Steve and his family jogging out his horses and racing with him . This overwhelming generosity he showed Donal he showed again to the Quill family In 2009.   Finbar Quill had the pleasure of meeting Steve on a trip to New Zealand. Finbarr and Rosemarie and their 4 sons will never forget the incredible kindness he showed to them. He sacrificed precious time with his own family during the Christmas holidays to ensure that they could visit all the stud farms and training centers into which we could not have gained entry without his help .. he even insisted they stay in his beautiful family home on the beach front as his family was in their holiday home . .. Steve was a gentleman, the likes of whom you seldom meet in a lifetime.   On a number of occasions in recent years he sought Seamus out having heard his name at various race meetings over there . Seamus was lucky enough to be at a track by chance where Steve was celebrating a birthday last year and he hugged Seamus when he saw him and invited him in .Always beyond kind.   He attended a race m eeting in Portmarnock Racetrack only a few years ago. He had vivid memories of some old names involved in racing in Portmarnock from his fathers generation now long since dead and gone.   The highlight of that day at the races for Steve was the wonderful exchange of stories he had with Mary Wallace. Dublin city born and bred like himself,his joy was palpable speaking with her of bye gone days. She relayed fascinating old stories of her mother, who owned and ran various shops on Moore street and in other familiar historical locations in the Dublin that Steve had never forgotten from his childhood. And how he would laugh at the story of the close shave her own family had with picking up a family ticket themselves for the boat to Australia.   Without harness racing we would never have had the pleasure of meeting Steve Dunne and for this we are truly grateful . A sincere humble kind gentleman . May he Rest In Peace!   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink  

Belfast, IE - The exquisitely bred Oakwood Maverick landed the harness racing feature for owner-trainer-driver Barry Reavey at Racetime Raceway in Lisburn on Saturday.   A total of eighteen pacers went to post over 3 heats in the John, Maureen & Paddy Bassett Memorial Cup with the first 2 home in each qualifying for a grand final which was kindly sponsored by the Bassett Family from Belfast, long-standing supporters of harness racing in Northern Ireland.   In the opening heat the favourite Rio Bravo obliged for Peter Lyttle in 2:03.5 from Oakwood Maverick and Fairdays Dixie with the margins of victory two lengths and a further length. The penultimate heat went to Jason McCullough aboard Ladyford Jim who had three lengths to spare over Frisco Hold Up in 2:02.9 which just held on by a short head over Valentine Camden.   Derrybeg ran out a popular winner of the remaining heat for Billy Bassett in the fastest time of the season at Racetime 2:01.4 with Monugs Boy and John Barley filling the places with the distances three quarters of a length and another four lengths.   In the grand final Peter Lyttle led them away pursued by Oakwood Maverick and Frisco Hold Up. The odds-on favourite Ladyford Jim entered the fray at the half but his run soon petered out leaving Rio Bravo back out in front and looking good to land the spoils.   Oakwood Maverick challenged again on the final bend and just as it looked as if Rio Bravo was successfully fending off Oakwood Maverick she made an uncharacteristic break in stride and Barry Reavey then had the race at his mercy.   Monugs Boy charged up the home stretch to try and stake his claim but the post came in time for Oakwood Maverick who hit the wire in 2:03.3 The gallant Rio Bravo held on to second spot from Monugs Boy and Derrybeg. The distances were three lengths and a neck.   In the winners enclosure a jubilant Barry Reavey claimed that he just bought the horse a couple of months ago and was still finding his feet with the colt. By Hasty Hall out of Catscam the three year old is certainly a horse going places and is likely to win again before the season comes to a close at the Northern venue. Oakwood Maverick was bred by Oakwood Stud, brothers James and Derek Delaney.   A consolation pace generously sponsored by the track bookmaker was also held during the afternoon for those pacers who did not qualify for the final and six also went to post in this contest. Charlie Pan went to post a short priced favourite having broke at the start in his heat as a result of a harness issue.   This time around Hugh Friels latest acquisition quickly made up his 35 years starting handicap and hit the front just before the half. Controlling the tempo for the majority of the second circuit it looked as if Charlie Pan had the race at his mercy but his early exertions began to take their toll and he started to flag within the shadows of the post.   Mickey Connors aboard Valentine Camden, who had stalked Charlie Pan throughout, then siezed this chance to nail Charlie Pan on the line. What both didn’t realise was that Michael Goggin was building up a head of steam with John Barley and he fairly bolted the last 50 yards to stake his claim.   As they hit the wire in 2:02.8 a subsequent photo finish print dictated that they could not be split and the result was a dead-heat between Valentine Camden and John Barley with Charlie Pan third, another 2 lengths adrift.   Interviewed post-race both Micheal Goggin and Mickey Connors expressed their satisfaction with the judges verdict and both men went back to Donegal and West Cork happy with a red rosette and an equal share of the winners pot.   Another West Cork raider Finbarr Brickley struck in the afternoons square when his Socrates Du Noyer exacted sweet revenge on his arch nemesis Bocage De Fornet. Driven by Finbarrs son Ciaran the striking chestnut gelding sprinted into the lead and was never headed thereafter despite Greg Deans challenging repeatedly with Bocage De Fornet when Ciaran Brickley slackened the pace at various stages throughout the contest. It was a deserved victory for Socrates who has been knocking on the door in recent starts finishing in the runner up spot on the last two occassions and the door finally opened in fine style for the Baltimore outfit.   A selection of pony trotting exhibitions for under 14s drivers were also staged in between races and these popular attractions always add to the colour and atmosphere at Racetime Raceway.   by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink

Belfast, IE - The Northern Ireland Standardbred Association (NISA), the officially recognised governing body for the sport of harness racing in Northern Ireland hosted their 6th meeting of the 2020 season at Racetime Raceway in Lisburn this Saturday where the feature event on the programme will be the John, Paddy & Maureen Bassett Memorial Cup. Generously sponsored by the Bassett family from Belfast, 3 heats will be held on the afternoon with the first 2 home in each qualifying for a grand final. In the opening heat, all eyes will be on Peter Lyttles Rio Bravo which finished third, then second on its previous two starts at the venue and with more improvement expected the mare should secure the red rosette this time of asking. Oakwood Maverick looks the biggest danger to the selection. Barry Reaveys colt won on his debut then finished third last time but made a break at the half losing valuable momentum. With a clear round he will give Rio Bravo something to think about. Of the remainder Big Pete qualified quite nicely recently and could be anything as could Fairdays Dixie who also makes his seasonal reappearance. The penultimate heat is likely to have head bookmaker Charlie Finnegan scratching his head when pricing them up for opening show. The ultra-consistent Rhyds Premier won last time out whilst Valentine Camden and Ladyford Jim have both tasted victory in heats and finals in recent weeks at Racetime. Frisco Hold Up has been knocking on the door and although Waverly Jane acted up at the start on her debut she boasts strong form having won regularly across in Scotland in 2019. A horse that might out-run its likely odds and could spring a surprise is Springhill Bilzer. Owned by the Galway family and trained by the late Jacky’s son Garth this gelding impressed when last seen and should strip fitter for that experience. The last heat is worth the admission fee alone where a solid case can be made for all 5 runners. Derrybeg is a renowned front runner and will try to make all. Monugs Boy could be considered an unlucky loser in the last meetings final and will be out to atone. Boomtown qualified impressively in 2:03 on the bridle and looked to be a top horse in the making. Charlie Pan is another newcomer to Racetime but has ran with great credit at York and Amman Valley for Welsh trainer Lee Morris. Long overdue a visit to the winners enclosure is Michael Goggin’s John Barley and he will never get a better opportunity than this to rectify matters having been dropped a grade in the handicap. Finbarr Brickley can make it a double for the West Cork raiders in the afternoons square trot with his Socrates Du Noyer. Likely to be partnered by son Ciaran, this striking chestnut has shown improvement with each run at the venue and with his arch nemesis Bocage De Fornet penalised yet another 10 yards in the handicap this could be the day that Socrates finally overhauls Bocage. Terry Henderson’s Evan Jive isn’t out of the equation either with a clear round of trotting. Before the final a consolation pace will be staged for all non-placed horses on the day giving those who felt unlucky first time around another bite at the cherry. This will be kindly sponsored by leading bookmaker Charlie Finnegan. A series of pony races will also be held in between races for budding reinsman under 14 years old and these are very popular amongst our young drivers of the future. As always at Racetime Raceway ALL prizemoney is paid in cash on the day. Spectators are welcome but advised to strictly adhere to Covid-19 protocols. Post time 3:00 pm. by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink

WEST CORK, IE - The curtain came down on the 2020 West Cork harness racing season in Dunmanway on Saturday afternoon and it was a case of the generation game with drivers in their teens , twenties ,thirties , forties and seventies all driving winners on the day.   It was a case of Deja Vu from last week when "Elder Statesman " John Boyle at 74 years young landing the top-grade pace with Supreme Sunshine .Only four went to post but this was a cracking renewal .Indie Hanover a winner last week led at the start but in a battle Supreme Sunshine hit the front after 2 furlongs of the mile and 300 yards contest.   The order remained the same heading out on the final circuit where Awesome Dude joined the leaders but went off stride and lost his place .On the run to the line Supreme Sunshine was still in front but Indie Hanover closed but failed by a neck to haul back the leader.   As with last week John Boyle got a rapturous reception when the result was called.   "It was a great finish and I wasn't sure whether I had won or not. Derek Jennings the driver of Indie Hanover looked at me and neither of us knew who had won .The lads gave me a great reception in the paddock when the result was called and it means a lot," Boyle was quoted after racing.   "Look, we came to Cork three times this year and have won two and finished second so not too bad, " Derek Jennings said "I wasn't sure of the result but who could begrudge John his win he's a real nice man and the lads were joking that a 74 year old man had beat me .I couldn't believe it he looks no older than fifty."   Oisin Quill only recently turned 18 but this youngster has "an old head on young shoulders " and himself and Hail Spartacus ran riot in the finish of the grade F Pace, Jay Bee and Mahogany Dreamer shared leadership but Quill was "waiting in the wings" and took up the running on the final lap and ran out an 8-length winner.   This was the pairs 4th success of the shortened season who is trained by Michael O Donovan for Hillside Farms and gave him West Cork Pacer of The Year.   Sean Kane made all the running in the Mares Trot with Dinah Washington and Freedom Well came with a storming late challenge but failed by a nose to peg back thew winner with Belkalinja third .Kane based in the Moorside Stud in County Meath comes in his late twenties in the generation game.   IB Paddington jointly owned by Bill Donovan from Florida and the Murphy Bros from Baltimore looks a horse with a real bright future .The three-year son of Foreclosure N was never too far off the pace and hit the front with an eighth of a mile to pace and won by 3 1/2 lengths from Pan Cam Income who would have been closer only for traffic but the winner was never for catching.   "He holds entries in the IHRA Juvenile series in Annaghmore and the Sire Stakes in Portmarnock so we keep him going until the end of the National season," Winning driver Donal Murphy (Late 40s) told the media.   When asked would the home bred be a candidate for export to the USA Muphy smiled.   Brutenor a former winner of The Maven Trot Took the aged handicap.He came from off the pace and a 20-yard handicap to take the honours. Bella Despina and Banderillero Piya shared the lead but Patrick Hill always had matters in hand and won by a length .Hill clocks in the thirty ish age group.   So after the late start to the season there were 10 local meetings in West Cork with a special thanks to the Ballabuidhe Committee owners of the track in Dunmanway where 7 meetings were held .Lyre had two meetings on Ger. Hegartys track and thanks to Derry McCarthy owner of Bishopsland Raceway   Racing continues at Portmarnock and Annaghmore Raceway until November.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS   GRADE G & G1 Pace 1 Mile 300 Yards 1,IB PADDINGTON D Murphy 2..PAN CAM INCOME L Kelleher 3.MOORSIDE MYRA J O'Mahony DIST 3 1/2L NK TIME 2.33.7   MARES TROT 1 Mile 600 Yards 1,DINAH WASHINGTON S Kane 2.FREEDOM WELL L Kelleher 3.BELKALINJA D Murphy DIST NS 3/4L TIME 3.28.7   GRADE E D & C PACE 1 mile 300 Yards 1.SUPREME SUNSHINE J Boyle 2.INDIE HANOVER D Jennings 3.AWESOME DUDE S Quill DIST NK 3 1/2L TIME 2.28.6   GRADE F E & D TROT 1 Mile 600 Yards 1.BRUTENOR P Hill 2.BANDERILLERO PIYA D Murphy 3.DESTIN DE LARRE F Quill Jnr DIST 1L 3/4L TIME 3.33.7   GRADE F PACE 1 Mile 300 Yards 1.HAIL SPARTACUS O Quill 2.JAYBEE P McInerney 3.FRANKIE CAMDEN D McCarthy DIST 8L 8 1/2L TIME 2,32,5

WEST CORK, IE - Supreme Sunshine with John Boyle in the bike were popular harness racing winners of the high-grade pace at Dunmanway on Sunday.   Boyle at 74 years of age has a no-nonsense approach when driving his pacers "Go for the lead and Catch me if you can" and the popular veteran reinsman showed them all a clean pair of heels from the start and despite the late rally from King Wills Arrival he was not for catching holding on for a half a length victory.   "The mare (Supreme Sunshine) has been running well all year and has been close every day and today she battled on gamely." Boyle was quoted after the race and there was a queue to congratulate the Mallow based Bayle who holds very high respect in the sport.   The Kane family have been ardent supporters of racing in West Cork for many a year and they had a profitable visit today. Sean Kane took the 3-year-old trot on Homer Oakwood who had to dig deep to beat Hianca HA who went off stride when in a challenging position.   Kanes Cousin Patrick is one of the best drivers in Ireland and the UK and he was at his brilliant best aboard Oakwood Maestro in the Conditional Pace .Two Left Feet made all and was challenged by Frankie Camden in the first lap, IB Felicity was next to take on the leader. All the while Oakwood Maestro was tracking the leading pair and in a perfectly timed run collared Two Left Feet by a neck on the line.   Luke Kelleher had things all his own way in the opening Grade G & G1 pace with Pan Cam Income .Hail Spartacus led for a lap but Kelleher was not hanging about and sent this son of Earned Income to the front and came home 18 lengths a winner.   " He would have won in Bishopsland last week but we got a puncture .I really like this fellow .He's had a few niggling problems and hopefully there sorted .I think he could be a very nice horse next year " Kelleher told the press briefing.   Kelleher looked to be on for a second win with Freedom Well in the F E & D Trot who led all the way and went off stride with 200 yards to go .Donal Murphy grabbed the lead on Banderillo Piya who finished five lengths in front of stable mate Belkalinja.   Harry & Mary Bennett have a nice trotter in Amende De Cosse who won for them for the second time in three outings Trained at the track here in Dunmanway, this striking chestnut made all the running and was 2 lengths in front at the line from Bella D,Espana .   "Hes a lovely horse to deal with a gentleman and hopefully the good run continues " Harry Bennett said .   Derek Jennings made the 7 hour round trip from Dublin with Indie Hanover and went home with a winner Jay Bee led early but Jennings send this son of Well Said to the front on the second lap and won "With his head in his chest" and on this performance may still be a bit ahead of the handicapper.   Racing next week is again at Dunmanway on Saturday 19th @ 2.30 PM   RESULTS   Pace Grade G & G1 1 1/4 Miles 1.PAN CAM INCOME L Kelleher 2.HAIL CAESAR P Hill 3.MEADOWBRANCH ROMANCE C O Driscoll DIST 18L 8L TIME 2.32.9   IHRA 3-YEAR-OLD TROT 1 1/2Miles 1.HOMER OAKWOOD S Kane 2.HIANCA H A K Sheehy DIST 2 3/4L TIME 3.43   Pace Grade F & E 1 1/4 Miles 1.INDIE HANOVER D Jennings 2.HAIL SPARTACUS M O Donovan 3.IB A WARRIOR R Kingson DIST 8L 1/2L   Trot Grade G & F 1 1/4 Miles 1.AMENDE DE COSSE K Sheehy 2.BELLA D"ESPANA L Kelleher 3.ETOILE QUICK O Quill DIST 2 1/4L 4L TIME 2.38.7   Pace Conditional 1 1/4 Miles 1.OAKWOOD MAESTRO P Kane Jnr 2.TWO LEFT FEET J Hurley 3.IB FELICITY J Boyle DIST NK 1 3/4L TIME 2.33.9   Trot Grade F E & D 1 1/4 Miles 1.BANDERILLERO PIYA D Murphy 2.BELKALINJA T Murphy 3.BRUTENOR P Hill DIST 2L 1 3/4L TIME 2.37.5   Pace Grade D & C 1 1/4 Miles 1.SUPREME SUNSHINE J Boyle 2.KING WILLS ARRIVAL O Quill 3.AWESOME DUDE S Quill DIST 1/2L 2 3/4L TIME 2.29.4   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

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