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Jamie Hurley takes top honors at Ballyguteen Meet

WEST CORK, Ireland - Jamie Hurley took the riding honors riding a first and last race double IB Tweedy in the opener and Maithi Buachaill in the finale of the Grade A trot at the annual Ballygurteen road trotting races on Sunday. Maithi Buachaill was looking for his third win on the bounce in the Grade A. Here he locked horns with his old rival Rhyds Ponder, who has finished second to him in their previous two outings . As always Deirdre Goggin set the fractions on Rhyds Ponder leading at the three turning points but Hurley did not let his arch rival get too far away and overtook her with three furlongs to go. Rhyds Ponder to his credit, battled back but Maithi Buachaill was not for catching and eventually had four lengths to spare. IB Tweedy had earlier impressed in the Novice. Here Hurley sent the winner to the front after two furlongs and never looked in any danger of defeat and will race in Grade E the next time out. Saunders Paris has swept all before her in her two previous outings and despite the step up to Grade D, this daughter of Play With a Full Deck continued to impress, making light work of her five rivals to record a six length rompn .Deirdre Goggin was in the plate and "Paris" is owned and trained by her father Micheal. Tactician Du Lys also remains undefeated this term.This imposing French bred trotter made his debut in the Grade B a winning one. When Favorite Democrat made a mess of the opening turn and was pulled up, this left Rhyds Artist with a commanding lead nearing the final turning point.  "Cool Hands" Timmy O'Leary had cut the advantage on the leader and coming off the sand at the last turn swept to the front to win by eight lengths. Already the talk has started of Tactician Du Lys taking on the big boys in the Grade A . The large partisan local crowd roared on Hillside Mustang to victory in the Grade E Race. Owned by the five strong Cuigear Racing syndicate, this son of Harmony P was given the office by Jason O'Reilly to lead home Big Jim by five lengths. David Brickley's season has been slow by his terms, but he got the ball rolling with a win on Meadowbranch Kiki in the Grade C, who had a titanic battle with race favorite Lakeview Walter eventually getting up to win by a head . The next meeting is the annual Memorial Day in Skibbereen on Jan 29th by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS NOVICE (Donal McCarthy Memorial Cup) 1.One For The Road Syn IB TWEEDY J Hurley 2. D McCarthy ON THE OTHER SIDE Marie Moloney 3. McCarthy/ Daly SHANES INCOME Grade E (Denis Dullea Memorial Cup) 1. Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG J O'Reilly 2. G Kane BIG JIM T O'Leary 3. C Brickley MILLERS BOY Owner Grade D (Jeremiah Keohane Memorial Cup) 1. M Goggin SAUNDERS PARIS Deirdre Goggin 2. R Joyce BEAUTYS HARMONY M O'Reilly 3.H Bennett WELLFIELD DAMIAN Marie Moloney Grade C (William O Donovan Memorial Cup) 1. Shanahan / Brickley MEADOWBRANCH KIKI D Brickley 2. R Joyce LAKEVIEW WALTER M O'Reilly 3. P Manning SPRINGHILL JAZZ Deirdre Goggin Grade B (Sean McCarthy Memorial Cup) 1. G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O'Leary 2. L O Brien RHYDS ARTIST Grade A (Paddy Keohane Memorial Cup) 1. Hegarty / Hurley MAITHI BUACHAILL J Hurley 2. N Forbes RHYDS PONDER Deirdre Goggin 3. N Forbes MOUNTAIN DEW LAD J O'Reilly                                                          

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BHRC & STAGBI Awards Dinner set for February

The BHRC & STAGBI will once again be staging a joint Annual Awards Banquet to celebrate the successes of members of both organizations from the 2016 race season. The event will be held at the Daresbury Park Hotel, Warrington (WA4 4BB) on Saturday 25th February, 2017. The hotel is located near Junction 11 of the M56, rooms are available at the venue and advance booking is recommended. Due to the central location of the venue, alternative accommodation is available in the surrounding area. To book rooms call the hotel on 0161 9230300 and quote STAG250217. The evening will consist of a three-course meal (vegetarian option available, please specify) followed by the awards ceremony which will be hosted by respected Thoroughbred and Harness Racing commentator, Darren Owen. For the first time, the BHRC accolade of Horse of the Year will be kept under wraps and announced by Darren Owen on the night. Following dinner and presentation of awards there will be a disco to enjoy into the early hours. Tickets for the event are £35pp and can be purchased via the BHRC Office (01405 766877 / bhrc.office@yahoo.co.uk). Payment accepted by BACS, cheque or debit/credit card. Full ticket price must be paid prior to the event and the last date to book tickets will be Wednesday 8th February 2017. Tables are arranged in groups of 10 people, so should you wish to purchase for a group of 10 or more, tickets are available at the discounted rate of £32pp. We look forward to welcoming guests from across the UK and Ireland to this inaugural event to join in celebrating the successes from breeding and the sport. BHRC Awards: Leading Horse - MIRACULOUS Leading Owner - CLAIRE FLETCHER Leading Trainer - WILLIAM LAIDLER Leading Driver - WILLIAM GREENHORN HORSE OF THE YEAR - To be announced on 25th February 2017. Nominees are: Pacer of the Year - SPORTS TRICK Mare of the Year - SHADES OF GREY Trotter of the Year - SULKY DU BLEQUIN 3YO Colt of the Year - MIRACULOUS 3YO Filly of the Year - JESSIES CONQUEST 2YO Colt of the Year - TYRION HANOVER 2YO Filly of the Year - RHYDS MYSTIQUE Overseas Horse of the Year - PORTERSTOWN ROAD STAGBI Awards: Breeders Premium Wales - Zestthewayilikeit / David Powell England - Habberley Playboy / Stephen Williams Scotland - Ayr Ontario / Ayr Standardbreds Brightwells - Zestthewayilikeit / David Powell British Breeders Bonus: 2YO VDM - IB Coyote / IB Stables 3YO Derby - Jessies Conquest / M Jones & Miraculous / G Price Appleby Whit Final - Master Plan / S Gilvear Penybont - Ithon Inmate / Brynfawr Stables STAGBI Future Broodmares: ATM / H Muirhead Sureamsomething / A Hay & J Campbell Dizzy Miss Lizzy / N Lewis Articulation Hall / G Harrison Rhyds Backchat / E Elder Shades Of Grey / C Fletcher There is also a raffle running in conjunction with the event with all proceeds being donated to the Air Ambulance Charity: Grab yourself a chance to win a family weekend accommodation at your favorite Harness Racing fixture in 2017 - Appleby (Spring), Aberystwyth (Ceredigion), Tregaron or Musselburgh ALL PROCEEDS DONATED TO 'YOUR LOCAL AIR AMBULANCE CHARITY' www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk 1st PRIZE - 2 Night Family B&B Stay (2 Adults & 2 Children) 2nd PRIZE - 1 Night B&B Stay for 2 (2 Adults) To be drawn on Saturday 25th February 2017 Tickets are £5 each and are available from the BHRC Office and at the BHRC & STAGBI Awards Event at Daresbury Park Hotel in February 2017 Air Ambulance is a more than worthy cause which has been called upon in the past (thankfully not often) when there has been a racing accident. Most recently it would have been Logan Fowler who at just 18 was involved in a racing accident at Appleby in May 2015. The Air Ambulance attended and transported him to hospital. After a few operations, he has healed and was back in sulky after a year out. This thanks to the swift response of the Air Ambulance team. From the British Harness Racing Club  

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TROTBritain LeTrot Series at £100,000 in purses

With a continuing upsurge in orders for the second visit of three-year-old trotters from France could means that the TROTBritain LeTrot three-year-old series for 2017 looks likely to pay out  more than £100,000 in heats and finals. This was reported from the British Harness Racing Club (BHRC).   The finals alone this coming season (to be run at Tir Prince on September 9th) are being guaranteed at £60,000. The winner of the £30,000 Final (Tir Prince Raceway Gold LeTrot ) will receive £15,000 and the Silver Final will be worth £20,000 (£10,000 to winner).   Subject to entries, a Bronze final will be run and be worth £10,000 (£5,000 to winner). If the Bronze is not run, its money will be reallocated to the Gold and Silver So a guaranteed minimum of £60,000 will be paid out on the night. (A consolation event will also be run, if justified, to ensure everyone can be part of the action). The prize money in the heats will vary with the field size. At the moment, with at least 40 horses expected to be eligible to compete in the series, the BHRC are estimating total heat purses of £40,000, making the entire series worth £100,000. The net cost of running in the heats, carded regularly from May until early September, will be zero. The Finals fields will be decided on monies won in the series, ignoring the payouts of £150 which go to all unplaced horses. The only way to ensure you have a horse in this series is to deposit £200 asap. Order of deposit will be used to determine position in draw - and indeed simply being in the draw, if the number of horses we select as up to our standard is less than the number ordered.   The HSBC TROTBritain Account: Sort code 40 26 40, Account 80031119 Reference : your name and F for Filly, GO for Gelding Only GC for Gelding or Colt Key Dates: Remaining £2300 (of £2500 price) is due February 20th. Selection visit : February 27 - March 1 Draw : Friday 3rd March, 7pm  Horses arrive in GB Sunday 5th March   From the British Harness Racing Club

Harness racing

Goggin and O'Leary shine on New Year's Day

WEST CORK, Ireland - Champion jockey Deirdre Goggin and "Cools Hands" Timmy O'Leary rode two winners each while Maithi Buachaill took the featured Grade A & B Pace following up on his win in Drimoleague .Those were the headlines from the annual New Years Day road trotting fixture at Durrus before a near record holiday crowd. The sun shone but temperatures never rose above 6 C, but close finishes kept the huge attendance on their toes all day long. 2016 champion jockey Deirdre Goggin kicked off her brace of winners in the Grade D on GADGIE PAN who disappointed in Drimoleague but today that prior run was forgotten as Goggin saw off last weeks winner BEAUTYS HARMONY by three lengths with WELLFIELD DAMIAN a further two lengths third . SAUNDERS PARIS has been a top class lady on the turf and has taken to the tarmac in the same fashion and made it two wins from two starts for the Goggin clan from Goleen. The nearest track to Goleen heading West would be Yonkers Raceway in the USA. This was the second winner on the day for Deirdre. "Cool Hands" Timmy O'Leary, who stood himself down at Drimoleague with flu certainly hit form this afternoon with a brace of winners for his retained Jer O'Mahony Stable. In the opening Novice Pace FAME EARNED opened his account. This son of Earned Income and Fame Again ran green on his debut last week but was a different prospect today, seeing off ON THE OTHER SIDE and THE RED REBEL in a blanket finish. The winner is owned again by Jer O'Mahony and Caroline O'Brien from Dunmanway. TACTICIAN DU LYS another O'Mahony stabled runner is an imposing French bred trotter and once again was too good for his pacing rivals CAMDEN CORLEONE and LAKEVIEW WALTER in the grade C. O'Leary over took "Corleone" with three furlongs to race and next time steps up to the Grade B (which is four furlongs further) but he looks blessed with stamina in abundance and may continue his winning run. The top Grade A & B really set the pulses racing for the large attendance. Commentator Brendan Goggin set a great pre race atmospehere and the race lived up to that billing . RYDS PONDER as is usual set a quick pace through the opening twelve furlongs .Victory beckoned for the leader but Jamie Hurley was waiting patiently on MAITHI BUACHAILL (the Irish for thats the man) taking up the running with three furlongs remaining and winning by three lengths. Speaking in a post race interview Hurley was full of praise for the winner who is owned by his father James along with Ger Hegarty, "He's a gent to train and all going well he go to Ballingurteen in two weeks and we take our chances!" added Hurley. The next meeting takes place at Ballingurteen Sunday 15th Jan at 2pm. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS GRADE A & B (The Timmy Daly & Cottage Table Cups) 1. Hurley / Hegarty MAITHI BUACHILL J Hurley 2. N Forbes RHYDS PONDER Deirdre Goggin 3. N Forbes MOUNTAIN DEW LAD J O'Reilly GRADE C (The P J Barry Memorial Cup) 1. G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O'Leary 2. Hurley / O Reilly CAMDEN CORLEONE J O'Reilly 3. R Joyce LAKEVIEW WALTER M O'Reilly GRADE D (The John O Sullivan Memorial Cup) 1. N Forbes GADGIE PAN Deirdre Goggin 2. R Joyce BEAUTYS HARMONY M O'Reilly 3. H Bennett WELLFIELD DAMIAN M Maloney GRADE E (The Charles Cremin & Jack Connolly Memorial Cup) 1. M Goggin SAUNDERS PARIS Deirdre Goggin 2. D Brickley YOUNG DEANO Owner 3. Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG J O'Reilly NOVICE (Jan Goregrimes Memorial Cup) 1. O Mahony / O Brien FAME EARNED T O Leary 2. D McCarthy ON THE OTHER SIDE A McCarthy 3. D O Callaghan THE RED REBEL D Brickley      

Harness racing fixed odds movers for Omakau as at 12pm Race 1 - Royal Jester $4.40 is best backed on the win book over the longshot Regal Suzy $31 - $18. Whoosh Factor $800 leads multi betting over Eja Patron the $4.00 favourite.    Race 2 - One Yankee Ginga $10.50 the maiden runner is best backed on the win book over McLovin $1.95.   Race 3 - Jay FM $11.50 - $8.00 is best backed in win betting over Supreme Banner $3.70 with Cindy Bromac $3.50 leading multi betting over Supreme Banner.    Race 4 - Ice Crusher $3.30 - $3.00 has been heavily backed and easily leads multi betting over Nyree Franco $3.30.   Race 5 - Loretta Franco $1.60 is easily the best backed runner at the meeting in multi betting.    Race 6 - Brads Kenny $2.50 is best backed in win betting over and is slightly ahead in multi betting over the $2.40 favourite Rydgemont Milly.   Race 7 - Selena Franco $4.00 - $3.80 leads win betting over Captain Mannering $4.00.   Race 8 - Master Lavros $1.35 like the odds would suggest is getting backed in multi betting as though the race is over & is also all punter's want in early win betting.   Race 9 - Ultimate Desire $7.80 - $7.00 is best backed early over Flashing On $4.20.   Race 10 - Captain Dolmio $3.30 easily leads win betting over Classie Brigade $3.00 with that runner leading multi betting over the former.   Race 11 - El Dinero $14 - $10 & One Direction $4.80 - $4.50 are the only runners wanted in early win betting with Mossdale Rose $1.55 just leading multi betting over Oner Direction.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

WEST CORK, Ireland - Jamie Hurley took the top jockey honors riding two winners at the opening of the 2017 Road Racing season at Drimoleague on St Stephens Day. Reenascreena based Hurley took the featured Grade A Pace on Maithi Buachaill and the Novice Pace on IB Tweedy. In the Grade A, 2016 Horse of the Year RHYDS PONDER, was installed as favorite and set his usual brisk pace and led for the opening ten furlongs of the two mile contest. Then he was joined by MAITHI BUACHAILL, who led at the the final turn with four furlongs to the finish and the two battled it out from there to the finish as MAITHI BUACHAILL stayed on top to win by 6 lengths. RHYDS PONDER lost nothing in defeat in finishing second. The winner is owned by Hurleys father James and Ger Hegarty. Early in the day Hurley had a facile win aboard IB TWEEDY, who is owned by The One For The Road Syndicate, which comprises of Hurley ,James O'Driscoll, Richard Kingston and Karl Mitchell. IB TWEEDY is a four year old and looks a bright prospect for this season. Champion jockey Deirdre Goggin got on the score sheet aboard SAUNDERS PARIS for her father Micheal. She led from the start of this mile contest and had three lengths in hand on YOUNG DEANO. David Brickley teamed up with his retained Lakeview Stud ti take the Grade B. RHYDS TRIXTER looked to have stolen a march on his rivals, but Brickley on DEMOCRAT slowly reeled in his rival to win by two length.The winner is owned by Derbyshire UK owner John Mycock. TACTICIAN DU LYS, a multiple winner last winter, took an ultra competitive Grade C with regular jockey Timmy O'Leary sidelined with the flu, Micheal Goggin, Jr. came in for the spare ride on this imposing French Bred trotter and beat LAKEVIEW WALTER and MEADOWBRACH KIKI. BEAUTYS HARMONY was friendless in the betting ring in the Grade D, but put his five fancied rivals to the sword, winning by six lengths for joint owners Richard Joyce and Matt O.Reilly. The action switches to Durrus on New Years Day with racing on "The Boggy Road " starting at 1 45 PM. RESULTS GRADE A (Tommy McCarthy Memorial Cup) 1. Hurley / Hegarty MAITHI BUACHAILL J Hurley 2. Ned Forbes RHYDS PONDER Deirdre Goggin 3. Niall Forbes MOUNTAIN DEW LAD GRADE B (P J Daly Memorial Cup) 1. Shanahan /Mycock DEMOCRAT D Brickley 2. L O Brien RHYDS ARTIST J Hurley 3. G Kane URI GELLER M Goggin Jnr GRADE C (Joe O Sullivan Acorn Life Cup) 1. Kane / O Mahony TACTICIAN DU LYS M Goggin Jnr 2. R Joyce LAKEVIEW WALTER M O Reilly 3. D Brickley MEADOWBRANCH KIKI Owner GRADE D 1. Joyce /O Reilly BEAUTYS HARMONY M O Reilly 2. N Forbes GADGIE PAN J O Reilly 3. H Bennett WELLFIELD DAMIAN Marie Moloney GRADE E 1. M Goggin Snr SAUNDERS PARIS Deirdre Goggin 2. D Brickley YOUNG DEANO Owner 3. G Kane BIG JIM T O Leary NOVICE 1. One for the Road Syn IB TWEEDY J Hurley 2. O Mahony / O Brien FAME EARNED T O Leary 3. D O Callaghan THE RED REBEL P O Brien by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

Only four sleeps to Santa Claus as millions of kids around the world are waiting patiently. For die hard Road Trotting fans they have a little longer to wait, only an extra night, for the start of the 2017 Winter Road Racing season in West Cork. Drimoleague on St Stephens Day has hosted racing for over 130 years. Only twice in those 130 years has racing been cancelled .Firstly in the 1950s when the dreaded Foot and Mouth Disease was present in Ireland and again in the early part of this century when a foot of frozen slow covered West Cork. Fast forward to this Monday and the tarmac on the Eastern side of this village will play host to beating hoofs and the smell of sulphur lifting off the famous half mile stretch of road from the village heading East to the old Creamery. Many purists believe this road is the Holy Grail of road trotting. Looking at the road from ground level it can be very deceiving. From the outside turning point the horses race down a slight incline but approximately 200 metres from the finish there is a lung bursting rise to the finish. 26 horses will race in six races with Memorial Cups for each event remembering locals from the village who have left us. RHYDS PONDER the reigning road racing champion returns from the Summer break to try and emulate last seasons unbeaten run .He will face stable companion MOUNTAIN DEW LAD and MAITHI BUACHILL in the Grade A pace. In the grade B event newcomers SPRINGHILL JAZZ and DEMOCRAT will lock horns with URI GELLER an imported trotter from Sweden and the consistent RHYDS ARTIST. In the Grade C another trotter TACTICIAN DU LYS takes on pacing rivals MEADOWBRANCH KIKI and another debutant CAMDEN CORLEONE. The Grade D looks between IB RAPIDO and HILLSIDE DARTANIAN while in the grade E race SAUNDERS PARIS ,GADGIE PAN and BIG JIM should be the principals in an open looking contest. The Novice Grade sees IB TWEEDY going to post as favourite for "The One For The Road Syndicate" who as their name suggests will celebrate if successful. The action gets under way at 2 PM. By Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink  

Chris O'Reilly created his own bit of history on Saturday night when he became the first West Cork based driver to win on the American harness racing circuit at Pompano Park in south Florida. An invite was sent from Jeff Schaefer, a prominent blacksmith and amateur harness driver at Pompano Park to Lee Morris in Wales to bring a team of amateur drivers to the USA. Morris contacted O'Reilly to see if he would travel to Florida to take part in this USA V IRELAND UK challenge . it was a chance of a life time for O'Reilly, whose family are an integral part of harness racing in West Cork. Fast forward to last Saturday night, and through modern technology, all the action from Pompano park was beamed live to the "Home Contingent " at the Mai Deanes Bar in Drimoleague.   In the first of three races luck was not with O'Reilly,  ut it turned to gold in the second of the three races where Chris drove A CROWN FOR LINDY to victory in1:59.3, becoming the first West Cork driver to win on US soil. It was also the fastest mile ever for O'Reilly and it was the first time he had ever driving a trotter!   Team Ireland/UK sounding defeated the American Team, winning two of the three races.   Chris, a carpenter by trade and part time harness racing driver, was welcomed back to the winners enclosure by the locals and in a post race interview gave an insight of harness racing here in West Cork.   The local media were taken aback with his insight into the racing here in Ireland as O'Reilly explained how there are just a dozen race meets in Cork and that they are all on grass turf courses.   Management at Pompano Park, who organised this US vs IRELAND/UK challenge are already planning ahead to 2018 after the worldwide success of this event . The US amateur drivers have been invited and will be coming to Ireland next August, competing at Portmarnock Raceway in Dublin.   But Chris O'Reilly will be long remembered as the man who put West Cork on the harness racing map in 2016.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

The English and the Irish invaded Pompano Park on Saturday night (December 10) in the British-American Amateur Driving Challenge and, after a very competitive three race “brawl,” the invaders paced and trotted off with the hardware and the only saving grace for the American harness racing contingent was a“North American” from Canada. With Britain's Richard Haythornthwaite and Cork County, Ireland's Chris O'Reilly hitting the winner's circle in the first two events, it was Canada's Shane Arsenault providing the American contingent their only saving grace with a triumph in the final race. The final tally was 86 to 67 with the "Brits" drawing first blood when Haythornthwaite captured the first event by giving the pacer Cabo Real a "splendid" drive to win in 1:55.3. Four Starz Alex, driven by Dein Spriggs, finished second, 2 1/2 lengths away, while P L Dangerous, with Billy Muggleston in the bike, third. Digam was fourth for Jeff Schaefer while  Clive Hanover, driven by England's Patrick Morris, rallied to get the final check in the 10 horse field. Haythornthwaite sent Cabo Real sprinting off the wings and took the field through an opening panel of :27.4 before yielding to Spriggs' charge, Four Starz Alex, who then posted fractions of :56.1 and 1:26.2 before Cabo Real took command turning for home and widened his margin to the wire. In a post race interview, a jubilant Haythornthwaite said, "I understand that the five post is the best one to leave out of and I did just that and the horse responded bloody well.  "I got the perfect journey after that and he just took off when we entered the stretch straightaway for the finish. "I've had some good one over in England like Rhyds Rainbow and Tyrion Hanover, but this is the fastest I have ever been in a race." Owned by Russ Guardino along with trainer Joe Sanzeri, Cabo Real,a six year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere, won for the sixth time this season in 30 starts and sent his lifetime earnings to $77,161. As the 3 to 1 third choice, Cabo Real paid $8.40 to win. Ireland's Chris O'Reilly took round two of the competition by guiding the classy trotter A Crown For Lindy to a well rated and handy 1:59.3 win, his margin 3 1/4 lengths over the pocket sitting Global Power, driven by Mitchell "Sky" Walker. The Budster was third for Dein Spriggs while Blueridge Empire finished fourth. Insider Access, last in the 10 horse field after an early miscue, finished fifth for Patrick Morris. A Crown For Lindy, a 10 year-old son of Cantab Hall trained by Mark Winacott for owner Don Campbell, posted panels of :29.1, :59.3 and 1:30.1 before a :29.2 sprint home sealed the deal. In the winner's circle after the race, O'Reilly related, "where I am from, we don't have too many meetings (days) to race a year--just 10 or so--and we race on the turf, so this was a bit different for me. Of course, it's the fastest mile I have ever been in and it was my first time ever driving a trotter!" It was the trotter's fourth straight win and a milestone 50th win career-wise. He's banked $402,963 lifetime. Despite his impressive credentials coming into the action, A Crown For Lindy was not the favorite but, rather, second choice in the wagering at 5 to 2 and paid $7.20 to win. Canadian Shane Arsenault saved face for the North American contingent by taking the finale with his own Demand An Answer in 1:58. This four year-old son of Angus Hall bided his time in fourth through some hot panels of :29, :57.3 and 1:27.3 set by Big Package, handled by Haythornthwaite, through the opener, and JLS Too Hot Taj, off at 71 to 1 and driven by Lee Morris, before finding a seam turning for home and taking the "shortest route" to the wire to win by three-parts-of-a-length over JLS Too Hot Taj with Big Package next. Rush N Supreme finished fourth while B Cor Thomas finished fifth after pressuring the leader around the final bend. Demand An Answer won for only the second time this semester and fifth time career-wise. Despite have only two wins now, Demand An Answer is enjoying his best season in terms of earnings, which now are $30,585. In the winner's circle, a somewhat muddied up Arsenault said, "he's been up in Canada the last few starts and James McDonald, Doug McNair and Scott Coulter--great drivers--couldn't get him to the winner's circle. It took an amateur to do it!" There was a lot of jostling going on and I stayed out of that. I found some room on the inside and took the shortest route home. That was it!" Demand An Answer was sent off as the fifth choice on the tote-board and paid $17.80 to win. In presenting the hardware symbolic of victory, Florida Amateur Driving Club President Dein Spriggs remarked, "This was a great competition and everyone worked hard to make this happen, especially Jeff Schaefer, who really was the catalyst for this event. "We appreciate the wonderful gentlemen from England and Ireland for crossing the ocean to be with us and make this the grand event it was. "We hope this is the first of many in future years!" Racing continues on Sunday night with Panocchio back in action and after his sixth straight win in Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Handicap Pace. Duc Dorleans, Alta Jerome, Sing For me George, Blue Hour Power, Abreathofreshart, Whogoes first and Pointsman are expected to provide plenty of competition. In the "better for the bettor" department, Sunday's racing card has a trio of carryovers--the Pick-5, Pick-6 and the Super Hi-5 with the latter the largest at $12,494. Post time is set for 7:20 p.m. Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park

VINCENNES, Paris - The French harness racing governing body, Le Trot, played host to representatives from numerous countries involved in the purchase and breeding of Trotteur Francais at Vincennes over the course of the weekend of December 2nd - 4th, where each country's Horse of the Year was celebrated and 15 drivers from the member countries participated in the Prix des Recontres Internationales. Alan Richardson and Ricky Hanson from Ireland and John Foy from Great Britain attended to collect their awards on Friday evening for Vichy Du Moem (World Record Holder over 2 miles) and Sulky Du Blequin respectively, with John competing in the race on Saturday afternoon along with Sean Kane from Ireland, who is currently working at Grosbois Training Centre in France. The celebratory weekend began with an awards dinner for the TF voted as the Horse of the Year in each of the member countries, held at Hippodrome de Vincennes (Vincennes Racecourse). Ireland's winner, Vichy Du Moem and Great Britain's Sulky Du Blequin were both celebrated. The weekend culminated with the Prix des Recontres Internationales on Saturday afternoon, which featured drivers from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the Ukraine. Sean Kane (Ireland), found himself at the reins of the betting favourite, Tornado De L'Ocean, and although the duo looked threatening throughout, the competition proved to be too strong in the stretch, with Sean finishing a respectable fifth. John Foy (Great Britain), drew an outsider who raced in midfield throughout, before galloping on the final bend which resulted in automatic disqualification. The race was won by the French driver, Franck Nivard, driving Service Secret, with Balazs Juhasz from Hungary and Sire De La Creuse finishing second and Rick Wester from Holland and Tonio Du Vivier finishing third. Both drivers were grateful for the opportunity to drive at Vincennes and to represent their countries on an international stage, and it is hoped that this event will continue to include British and Irish drivers for many more years to come. A full replay of the race can be seen here - http://www.letrot.com/en/races/replays/2016-12-03/7500/7 by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink

At the closing of the 2016 season in the UK, the British Harness Racing Club published the final standings for leading owner, trainer and horse. In two of the categories it was a race to the wire as trainers William 'Rocker' Laidler and Teresa Haythornthwaite, and owners Raymond Huschka and Claire Fletcher, battled it out into the final meetings at Corbiewood, Scotland, to win the title. Leading owner for the 2016 season went the way of Claire Fletcher, who secured the title on the final full day's racing at Corbiewood on 23rd October when Indie Hanover and Porcelain Seelster both notched up victories to make the winning tally 30 wins and 63 top 3 finishes. Last year's leading owner, Raymond Huschka, finished in second place with 28 wins and 80 top 3 finishes. BHRC Chairman Roy Sheedy finished third in the table, with 16 wins and 48 top 3 finishes. Claire Fletcher has previously won the title in 2011, and described the highlight of this season as "winning Musselburgh (The Famous Musselburgh Pace Final with Sports Trick), "it "was the best feeling and seeing Shane's (Claire's husband and co-organiser of the race meeting at Wolverhampton Racecourse) face, we were so emotional both of us". "We can only thank Team Haythornthwaite (trainer Teresa and drivers Alan, Richard and James) for everything they do, they work so hard and love the horses. We can't thank them enough. There are a lot of highs and lows in racing but this season we finished on a high". The trainer's title was all but decided the previous week at Corbiewood, as 'Rocker' Laidler extended his lead over Teresa Haythornthwaite, a deficit which could not be overcome despite Teresa training the aforementioned Claire Fletcher-owned duo who won at the final fixture. 'Rocker' Laidler has previously won the title, before wife Alexis went on a winning streak of 8 trainer's titles in a row, making this the tenth year straight that a Laidler has won the Championship. Rocker's season highlights included winning the Park Lodge Final at Aberystwyth and the 4YO Championship with Mikey Camden, and the Bells Field Final and Tregaron Classic Final with Evenwood Sonofagun. He won the FFA at Monmouth and Newcastle with Meadowbranch Josh also. His finally tally stands at 45 wins, with 148 top 3 finishes. Second-placed Teresa Haythornthwaite recorded 43 wins, with 103 top 3 finishes; and David Taff placed third with 31 wins and 62 top 3 finishes. The driver's title was a runaway affair as the season progressed, as Scottish driver William Greenhorn stormed to the top of the leader board early in the year and maintained momentum. The achievement was made all the more impressive due to the fact that Greenhorn was not affiliated to any major stable in 2016, and although he drove a number of horses that he has an established partnership with on behalf of other trainers, he also scored with numerous catch drives, forging new partnerships with horses and trainers alike. Greenhorn described winning the title as "a great personal achievement to win as it reflects how you have done over the full season rather than how you performed on a particular day. This title hasn't been won by a Scottish driver for a good number of years so I'm proud to give Scotland this recognition also". "Competing in the VDM Final and the Crock of Gold Final were highlights of the season, although I had no success in them". Greenhorn did have success however in FFA class races with Meadowbranch Josh at Tregaron in May, as well as the SHRC 2YO Futurity with Crosshill Ace. He also proved his worth when guiding Ayr Escape to the gelding's first win in 63 starts. Numerous drives were provided by leading trainer Rocker Laidler, including winning both heat and final at Hellifield. It was good to see former leading driver Laidler showing support to Greenhorn, who has acted as catch driver for the Laidler team for many years when the stables have qualified two of more runners for major handicap finals. He topped the table with 55 wins and 135 top 3 finishes; Rocker Laidler finished second with 39 wins and 126 top 3 finishes, and SHRC Leading Driver in 2015, Grant Cullen, recorded 37 wins and 86 top 3 finishes. Leading horse for 2016 was awarded to the Sally Teeboon-trained Miraculous (Arts Conquest-Another Mattie-Presidential Ball), having won 9 of his 10 starts this season. Last year's leading 2YO colt stepped up at age three to dominate once again in his age category, but also recorded a victory in his first start of the year in open class company against aged pacers. His CV now boasts the 3YO Scottish Grass Derby at Musselburgh, the NWHOA 3YO Championship, Breeders Crown 3YO Colts, BHRC National Pacing Derby (Colts), Sire Stakes 3YO Colts and the Oakwood Stud 3YO Derby and Portmarnock, Ireland. Last year's leading 2YO filly, Jessies Conquest (Arts Conquest-Apopka Denise-Jennas Beach Boy), also stepped up at age three, recording 8 wins in 10 starts to finish second in the table for owner/trainer/driver Marc Jones. Her victories included the Monmouth 3YO Colts & Fillies Pace, where she beat Miraculous, Ceredigion 3YO Fillies, NWHOA 3YO Fillies, Little Welsh Dragoness, National Pacing Derby (Fillies) and the Sire Stakes 3YO Fillies. Rhyds Mystique finished third, winning 8 of her 9 starts in the top 2YO races this season for trainer John Gill, with the VDM Final being the only race to elude her all season. The BHRC awards for horses in the various categories will be voted on imminently by the clubs and associations around the UK, as well as individuals on the BHRC Council. The short list for each category are as follows: HORSE OF THE YEAR will be voted on by the BHRC Committee from the winners of the below categories in 2016. The winners of the below categories will be voted on at the AGM in December, with a further vote at a later date to finalise the Horse of the Year 2016. Pacer of the Year Evenwood Sonofagun From 11 starts he has only been outside the top four twice. Most notably in August he won the Bells Field Heat and Final and within the week took the Welsh Classic Heat & Final at Tregaron. Owned by Raymond Huschka, trained and driven by William 'Rocker' Laidler. Mikey Camden With 7 wins in 2016, this horse travelled for most of the big handicap races - Appleby Spring, Musselburgh, Aberystwyth and Tregaron. He was well placed in all and winner of the Park Lodge Classic Heat & Final at Aberystwyth. Owned by Raymond Huschka and trained by William 'Rocker' Laidler. Sports Trick Winner of 7 races in 2016 including the Senior Welsh Dragon at Tregaron, Appleby Spring Sunday Handicap Heat & Final, the NWSA 4YO Championship at Tir Prince and of course The Famous Musselburgh Pace Heat & Final. He was also runner up in the Park Lodge Classic Final at Ceredigion, beaten by only 1 length. Owned by Leading Owner Claire Fletcher, trained by Teresa Haythornthwaite and driven by Alan Haythornthwaite. Mare of the Year Blytheview Peach With 4 victories in 2016, this mare has advanced from Maiden through to Grade 3. Her first victory was at the Tregaron Festival in August, quickly followed by victories at Almeley and Tir Prince, with her four at York on Sale Day in October. Owned by Cheryl Podmore, driven by Jason Podmore and trained by Jason Podmore and Victoria Elvin from June. Frisco Frisk A tough and consistent mare who realised 3 victories from 12 starts in 2016. Her first victory was at Wolverhampton in June and the other two in 4YO stakes at Tir Prince; the NWSA 4YO Fillies Championship and Breeders Crown 4YO Mares. She realised £14,000 when offered for sale at Brightwells in October. Owned by the Fools Who Dream Syndicate and trained by Teresa Haythornthwaite. Shades Of Grey A terrific mare who has achieved 8 top 3 finishes from 14 races, 5 of which were victories. Her first win came at Wolverhampton in June, followed by a tough race at Musselburgh where she held on and won the top Heat of the Famous Musselburgh Pace. She won a Stayers Pace at Pikehall in some of the toughest conditions, a STAGBI Mares Pace at Tir Prince and a Red Mills sponsored Pace at Dundalk. Owned by Leading Owner Claire Fletcher, trained by Teresa Haythornthwaite and driven by James Haythornthwaite. Trotter of the Year Sacha Of Carless A late import in 2016, he squeezed in 10 races and struck up a 50% strike rate. He has raced over varying distances and had victories at Musselburgh, Newcastle and Tir Prince including the 2-mile endurance trot in September. Owned by John Foy and trained by David Taff. Sire Pazenais Another fresh 2016 import for the Le Trot series, he has been victorious in one third of his starts, placed in one third and only out of the placings on three occasions. Owner by Paul L Mather Jnr and trained by Paul Mather. Sulky Du Blequin 2016 was his second season racing under BHRC, where from 13 starts he realised 11 top 3 finishes. Racing over varying distances and on all surfaces he had back to back victories at Wolverhampton in June, the Gold Le Trot at Musselburgh, the George Dixon Memorial Trot at Tir Prince, the Le Trot Saddle race at Tir Prince and lastly an impressive 11 length win at Chelmsford. Owned by John Foy and trained by David Taff and John Foy. Tenor Meslois Imported as part of the Le Trot initiative in 2016, this trotter has been very successful with 12 top 3 finishes from 15 races. He racked up 6 victories on a variety of tracks and over a variety of distances; Tregaron over 1¼ miles, Wolverhampton over 1m100yds, Monmouth over 1¼ miles, Tir Prince over 1 mile and 1¼ miles and Amman Valley over 1m940yds. Owned by Gwenan Thomas, trained and driven by Rhys Evans. 3YO Colt of the Year Miraculous Needing no introduction, he was the 2015 2YO Colt of the Year and is exactly as his name suggests. Leading Horse by number of wins in 2016 he is the champion of the Musselburgh 3YO Grass Championship, the NWSA 3YO Championship, the Barney Joyce Memorial 3YO, the Breeders Crown 3YO Colts, the Oakwood Stud BHRC Colts Derby and the BHRC Sire Stakes 3YO Colts. Owned by Arnie Flower, trained by Sally Teeboon and driven by Patrick Kane Jnr. Truly miraculous is every way. 3YO Filly of the Year Jessies Conquest 2015 2YO Filly of the Year, her 3YO campaign lived up to all expectations. Winner of the Monmouth 3YO Fillies, the Ceredigion 3YO Fillies, the NWSA 3YO Fillies Championship, Little Welsh Dragoness 3YO, the Oakwood Stud BHRC Fillies Derby and the BHRC Sire Stakes 3YO Fillies. Bred, Owned, Trained and Driven by Marc T Jones. She boasts a very strong CV. 2YO Colt of the Year Rhyds Decoy From the mare CPR this colt was always expected to excel and add to the numerous stakes races of her other progeny. He didn't disappoint, finishing in the top 3 of all his 6 starts and winning the Ceredigion 2YO Colts, a Vincent Delaney Prep at Tir Prince and also the BHRC Sire Stakes 2YO Colts. Owned by the BKB Syndicate, trained by Joanne Cairns and driven by Andrew Cairns. Tyrion Hanover Lightly raced as most 2YOs are, this colt was rightly placed by owner John Howard and trainer Samboy Howard. He finished in the top 3 of 4 out of his 5 races, conquering the heat and final of possibly the most prestigious 2YO race of present; the Vincent Delaney Memorial. 2YO Filly of the Year Rhyds Mystique From a CPR line mare, this filly also has a catalogue of successful siblings. She proved to be the best yet winning 8 out of 9 of her starts including the NWSA 2YO Fillies, the Ceredigion 2YO Fillies, a Vincent Delaney Prep, the Breeders Crown 2YO Fillies, the Vincent Delaney 2YO Fillies Division, the Junior Welsh Dragoness, the Rhyds Stud BHRC Fillies Futurity and the BHRC Sire Stakes 2YO Fillies. Owned by Victoria Elvin, trained by John Gill and driven by Victoria Gill. Overseas Horse of the Year Any horse that has connections to an IHRA registered owner or trainer in the relevant season can be nominated under this category. Kickass Katie 4YO filly who has rarely been out of the placings all season. Under BHRC she finished 2nd in the Strata Florida Heat at Tregaron and 3rd in the final. In late September she made the trip over to Tir Prince for the Sire Stakes and was victorious in the 4YO fillies division in a very respectable time of 1.59.6. Owned and driven by John Richardson, and trained by William Flanagan. Porterstown Road First raced under BHRC in June at Tir Prince he finished 2nd in a Crock of Gold Heat, followed by second again in the FFA at Ceredigion. In July he took on the Crock of Gold heats again and was triumphant in a clock of 1.57.3, a run that gained him entry to the final in August when he excelled and held off the competition to take the Crock of Gold 2016. Owned by the family of the late RGB Webster, trained by Geoff Dunne and driven by Jonathan Dunne. Special Contribution to Harness Racing The winner of this category will be determined by the Awards Event Organisation Committee. All nominations will be considered and the winner announced along with Horse of the Year: Elizabeth O'Neil & Kareen New Sarah Thomas Heulwen Bulman Sue Williams (Tir Prince) Awards will be presented at the BHRC & STAGBI Annual Awards Event on Saturday 25th February 2017 - award winners will be invited to attend; further details to follow. by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink

The Irish Trotting And Harness Racing Federation held its annual awards night at The Village Inn Enniskeane and both the 2016 Winter and Summer Racing winners were honoured on the night. Starting with the Winter season which ran from Drimoleague on St Stephens day 2015 right through to Ballydehob on Easter Sunday 2016 and it was RHYDS PONDER who went through the season unbeaten and included in his wins was The All Ireland road Trotting Championship in Old Chapel Bandon. This incredible run of victories ensured his Winter Horse of the Year Award for his owners The Forbes Family from Drimoleague. Deirdre Goggin, so often the bridesmaid to her arch rival David Brickley on the tarmac, annexed the Jockey of The Year award. This popular Goleen native rode RHYDS PONDER to all his victories and was a popular winner. Moving on to the Summer Turf season and with the popularity of the French trotters, there was for the first time awards for both trotter and pacer of the year. SUNNYSIDE KILDARE was joint winner of Pacer along with RHYDS DESTINY. Kildare created history by winning the two big Summer Handicaps, firstly the Paddy Connolly Memorial at the Ballabuidhe Festival and later that month capturing The Red John Memorial Handicap at the big two day festival at The Cornfield Oval In Manch. Rhyds Destiny on the other hand was a model of consistency in The Free For Grade and remains one of the top perfomers on the West Cork circuit. Trotter of the year went to ROCKY ATOUT, who showed his class winning on both clockwise and anti clockwise tracks. This french import is trained by Mike Goggin and was driven in most of his races by Mike Goggin Jnr. It was a great year for The IB Stables in Baltimore and Tadhg Murphy received trainer of the year honors. IB COYOTE was the first winner of the Fillies Division of The Vincent Delaney Memorial and is the shining light of the Murphy family. Sunnyside Kildare and Rhyds Heartbeat are other winners who are trained By Tadhg. Mike Kelleher got the driver of the year award. . Along with his own Adagio De Cebe, Panam Colt and Meadowbranch. Demon Kelleher is retained driver for the powerful Lakeside Stud in Leap. Shelley Brickley once again got Turf jockey of the year award and it was double celebration for the Brickley family as their RINGO KID was the winner of saddle horse on turf. THE ITHRF always encourage the younger generation and Ryan Manning and Eoin Murphy were joint winners of apprentice Jockey on Turf while John O Mahony and Luke Kelleher were winners in the apprentice driver category. The Winter road racing season is fast approaching with the traditional St Stephens Day Fixture December 26th which signals the start of the 2017 season. by Tim Kelleher, for ITHRSF

DUBLIN, Ireland - The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., Friday announced that Indecon International Economic Consultants have been selected to carry out an economic review of the Irish Harness Racing sector.  The Minister said, “Following a discussion at the joint committee and the committee stage of the Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2016 it was agreed to consider a review of the industry.” The review will focus on: Assessing the value of the Harness Racing Sector’s contribution to the economic and social life of the Country. Assess the potential of the Harness Racing Sector to increase its contribution to the Irish economy. Evaluating the current structure of the Irish Harness Racing Association (IHRA) as an organisation and decide whether the board operates in accordance with best practice governance principles. Examine the size, skills make-up and method of appointment to the board to ensure it is best designed to ensure that the organisation operates efficiently. Minister Creed also referred to the stakeholder consultation process, facilitated by his Department as part of the review: “Through this process stakeholders have been afforded an opportunity to make a contribution to this review. In this regard my Department has received submissions which will be passed to Indecon for consideration. I felt that it was very important stakeholders had their say in the process and I am delighted that there has been engagement from the sector. Of course, there may be further engagement with stakeholders, as appropriate, as the exercise progresses.” Minister Creed concluded, “The industry needs to be reviewed to assess the potential for the development of the industry.” From the for Minister of Agriculture Office  

Chelmsford, UK - The first-ever harness racing events to be held at the Thoroughbred racecourse, Chelmsford City, Thursday evening have been deemed a rousing success. Arranged by TROTBritain, there were two Le Trot races held over the 1,700 meter Polytrack course. The races were also featured for wagering throughout all of the UK and Ireland via Betfred, William Hill and Ladbrokes. "This was the first time ever LeTrot races have been tagged onto a galloping meeting in the UK and the response from all those who witnessed it was only positive." Said TROTBritain organizer, George Button. "Chelmsford City Racecourse and Betfred were impressed with the spectacle and the professional way the races were organized. The feedback that we are getting from the bookmakers who laid books on the races on course and online is that the numbers were good." The main event was the George Button Senior Trotteur Francais Cup for the top division and John Foy's Sulky Du Blequin took no prisoners as the ten-year-old chestnut gelding by Axe Des Sarts showed his heels to his eleven rivals. Owned, trained and driven by Foy, Sulky Du Blequin was in prime shape and romped over the field by eleven open lengths. Tenor Meslois (Rhys Evans) was second with Titan De Prelong (Phil O'Neill, Jr.) third. Tenor Meslois was the early leader in the race until a half mile to home when Foy opened up with Sulky Du Blequin and pulled away from the field. The 2016 Trotter of the Year in the UK, Sulky Du Blequin had little trouble covering the deep track with an estimated time of the one mile one furlong distanced clocked in 2:24:01. He went off at odds of 5/2. Foy's next challenge will be representing the UK in the International Drivers Challenge at Vincennes, France in December. The Fleet Hire Le Trot was the first race staged at Chelmsford and an upset performance was given by Thunder Jiel and trainer/driver Ian Pimlott, who paid 5-1 to his backers. It was Salvado Bello and driver John Foy who had command of the race to the top of the stretch, but then faced a strong challenge by Ubu Of Fairy and trainer/driver Jason Ali. As those two began to battle neck and neck towards the finish, up on the outside came Ian Pimlott with Thunder Jiel to steal the limelight, winning by three lengths in 2:28.98. "You can't kick early," said Pimlott after the race, "as horses tire easy on this surface." It took the photo finish camera to declare Ubu Of Fairy a nose placing over Salvado Bello for second and third place. It was the first victory since coming to the UK for Thunder Jiel, a nine-year-old stallion by Historien, and no one could have been happier with the victory than owner George Button, Sr. of Kent, the main man responsible on the committee of TROTBritain in working with Chelmsford City Racecourse management to have the inaugural Le Trot races. There were four representatives from Le Trot in France who were welcomed guests at Chelmsford. They were Emmanuelle Morvillers, Marie Ann Schwartz, Marie-France Wissocq and Damien Beau. "The LeTrot representatives were impressed with Chelmsford's facilities and the track and remarked how good the big screen was for viewing." Button added. "They were also pleased with the way TROTBritain organized the races on the night. "All this can only be favourable for further racing at Chelmsford." Button added, "These are the types of all-weather venues that TROTBritain need to be organizing more races on, to take trotting forward with Le Trot sponsorships. This is the end game and we are going to do all in our power to make this happen. The longevity of trotting in Great Britain is in the hands of TROTBritain and we are determined to take it forward in the right way, so it is sustainable for the future." According to Darren Owen, the track announcer that evening at Chelmsford, "It was a super debut for TROTBritain tonight. Track management seemed happy with the two Le Trot events and a lot of thoroughbred fans seemed to stay on for trots." By Darren Owen and Steve Wolf for TROTBritain

With the first-ever Le Trot races taking place at Chelmsford City Racecourse in Essex, England Thursday evening, there may be some new harness racing standards recorded for England and Ireland. Being the first time that Trotter Francais will race over Chelmsford's 1,700 Polytrack surface, the UK and Ireland record will belong to the fastest of the two Le Trot races, each of which are being contested at one mile one furlong (1 1/8th mile) distance. The only comparable large track that has held Le Trot races at nearly this distance is at Wolverhampton, UK. The track record there was set this year on June 5 at one mile, 141 yards of 2:15.69 by Tenor Meslois, who is in Thursday's big race. The world record for 1 1/8th mile is 2:05.3 set by Your So Vain and driver Ake Svansdedt at the Meadowlands on July 5, 2014. Big news for punters wishing to wager on the races but cannot make it to Chelmsford Thursday was received earlier this week that the two Le Trot races will be featured by Betfred, William Hill and Ladbrokes at all their online and off-track wagering outlets. The two Le Trot race program pages can be viewed at http://www.bhrc.org.uk/racing/download/race_card/CH%2010-11-16%20[Race%20Pages%20Edited].pdf The featured ninth race Thursday is the George Button Senior Trotteur Francais Cup with ten starters. The field is strongly matched with top competitors who could set a record if conditions are right. Ireland invader Twist Du Layon will be handled by Patrick Kane, Jr. and they set the track record at Portmarnock Raceway last month at one and one-quarter mile and was second in the world record mile on October 30 and is the second highest money winner in the field this year. Sulky Du Blequin is the 2016 Trotter of the Year in the UK with five wins, including on the big track at Wolverhampton. He will be handled by owner/trainer John Foy. As before mentioned, Tenor Meslois holds the track record at this distance at Wolverhampton and also won his last start at Tir Prince for trainer/driver Rhys Evans. He has six wins this year and is rarely out of the money. Show Business was the 2015 Trotter of the Year for driver/trainer/owner Paul Mather and lifetime is the richest starter in the field. The highest money winner in the field this year is Velours Darche. He just came to the UK from France in July and has won his last two starts for owner/trainer/driver Joseph Ripley. The eighth race Fleet Hire Le Trot also has ten starters headlined by five mares in the field and a record could be set if one of the mares win. Early favorite is the top mare, Une Pebe, who is the 2016 Trotting Mare of the Year in the UK. Trained and driven by Mike Evans, she is the highest money winner this season in the field and was a game second in her last start at Tir Prince. Recently imported Spot Du Mouchel was a winner at Tir Prince in September and figures to be a major factor for trainer/driver Joss Edwards. Another contender is Salvado Bello, who is the highest money winner lifetime in the field and since coming to the UK sports three second place and three third place finishes for driver John Foy. "We could not be more pleased at TROTBritain with the way everything has shaped up for Thursday's races." Said TROTBritain organizer George Button. "Our committee has worked diligently for nearly a year with the officials at Chelmsford City Racecourse and without their forward thinking and welcoming us to come race, this night would never have taken place. "Even mother nature is cooperating, "Button laughed, "as the weather forecast for Thursday night is super. I truly hope that everyone who is a fan of harness racing will support our debut at Chelmsford by coming out to the races or having a bet or two and watching the races. "We can safely say that if Thursday night is a big success," Button said, "that we will be able to stage more races like this next year and that would be so important to the growth of harness racing in the UK and Ireland." First race post time at Chelmsford City Thursday is 16:25 (4:25 pm). The first of the two Le Trot races are scheduled to go off at 19:55 (7:55 pm). By Steve Wolf, for TROTBritain  

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