Day At The Track

Pompano Park warned of British invasion

03:25 PM 06 Dec 2016 NZDT
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Britain’s Patrick Morris
Britain’s Patrick Morris will be making a South Florida appearance on Saturday, December 10
Graham Rees Photo

Some 240 years ago, Paul Revere made his famous ride enabling the phrase "The British are coming...the British are coming" to be etched in our history. On Saturday, December 10, the British ARE coming to Pompano Park in a historical harness racing event.

Five of Britain's finest amateur drivers are crossing the ocean this week to participate in the British-American Amateur Championship, a three race event against members of the Florida Amateur Driving Club.

This "British Invasion" will be held as the South Florida track moves to a five night per week schedule-Saturday through Wednesday-through early March.

The English contingent will feature Richard Haythornthwaite, Jaimie Davies, Lee Morris, Patrick Morris and Chris O'Reilly, from County Cork in Southern Ireland.

Richard Haythornthwaite, a carpenter by trade, has won multiple championships as the British Harness Racing Club's leading driver and has been associated with such top horses as Rhyds Rainbow and the 2016 Vincent Delaney Memorial winner, Tyrion Hanover.

Jaimie Davies is a third generation, 20 year veteran horseman who, by trade, is a sheep farmer. His most memorable win was with the mare Maple Hanover, winning a heat of the Crock of Gold at Amman Valley in 2008. He won Ceredigion's "Top Driver Award" in 2012.

Patrick Morris is a self-employed shop fitter who has enjoyed much success with Meadowbrook Josh, a versatile horse that has won on "all kinds of race courses, including grass!"

This is Morris' third visit to Pompano Park and "is a wonderful experience to compete with his fellow Brits and great drivers here in Florida."

Lee Morris, the son of Patrick Morris, is a farrier in the County of Herefordshire. His success has mainly been in Wales, but he also has had much success on the grass tracks in the west. He also has had success with Meadowbranch Josh, a winner in the Free-For-All ranks. Lee Morris raced earlier in the year at Pompano Park.

Chris O'Reilly is a carpenter and grew up involved in the environment of training horses with his uncle. With only 10 "meetings" per year, O'Reilly has 16 wins and, in his first season of competition, he guided his homebred filly, Pardon My Dust, to be named three year-old filly of the year by the Irish Trotting & Harness Racing Foundation.

The Florida contingent will have F.A.D.C. President Dein Spriggs on the roster, who has won well over 400 races during his driving career, as well as Mitchell Walker, Dennis Whittemore, Leon Cable, Joe Pennacchio, Jamie Marra and Steve Oldford, to name a few.

Of the upcoming event, Spriggs said, "We are so delighted that this competition is taking place. It's another 'shot in the arm' for racing here in South Florida. Besides that, Ryan Macedonio will be attending the British Invasion festivities and will be conducting and broadcasting his now famous 'TrotCast," which has become a staple in the industry."

Since its inception, the F.A.D.C. has donated over $170,000 to worthwhile causes, benefitting the welfare of children, horses and those in need.

Post time for the Saturday night program is 7:20 p.m.

by John Berry


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