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Blue Top Gun takes top honors at Ballygurteen

Blue Top Gun, who changed ownership and trainer since Durrus on New Years Day, took the top grade pace at Ballygurteen Road Trotting Races on Sunday.   Rhyds Solution set the early fractions with Blue Top Gun in company.The order remained to the first and second turns where market leader Ghengis Pride took a bad turn and lost ground. At the final turn Rhyds Solution and Blue Top Gun were locked in battle .   On the run to the finish it was all to play for but Jamie Hurley on Blue Top Gun got the upper hand and won by a length. There was pandemonium in the winners circle as joint owner Ger Cooke was carried shoulder high by the partisan local supporters who flooded in for the presentation .   "Myself and Ger Cooke bought him after Durrus and we changed tactics by using him earlier in the race and it worked a treat. We celebrate tonight and look forward to Skibbereen in two weeks time"said winning jockey and joint owner Jamie Hurley.   Deirdre Goggin was leading jockey on the day after riding a brace of winners.   Newtown Amber upset the odds in the Novice & Grade E Pace upstaging hotpot Captain Morgan by three lengths.   Goggin completed her double in the Grade C & D Pace on Saunders Picasso who had a facile victory making it three wins from as many starts leading home Lets Party by five lengths.   Billycoan Colt was another to have things his own way in the Grade D Pace .Garths Sharegar put it up to his more fancied rival but Matthew O Reilly always had the leader in his sights and took up the running after the last turn and eased down to an eight length win.The winner is owned by Dublin based Ned Stafford and trained locally by Chris O Reilly.   There was drama aplenty in the Grade E Pace. Coalford Bruce was away to a quick start and joint favorite Diplomatist went off stride in the early stages .Coalford Bruse led at both turns .Turning for home he remained clear but Diplomatist began to close and actually led with 200 meters to go but again lost stride and lost ground allowing Coalford Bruce to win by a length.   Next on the calendar is The Big Skibbereen Memorial Raceday on Sunday 26th January and already race goers are eagerly awaiting the top grade pace where Saunders Picasso will join the big boys in The Tim Cooper Kelleher Memorial Top Grade Pace.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS Race 1: Novice / Grade E Trot. 1st: Newtown Amber, D. Goggin 2nd: Captain Morgan, M. O' Reilly 3rd: Cool Direct, T. Moloney 4th: Hint of Mist, C. O' Driscoll DIST 3L 6L Race 2: Grade E Trot. 1st: Coalford Bruce, T. Moloney 2nd: Diplomatist, M. O' Reilly 3rd: Splash the Cash, J. Hurley 4th: The Red Rebel, J. O' Driscoll DIST 1L 4L Race 3: Grade D Trot. 1st: Billycoan Colt, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Garths Sharegar, T. Moloney 3rd: Lyons Super Nova, D. Goggin DIST 8L 8L Race 4: Grade C Trot. 1st: Saunders Picasso, D. Goggin 2nd: Lets Party, A. Mc Carthy 3rd: Rhyds Dilemma, T. Moloney DIST 5L 10L Race 5: Grade A / B Trot. 1st: Blue Top Gun, J. Hurley 2nd: Rhyds Solution, T. O' Leary 3rd: Ghenghis Pride, C. O' Driscoll 4th: Kestrel Dot Sammy, J. O' Driscoll. DIST 1L 6L

Harness racing

2019 Ireland harness racing in review

When writing on any sector in the equine industry - it's a positive sign when the sport in question threw up so many feel good moments and exciting events that the problem is condensing the news into the allotted space. 2019 saw world class harness racing performances on the track and major progress at organisational level in Irish harness racing. Despite huge efforts by the IHRA to entice horsemen to race early in the season the local scene got off to a stuttering start. The April columns in this paper were buoyed by good news from America where Reclamation, still part owned by Donal Murphy (the main owner being Bill Donovan ) and Robyn Camden, owned by Dubliner Jason O'Sullivan, both ran up winning sequences. The latter mare continued her winning ways into ' the fall '. Another feature of 2019 was healthy progress in the career of Jack Killeen of Tallaght as a driver in the USA and Ballydehob born Robbie Cleary, who is building a big reputation as a public trainer in New Jersey. Robbie featured in an October report wherein he signed for the top priced pacing yearling at the Harrisburg sales. Back at home, both Billy Roche and John Richardson took headlines in the pre - Delaney meetings and the two great rivals traded blows all summer. Richardson was to take both the national and Portmarnock drivers titles - a late surge ( a four timer in fact ) at the deciding meeting secured The Irish Field silver salver and a generous cheque. Billy won a separate title for driving the most Trotteurs Francais winners. He has no peers when it comes to freshening up old battle hardened geldings. May saw a feast of nostalgia as the followers celebrated 50 years at Portmarnock. Jack Wilson (86) who won the final at the opening meeting is still alive and well and was guest of honour at a dinner at the track. There was much mention of the visionary Hughie Richardson who teamed up with thoroughbred breeder WJ Mc Enery to open a 400 yard track. The 18th May meeting was full of memories of man and beast : Paddy Kane, Paddy Manning , Walter Cunningham, Ulex, Eastwood Relko and Smoke Away. The summer highlights came and went - racing at ' heaven on earth ' (Inchydoney Strand ), followed a few weeks later by the superbly organised Red John Memorial near Clonakilty. The world renowned Vincent Delaney meeting was graced by a skilful American driver, one Jordan Stratton, and saw a home victory in the fillies (Rainbow Writer) and a British based winner in the colts (Mattuceuous). In September John Richardson and Jonny Cowden brought the house down at Tir Prince, North Wales. Jonny won a graded race with the Coreys' Fairdays Western. JR took Britain's biggest race for French Trotters with Maxie Collins' Besame Mucho and followed up with their biggest race for pacers ' The Crock of Gold ' on his own Gentleman Jim. The Coleraine yard of Walter Stewart hit winning form in the autumn. Porterstown Courage won the Red Mills All Ireland Final and Ladyford Dollar picked up major races for three year olds in Ireland and one across the water. Sean Kane, second on four occasions previously in France shook off his jinx on November 16th when he drove the unfancied Delsa Derangere to win during the France vs. Ireland competition at l' Hippodrome d'Argentan in Normandy. Sean has only 3,999 to go to catch up with Charlie Mills, the Irishman, who dominated European trotting on the post - war years. Late in the season Bobby Barry's Blackwell Ruby, lightly raced in these islands won her first start in the USA. BEST MOMENTS IN 2019 ; To see Jack Wilson sitting alongside John Richardson in a two seater training cart behind Emeric Perreux summed up a lifetime of racegoing for me. Jack actually owned Windys Son, John's first drive in a race in 1981. Windys Son failed to win a race. The driver went on to win 1300 and counting. A few weeks later Jack presented a cup to Stevie Lees who won the Bookmakers Pace with Panam Colt, a catch drive for Billy Roche. The hardened pro, with the scars to prove it and Corinthian Jack, a baker by trade. I was within earshot, and was impressed that little Stevie took so much interest in Jack. PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR : The performance of the year was on Irish soil from a pair of gifted English hands. Stevie Lees' inspired move when he sensed a lull in the pace at the half in the Bookmakers Pace ( Lees was on the aforementioned Panam Colt ). That stuff cannot be taught - you either have it or you don't. The aptly named Miraculous put up the equine performance of the year in breaking the track record in August. The time of 1.54.6 is stunning when we consider that most of the Irish and British horses which have tried their hand in the US have 'found ' six or seven seconds due to climate and tracks. I refuse to say training methods as I would back the best of the Irish and English trainers against all comers. ONE THING WE GOT RIGHT IN 2019 : The introduction of the Tiny Hooves Series of pony racing has been an unqualified success. The joy on the children's faces and also their adult co -drivers was sight to behold. Well done to Nadina, Mary and Leah and any other helpers. Plans and some welcome funding from Horse Sport Ireland are afoot to improve the racing and most importantly the training of the young drivers. ONE THING WE NEED TO IMPROVE : I am mindful that the racing is run by unpaid volunteers, therefore I am loath to criticise any aspect of the sport. I must also confess a vested interest as a working bookie at the track. There is simply too much confusion in communicating driver changes and handicap marks over the PA system. I have lost count of the number of horses which went behind the car with a driver in the bike different to the card and/or the announcement. Scottish and Welsh harness racing and also point to points are also run by volunteers and in my experience have an almost 100% accuracy in this aspect. If we wish to sell the product to betting chains this has to be ' regimental ' AN UNSUNG HERO : Ivan Swindle of Fermanagh has done sterling work in building a glass fronted bar and canteen at Annaghmore Raceway. Hopefully the little facility will be open in 2020. Another of our unsung heroes, a giant in the sport, is currently on a sabbatical from fence painting, track grading, battery charging, and number cloth repairing. I appeal to this individual to come back to the fold, the racing is poorer without your input. Come back, and then we can sing about you ! PREDICTION FOR 2020 - 2019 will be a hard act to follow. My gut feeling is that with so much knowledge and effort amongst Irish horsemen that something is going to break ( not that type of break ! ) that puts Ireland on a world stage. It could be a horse ( Blackwell Ruby, Reclamation or Gentleman Jim ) or a horseman ( Sean Kane, Alan Richardson or Robbie Cleary ) or a major race in Ireland. I put in my letter to Santa that it would be great if a US based trainer would buy a colt or filly (he / she wouldn't need to be a sales topper ) for the VDM and then get the horse ready for the big race in North America before flying the animal here for the big weekend. The venture won't break even but what a story that would make ! by Dan Carlin, for the Irish Field    

Harness racing

Treble for O'Reilly at Durrus

WEST CORK, IE - Road trotting holds a special place in the hearts of people in West Cork, Ireland and at Durrus on New Years day the harness racing crowds flocked to this tiny hamlet on the Sheeps Head Peninsula.   Those that attended were treated to some fantastic racing and it was jockey Matthew O'Reilly who stole the headlines riding thrtee winners on the day.   As it was last day out in Drimoleague, O'Reilly kicked off his treble aboard Captain Morgan in the Novice Pace. This well bred type was away in front early doors and had too much in hand for Fire Fly Z who again had the bridesmaid tag as there was six lengths the winning margin.   The meeting of The Red Rebel and last weeks winner Splash The Cash was well touted as a match race .Kentucky Finale, who was friendless in the market almost caused a huge upse,t but Matthew O'Reilly was not to not to be denied sending The Red Rebel to the front in the final eighth of a mile and ran out a three length winner.   O'Reilly completed his treble in the second division of the Grade E.    Punters waged into Coalford Bruce and the smart money seemed to be well invested as Coalford Bruce led early and was three lengths in front at the turning point, but as in previous races Matthew O'Reilly played it cool on Diplomatist and got up on the line to collar Coalford Bruce by a short head. Matthew O Reilly may have stole the headlines but the lady jockeys wer not to be out done .   Firstly Deirdre Goggin followed up on her win in Drimoleague aboard Sunders Picasso to land another win in the Grade C & D.   Billycoan Colt tried to make all and looked a winner but Goggin produced the victory in the final 150 yards and was a 2 length winner.   Chelsie O'Driscoll, another of the female brigade, is as good as any one and was seen to her brilliant best in the top Grade Pace on Ghengis Pride. Rhyds Solution and Im Impartial set out the running but at the final turn in a true run rave Kestrels Dot Sammy and Ghengis Pride had overtaken the front running pair.   As like in Drimoleague the pair slugged it out for the last half mile with Ghengis Pride prevailing again.   Great credit is due to the local committee for staging the event which was well planned and this scribe met visitors from the UK, Florida, West Virginia, San Diego, Nova Scotia, Canada, Sweden, Germany and Thailand.   Many were amazed by this unique sport and were also taken aback by the welcome they got in Durrus. Next on the Winter season is in Ballingurteen on Sunday 12th Jan.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS Race 1: Grade Novice / E Trot. 1st: Captain Morgan, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Fire Fly Z, D. Goggin 3rd: Cool Direct, T. Moloney 4th: Hint of Mist, C. O' Driscoll. Race 2: Grade E Trot Division 1. 1st: The Red Rebel, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Kentucky Finale, C. O' Driscoll 3rd: Splash The Cash, J. Hurley Race 3: Grade E Trot Division 2. 1st: Diplomatist, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Coalford Bruce, T. Moloney 3rd: Lyons Super Nova, D. Goggin 4th: Newtown Amber, M. Moloney Race 4: Grade C / D Trot. 1st: Saunders Picasso, D. Goggin 2nd: Billycoan Colt, M. O' Reilly 3rd: Lets Party, A. Mc Carthy 4th: Garths Sharegar, T. Moloney Race 5: Grade A / B Trot. 1st: Ghenghis Pride, C. O' Driscoll 2nd: Kestrelsdotsammy, J. O' Driscoll 3rd: Blue Top Gun, T. O' Leary 4th: Rhyds Solution, J. Hurley.        

Road Racing, harness racing

150th season of road racing underway

West Cork, IE - The 2020 Winter Road Racing season had its traditional start on St Stephens Day in Drimoleague and despite terrible weather conditions there was a good Bank Holiday crowd in attendance.   It was a special day for the Drimoleague committee as they were celebrating their 150th anniversary with harness racing records dating back to 1870 of road racing at the venue.   Jockey Matthew O'Reilly took the riding honours riding two winners on the day.   In the opening Novice Pace O'Reilly sent the well bred Captain Morgan to the front of this one mile event and was never in any danger coming home a distance clear of newcomer Fire Fly Z.   His brace of winners was completed by Billycoan Colt in the second division of the Grade E Pace. Coalford Bruce set the early fractions and led to the first turn but was not as fluent at the turn allowing Billycoan Colt to take over and he won by six lengths. The winner is trained by Chris O'Reilly for Dublin owner Ned Stafford.   The top grade A & B Pace attracted only four runners but produced plenty of drama .The quartet set a snails pace to through the first mile .Going to the final turn all four were still in contention with Blue Top Gun and Im Impartial Too vying for leadership.   At the final turning point Kestrels Dot Sammy was best off the sand and opened up a five length advantage heading for home. With 200 yards to go he still was four lengths to the good but Ghenghis Pride was closing and he wore down his rival to win by a length much to the delight of the passionate home crowd .The winner was ridden by Chelsie O'Driscoll.   Deirdre Goggin one of our best female jockeys was seen at her best aboard Saunders Picasso when landing the Grade C & D Pace. The pair had success in 2019 and the winning run continued as they were never headed in an eight length winning run.   Jamie Hurley also got on he score sheet in the opening division of the Grade E Pace. The Red Rebel was in control early but Hurley was oozing in confidence aboard Splash the Cash taking up the running with two furlongs to race and ran out to a five length victory.   The action moves to Durrus on New Years Day Jan 1st 2020 for their annual fixture.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS   Race 1: Novice Pace 1st: Captain Morgan, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Fire Fly Z, D. Goggin 3rd: Hint Of Mist, C. O' Driscoll Race 2: Grade E Pace Division 1 1st: Splash The Cash, J. Hurley 2nd: The Red Rebel, M. O' Reilly 3rd: Lyons Super Nova, D. Goggin 4th: Kentucky Finale, C. O' Driscoll Race 3: Grade E Pace Division 2 1st: Billycoan Colt, M. O' Reilly 2nd: Newtown Amber, M. Moloney 3rd: Coalford Bruce, C. O' Driscoll N/R Lakeview Panam, J. Hurley Race 4: Grade C/D Pace 1st: Saunders Picasso, D. Goggin 2nd: Diplomatist, M. O' Reilly 3rd: Garths Sharegar, T. Moloney 4th: DreamFair I'd Say, J. Hurley Race 5: Grade A/B Pace 1st: Ghenghis Pride, C. O' Driscoll 2nd: Kestrels Dot Sammy, J. O' Driscoll 3rd: I'm Impartial Too, J. Hurley 4th: Blue Top Gun, T. O' Leary  

The staff and management at Harnesslink wishes everyone a very merry Christmas, happy holidays and a safe and healthy new year! 

Auckland, NZ - John Curtin, founder and CEO of Harnesslink has announced that a team of harness racing journalists from North America and Europe will be in Paris, France the last week of January, 2020, to provide coverage of the prestigious Prix d’Amerique trotting classic.  With a purse of 900,000€ ($1 million US), the Prix d’Amerique is one of the richest Standardbred races in the world and is held annually at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. The race was first held in 1920 and it was developed as a tribute to America for its aid to France in World War I. Heading the Harnesslink team going to Paris is harness racing Hall of Fame Communicator, Steve Wolf. Wolf, who resides in Florida, has been Harnesslink’s Director of Operations for the past seven years and prior was the head of racing operations and publicity at Pompano Park and head of publicity at Freehold Raceway. “I have been fortunate in my career to have covered all the major harness races held in North America and also the Elitloppet in Sweden,” Wolf said. “But I have never covered the Prix d’Amerique in person and I think this will be one of the greatest weeks of my life. We have a top team assembled and promise to provide race fans around the world with full coverage of the events leading to and on Prix d’Amerique race day, January 26.” Providing the Social Media coverage will be the world-renowned Heather Vitale from Delaware.  Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, tweeting or any other social media platform, when you look up harness racing, there is Heather Vitale. Vitale will be covering the Prix d’Amerique for the first time and is over the top excited to be going to Paris. “When Steve Wolf called and asked if I would come to France and cover the Prix d’Amerique,” Vitale exclaimed. “I was in total shock. Then I asked him what the dates were and when he told me (and there were no conflicts), I said Yeah Baby, I’m going to Paris! “I have covered harness racing around the world,” Vitale said. “But this is Paris, the superb food, flowing champagne, the night life, the museums, the shopping….oh yes, and the great harness racing too. This won’t be work for me.” Plans call for trips to the world-renowned training center, Grosbois, just outside of Paris, where most of the horses racing in the Prix d’Amerique will be headquartered. Grosbois is also the home of the Trotting Museum in France. Coverage will also include Thursday and Friday evening at the Grand Prix Horse Auction and also, on Friday, the Standardbred Expo featuring trotting professionals, stud farms, equipment suppliers, associations and foreign trotting federations. Taking photographs for Team Harnesslink will be Scotland’s Sarah Thomas. Thomas, a consummate horsewoman, who first started out as a reporter for Harnesslink, will be covering all the events of the big weekend with her camera and video. This past year she won the World Trotting Conference Media Award for best Film/Video. “I have been to Vincennes twice,” Thomas said. “But never in a working capacity nor for the Prix d’Amerique. This will be very exciting and knowing both Steve Wolf and Heather Vitale, it will be a pleasure to be able to work with them again.” The final member of the Harnesslink Team lives right in Paris and is none other than renowned trainer Anders Lindqvist. The Swedish-born, French trainer has his stable at Grosbois Training Center. Linquest speaks fluent English, French and Swedish and will assist the Harnesslink Team with any translations needed as Wolf, Vitale and Thomas do not speak a word of French. “I first met Steve Wolf via Facebook and then at the Elitloppet in Sweden years ago and we became instant friends,” said Lindqvist. “I look forward to helping these young professionals to bring the Prix d’Amerique race coverage world-wide from France.” “The Prix d’Amerique is so prestigious,” Said Harnesslink’s John Curtin. “it really has no equal in the harness racing world and deserves the best coverage possible. Not only does the race draw over 40,000 race fans, but they wager on average, 31 million euros ($34.5 million US) on the afternoon program. Plus, there is all the pageantry and parades before the start of the race card. It really is a premier event with week-long activities.” Updates for the Team Harnesslink Prix d’Amerique 2020 coverage will be forthcoming. From Harnesslink Media

Silvano Bello, who was crowned best Trotteur Francais horse in Ireland for 2019, was honored at the awards ceremony organised by International Department of Le Trot in Mons Belgium.    He has been a dream horse since he set foot in Ireland for the Murphy family from Inishbeg Baltimore back in the winter of 2016. In his first year after being imported under the Le Trot  program from France, he gave Dexter Dunn, the world renowned New Zealand born harness racing driver, the thrill of breaking the track record on International VDM day in Portmarnock Raceway More success came in 2018 when this imposing chestnut trotter won The Maven Trot (The most valuable event for trotters in Ireland & The UK) at the hugely prestigious Red John Memorial Festival in Lyre. This past season his highlights as well as winning 8 times both on grass and hard tracks was claiming The Paddy Connolly Memorial Handicap at the Ballabuidhe Festival in Dunmanway in August This past season was his fifth season racing in West Cork and has racked up over 30 wins and over €30,000 in purse money. The veteran trotter turns 14 in January but Donal & Tadgh Murphy owners plan to race him in 2020. "Look he may be getting on in years," Donal Murphy said, "but he's healthy and fit and enjoying life so we will race him next summer. "Eoin (Tadgh & Christine son) jogs him all the time at home will drive him next year. He's as safe and sure footed as you can get and will give Eoin plenty experience and fun" said Donal who has been at the centre of Silvanos success over the years. "I suppose Silvano has become the family pet at home," added Tadgh. So success comes on the International stage for Harness Racing in West Cork and just around the corner on St Stephens Day in Drimoleague, the Winter Road Racing season kicks off . by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink  

It's hard to believe but today (down under, tomorrow in North America) harness racing's www.harnesslink.com celebrates its 17th birthday.  Harnesslink is the brainchild of international horse agent, John Curtin (J.C. International), who 17 years ago saw a need for a world-wide harness racing website that put online the latest harness racing news from around the globe. John says, "Our policy is to keep improving every single day - 365 days of the year. We have staff working every day of the year to bring you all the latest harness racing news from every corner of the world. When Harnesslink launched in 2002 there were only four harness racing websites on the internet, so we've been in a unique position to have watched the harness racing community embrace the technological world during this time. It has been our pleasure to keep harness racing fans around the world informed of what is happening within our sport. We are projected to have over 3 million unique IP users in 2019, which will make Harnesslink the world’s most read harness racing site. "We will also have some blockbuster improvements to our website shortly," Curtin added.  We are still looking for ways to improve and provide you, our customers, with better coverage throughout the world, we continously strive to do this! We currently have more than 170,000 photos in our library and over 250,000 articles. If any of our readers have a worthy news item, please feel free to send it to news@harnesslink.com and we will do our best, as always, to print your article. We'd like to thank all of you for coming back regularly to read Harnesslink, if you're reading this you're obviously one of our faithful followers and we thank you. From the staff at Harnesslink

Pembrokeshire horsewoman Louisa Barton, a successful Standardbred driver on the Wales and Borders circuit, is one of British Harness Racing’s busiest mums. She combines training a small team with driving at race meetings, motherhood and a full-time job. “Basically, I get up early, train Ayr Ontario and then get my two boys ready for school and myself ready for work. I then take the boys to school and go straight on to work,” Louisa said. “It’s busy and it takes a bit of juggling. Then we’ve got the after-school clubs and plenty to do with the boys as well.” Despite the gruelling schedule, Louisa wouldn’t have it any other way! “I do enjoy working with the horses. It’s always nice to see them getting fit and it’s exhilarating driving them too,” she said. Married to Rob Barton, also a harness racing driver, the couple have two boys – Ben, 9, and Tommy, 6. A qualified nurse, Louisa is a pre-assessment nurse at Withybush General Hospital, Haverfordwest. Louisa was born and bred into harness racing. Her mother Sandra Weigel and husband Horst have been involved in the Wales and Border Counties Racing Association as both participants and officials for more than 30 years. They prepare a successful team together on a 34 acre property at Llanddewi Velfrey with Horst having been a trainer-driver and Sandra a trainer in both racing codes – gallopers and pacers. Sandra has been a director of STAGBI (Standardbred and Trotting Horse Association of Great Britain) since 2015, a committee member of the Wales and Border Counties Racing Association for 10 years including three years as chairman and is a member of the WBCRA handicapping panel. Louisa has been in the gig in many of her family’s raceday successes. She started helping out with the horses when she was a 15-year-old. “I started out exercising the horses and riding them along the road, then we headed over to the races and basically I started riding in the saddle and doing cart racing in the juniors when I was 15,” Louisa said. Louisa landed her first winner in the juniors as a 16-year-old with Creative Jack at Brecon in mid-Wales. “It was my first drive in a race and my first win as well. It was a joint win with another girl. He (Creative Jack) basically just took a hold and I just had to sit there and make sure he got around really,” she stated. “My biggest win so far was in the Grade A at Caersws on a mare called Bon Bethan. She’s the best one we’ve ever had and the best one I’ve driven. In one year she won 16 races and I drove her in all of them. She was named Horse of the Year. “She was bought as a yearling at the Builth Wells sales in 2000 and we’ve still got her now as a broodmare.” In all, Bon Bethan won 73 races and Louisa was at the helm in 50 of them. Makemeamillionaire (37 wins), Ayr Ontario (34), No Mercy (18), Family Circle (trained by her husband Rob) and Creative Jack have been other good performers she partnered down through the years. A three-time winner of the Wales and Border Counties lady driver’s premiership, Louisa estimates she has driven around 200 winners to date. “Obviously winning is good and when you do get the win it makes it all worthwhile,” she said. “It’s also nice that even if they don’t win they run well.” By Peter Wharton, for Harnesslink        

West Cork, IE - The picturesque Cornfield Oval in Manch was the setting for the second "Premium Meeting" of the year in West Cork and organizers were blessed with fantastic weather and the harness racing was of the highest quality.   The feature was The Red Mills Cornfield Oval Handicap. Four elimination heats (raced over 1 1/4 miles) sent two from each into the final. The scene was set in the opening heat for a day of thrills and spills.   A Kind Of Magic was sent to post a favorite and led his five rivals away from the start. With four furlongs to pace he was joined by IB A Magician and the pair battled it out to the line with IB Magician prevailing by two lengths.   There was another titantic battle in heat two. Armoured Bear drew pole position and led No Big deal for the opening 6 furlongs. Then Earnies Umpire joined the pair and we were set for another dramatic finish.   Armoured Bear with 76-year-old John Boyle in the bike looked to have done enough but Jamie Hurley got Earnies Umpire up in the final strides to win by half a length. The winner was a recent purchase for new owners James Hurley and Pat Carberry.   Hail Spartacus was all the rage in the third heat but Fairdays Bret came with a wet sail to deny stable companion Rhyds Dilemma by two lengths.   Rhyds Destiny the recent Grand Prix winner was the punters pick in the final heat and the veteran came off a twenty yard handicap to lead home King wills Arrival by two lengths.   So, on to the final and again A Kind Of Magic set a seering pace followed by IB A Magican. The pair were three lengths clear entering the final circuit and all the while the field were closing in in the final eighth of a mile   IB A Magician got the upper hand and ran out a four length winner from King Wills, who stayed on late to finish second with Fairdays Bret a half a length back in third .   There were jubilant scenes in the presentation area as winning owner/driver Wayne Mc Nevin from Lucan Co Dublin was carried shoulder high by his supporters.   "I only bought the horse in early August and he's won at Annaghmore and twice today. I'm thrilled and its great coming to Cork and winning at a fantastic meeting. Fair play to the organizers." McNevin said at the post race press briefing.   There was further glory for the final winner as Benny Camden who Mc Nevin also owns and is trained in West Cork took out the fifth heat of the All Ireland Pace series.   Fairdays western led the four horse field until the final lap. Then Benny Camden hit the front and was followed by Sarahs Gift .Again we witnessed another epic battle with Benny Camden just coming out on top by 3/4 length.   "He won the low Grade Final at The Red John Meeting in Lyre and has improved in leaps and bounds .i dont think we have seen the best of him just yet" were the words of winning driver Donal Murphy and he takes his place in the series final in Portmarnock in late September.   The All Ireland Trot series also had its final heat today .Brooklyn Trixie led Vigo De Bassiere early with Aubade a Helene in third .This remained the order on the final lap Aubade A Helene threw down her challenge and when "Vigo" went off stride her task was made easier but general consensus was she would have won either way.   Oisin Quill drove two winners on the day both on trotters .Firstly Ariane Des Tithais looked in danger with a lap to go but out sprinted Empereur Souverain to win by eight lengths.   The double was completed in the very next race when Vallanzanna won a race which had so may leaders had the crowd almost asking what had won .   Another novice driver Jamie Hurley also drove two winners. IB A Warrior despite been drawn number eight made light work of his seven rivals winning by 11 lengths was the second winner for Hurley who won earlier on Earnies Umpire.   Dynamite Brouets since joining the Co Meath based Moorside Stables has sen a rejuvenated career and took to the Oval well and waas five lengths clear of Destin De Larre at the finish.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS ALL RACES RUN OVER 1 1/4 Miles UNLESS STATED   RACE ONE Heat One 1,IB A MAGICIAN W McNevin 2.A KIND OF MAGIC A Wallace 3.BEAT THE CLOCK J Richardson DIST 2L 16L TIME 2.41.9   RACE TWO Heat Two 1. EARNIES UMPIRE J Hurley 2.ARMOURED BEAR J Boyle 3.NO BIG DEAL S Kane DIST 1/2L 5L TIME 2.45.1   RACE THREE Heat Three 1.FAIRDAYS BRET A McCarthy 2.RHYDS DILEMMA C O Driscoll 3.HAIL SPARTACUS O Quill DIST 2L 5L TIME 2.42.8   RACE FOUR Heat Four 1. RHYDS DESTINY T O Leary 2.KING WILLS ARRIVAL O Quill 3.SUPREME SUNSHINE J Boyle DIST 2L 3L TIME 2.42.8   RACE FIVE 1.IB A WARRIOR J Hurley 2.MOORSIDE MYRA S Kane 3.MOORSIDE JOSEPH J O Mahony DIST 11L 2L TIME 2.47.3   RACE SIX 1 1/2 Miles 1.DYNAMITE BROUETS S Kane 2.DESTIN DE LARRE F Quill Jnr 3.BELLA DESPANA L Kelleher DIST 2L 2L TIME 3.27.4   RACE SEVEN 1 1/2 Miles 1.ARIANE DES TITHAIS O Quill 2.EMPEREUR SOUVERAIN D O Reilly 3.ANTINGO D Murphy DIST 8L 3/4L TIME 3.23.3   RACE EIGHT 1 1/2 Miles 1.VALLANZANA O Quill 2.BRUTENOR P Hill 3.BATMAN DU RELAIS A Wallace DIST 1 1/2L NK TIME 3.25.8   RACE NINE All Ireland Pace Series 1.BENNY CAMDEN D Murphy 2.SARAHS GIFT J Cowden 3.FAIRDAYS WESTERN A Walace DIST 3/4L 12L TIME 2.44.1   RACE TEN All Ireland Trot Series 1 1/2 Miles 1. AUBADE A HELENE P Hill 2. BROOKLYN TRIXIE S Kane 3. VIGO DE BASSIERE D Murphy DIST 3 1/2L 1L TIME 3.22.1   RACE ELEVEN The Red Mills Cornfield Oval Handicap Final 1.IB A MAGICIAN W McNevin 2.KING WILLS ARRIVAL O Quill 3.FAIRDAYS BRET A McCarthy DIST 4L 1/2L TIME: 2:44.1  

West Cork, IE - Rhyds Destiny and driver Timmy O'Leary were worthy winners of the 2019 Murphys/Hurley & White Grand Prix at a wet Ballabuidhe on bank holiday Monday.   Four elimination heats were held with two qualifiers from each heat.   In the opening heat Gamblers Gold a winner on his previous two starts tried to make all the running but was collared on the run in by IB A Magician.   In the second heat Just a promise led for most of the testing trip but Fairdays Bret made a race winning move with two furlongs to go and ran out an easy winner.   The third heat was settled in the stewards room .Hail Spartacus passed the post first but was found to have interfered with the runner up Coalford Bruce and the placings were reversed.   In the concluding heat Rhyds Destiny was all the rage in the betting and never gave his supporters any anxious moments and ran out to a four length winning marginIn the final punters again latched on to Rhyds Destiny despite a thirty yard handicap.   Fairdays Bret and Coalford Bruce were the pace setters on a track that was now running very heavy. Rhyds Destiny was slowly bringing down the handicap and Timmy O Leary made his move with four furlongs to pace and was not for catching winning by four lengths from IB A Magician with King Wills Arrival third .   The winner is owned by John Shanahan and UK dairy farmer John Mycock from Derby.   Shanahan and driver O'Leary had four winners on the day with American Rebel joining Rhyds Destiny heat and final and Coalford Bruce another heat winner in the winners circle.   O'Leary completed a five timer of wins when landing the maiden aboard Moorside Myra who has shown promise and got her day in the Sun today.   The other feature was The Paddy Connolly Memorial for trotters and here it was Silvano Bello and Donal Murphy who made all the running to win from Batman Du Relais with Vallanzanna back in third. Silvano Bello a former winner of The Maven Trot added another notch to his impressive CV.   In the consolation final for pacers John Boyle at 76 years of age steered home his own mare Supreme Sunshine to beat recent Red John Memorial winner Rhyds Panache while in the tro consolation Banialouka who hated the going on Sunday made amends when winning easy from Brutenor and Tarnao Josselyn.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS   Grand Prix final 1.Rhyds Destiny T O'Leary 2.IB A Magician D Murphy 3.King Wills Arrival O Quill DIST 4L 1L 7 Ran   Grand Prix Heat winners IB A Magician D Murphy Fairdays Bret A McCarthy Coalford Bruce T O'Leary RhydsDestiny T O'Leary   Paddy Connolly Memorial Final 1.Silvano Bello D Murphy 2.Batman Du Relais S Quill 3.Vallanzanna O Quill DIST 3L 1L 5 Ran   Consolation Grand Prix 1.Supreme Sunshine J Boyle 2.Rhyds Panache C O'Reilly 3.Sunnyside Kildare D Murphy DIST 2L 2L 4 Ran   Consolation Trot 1.Banialouka K Sheehy 2.Brutenor P Hill 3.Tarnao Josselyn S Quill DIST 4L 2L 7 Ran   Maiden Pace 1.Moorside Myra T O'Leary 2.Talented Girl S Jennings Jnr 3.The Red Rebel M Goggin Snr DIST 3L 2L 6 ran   Grade G1 Pace 1.American Rebel T O'Leary 2.Moorside Captain J O Mahony 3.Brywins One Off M Goggin Snr DIST 12L 12L 4 ran  

West Cork, IE - Following an early morning inspection, racing just about went ahead at the annual Ballabuidhe Festival.   Three elimination heats heats of The Paddy Connolly Memorial for Trotters saw two qualify for the Bank Holiday Monday Final.   In the opening heat Silvano Bello and Donal Murphy were all the rage in the betting market and this pair toyed with their rivals and despite being challenged by Ariane Des Tithais for most of the mile and a half ran out for an easy 2 length victory.   The second heat was rather a messy affair and after early mistakes it was Batman Du Relais who led home Antingo with Brutemor a remote third .The winner is owned and trained by Finbarr Quill.   In the final heat Banialouka a winner on her previous two starts was the punters choice but the ever consistent Vallanzana was not for catching giving owner Finbarr Quill his second win of the day and driver Seanus Quill a driving double .Amende De Cosse capturing the second qualifying spot .   The weather took a turn for the worse after this heat and promoters cancelled the remainder of the card.   The plan is to start at 1 Pm on Monday with the four elimination heats of the Grand Prix followed by two graded paces and then the Connolly Memorial Final and consolation Final followed by the Grand Prix Consolation and finishing off with the Grand Prix Final   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS   Paddy Connolly Memorial Heat One 1.SILVANO BELLO D Murphy 2.ARIANE DES TITHAIS F Quiil Jnr 3.BELLA DESPANA L Kelleher DIST 2L 1 1/2L 6 Ran   Heat Two 1.BATNAN DU RELAIS S Quill 2.ANTINGO D Murphy 3.BRUTENOR P Hill DIST 3L 12L 4 Ran   Heat Three 1.VALLANZANA S Quill 2.AMENDE DE COSSE E Kane 3.BANIALOUKA K Sheehy DIST 1/2L 1L 5 Ran   Rain caused cancelation of the remaining race card

West Cork, IE - Rhyds Destiny with "Cool Hands" Timmy O Leary in the bike took the featured Willie Bradfield Memorial Cup at The Cornfield Oval in Manch on Sunday as racing was of top notch at the Duggan family owned oval.   Sunnyside Kildare set the early fractions in the feature with Rhyds Destiny and Supreme Sunshine sitting in behind. Then with two furlongs to pace O Leary made his move on the veteran Rhyds Destiny and ran out a two length winner from Supreme Sunshine who lost nothing in defeat.   The winner who has been a great servant of owners John Shanahan and UK based owner John Mycock is a former winner of the Red John Memorial back in 2018.   Jamie Hurley, who works for the Mike Kennedy national hunt yard in Upton, drove his first double . IB A Warrior initiated the brace when landing the opener. Hurley sent this four year old son of Arts Conquest to the front and had to battle on to beat the late finishing Cushenstown Rocky by two and a half lengths.   Moorside Myra who finished third was one that will go into the notebook for the future.   Lakeview Panam followed up on her Lisangle win and completed the double for Hurley .Again the novice driver was not waiting around for his rivals and had three lengths in hand on Armoured Bear with IB A Magician back in third.   "My Dad James and my brother Conor look after the show at home and the lads who own IB A Warrior are around the yard most days so I think we might have a few drinks to celebrate and look ahead to the Ballabuidhe Festival for both of these" Hurley told the press briefing.   Hail Spartacus has been another great servant to the Hill Family and Oisin Quill always seems to get a good tune out of the former Grand Prix winner. He showed tenacious battling qualities today.   Western Dreamer, Just A Promise and Coalford Bruce all had a "rattle" off the front runner and they threw everything at him bar the kitchen sink, but he was not for passing.   There were two trots on the card. Banialouka, a mare with tremendous ability, has been knocking at the door all year and showed her true colours this afternoon.   Trained by Micheal Duggan and John Hurley for the DHK partnership she never put a foot wrong and led home Vallanzana and Bella Despana.   "We always knew she had ability and has just been a bit unlucky," added co trainer Duggan.   Banderillero Piya is another one that has found the winning ways .A winner in Portmarnock last Sunday, he put in another perfect round accounting for stable companion Tenor Meslos with Brutenor back in third.   With the all Ireland series continuing at The Premium meeting in Annaghmore next week there is no local action until the two day Ballabuidhe Festival in Dunmanway on the August Bank holiday weekend.Details of entries can be got on www.irishharnessracing.com.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink       RESULTS   RACE ONE 1.IB A WRRIOR J Hurley 2.CUSHENSTOWN ROCKY O Quill 3.MOORSIDE MYRA T O Leary DIST 2 1/2L 1/2L TIME 2.39.9   RACE TWO 1.LAKEVIEW PANAM J Hurley 2.ARMOURED BEAR J Boyle 3.IB A MAGICIAN D Murphy DIST 3L 2L TIME 2.37.1   RACE THREE 1.BANIALOUKA K Sheehy 2.VALLANZANA O Quill 3.BELLA DESPANA L Kelleher DIST 4L NS TIME 2.45.6   RACE FOUR 1.RHYDS DESTINY T O Leary 2.SUPREME SUNSHINE J Boyle 3.RHYDS PANACHE C O Reilly DIST 2L 2L TIME 2.34.8   RACE FIVE 1.HAIL SPARTACUS O Quill 2.COALFORD BRUCE T O Leary 3.JUST A PROMISE P McInerney DIST 2L 1L TIME 2.38.7   RACE SIX 1.BANDERILLERO PIYA D Murphy 2.TENOR MESLOS O Quill 3 BRUTENOE P Hill DIST 3L 1L

Gamblers Gold who finished second on his initial run at Lyre produced a performance on Saturday evening in Lisangle that would suggest that a bright future is in store for this son of Cams Security.   Mike Goggin Jnr was in the bike and set the six year old alight from the start and ran out an easy seven length winner.   " Hes a six year old and look he took a while to mature. We were expecting a big run in Lyre and he didnt disappoint but met a decent horse that day but today I think he came on a lot from that run and we give a week off and plan after that" said delighted owner Marie Moloney.   Donal Murphy and Silvano Bello are a partnership as old as this scribe and were easy winners of the Low Grade Trot.   Murphy sent this veteran to the front after the opening quarter mile and were never in any danger .   Overall the last 24 hours were good to Baltimore based Murphy as on Friday night /Saturday morning Reclamation who he jointly owns with Bill Donovan (Main Sponsor of The Red John Memorial Festival) extended her winning run to seven at the Meadowlands Raceway in New Jersey USA and connections have big plans for the filly.   John Boyle at 76 years again showed the younger lads how its done when taking the Top Grade Pace on Supreme Sunshine.   Sunnyside Kildare and Hurry Up Abi set the early fractions but were passed with three furlongs to pace and Supreme Sunshine won by a length from Hurry Up Abi with Meadowbranch Demon a neck back in third   Jamie Hurley and Lakeview Panam were fastest on the clock for the evening .The pair took charge off the start and ran out 19 length winners from Moorside Captain.   "She missed out on the Red John Weekend but wee knew today that she was spot on .We see how she comes out of today and then weigh up her options" Hurley briefed the media after racing.   Brutenor and Patrick Hill were seen to good effect in the high grade trot .Winners of the Maven Derby in 2018 thay sat in behind early leader Valliant Forgion and with four furlongs to trot led and eventually led home Ultimo D'Ouville by three lengths.   There is no local racing next week with many of the West Cork Contingent heading to Tregaron in wales for the two day Festival .   RESULTS RACE ONE 1.Gamblers Gold M Goggin Jnr 2.Moorside Joseph J O Mahony 3.The Red Rebel M Goggin Snr DIST 7L 7L TIME 2.12.4 3 Ran   RACE TWO 1.Silvano Bello D Murphy 2.Vallanzanna S Quill 3. Banialouka K Sheehy DIST 2 1/4L 2 1/4L TIME 2.15.7 8 Ran   RACE THREE 1.Lakeview Panam J Hurley 2.Moorside Captain D O Mahony 3.The Hitman D Murphy DIST 19L 3 3/4L TIME 2.08.8 8 Ran   RACE FOUR 1.Brutenor P Hill 2.Ultimo D'Ouville J Hurley 3.Antigo D Murphy DIST 3/4L 5 3/4L TIME 2.16.5 6 Ran   RACE FIVE 1.Supreme Sunshine J Boyle 2.Hurry Up Abi J Manning Jnr 3.Meadowbranch Demon L Kelleher DIST 1L NK TIME 2.09.   Tim KELLEHER

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Bugsy Maguire may have lost the early tussle off the gate this week but there was no stopping his march to the harness racing winner's circle in the Cecil Ladner Memorial Invitational Saturday evening at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Rose Run Quest (Driven by Marc Campbell) was quickest off the wings in the $5,500 featured event with Doctor Royal (Walter Cheverie) getting away in the pocket spot and Bugsy Maguire ducking into the three-hole in the first turn. The fractions were tripped in 27.4 and 56.4 then driver Myles Heffernan Sr., angled Bugsy Maguire out of third and began his first-over advance on Rose Run Quest before the three-quarters of 1:25.4. He was able to wear down his pacesetting foe in the final quarter and prevailed by one-and-a-half lengths in 1:55.2 on a track listed with a one second variant due to rain. Rose Run Quest was second while Euchred (David Dowling) was third. Walter Simmons of Summerside holds the ownership papers of the five-year-old son of Bettor's Delight while Bugsy Maguire hangs his harness bag in the Wade Sorrie stable of Pinette. The Cecil Ladner Memorial was the top event but the Ladner family was front and center in another top event as Jordies Hope was a winner in the $2,800 Fillies and Mares Open in 1:57.1 with Corey MacPherson at the lines. Brian Ladner, the son of the late Cecil Ladner, co-owns and trains the daughter of Astronomical with fellow Charlottetown residents Lillian and Kevin Ladner. The night was also home to a harness racing rarity with three dead heats on the evening including two different races with dead heats for the winning spot. Race 2 on the card saw Hysteria (MacPherson) hit the wire in unison with Fox Valley Riviera (Jason Hughes) in 2:00. Michael Gallant trains hysteria while Kevin Gills handles the training duties on Fox Valley Riviera. The second dead heat for victory was in race 5 as Vaughan Doyle trainee Windsun Rebel (Dale Spence) crept up in the finals strides to hit the line together with the Jackie Matheson trained Give Em Heck (Gilles Barrieau) in a mile time of 2:01.2. Gillis had two training wins on the program as Jeb closed out the card with a 1:57.4 score with Hughes in the bike. Midnight Matt tripled up Hughes in the weekly Drive For Home Series event presented by Hillside Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac. Time of the mile was 1:58 for the Jennifer Doyle owned and trained pacer. MacPheron also had three wins on the card as Soccer Hanover captured the $3,000 Junior Invitational in 1:56.3 for owner-trained Leith Waite of Summerside. Total wager on the evening was $51,511. For race replays and more go to www.Redshores.ca. By Nicholas Oakes For Red Shores

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