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Monug's Boy, harness racing

Greg Dean nails four at Racetime Raceway

Belfast, IE - It was a day to remember for harness racing driver Greg Dean at Racetime Raceway on Saturday when the Dunmurray man partnered 4 horses to victory for the first time in a driving career spanning almost five decades and what a day to do it on, his father Patsy’s Memorial Cup day meeting.   Generously sponsored by the Dean family with added prizemoney for all races, the event consisted of 3 heats with the first two home in each qualifying for a grand final. Those that did not qualify had a second bite of the cherry by entering a consolation pace with a square trot completing the programme of six races.   In the first heat, Dean steered Fairdays Dixie to a comprehensive three length victory over the skewbald Big Pete who denied race favourite Rio Bravo by a half length for the runner-up spot in 2:04.9. A gamble was landed in the penultimate heat when Ryan Hanson drove Mystical Carbs to a tactical victory over Waverly Jane and Lucky Cam in 2:02.2 with the margins four lengths and another length. The remaining heat provided the second leg of the eventual four-time for Greg Dean when Monugs Boy came from the third line to defeat Ladyford Jim by three lengths in 2:01.9 with North Art a further ½ length in arrears back in third.   Before the grand final a consolation pace sponsored by track bookmaker Charlie Finnegan was held for those who did not qualify for the feature and six went to post in this with Rio Bravo and Frisco Hold Up the joint 6/4 favourites. It looked as if punters had got it right as Peter Lyttle led them into the home straight with a commanding lead but Eamonn Griffin aboard rank outsider Hilltop North Art had other ideas and he came with a blistering late challenge to nail the luckless Rio Bravo in the shadows of the post. The time was a respectable 2:04.5 given the winners 25 yard starting deficit with Derrybeg which was trailing 35 yards also flying at the finish to snatch third. The distances were 1 length and a half length.   In the final of the Patsy Dean Memorial itself controversy reigned as favourite Monugs Boy and Mystical Carbs had a coming together with a circuit to run and although Monugs Boy emerged the best out of the altercation and went on to score impressively by eight lengths in 2:00.7, a seasons record.    A stewards enquiry was immediately called. After much deliberations by the panel of stewards on duty it was adjudged that although driver of Monugs Boy had caused interference on the top bend, this interference was not serious enough as to affect the end result as the margin of victory was so substantial. The result was therefore allowed to stand but Dean had a heavy fine imposed as to his driving of the race and a warning as to future driving etiquette regarding clearance whilst overtaking.   Monugs Boy was presented with the Patsy Dean Memorial Cup for 2020 to the delight of the Dean family who were present. The runner up spot went to Waverly Jane who fended off a rallying Mystical Carbs.   The afternoons square trot named after that mercurial grey mare RB Greystar was robbed of some its lustre when likely favourite Socrates Du Noyer was an absentee due to the recent increased Covid-19 regulations in Southern Ireland. Owner of Scorates Finbarr Brickley normally travels up from Cork, a 510 mile round trip every fortnight to compete but with that county now in lockdown Brickley was forced to withdraw on the morning of raceday.   That effectively left the trot a match race between Terry Hendersons Evan Jive (OTD) and Thomas Bennetts Bocage De Fornet which was partnered by man of the moment Greg Dean. Once the contest got underway a break in stride by Evan Jive on the first circuit handed the initiative to his sole rival and Bocage De Fornet was never headed thereafter eventually scoring by a distance in 3:18.3 for the one and a half mile trip.   This win made it a four-timer on the day for driver Dean and the Dunmurray man was visibly emotional after racing having absorbed the enormity of this achievement on what his fathers memorial race day.   Guest of honour on the day Brenda Hudson presented the rosettes and trophies to all winners and it was great to see living legend Brenda back on the track after a serious bout of illness which had affected her ability to participate or spectate at any harness racing meeting for the past 2 years. Looking a picture of health Brenda was surrounded by well-wishers all afternoon its hoped that she will become a regular again at Racetime in 2021.   All in all it was a fantastic days harness racing in golden autumnal sunshine and NISA have announced their next race meeting will be held at Racetime on Saturday October 24th where the feature will be the Anto Russell Memorial heats and final, a painted mile for skewbald pacers and a free-for-all.   Entries are now being taken for this meeting by NISA reps.   by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink    

Racetime Raceway, harness racing

Patsy Dean Memorial at Racetime Raceway

Belfast, IE - A fantastic afternoon’s harness racing awaits those who make the journey up to Racetime Raceway this Saturday afternoon when the Patsy Dean Memorial Cup is staged at the Lisburn venue. Patsy was a legendary figure in Northern Irish harness racing down through the years being father to both Greg and Brenda with the horses campaigned by the Dean family through the years including some of the finest to ever grace the tracks of the British Isles – Ragman, Mayfly, Silent Running, Disco Kid, RB Greystar, Rambling Rover, Dorney Reveller, Double M, Spice Girl, Stormy Reveller to name but a few of them. Such is the popularity of this family that fierce competition is expected on Saturday in order to lift the cup which was last won by Walter Stewart and Porterstown Courage.   Getting underway at 3:00 pm a total of 21 pacers are set to go to post over 3 heats and a grand final with a consolation pace also held on the day giving all unplaced horses a second bite at the cherry. In the opening heat, Fairdays Dixie appears to be a standing dish having looking like a winner on his debut a fortnight ago only to tire badly late on. Expected to strip fitter for that run the Jimmy Long bred gelding looks the one to beat in this. Peter Lyttles latest stable star Rio Bravo is improving with every start and could give Fairdays Dixie most to do despite a 10 yard handicap trail. Others to consider are the consistent Back In Time and the skewbald Big Pete whilst Despicable Me needs to put in a clear round to figure. Frisco Hold Up has been knocking on the door in recent weeks at Racetime and this time around that door just might open for owner-trainer-driver Darren Smith giving him a well-deserved winner. Waverly Jane has taken time to adjust to the Northern Irish air since her recent importation from Scotland but shes very capable on her day and could spring a surprise. Lucky Cam is returning from injury picked up a couple of months ago and may just need the run in this whilst it wouldn’t be a major surprise should Mystical Carbs upstage them all. The remaining heat looks a very tricky puzzle to solve on paper as it boasts no less than 4 last time out winners. Newcomer Hilltop North Art was victorious on his last start at Amman Valley in Wales and is expected to run a very big race for new owner Eamonn Griffin. Ladyford Jim won a heat a fortnight ago on the day that Valentine Camden and John Barley dead-heated in the Charlie Finnegan sponsored consolation final and all three will take their chances again here. Don’t rule out the luckless Monugs Boy who has been placed on his last three starts for the days main sponsor Greg Dean. A valid case can be made five runners in what looks like a mouth-watering clash worth the admission fee alone.  In between the heats a square trotters contest will also be held and although quantity of runners is not at the forefront, the quality of runners participating almost certainly is. Evan Jive has tasted victory already this season at Racetime and if he puts in a clear round he will lead them a merry dance from the front. Bocage De Fornet was won twice this campaign but had his colours lowered by Socrates Du Noyer the last time they clashed in a very tactical affair. Finbarr Brickleys striking chestnut takes on Bocage De Fornet on slightly worse terms on Saturday and a close call is expected between these two titans of trotting when they lock horns. Also on the day will be a series of Rising Stars pony trotting races and these continue to prove popular in bringing the crowds to Racetime. At the time of writing this article the track can still welcome the general public to spectate on Saturday but as ever strict Covid-19 protocols are in place and NIS request all participants and spectators to adhere to Northern Irish Health Board guidelines. by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink  

Rest In peace.jpg

Horseman Steve Dunne passes

Steve Dunne left Dublin, Ireland as a young boy and emigrated to Australia with his mother and father and family like many before and after him . . He said that Dublin never left his heart and he always vowed to return . On what was to be his journey back to his home country as a young man on a stopover in New Zealand, he met Theresa ,the love of his life . And that was that!. He remained in NewZealand with Theresa for almost 60 years .   In New Zealand he was involved in harness racing and it was here that Donal Murphy of IB Stables in Baltimore West Cork met him whilst on a placement as a young UCD student on a farm adjoining Steve's property.   Donal spent almost all of his 9 months there with Steve and his family jogging out his horses and racing with him . This overwhelming generosity he showed Donal he showed again to the Quill family In 2009.   Finbar Quill had the pleasure of meeting Steve on a trip to New Zealand. Finbarr and Rosemarie and their 4 sons will never forget the incredible kindness he showed to them. He sacrificed precious time with his own family during the Christmas holidays to ensure that they could visit all the stud farms and training centers into which we could not have gained entry without his help .. he even insisted they stay in his beautiful family home on the beach front as his family was in their holiday home . .. Steve was a gentleman, the likes of whom you seldom meet in a lifetime.   On a number of occasions in recent years he sought Seamus out having heard his name at various race meetings over there . Seamus was lucky enough to be at a track by chance where Steve was celebrating a birthday last year and he hugged Seamus when he saw him and invited him in .Always beyond kind.   He attended a race m eeting in Portmarnock Racetrack only a few years ago. He had vivid memories of some old names involved in racing in Portmarnock from his fathers generation now long since dead and gone.   The highlight of that day at the races for Steve was the wonderful exchange of stories he had with Mary Wallace. Dublin city born and bred like himself,his joy was palpable speaking with her of bye gone days. She relayed fascinating old stories of her mother, who owned and ran various shops on Moore street and in other familiar historical locations in the Dublin that Steve had never forgotten from his childhood. And how he would laugh at the story of the close shave her own family had with picking up a family ticket themselves for the boat to Australia.   Without harness racing we would never have had the pleasure of meeting Steve Dunne and for this we are truly grateful . A sincere humble kind gentleman . May he Rest In Peace!   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink  

Oakwood Maverick, harness racing

Oakwood Maverick shines in Bassett Memorial

Belfast, IE - The exquisitely bred Oakwood Maverick landed the harness racing feature for owner-trainer-driver Barry Reavey at Racetime Raceway in Lisburn on Saturday.   A total of eighteen pacers went to post over 3 heats in the John, Maureen & Paddy Bassett Memorial Cup with the first 2 home in each qualifying for a grand final which was kindly sponsored by the Bassett Family from Belfast, long-standing supporters of harness racing in Northern Ireland.   In the opening heat the favourite Rio Bravo obliged for Peter Lyttle in 2:03.5 from Oakwood Maverick and Fairdays Dixie with the margins of victory two lengths and a further length. The penultimate heat went to Jason McCullough aboard Ladyford Jim who had three lengths to spare over Frisco Hold Up in 2:02.9 which just held on by a short head over Valentine Camden.   Derrybeg ran out a popular winner of the remaining heat for Billy Bassett in the fastest time of the season at Racetime 2:01.4 with Monugs Boy and John Barley filling the places with the distances three quarters of a length and another four lengths.   In the grand final Peter Lyttle led them away pursued by Oakwood Maverick and Frisco Hold Up. The odds-on favourite Ladyford Jim entered the fray at the half but his run soon petered out leaving Rio Bravo back out in front and looking good to land the spoils.   Oakwood Maverick challenged again on the final bend and just as it looked as if Rio Bravo was successfully fending off Oakwood Maverick she made an uncharacteristic break in stride and Barry Reavey then had the race at his mercy.   Monugs Boy charged up the home stretch to try and stake his claim but the post came in time for Oakwood Maverick who hit the wire in 2:03.3 The gallant Rio Bravo held on to second spot from Monugs Boy and Derrybeg. The distances were three lengths and a neck.   In the winners enclosure a jubilant Barry Reavey claimed that he just bought the horse a couple of months ago and was still finding his feet with the colt. By Hasty Hall out of Catscam the three year old is certainly a horse going places and is likely to win again before the season comes to a close at the Northern venue. Oakwood Maverick was bred by Oakwood Stud, brothers James and Derek Delaney.   A consolation pace generously sponsored by the track bookmaker was also held during the afternoon for those pacers who did not qualify for the final and six also went to post in this contest. Charlie Pan went to post a short priced favourite having broke at the start in his heat as a result of a harness issue.   This time around Hugh Friels latest acquisition quickly made up his 35 years starting handicap and hit the front just before the half. Controlling the tempo for the majority of the second circuit it looked as if Charlie Pan had the race at his mercy but his early exertions began to take their toll and he started to flag within the shadows of the post.   Mickey Connors aboard Valentine Camden, who had stalked Charlie Pan throughout, then siezed this chance to nail Charlie Pan on the line. What both didn’t realise was that Michael Goggin was building up a head of steam with John Barley and he fairly bolted the last 50 yards to stake his claim.   As they hit the wire in 2:02.8 a subsequent photo finish print dictated that they could not be split and the result was a dead-heat between Valentine Camden and John Barley with Charlie Pan third, another 2 lengths adrift.   Interviewed post-race both Micheal Goggin and Mickey Connors expressed their satisfaction with the judges verdict and both men went back to Donegal and West Cork happy with a red rosette and an equal share of the winners pot.   Another West Cork raider Finbarr Brickley struck in the afternoons square when his Socrates Du Noyer exacted sweet revenge on his arch nemesis Bocage De Fornet. Driven by Finbarrs son Ciaran the striking chestnut gelding sprinted into the lead and was never headed thereafter despite Greg Deans challenging repeatedly with Bocage De Fornet when Ciaran Brickley slackened the pace at various stages throughout the contest. It was a deserved victory for Socrates who has been knocking on the door in recent starts finishing in the runner up spot on the last two occassions and the door finally opened in fine style for the Baltimore outfit.   A selection of pony trotting exhibitions for under 14s drivers were also staged in between races and these popular attractions always add to the colour and atmosphere at Racetime Raceway.   by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink

Belfast, IE - The Northern Ireland Standardbred Association (NISA), the officially recognised governing body for the sport of harness racing in Northern Ireland hosted their 6th meeting of the 2020 season at Racetime Raceway in Lisburn this Saturday where the feature event on the programme will be the John, Paddy & Maureen Bassett Memorial Cup. Generously sponsored by the Bassett family from Belfast, 3 heats will be held on the afternoon with the first 2 home in each qualifying for a grand final. In the opening heat, all eyes will be on Peter Lyttles Rio Bravo which finished third, then second on its previous two starts at the venue and with more improvement expected the mare should secure the red rosette this time of asking. Oakwood Maverick looks the biggest danger to the selection. Barry Reaveys colt won on his debut then finished third last time but made a break at the half losing valuable momentum. With a clear round he will give Rio Bravo something to think about. Of the remainder Big Pete qualified quite nicely recently and could be anything as could Fairdays Dixie who also makes his seasonal reappearance. The penultimate heat is likely to have head bookmaker Charlie Finnegan scratching his head when pricing them up for opening show. The ultra-consistent Rhyds Premier won last time out whilst Valentine Camden and Ladyford Jim have both tasted victory in heats and finals in recent weeks at Racetime. Frisco Hold Up has been knocking on the door and although Waverly Jane acted up at the start on her debut she boasts strong form having won regularly across in Scotland in 2019. A horse that might out-run its likely odds and could spring a surprise is Springhill Bilzer. Owned by the Galway family and trained by the late Jacky’s son Garth this gelding impressed when last seen and should strip fitter for that experience. The last heat is worth the admission fee alone where a solid case can be made for all 5 runners. Derrybeg is a renowned front runner and will try to make all. Monugs Boy could be considered an unlucky loser in the last meetings final and will be out to atone. Boomtown qualified impressively in 2:03 on the bridle and looked to be a top horse in the making. Charlie Pan is another newcomer to Racetime but has ran with great credit at York and Amman Valley for Welsh trainer Lee Morris. Long overdue a visit to the winners enclosure is Michael Goggin’s John Barley and he will never get a better opportunity than this to rectify matters having been dropped a grade in the handicap. Finbarr Brickley can make it a double for the West Cork raiders in the afternoons square trot with his Socrates Du Noyer. Likely to be partnered by son Ciaran, this striking chestnut has shown improvement with each run at the venue and with his arch nemesis Bocage De Fornet penalised yet another 10 yards in the handicap this could be the day that Socrates finally overhauls Bocage. Terry Henderson’s Evan Jive isn’t out of the equation either with a clear round of trotting. Before the final a consolation pace will be staged for all non-placed horses on the day giving those who felt unlucky first time around another bite at the cherry. This will be kindly sponsored by leading bookmaker Charlie Finnegan. A series of pony races will also be held in between races for budding reinsman under 14 years old and these are very popular amongst our young drivers of the future. As always at Racetime Raceway ALL prizemoney is paid in cash on the day. Spectators are welcome but advised to strictly adhere to Covid-19 protocols. Post time 3:00 pm. by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink

WEST CORK, IE - The curtain came down on the 2020 West Cork harness racing season in Dunmanway on Saturday afternoon and it was a case of the generation game with drivers in their teens , twenties ,thirties , forties and seventies all driving winners on the day.   It was a case of Deja Vu from last week when "Elder Statesman " John Boyle at 74 years young landing the top-grade pace with Supreme Sunshine .Only four went to post but this was a cracking renewal .Indie Hanover a winner last week led at the start but in a battle Supreme Sunshine hit the front after 2 furlongs of the mile and 300 yards contest.   The order remained the same heading out on the final circuit where Awesome Dude joined the leaders but went off stride and lost his place .On the run to the line Supreme Sunshine was still in front but Indie Hanover closed but failed by a neck to haul back the leader.   As with last week John Boyle got a rapturous reception when the result was called.   "It was a great finish and I wasn't sure whether I had won or not. Derek Jennings the driver of Indie Hanover looked at me and neither of us knew who had won .The lads gave me a great reception in the paddock when the result was called and it means a lot," Boyle was quoted after racing.   "Look, we came to Cork three times this year and have won two and finished second so not too bad, " Derek Jennings said "I wasn't sure of the result but who could begrudge John his win he's a real nice man and the lads were joking that a 74 year old man had beat me .I couldn't believe it he looks no older than fifty."   Oisin Quill only recently turned 18 but this youngster has "an old head on young shoulders " and himself and Hail Spartacus ran riot in the finish of the grade F Pace, Jay Bee and Mahogany Dreamer shared leadership but Quill was "waiting in the wings" and took up the running on the final lap and ran out an 8-length winner.   This was the pairs 4th success of the shortened season who is trained by Michael O Donovan for Hillside Farms and gave him West Cork Pacer of The Year.   Sean Kane made all the running in the Mares Trot with Dinah Washington and Freedom Well came with a storming late challenge but failed by a nose to peg back thew winner with Belkalinja third .Kane based in the Moorside Stud in County Meath comes in his late twenties in the generation game.   IB Paddington jointly owned by Bill Donovan from Florida and the Murphy Bros from Baltimore looks a horse with a real bright future .The three-year son of Foreclosure N was never too far off the pace and hit the front with an eighth of a mile to pace and won by 3 1/2 lengths from Pan Cam Income who would have been closer only for traffic but the winner was never for catching.   "He holds entries in the IHRA Juvenile series in Annaghmore and the Sire Stakes in Portmarnock so we keep him going until the end of the National season," Winning driver Donal Murphy (Late 40s) told the media.   When asked would the home bred be a candidate for export to the USA Muphy smiled.   Brutenor a former winner of The Maven Trot Took the aged handicap.He came from off the pace and a 20-yard handicap to take the honours. Bella Despina and Banderillero Piya shared the lead but Patrick Hill always had matters in hand and won by a length .Hill clocks in the thirty ish age group.   So after the late start to the season there were 10 local meetings in West Cork with a special thanks to the Ballabuidhe Committee owners of the track in Dunmanway where 7 meetings were held .Lyre had two meetings on Ger. Hegartys track and thanks to Derry McCarthy owner of Bishopsland Raceway   Racing continues at Portmarnock and Annaghmore Raceway until November.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS   GRADE G & G1 Pace 1 Mile 300 Yards 1,IB PADDINGTON D Murphy 2..PAN CAM INCOME L Kelleher 3.MOORSIDE MYRA J O'Mahony DIST 3 1/2L NK TIME 2.33.7   MARES TROT 1 Mile 600 Yards 1,DINAH WASHINGTON S Kane 2.FREEDOM WELL L Kelleher 3.BELKALINJA D Murphy DIST NS 3/4L TIME 3.28.7   GRADE E D & C PACE 1 mile 300 Yards 1.SUPREME SUNSHINE J Boyle 2.INDIE HANOVER D Jennings 3.AWESOME DUDE S Quill DIST NK 3 1/2L TIME 2.28.6   GRADE F E & D TROT 1 Mile 600 Yards 1.BRUTENOR P Hill 2.BANDERILLERO PIYA D Murphy 3.DESTIN DE LARRE F Quill Jnr DIST 1L 3/4L TIME 3.33.7   GRADE F PACE 1 Mile 300 Yards 1.HAIL SPARTACUS O Quill 2.JAYBEE P McInerney 3.FRANKIE CAMDEN D McCarthy DIST 8L 8 1/2L TIME 2,32,5

WEST CORK, IE - Supreme Sunshine with John Boyle in the bike were popular harness racing winners of the high-grade pace at Dunmanway on Sunday.   Boyle at 74 years of age has a no-nonsense approach when driving his pacers "Go for the lead and Catch me if you can" and the popular veteran reinsman showed them all a clean pair of heels from the start and despite the late rally from King Wills Arrival he was not for catching holding on for a half a length victory.   "The mare (Supreme Sunshine) has been running well all year and has been close every day and today she battled on gamely." Boyle was quoted after the race and there was a queue to congratulate the Mallow based Bayle who holds very high respect in the sport.   The Kane family have been ardent supporters of racing in West Cork for many a year and they had a profitable visit today. Sean Kane took the 3-year-old trot on Homer Oakwood who had to dig deep to beat Hianca HA who went off stride when in a challenging position.   Kanes Cousin Patrick is one of the best drivers in Ireland and the UK and he was at his brilliant best aboard Oakwood Maestro in the Conditional Pace .Two Left Feet made all and was challenged by Frankie Camden in the first lap, IB Felicity was next to take on the leader. All the while Oakwood Maestro was tracking the leading pair and in a perfectly timed run collared Two Left Feet by a neck on the line.   Luke Kelleher had things all his own way in the opening Grade G & G1 pace with Pan Cam Income .Hail Spartacus led for a lap but Kelleher was not hanging about and sent this son of Earned Income to the front and came home 18 lengths a winner.   " He would have won in Bishopsland last week but we got a puncture .I really like this fellow .He's had a few niggling problems and hopefully there sorted .I think he could be a very nice horse next year " Kelleher told the press briefing.   Kelleher looked to be on for a second win with Freedom Well in the F E & D Trot who led all the way and went off stride with 200 yards to go .Donal Murphy grabbed the lead on Banderillo Piya who finished five lengths in front of stable mate Belkalinja.   Harry & Mary Bennett have a nice trotter in Amende De Cosse who won for them for the second time in three outings Trained at the track here in Dunmanway, this striking chestnut made all the running and was 2 lengths in front at the line from Bella D,Espana .   "Hes a lovely horse to deal with a gentleman and hopefully the good run continues " Harry Bennett said .   Derek Jennings made the 7 hour round trip from Dublin with Indie Hanover and went home with a winner Jay Bee led early but Jennings send this son of Well Said to the front on the second lap and won "With his head in his chest" and on this performance may still be a bit ahead of the handicapper.   Racing next week is again at Dunmanway on Saturday 19th @ 2.30 PM   RESULTS   Pace Grade G & G1 1 1/4 Miles 1.PAN CAM INCOME L Kelleher 2.HAIL CAESAR P Hill 3.MEADOWBRANCH ROMANCE C O Driscoll DIST 18L 8L TIME 2.32.9   IHRA 3-YEAR-OLD TROT 1 1/2Miles 1.HOMER OAKWOOD S Kane 2.HIANCA H A K Sheehy DIST 2 3/4L TIME 3.43   Pace Grade F & E 1 1/4 Miles 1.INDIE HANOVER D Jennings 2.HAIL SPARTACUS M O Donovan 3.IB A WARRIOR R Kingson DIST 8L 1/2L   Trot Grade G & F 1 1/4 Miles 1.AMENDE DE COSSE K Sheehy 2.BELLA D"ESPANA L Kelleher 3.ETOILE QUICK O Quill DIST 2 1/4L 4L TIME 2.38.7   Pace Conditional 1 1/4 Miles 1.OAKWOOD MAESTRO P Kane Jnr 2.TWO LEFT FEET J Hurley 3.IB FELICITY J Boyle DIST NK 1 3/4L TIME 2.33.9   Trot Grade F E & D 1 1/4 Miles 1.BANDERILLERO PIYA D Murphy 2.BELKALINJA T Murphy 3.BRUTENOR P Hill DIST 2L 1 3/4L TIME 2.37.5   Pace Grade D & C 1 1/4 Miles 1.SUPREME SUNSHINE J Boyle 2.KING WILLS ARRIVAL O Quill 3.AWESOME DUDE S Quill DIST 1/2L 2 3/4L TIME 2.29.4   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

Belfast, IE - There were wild celebrations in the winners enclosure at Racetime Raceway in Lisburn on Saturday when the McCullough family’s latest acquisition, Ladyford Jim, driven by Jason McCullough, won both his heat and then the grand final of the Alex Patterson Memorial Cup. Six went to post in the first heat where Rhyds Premier won cosily from Rio Bravo and Oakwood Maverick in 2:05.8 with the distances three quarters of a length and a further four lengths. “Its been a long time between drinks” was the quote from driver Barry Dean who partnered the 11 year old gelding which was having his first visit to the winners enclosure since 2014 for local owner John Murdy.  The penultinate heat went to Ladyford Jim who overhauled longtime leader Springhill Bilzer in the dying strides to triumph in 2:05.3 from another newcomer Micks Magic Trick with the distances four lengths and a half-length. Springhill Bilzer was driven on this occasion by Garth Galway son of the late Jackie Galway and it who was making his debut in the sulky aboard the gelding. The remaining heat had eight runners and was won by Monugs Boy in 2 mins 2.2 secs with Ceiron JD and Derrybeg filling the frame with the distances one length and the same. Driven by Greg Dean, this meant that both father and son had now won heats and would go head-to-head in the grand final. Rio Bravo, who finished second in its heat was declared a non runner so the final only had 5 going to post. At the off Rhyds Premier was first to show but was quickly tackled and past by Springhill Bilzer who sprinted on into a six length lead pursued by Ladyford Jim and Ceiron JD. At the three quarter pole Springhill Bilzer sent out distress signals as the blistering pace began to take its toll and sensing this Jason McCullough put Ladyford Jim into overdrive and gunned him down rounding the final bend. In the home straight Monugs Boy came with a storming late challenge but Ladyford Jim had enough in the tank to repel Greg Dean’s charge to land the spoils in 2.01.8 a seasons record for the track. Cieron JD finshed an honourable third with the margins one length and another two lengths. Ladyford Jim by Kikcolt out of Three Men Dreamin is a recent import from the UK where he was plying his trade for Durhams Alf Swinbank who incidentally also campaigned the third placed horse Ceiron JD and in the winners enclosure the victorious driver Jason McCullough couldn’t thank Alf enough for his advice on how to bring the best out of Ladyform Jim who looks destined for the free for all ranks based on this stellar performance. A consolation race for all unplaced runners was contested on the day giving those who felt unlucky another bite at the cherry. In this Back In Time led them a merry dance until tackled and passed by favourite Valentine Camden going down the back straight for the final time. All the while driver Hugh Friel was gradually reducing his 40 yard starting deficit aboard Vyrnwy Saddlepan and when asked for his challenge at the ¾ pole the response was instant. Quickly forging five lengths clear the 12 year old veteran stayed on gamely in the home stretch to win convincingly in 2:05.9 from Valentine Camden and the rallying Back In Time. A square trot was also held during the afternoon and this was won by Thomas Bennett’s Bocage De Fornet in a track record of 2:32.6 for 1 ¼ miles. A winner on its debut a fortnight ago the nine year old French bred was giving all three rivals a handicap start this time around and driver Greg Dean was therefore forced to change tactics. Content to track the pace-setting Socrates Du Noyer for most of the journey Bocage De Fornet was produced late to nail the longtime leader in the shadows of the post with Avetot finishing a distance behind the main protagonists and Evan Jive bringing up the rear. It’s a testament to the hard work of promoters that Racetime had more pacer entries than any other track operating in Ireland over this particular weekend and NISA have confirmed that racing will continue to be staged at the venue right through to the end of October with a whole host of major sponsored races being lined up for trainers to enter up for. by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink

Belfast, IE - Harness racing resumes at Racetime Raceway in Lisburn this Saturday where the Alex Patterson Senior Memorial Cup provides the main highlight of the afternoon. Featuring two heats of six and one heat of eight runners the winners and runners-up will go forward to a grand final with added money generously sponsored by the Patterson family.   In the opening heat Peter Lyttles Rio Bravo is favoured to come on from her first start where she finished an unlucky third. Out of Klondyke Girl the mare is selected to hold off Kiki Express and last time out winner Oakwood Maverick.   The penultimate heat sees 4 of the six runners making their Racetime debuts. Little is know about Micks Magic Trick whilst Waverley Jane, Ladyford Jim and Springhill Bilzer have been doing their racing across the water at York and Corbie Wood respectively. These are joined by the consistent Tom Wood and veteran Pandercrombie but they will have it all to do to beat Ladyford Jim who looks like the most likely winner on paper.   The remaining heat with eight going to post looks equally as competitive with renowned front runner Valentine Camden likely to lead them a merry dance from the outset. Ceiron DJ On Top Blackshark and Derrybeg will be all out to upset Valentine Camden whilst John Barley and Frisco Hold Up will be doing their best work at the end. Monugs Boy is another not out of the equation however the fastest horse in the line-up Vyrnwy Saddlepan is chosen to sprint past them all in the home straight to land the spoils.   A square trot will also be held on the day and with only 4 facing the starter it’s a case of quality not quantity in this contest. Evan Jive and Avetot have both won at Racetime earlier on this season whilst Bocage De Fornet was victorious last time out for Thomas Bennett,  defeating Finbarr Brickley’s Socrates Du Noyer in an epic battle. The handicapper has subsequently had his say and Bocage De Fornet now gives Socrates Du Noyer a start and this may be the determining factor when they settle down to fight it out. On that basis Socrates is the most likely winner.   Before the Alex Patterson Senior Memorial Final all unplaced runners get a second bite at the cherry, in a consolation pace where it will be free entry for all participants.   With a total 6 races being staged on the afternoon, including pacers trotters and some “rising stars” childrens pony racing Racetime Raceway really is the place to be this Saturday, and with the requisite Covid-19 protocols in place all patrons are welcome to come to the venue and enjoy a family day out.   The action starts at 3 pm on Saturday and as stated earlier all patrons are welcome to come and support the sport   by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink  

WEST CORK, IE - Another young driver, 17-year-old Dan O'Mahony, left his mark on the West Cork harness racing scene with a drive that belied his tender years at the well-presented Bishopsland venue on Saturday.   Five went to post in the Top-Grade pace this week over the minimum 1 mile distance.   Vallanzana and Valiant Forgion were the pace setters in the opening lap heading out for the final half mile all five were in with a shout. With a quarter of a mile to trot Brutenor took over and looked a winner but O'Mahony produced Devoument Absolu with a perfectly timed run to land the spoils by a half a length from Brutenor.   "We bought him at the fall of the year an myself and my brother John train him with our father Jeremiah .This is my second career win and I just waited until turning for home and he flew up the straight." said Dan O'Mahony.   The Buster and Jamie show might sound like a Hollywood comedian duo but Philip "Buster" Gilligan and Jamie Hurley both drove two winners on the afternoon.   Hurley kicked off his brace on IB A Warrior who has been knocking at the door without success but today was his day in a fiercely competitive Grade F Pace. Just a Promise led the first lap IB Felicity and Frankie Camden also were in front on the final circuit but IB A Warrior came with a storming run and had 2 lengths to spare over IB Felicity with Frankie Camden a neck back in third.   The winner is owned by The One For The Road Syndicate and spokesman Timmy O'Donovan commented" He runs to his merits every day and today we got the breaks and got our winner."   Earnies Umpire was the second winner for Hurley .He led off the gate and in a blanket finish held off Hail Spartacus and Fairdays Bret.   Buster Gilligan based in Dublin has been doing the eight hour round trip to Cork every week and it has been paying rich dividends with another two wins today .Pan Cam Income looked set for victory in the opener but Gilligan and Sugar Kane Howard pounced in the last 199 yards to win by a length.   Honor Code has been a revelation all season and today got his fourth win of the campaign. This son of Well Said imported from the US a a yearling made all the running and eventually had six and a half lengths on the second Awesome Dude.   The second trot of the day was also over a mile and it produced the best finish of the day Belkalinja Bella Despana and Destin De Larre were involved in a three way battle on the home straight with Belkalinja just getting the verdict by 3/4 length.   In this scribes opinion the shorter trot distance should be utilised more often especially on the grass curcuits in Cork.   Racing continues next Sunday in Dunmanway.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS (Races timed over 1 mile 50 yards   GRADE G & G1 PACE 1.Sugar Kane Howard P Gilligan 2.Pan Can Income L Kelleher 3. Moorside Myra J O'Mahony DIST 1L 3/4L TIME 2.17.2   Conditioned Trot 1.Belkalinja D Murphy 2.Bella Despana L Kelleher 3. Destin De Larre F Quill DIST 3/4L 1/2L TIME 2.20.1   Grade F Pace 1.IB A Warrior J Hurley 2.IB Felicity J Boyle 3.Frankie Camden D McCarthy DIST 2L NK TIME 2.22.5   Grade D Pace 1.Honor Code P Gilligan 2.Awesome Dude S Quill 3.Supreme Sunshine J Boyle DIST 6 1/2L 7 1/4L TIME 2.13.6   Grade F & E Pace 1.Earnies Umpire J Hurley 2.Hail Spartacus M O'Donovan 3.Fairdays Bret A McCarthy DIST 3/4L 6 3/4L TIME 2.20.0   Grade F E & D Trot 1.Devoument Absolu D O'Mahony 2.Brutenot P Hill 3.Vallanzana O Quill DIST 1/2L 1/2L TIME 2.20.9

Elie de Beaufour (6g Royal Dream-Pignata) took today’s ninth leg of the Gr. III Grand National du Trot Paris Turf (purse 75,000€, 2626 meters distance handicap) held at Chatalaillon-la-Rochelle. Eric Raffin teamed the 8/10 favorite for trainer Jean Michel Bazire and Ecurie LeVallois, Race time was 1.12.8kr. Elie won for the 17th time in his career for 276,600€ earned. The 25 meter penalized and 3.4/1 odds Diable de Vauvert (7m Prince d;Espace-Pop Star) was second with Gabrielle Gelormini aboard for trainer Bertrand LeBeller and owner Franck Learvet. 12/1 Dayan Winner (7g Offshore Dream-Tempete Winner) was third for Hugues Monthule and trainer Sebastien Guarato. Elie de Beaufour Yesterday at Paris-Vincennes was the Prix Brunhild (purse 33,000€, three year olds, monte) and 5.6/1 odds Heroic Park (3m Bird Parker-Quiromantica) gained the victory for trainer/jockey Pierre Yves Verva for breeder/owner Jean Pierre Dubois. This colt now has four career wins for 38,880€ earned. Heroic now has three wins in in his last six starts, all in monte events. 1.2/1 Hashka (3g Goetmals Wood) was second for trainer/jockey Yoann Lebourgeois. 3/1 Horoneur du Cebe (3m Un Charme Fou) was third for jockey Eric Raffin and owner/trainer Franck Leblanc. Heroic Park On Monday at Paris-Vincennes was the Gr. III Prix Legoux-Longpre (purse 70,000€, 2850 meters, monte) and the 3/2 odds open lengths winner was Gladys des Plaines (4f Opus Viervil-Thetis de Vaujour) and jockey Mathieu Mottier. She was timed in 1.13.3kr and is trained by Gilles Curens in recording her fourth career victory now for 281,170€ in life earnings. 3.6/1 Gospel Pat (4m Uriel Speed-Namorosa) was second with David Thomain up for trainer Philippe Allaire. Third was the 9/1 Flamboyant Blue (5g Timoko-Quafsa Blue) with Antoine Dabouis in the irons for trainer J.P. Mary. Gladys des Plaines On the weekend (September 6) is the Trophee Vert Final at Craon. Named the Prix V and B (Gr. III, purse 60,000€, 2775 meters) the race will have 17 horses at the start including the leading point winners to date in this prestigious series. LeTrot files/photos by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink  

As the dust settled at the end of the Breeders Crown night at Tir Prince Raceway on Saturday 29th August, one thing had become crystal clear. The stallion Forclosure N has now joined the ranks of the all time great studs to have stood in the UK and Ireland. Fitting then that race 1 should be won by the aptly named 2yo filly OAKWOOD ANABELLA (Foreclosure x Carmel Camden) on her first visit to the track and only her second lifetime start. Driven by Vicky Gill the two year old filly exploded from post position 6 and was five lengths clear by the first turn. By the time she entered the long back straight the race was over and the only question now was how fast she would go. 2.02.1 was the answer, just missing the track record. What an opener. Race 2 saw another Foreclosure winner. Driver Bernard Nicholson sat with the confidence of someone who knew much more about the 2yo colt, CHURCHVIEW FRANKEL (Foreclosure x Lyons Flum) than anyone else present and he was right, produced on the outside turning for home he coasted over the line in an impressive 2.01.9. Ayr Standardbreds have continually produced stakes fillies of the highest standard and 2yo filly AYR CONTESSA ( Armbro Deuce x Ayr Queen) continued that tradition in race 3. Excellently conditioned by T. Haythornwhaite and driven by her son James, Contessa is now a perfect 3 for 3 with £7,300 in the bank. ­Bernard Nicholson's dream night continued in race 4 when 3yo filly CHURCHVIEW NICHE (Foreclosure x Meadowbranch Niche) returned to defend her Breeders Crown title. Holding off the fast closing ALLBETSAREOFF, NICHE won by 1 1/2 lengths in 2.01.4. Giving Bernard Nicholson a Trainer/ Driver double on the night. And winner number 3 on the board for Foreclosure. Not to be outdone James Haythornwhaite also notched a driving double when he produced 3yo colt STAR ATTRACTION ( Yankee Lariat x Judy Hall )with perfect timing to take the glory from WHICHGUYAMI. Now under a beautiful red sky sunset we had the perfect setting for a fairytale and race 6 provided it. Steve Lee's continues to roll back the year's and led out from the 1 hole driving Walter Stewart's 4yo Gelding LADYFORD DOLLAR ( Forafewdollarsmore x Ladyford Ideal) who was also defending his breeders Crown title, setting perfect fractions Steve saved just enough to hold off the late charging GDS KING. Walter stood in the winner's enclosure like a proud father holding the son of his former champion FORAFEWDOLLARSMORE as he was crowned 4 year old colts and gelding winner. All stage managers are taught to save the best for last but now the large crowd began to wonder what racing manager Eric Witherspoon could produce for a finale. In two words NEWTON JODY..( Foreclosure x Onyx Killean) Vicky Gill fired the 4 year old filly, who was BHRC 3yo filly and BHRC Horse of the year in 2019, from the 6 hole like something from a cannon and quickly settled her into a relentless pace.   Past the three quarters pole Vicky now looked like she was in command, and then drew the gasps from the crowd as she started to go through gears on the last turn to win in a romp, recording the fastest time of the night 1.57.5 A New Track Record for 4yo fillies! The victory also gave the UK Champion Lady Driver Vicky Gill a memorable double on a very special night. Winner number 4 for Foreclosure congratulations to Oakwood stud.   Congratulations to all winners and their connections The mood of the evening was captured perfectly by the BHRC, as chairman Darren Owen and director Jim Mcinally presented  BREEDERS CROWN UK & IRL supremo David Wilson with a magnificent trophy to mark his lifetime achievement award. David's acceptance speech was humbling as he reflected on a lifetime in the sport and what it had meant to him. To put some context to his award just ask your self how many times a year you can attend a race meeting in the UK or Ireland with 7 races and £50,000 in prize money. Thank you David Wilson and Jacqui Mann and Tir Prince Raceway here's to BREEDERS CROWN UK & IRL 2021.    by Mandy Stanley, for the BHRC

The Standardbred and Trotting Horse Association of Great Britain and Ireland (STAGBI) are delighted to announce that we will be working in partnership with www.sellhorse.co.uk to bring two initial Online sales to the membership. Throughout this testing year a number of traditional outlets for breeders to sell their stock have been lost or postponed. With considerable uncertainty regarding current or future local or national Covid restrictions, STAGBI have acted in the interests of welfare and breed promotion to ensure a continued platform to facilitate the selling and buying of Standardbreds through an official sale in an online format. Sellhorse was born out of the Corona virus pandemic with its rising popularity and success they now have their 7th Online sale taking place this weekend. Sellhorse provides timed online auctions in a simple and easy to use format. Formed by sales people with equestrian backgrounds they share our values and provide a fair and accessible service for all. Entry to the Standardbred Sale is free, any horses sold will incur a 5% Sellers Fee and a 5% Buyers fee (buyers fee capped to £250). However, STAGBI is pleased to announce that of this 10% Buyers/Sellers Fees, Sellhorse has agreed that 7% will be ring fenced and reinvested back into the harness racing industry. Thus, for example for a lot sold for £4,000, £280 will be returned as Sellhorse Race Sponsorship. An announcement will soon follow detailing the schedule of sales with entries to soon open for the first Standarbred Sale in September. Entries will be made via Sellhorse by email, with sellers having the further option of purchasing a Pedigree Page direct from STAGBI. For more information on how Sellhorse works, please visit www.sellhorse.co.uk. Users can also register as buyers in readiness for the events. Whilst traditional sales may always be some peoples first choice we are at a time of considerable change and getting to grips with the ‘new normal’ in everything we do. We will all need to adapt, adopt change and overcome. With that in mind we sincerely hope that the membership will enjoy and join with us in embracing these sales, as we seek to offer an alternative and ensure the future of selling our Standardbred and Trotting Horses. For more information please email info@standardbred.org or sellhorse@outlook.com. From the STAGBI

On an afternoon which broke records for both attendance and horses racing, Greg Dean notched up a driving double at Racetime Raceway last Saturday aboard his own Monugs Boy and Thomas Bennett’s Bocage De Fornet.   In the highest graded handicap for Class 2/3/4 pacers Monugs Boy led them away and was never headed thereafter. Billy Bassett came with a late surge as did Michael Goggin with John Barley but Greg was able to repel all challengers to win going away in a respectable 2:02.4. Derrybeg held John Barley to claim second and the margins three quarters of a length and three lengths respectively.   Dean followed up later in the day when partnering Thomas Bennett’s latest acquisition Bocage De Fornet to a bloodless victory in the square trot. Finbarr Brickeys Socrates Du Noyer was all the rage in the betting market beforehand and although the favourite performed with great credit he simply could not get past the long time leader Bocage De Fornet who looks a useful recruit to the Racetime ranks. The time was 2:36.8 for the 1 ¼ miles and the distances 2 lengths and 20 lengths.   Frisco Hold Up who finished second on his last appearance at the track for owner-trainer-driver Darren Smith went one place better on Saturday landing the spoils in a respectable 2:05.3. The gallant Tom Wood tried in vain to catch Frisco Hold Up but try as he might Conall McGuigan couldn’t mount a serious challenge to the winner. Pandercrombie took third spot and the distances were eight lengths and a further two lengths.   Barry Reevey is a new driver to Racetime and he made his debut at the venue a winning one aboard his own Oakwood Maverick. Bred by Hasty Hall out of Catscam the three year old put in a very polished performance to triumph in 2:05.5 from the ultra-consistent Rhyds Premier. Rio Bravo ran on well to secure third place and this was an eye-catching run for Peter Lyttles mare who met trouble in running and will be winning soon.   A consolation pace was held for all non-winners on the day and this went to Francis Murphy with Ceiron JD in the fastest mile time of the day 2:02.3. Fold Mischief and On Top Blackshark filled the frame and the distances were three lengths and a further two lengths.   Next meeting at Racetime will be September 12th and entries for this are now being taken.   by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink

Harness racing racegoers who make the journey to Racetime Raceway in Lisburn, Belfast are in for a treat this coming Saturday with an additional six new pacers and two new trotters making their debuts at the Northern Irish venue. In the opening event seven pacers go to post with four newcomers line up. Rio Bravo the most interesting of these as she is out of legendary free-for-all performer and Musselburgh Final winner Klondyke Girl. Its been quite a while since owner Peter Lyttle donned his famed blue, white and red colours and he is guaranteed have plenty of well-wishers and supporters on the day. Miss Ayr was another top racemare in the 1990s for the Galway family and Kiki Express will be race fit having performed with credit at Annaghmore in recent weeks. Oakwood Maverick for Barry Reevey and William McClelland's Back In Time are the other 2 debutantes but all four will have their work cut out to defeat Racetime regulars Newmoors Jackie Dan, Rhyds Premier and Fold Mischief. Ladyford Jim has been campaigned regularly at York Raceway in the UK this season demonstrating consistent good form. A shrewd purchase by the McCullough family in recent days sees this five year old by Kikicolt out of Three Men Dreamin make his first racecourse performance and hopes are high he gets his career this side of the Irish sea off to a winner.The veteran Pandercrombie will be all out to take advantage of his pole position on the gate but The Governer is a renowned front runner and will be challenging Pandercrombiefor early supremacy. Frisco Hold Up finished like a train last time out and if the front runners set too fast a pace Darren Smith could mop them all up coming home aboard the 9 year old. Six go to post in the highest graded handicap of the day where Micheal Goggin's John Barley is the most likely winner. Goggin has regularly made the 5 hour journey up to participate at Racetime since the season began and although John Barley has been placed numerous times, he has yet to get his head in front. All this looks likely to change on Saturday however and he will be a popular and deserved winner amongst racegoers should he claim the red rosette. Of the dangers On Top Blackshark, Derrybeg and Cieron DJ have all shown winning form this season whilst Monugs Boy has been threatening to land the spoils in recent starts so it would be no great surprise should Greg Deans stable star oblige in this. Baltimore's Finbarr Brickley is another that will make the long journey from his West Cork base and his Socrates Du Noyer is likely to start a warm favourite in the afternoon's square trot. The striking chestnut is unlikely to get it all his own way however as Thomas Bennett's recent import Bocage De Fornet will be pushing him all the way. Throw last time out winner Evan Jive and the consistent Avetot into the mix and a thrilling contest looks on the cards. A couple of Rising Stars pony races will also be held on the day aswell as a consolation pace for all non-winners in their respective events. Post time is 3pm on Saturday and whilst Covid-19 protocols will be in place the general public are welcomed and encouraged to come an enjoy a family day out at Racetime Raceway. Tom Bennett

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