Day At The Track

VDM Annaghmore prep races score big

11:32 AM 30 Jun 2016 NZST
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Harness racing
Ned Stafford and Marcus Macaleer and all the connections of Oakwood Eternity plus a winning rainbow in the background
Derek Delaney photo
Northern Ireland - With just 45 days till the 2016 Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Festival gets underway, the countdown officially started at Annaghmore Raceway last night with 2 prep races - one for colts sponsored by the bookmaking firm Ladbrokes and the other for fillies, sponsored by Diamond Creek Farm.

The fairer sex were the first to perform with five going to post for a purse of €1200 and incredibly 4 were sired by Kikicolt, with the remaining filly sired by first season sire My Panmar.

At the off Blueberry Hill sprinted into an early lead tracked by favourite She's Royal and What Mam with Oakwood Eternity and Chinatown Katies bringing up the rear. Little changed in the placings until the ¾ pole when the race got underway in earnest and She's Royal came to pounce on the longtime leader.

It was Oakwood Eternity under Gavin Murdock however that produced the best turn of foot entering the stretch and the filly, by Kikicolt out of Oakwood Eternity, positively bolted past her four rivals to win going away in 2:10.7, a respectable time for unraced juveniles in less than ideal conditions.

Co-owned by Ned Stafford and Mark McAleer, the winner was 50/1 with bookmaker Dan Carlin to win the Diamond Creek Oaks on August 15th, but that price soon disappeared once she crossed the line in such impressive fashion.

She now rates a 4/1 chance with Ireland's leading bookmaker. Blueberry Bill, the first foal out of top racemare Tailgate Princess hung on for second ahead of What Mam with the winning margins 2 lengths and a further length.

She's Royal took fourth spot ahead of Chinatown Katie who never really made her presence felt in the event. The dam of the winner is a resident Oakwood broodmare named Eternal Prophecy who decends back to Jefs Eternity line in the US.

Next up were the colts and four also went to post in the Ladbrokes sponsored contest for ‚€1200, and representing all different sires, Hasty Hall, Ayr Glory Pro Bono Best, Crown Manhattan and Kikicolt.

As the starting car pulled away, Talavary Motivator showed a blistering turn of foot to hit the front and driver John Richardson set about dictating matters from the sharp end.

All the while Harrison Camden tracked the leaders every move and as the race progressed it gradually turned into a 2 horse battle for the honours, a battle that Harrison Camden won and he hit the wire in 2:06.6 to win going away from the Welsh owned Talavary Motivator and winners stablemate Rhyds Rival.

Harrison Camden is by Pro Bono Best out of House Flight, bred by Mick Wellings Camden Stud in the UK and the dam House Flight is resident in Ireland having been acquired by Declan Connolly at the back end of last season.

A crowded winners enclosure ensured plenty of high jinks at the presentation as trainer Billy Roche landed the spoils for the owner John Roche making it a real family occasion for all associated with the stable.

Over the next few weeks the 2016 Vincent Delaney Memorial Festival will really start to hot up as more prep races will be held in Scotland and Wales, giving UK contenders a chance to demonstrate their capabilities and stake their claims on the richest prizes for pacers in Europe.

To view the race videos from Annaghmore click here.  

For more information on the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial click here. 

by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink


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