Day At The Track

68-year-old Ian Pimlott scores at Tir Prince

02:04 AM 19 Oct 2016 NZDT
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Ian Pimlott, harness racing Coalford Chief, harness racing
Ian Pimlott driving Coalford Chief
James Gilmore photo
Joy Swinbank with husband Alf and driver Ian Pimlott in winner's circle with Coalford Chief
James Gilmore photo

WEST WALES, UK - The 2016 season at Tir Prince Raceway Towyn finished in grand style on Saturday with seven competitive races taking place under the floodlights on the half mile circuit.

In recent history Tir Prince has tended to hold its last race meeting in early September so this was an experiment by the management to see whether there is scope to extend the season into the autumn on a regular basis and they were pleased with the result.

The first race saw eight trotters go to post in The Le Trot Silver Free For All Mile, Velours Darche was well fancied and duly obliged making light of being drawn out wide in the six hole the seven year old gelding showed a great turn of foot when produced to take the lead at the half by Joseph Ripley and he never looked liked being headed thereafter.

He won handily by three lengths from Une Pebe in second and Thunder Jiel a neck further back in third

Race two saw six novices go to post and JM's Macy Hallstar, Justanotherday, Ontop Ladys Boy, and Thornton Bronte will all reportedly fancied to win by connections.

As the race unfolded JM's Macy Hallstar led out despite being drawn four, the three year old daughter of Hasty Hall showed good early toe getting to the quarter pole in 30.2. Driver Andrew Cairns then slowed the pace to 1.03.7 at the half before coming home in just a shade over a minute to record a winning time of 2.04. Justanotherday was five lengths back in second with Thornton Bronte beat a nose back in third. The winner showed plenty of speed and should be one to watch in 2017.

Race three was a grade one to three open preferred handicap and Enter The Dragon led from pillar to post for pilot Rhys Evans. The Three year old son of Connors Dragon was following up from a win at York last week and he seems to be rapidly getting the hang of things recording fractions of 28.3, 58.3, 1.31 winning in a time of 2.03 by four lengths from Little Lou who ran on into second whilst No Stoppin claimed third.

Trainer Huw Evans stated afterwards that this horse was bred to win Musselburgh as both his Sire and Dam were specialists at the track so watch this space!

Race four was The Le Trot Gold Free For All Mile and this was to be the last Le Trot Race at Tir Prince in 2016. These races have been a resounding success and the track has already reached an agreement with Trot Britain to hold as many of them as possible in 2017.

Tenor Meslois recorded a quick fire double for Rhys Evans in a rough race where an incident on the first bend put paid to favorite Show Business chance to end the season with a win, whilst Sire Pazenais and Sulky De Blequin were also badly hampered.

Tenor Meslois was drawn one though and in the main managed to keep away from problems running out a six length winner from Vireo De Regen in second, with Sulky De Blequin and Sire Pazenais dead heating for third. The time was a very fast 2.03.6.

Race five was a grade two to five open preferred handicap that saw one of the best finishes to a race at the track in 2016. Talavary Activator led out and clocked very brisk fractions of 29.4, 1.00.2 and 1.30.9 to the three quarter pole but the cavalry were stacking up behind him with any number of horses holding big chances.

As it transpired Democrat the ten year old chesnut who was having his last start was produced exquisitely by Steve Lees to come five wide around the last bend and hold off the challenge of Merrington CheckM8 and Coalford Glory prevailing by a neck and a length and a half in a time of 2.01.4. Democrat benefited from being kept out of the early speed duel by his pilot in what was a contender for drive of the season.

Next up was The Main Street Grill Open Preferred Handicap for grades five to eleven.

Coalford Chief, a grey six-year-old son of Coalford Laag, had promised much in his career, but eye-catching performances have often been followed by mediocre ones.

He was a winner at York last week in a very fast time of 1.59, but the feeling in the betting ring beforehand was that he is perhaps more of a York horse than a Tir Prince horse, and drawn out at number five he would end up in no mans land and parked for the mile this opinion saw him trade at 6/1 before the off.

Named driver William Greenhorn was unavailable due to being over in Canada, so veteran Ian Pimlott was asked to step in. Pimlott is now age 68, but he remains very much an upper echelon driver in the UK who has been driving winners in the sulky since he was sixteen at Prestatyn Raceway in the 1960's and has won every major prize in the sport.

Back to the race and Coalford Chief was fired out from the five hole to lead getting to the quarter pole in 29.5, Blue Incredible came to challenge but Coalford Chief held him off getting to the half in a furious 58.9.

Still the challengers came but Pimlott kept teasing and kidding Chief along and he continued to respond reaching the three quarter pole in 1.28.5. As they turned for home the crowd were expecting the long time leader to get swamped by the pack but Pimlott had other ideas as he vigorously swished the leaders tail all the way up the home straight holding off runner up Friso Frisk by half a length with Ayr Majesty a neck further back in third.

The time was a lifetime best of 1.58.9 for Coalford Chief and if he can find a level of consistency in 2017 then he could well join the free for all ranks.

Last up was the BHRC European Pacing Classic and this race is for pacers bred in Europe, who are aged four years old and above and is run over a mile and a quarter.

Lyons Mischief was favorite in the betting beforehand the only real question was whether the extra quarter of a mile would hinder him but he dismissed these concerns putting paid to the field in a very fast time of 2.30.9 from Fool Around who was five lengths back in second with Saunders Mach 3 a further four and a half lengths back in third.

The winner is a five year old son of Hasty Hall and he looks like he could be a very dominant free for all horse in 2017. A word about the runner up Fool Around this home bred son of Sable Matters has won The Crock Of Gold Final and The Tregaron Welsh Classic amongst many other races for The Evans family.

When interviewed prior to the race Huw Evans said this would probably be his last race as he didn't seem to be enjoying his races anymore. Well if it was his last race he did them proud clocking a very decent time of 2.32.4 for the mile and a quarter a post race conversation with Huw Evans revealed that they remain undecided so watch this space.

Tir Prince will be back in 2017 watch this space for our race dates.

By Eric Witherspood, for Tir Prince Raceway


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