Day At The Track

American’s helping Irish American FFA Cup

06:56 AM 12 Jul 2015 NZST
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Irish Joe Hanney, harness racing Harness Racing
"Irish" Joe Hanney has been a big supporter of racing in Ireland
Ann MacNeill photo

Dublin, Ireland – Led by trainer/driver “Irish” Joe Hanney, American interests have come forth with more than $11,000 in sponsorship money for the Irish American FFA Cup at Portmarnock Raceway on Sunday, August 9.

In addition, Heather Vitale introduced Derek Delaney to Adam Bowden and now Diamond Creek Farm in Kentucky will be a new sponsor of Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial starting in 2016. Now the total purses for the Delaney will be at $50,000.

The Delaney Memorial, held August 8 & 9, is the richest race in all of Ireland and the UK.

“During my recent trip to the USA in March, Irish Joe introduced me to so many people,” said Derek Delaney, who with his brother James, developed the race weekend in memory of their younger brother Vincent, who tragically passed away in 2011.

“It’s been crazy ever since I returned from the USA,” Delaney explained, “So many people I met are now helping us with sponsorships. All the credit has to go to my buddy Irish Joe. He introduced me to the people and convinced them how we are working so hard to help build new fans in Ireland, improve our breeding program and enhance our stakes races.

“And credit too to Heather Vitale,” Delaney said, “She came for the race last year and promoted us with her video features. This year total purses will be closer to $100,000!”

Delaney said he has received sponsorships from Diamond Creek Farm, Nifty Norman Stable, Joe Holloway, American Dream Racing Stable, Bresnahan Racing Stable and American Viking Racing Stable. The Irish American FFA Cup will feature the best pacers in all of Ireland and the UK.

“In addition, Joe Hanney introduced me to George Brennan,” Delaney added, “and now George is coming over for my brother’s race this year. How great is that! George is shipping over his special UFO race bike and he will use it over the weekend and then it will auctioned off for charity. Joe has also helped me get donations from so many others for our big auction to help raise money for the Saving Dylan Fund.

“We now have race colors from George Brennan, John Campbell, Ron Pierce, Chris Christoforou, Brett Miller and other great items.”

Delaney also said that with the growth and interest the past two years in his brother’s race, people are coming for the long weekend festival from all corners of the world.

“It is amazing how this little race my brother James and I came up with is attracting people from all over,” Delaney said. “Not only do we have New Zealander Dexter Dunn, the 2015 World Driving Champion coming for the weekend, but also the top trainer in New Zealand, Cran Dalgety and Blood Stock agent and stud farm owner Peter Larkin from Australia.

“I have heard from horsemen in Belgium and Sweden who are bringing over horses to race that weekend,” Delaney said. “This is all so fantastic and we are making every effort to make sure that everyone who is traveling from abroad and Europe that they will have a grand time here in Dublin.”

The Delaney Memorial Weekend has now been developed into a “mini” Little Brown Jug, Gold Cup & Saucer and Elitloppet, all rolled into one.

“This year will be a real festival weekend,” Delaney said. “On Friday, Aug. 7 we will have a bus tour to a breeding farm and training center, then Friday night is our gala dinner for 250 people.  Then Saturday, Aug. 8  is the elimination divisions for the Delaney Memorial and then Sunday the big show with the Delaney Memorial Final, consolation race, the Irish American FFA Cup, the Oakwood Stud for 3YO’s, the Paul Murtagh Memorial for 4YO’s and the inaugural of the “Red” John O’Donovan Memorial. What a grand day of racing this will be!”

Derek Delaney also wanted to point out that after the race cards both Saturday and Sunday there will be a party at the Portmarnock Raceway bar and restaurant and he promises there will be no shortages of Guinness nor Irish Cider!

Anyone wishing for more information can visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com.

By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

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