With less than three weeks away from the race weekend, it’s time to take at look at some of the leading contenders for the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series at Portmarnock’s Harness Racing venue in Dublin, Ireland the 9th and 10th of August.
The series is for two-year-old pacers and have been developed into the richest series ever in the history of harness racing in the British Isles with more than €30,000 euros ($40,000 US) in total purses.
Conditions are tough for the freshmen pacers as there will elimination races Saturday evening, August 9th and then the mixed final on Sunday afternoon, August 10th. Fillies will draw for inside post positions in the final on the half mile track. At the time of writing there are a record number 52 two-year-olds that are eligible for the series.
Currently the 6/4 favourite and leading contender is Alexander Camden, who was the highest priced yearling ever sold in Ireland and the United Kingdom last season, fetching £38,000 sterling ($53,000 US) at the York Standardbred Sale last year. His is sired by Cambest out of Lola making him a full brother to two sub 1:49 pacers Canyon Wind and Paragon.
In his short career on the track, Alexander Camden seems to be living up to his purchase price as the good looking youngster is being trained by English maestro Mick Lord for Scottish owner Davy Morton. In his four races so far, the colt has two wins and two seconds with his fastest victory in 2:02.3 at York Raceway, the UKs premier half mile track.
However, the fastest of the freshman pacers so far this season is a filly, Carmel Camden, who is owned and trained by Dubliners Derek and James Delaney, who originally developed and sponsored the race back in 2012 in memory of their younger brother Vincent, who tragically past away in 2011 at age 27.
Since the inception of the event, the brothers have dearly sought to have a runner in the line-up and last October they acquired Carmel Camden, a £12,000 sterling ($17,000US) daughter of No Pan Intended out of Pan Cullottes, who were both US Breeders Crown winners respectively back in 2003.
Carmel Camden has made three starts so far and remains undefeated. Her fastest win was 2:01.7 over Portmarnock’s half mile oval, just a few ticks shy of tying the track record for two-year-old fillies.
Gaining in popularity with each renewal, the Delaney brothers have gone all-out to make this year’s memorial to their brother a world class event and have invited Hall of Fame drivers Wally Hennessey from North America and Anthony Butt from New Zealand to compete in the series.
Both drivers are booked to drive some horses over the weekend adding an exciting new dimension to the meeting. In addition, they have also invited Hall of Fame and world renowned track announcer, Roger Huston, to call the races both days at Portmarnock. Racing fans in Ireland and the UK will be in for a real treat as Huston’s inimitable style of race calling will inevitably have the people standing up and cheering throughout each race.
Another top prospect is Titanium, who was a bargain £3,400 sterling ($5,000 US) yearling purchase and is by super sire Hasty Hall, who has dominated the ranks of the juvenile classic winners in the UK in recent years.
Owned and driven by leading lady driver Vicky Gill of Yorkshire and trained by Vicky’s Dad, John Gill, of the Emerald Stables, Titanium has won two of his three starts so far and has a personal best time of 2.02.2. Vicky and dad John won this race just last year with Camden Tino, so the combination know just what it takes to win the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial.
Other contenders include Lyons Premier, another son of Hasty Hall, who has but one start so far and scored a strong win at York Raceway in 2:03.3 for Welsh owner/breeder Geoff Mound. He races pacers all over Canada and the USA under the Lyons prefix; Mikey Camden, by Cambest, who is a £27,000 sterling ($38,000US) yearling purchase, has one in after three starts in 2:03.1 and locally owned Meadowbranch Ideal, an imported son of Western Ideal who has been impressive in three qualifiers so far, but as yet to win at the Dublin venue.
With less than three weeks to go before the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend of racing, there will be more two-year-olds qualifying and prepping for the big series and competition is guaranteed to be fierce among trainers right across the British Isles, all eyeing up the lucrative €13,000 ($22,000US) first prize, a record purse for a pacing race in all of Europe.
By Steve Wolf and Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink.com