Day At The Track

BHRC Classic races Saturday at Tir Prince

03:06 AM 02 Sep 2016 NZST
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Harness racing
The Billy Williams Memorial Free For All blanket is ready to be draped on the winner this Saturday at Tir Prince.
Eric Witherspoon photo

A night of Classic Racing is due to take place at Tir Prince Raceway this Saturday night.

The BHRC Classic races namely The Pacing Futurity for 2 Year Olds and The BHRC Derby and Oaks Divisions are races that are steeped in history of over 50 years. The first BHRC Derby was held at Prestatyn Raceway in 1964 and was won by Ranger Cob owned by Noel Simpson and trained and driven by Trevor Payne.

Over recent years the numbers for both races have dwindled but in the off season the BHRC and Tir Prince Management held a meeting and the Classic Races and how to revitalize them was top of the agenda.

It was decided that the colts and fillies would definitely be split in the hope that this would reassure fillies owners that if they entered they would not end up racing the colts. A new staking program was also devised and sponsorship was secured from two prominent studs namely The Rhyds Stud in Wales for The Futurity and The Oakwood Stud in Ireland for The Derby.

The horse owners gave the new format a huge thumbs up when the entries came around with forty two horses entering The Futurity consisting of 23 Colts and 19 Fillies this was up from sixteen in 2015 and represented a 162% increase. The Derby nominees numbers were up by 38% from 18 to 25 nominees with 13 Colts and 12 Fillies being the split.

The additional numbers and the new staking program in addition to the sponsorship means that the total purses for these classic races combined is £21,794 which is a real boost to juvenile racing in The UK and Ireland.

So who are the main protagonists?

In The Rhyds Stud Fillies Futurity Rhyds Mystique has been a revelation for the Elvin family bred in North Wales by The Race Sponsors this filly is pure class and will be strongly fancied to add this classic race to her ever expanding resume. Greenhill Debatable has finished runner up on several occasions this year and she could give the favourite most to do.

In The Rhyds Stud Colts Futurity Johhny Camden has found form when it matters taking the Breeders Crown and The Junior Welsh Dragon in his last two runs. Rhyds Decoy was flying early season but a bout of sickness resulted in an enforced layoff just before his season was about to take off proper. If he is anywhere near back to his best he will give Johnny Camden most to think about.

In The Oakwood Stud Oaks Jessie's Conquest is unbeaten at Tir Prince and the mile and a half distance shouldn't pose any problem for the daughter of Arts Conquest. Porcelain Seelster is an excellent filly in her own right and has simply been unfortunate to be a three year old in the same season as a horse as special as Jessie's Conquest.

In The Oakwood Stud Derby Miraculous has lived up to his name so far in his three year old career he is three from three from the track and paced 1.56.9 for the mile here in August smashing the three year old track record and being on seven tenths of a second outside of the all age track record.

Party At The Spa and Arts Place Hill are both top quality three year olds an champions in their own right and will be looking to capitalise if the favourite has an off day. It should be noted that the one and a half mile track record for three year olds of 3.4.4 which has stood for 11 years is under serious threat here from this quality field.

The last race of the night if The Billy Williams Memorial Free For All this race is in memory of the gentleman who built this track The late Billy Williams father of current owner Adam Williams. Billy was a visionary when it came to harness racing and one only has to look at the track to see that he wanted the very best for harness racing in the UK and Ireland, we can only wonder where harness racing would be in this country today had the internet been around when Billy first built the track it is fair to say that he was probably twenty years ahead of his time.

A stellar field of six runners go to post and Lyons Mischief fresh from his win at Tregaron will be favourite especially if he gets a good draw. Brywinsmagicpotion is another class act but is returning from a lay off and may come on for the run.

First race post time is 7:00 pm.

by Eric Witherspoon for Tir Prince

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