Tir Prince racecourse promised a fantastic night of harness racing and they delivered it in abundance on Saturday, July 20.
They opened proceedings with a maiden pace won by Mick Lord and Oakview Monarch. This led us nicely into the Crock of Gold heats. Stoneriggs Mystery lined up as favourite in heat one, with Irelands other big hope Meadowbranch DJ second favourite. However, Trefor Morgans had prepared his horse Meadowbranch Josh tremendously for the race. Following a tough two wide trip for the whole race he looked like he may not be able to stick with the big boys but he dug deep and held them off to the line.
Forafewdollarsmore and Fool Around lined up in heat two. Rhys hit the lead but it was Forafewdollarsmore who finished the strongest to take the victory.
In the STAGBI future broodmares pace, Baby Rosa worked hard to get to the front, however it was William Laidler who timed his run to perfection to give Southside Affection the victory. It looked like it might not be Rhys Evans’ night but his victory would come in time.
Ladyford Indianna looks to be back in form, winning the three-year-old fillies division in fine style in the hands of Shane Lee. The colts division was a harder fought affair. 2013 has given us perhaps the best group of three-year-old colts we have seen in a long time. They were splitting the victories between them during their two-year-old careers. In a driving finish Stamp Hill took the victory from Chinatown Kolt with Ontop Girl Charmer in third.
In the high grade preferred Lyons Eryl Hall gave Andrew Cairns a victory on the night. This unpredictable individual was on form on Saturday night to win in 2.01.2. The low grade preferred was a race where a couple of the runners incurred mishaps causing problems for others. Porterstown Road took up the running to avoid any further problems and it was game over from there. Road strolled to victory in the hands of Jonathan Dunne. Steve Lees had his turn in the winner’s enclosure following a victory in the Trot free for all aboard Caminetto.
Now let us return to the main event of the night, the Crock of Gold final.
Eight horses lined up on the gate, the first three from the heats plus the two fastest losers Rhyds Five Star and Passit.
The draw was the all-important factor: Fool Around 1, Meadowbranch Josh 2, Ayr Mission 3, Meadowbranch DJ 4, Rhyds Fivestar 5, Passit 6, Forafewdollarsmore 7 and Stoneriggs Mystery 8.
With the draw set and the free running Meadowbranch Josh drawn two, Rhys Evans chose to take the trail for a period of the race. The race-winning move came at the half when Rhys managed to come off the rail to trail Meadowbranch DJ. This gave him the ideal tow to the front from the eventual runner up DJ. This also left favourite Forafewdollarsmore 3 wide for the second circuit of the race.
DJ entered the home straight in front and the gap came for Rhys in front of a tiring Forafewdollarsmore. Once Meadowbranch DJ was passed, the race was over and all there was time for was the victory salute, a tremendous drive. No longer the joker in the pack, Fool Around is now the ace of the free for all deck.
by Kayleigh Evans