Portmarnock, Ireland – Titanium and driver Vicky Gill rewrote the track record for two-year-old pacers at Portmarnock Trotting Track Saturday in winning their elimination division of the third annual Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series. The race surface, despite overcast skies and rain, was in perfect shape.
Gill, along with her father, John Gill of Yorkshire, England, won the Delaney Memorial Final last year with their colt, Camden Tino, and at that time had set the track record with a 2:01.9 victory in the final and have now done it again. Camden Tino has first set the record in his elimination heat the prior day in 2:02.2.
Depending on their post position draw on Sunday, Titanium could well be the betting favorite for the final tomorrow as he was very impressive in winning his elimination heat. The purse for the final on Sunday is 18,500 euros ($23,000US).
It was Ballyhill Jimmy (Martin Loughran) who went to the early lead over Portmarnock’s half mile over with Lyons Premier (Andrew Cairns) who took the pocket-trip to the opening quarter mile in :29.2. Race favorite Alexander Camden (Mick Lord) was stuck first-over from the start.
Past the half mile marker in 1:00.1, Ballyhill Jimmy led the way as Alexander Camden was having trouble being parked out and began to fade by the three-quarters. Then Lyons Premier and Cairns pulled from the pocket and came after Ballyhill Jimmy. Coalford Tetrick came three-wide for driver Stevie Lees and following their cover was Vicky Gill with Titanium.
After the three-quarters in 1:30.1, It was Coalford Tetrick taking command and Alexander Camden found a second wind and was back in the hunt, but on the far outside it was Titanium and Vicky Gill flying on the outside to win it all by three and one-half lengths in 2:01.2. Coalford Tetrick was second with Alexander Camden third.
Also making it to the final tomorrow were Lyons Premier (4th), Rhyds Gambler (5th) and Ballyhill Jimmy (6th).
“I was following live cover and thinking that I actually had a pretty good chance,” said Vicky Gill after the race. “We were not very pleased after the draw and getting barrier seven, but we made the most of it. He raced so well. It would be great to be able to win this race again. It’s going to be tough.”
Sired by Hasty Hall from the mare, Another Mattie, Titanium is owned by Vicky Gill and was a 3,400 euro yearling purchase. He has now won three of his four lifetime starts
The second elimination heat was for fillies with five starters.
Leaving from the rail was the race favorite, Camden Carmel and North America’s Wally Hennessey doing the driving. They cut the mile in the rain to a quick :29.5 opening quarter mile with Meadowbranch Millie (John Richardson) in the two-hole.
Then Hennessey backed off the pace as Springhill Nancy came first-over and started to apply pressure as they went to a slow half in 1:03.4 and that convinced John Richardson who popped the pocket and took the lead away with Meadowbranch Millie. Meanwhile, Showtime Big Cigar (Anthony Butt) was second-over behind Springhill Nancy.
At the three-quarters in 1:35.4, Hennessey then came back with Carmel Camden and cleared to the lead at the top of the stretch and then held the field at bay to win with ease by two lengths in 2:07. Regal Sensation (Johnathan Dunn) came on for second place to make the final on Sunday.
For Wally Hennessey it was his first drive ever in Ireland and he started it off with a victory.
“It was a little crazy at the beginning,” Hennessey explained. “We did not hear in the back paddock to come out for the race so we were late getting to the track, then we had a piece of equipment break so my filly never had a chance to warm-up properly.
“The track surface was actually pretty good,” Hennessey said, “It has just started raining hard as the race was ready to go. I figured to get out early and secure good position so when they came at me I was fine letting them go at the half and taking the two-hole spot.
“Then we came back at them the filly on the rail gave us a fight,” Hennessey said. “But once we started down the stretch my filly was much the best. We’re going to give it a good shot tomorrow. It will really help that the two fillies in the final get to draw for the inside positions.”
"What a great way to start off and in my first drive ever in Ireland," Hennessey said. "Not only my first win in my first drive but to do it with a horse owned by Derek and James made it all the better. They have been such great hosts here in Ireland."
Owned by Derek and James Delaney of Oakwood Stud, whose brother Vincent that died in 2011 is whom the race is named in memory of, purchased Carmel Camden as a yearling for 12,000 euros. She is sired by No Pan Intended from the mare Pan Culottes, both of whom were Breeders Crown winners in the United States. Carmel Camden is undefeated in four starts.
If Carmel Camden can win the final Sunday she would become the first filly to have won the Delaney Memorial.
The fastest mile on the ten-race program Saturday was won by Merrington Motion and driver Rocker Laidler in 1:58.2. There was also a special 1.5 mile Trottrur Francais that was captured by Ritial Brio and driver Billy Roche in 2:10.6, the mile time in 2:07.9.
New Zealand’s Anthony Butt, who competed in six races on the program was not able to win any heats but was a close second in the fourth race pace with Rhyds Premier. Camden Kofi and owner/trainer/driver Cathal Kerrigan was the winner in 2:01.9.
By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com