Day At The Track

Aberystwyth finals to "Sun Glasses" and "Mikey"

09:04 PM 06 Jul 2016 NZST
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Sun Glasses Ron, harness racing Mikey Camden, harness racing Coalford Tetrick, harness racing
Sun Glasses Ron and driver Gareth Price
Graham Rees photo
Mikey Camden and driver William Laidler
Graham Rees photo
Coalford Tetrick and driver Steve Lees
Graham Rees photo

After the success of the Welsh football team in the European Championships on Friday night, the weekend of top quality sporting action continued with the two-day fixture at Aberystwyth, located on the Welsh coast, on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd July.

In its 20th year, the organisers pulled out all the stops to stage 30 races with record-breaking prize money across all events, with runners attending from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to compete for the top honours. All accounts from the weekend have declared the meeting a massive success and the hard working committee, headed by Henry and Heulwen Bulman, should be highly commended for their fantastic efforts.

The first day kicked off with a win for seasoned driver Mick Lord with a catch drive on Genghis Pride in the first of four maiden events across the weekend.

The second maiden event went the way of Wellfield Ginger in the hands of Richard Haythornthwaite, another catch driver who is enjoying continued success for training duo Richard and Sarah Allen.

The third of these, the Dave Shellam Memorial maiden in memory of one of Welsh harness racing's biggest supporters, was won by the Michael O'Mahony trained and driven Southern Sunshine, Mike's first winner of the season and the six-year-old gelding's seasonal debut. The final event of this category, rounding off the quartet, saw the first of two Irish-trained winners across the weekend in the form of Coalford Bruce driven by Patrick Kane Jr.

Of the three novice divisions split across the two days, the first was won by the Haythornthwaite stables' Itsmycheck and Alan Haythornthwaite, an improving horse who showed ability at the beginning of the season, and who is part-owned by well-known commentator Darren Owen.

The second of these saw the first win for the Scottish raiders, with the Appleby maiden winner Dreamaway Carrie winning by 12L in the hands of William Greenhorn. The third and final novice division on the Sunday gave Scotland another winner, this time hailing from the Cullen stables with Grant Cullen steering Ontop Accountable home in front in a tight finish.

The Grade 1 horses were split across five divisions covering the two days; Wellfield Ruby won the first of these for trainer and BHRC Chairman Roy Sheedy in the hands of Andrew Cairns, following up from her win at Cilmery the previous week.

The second division was taken impressively by Ayr Major driven by William 'Rocker' Laidler when winning by 10 clear lengths. The first of the three divisions run on the second day was won by West End Pro, trained and driven by Welsh trainer David Bevan, who followed up with a back-to-back win when guiding Blue Desperado to victory in the fourth division.

The final division saw Scotland notch up another victory when Grant Cullen steered Evenwooddancinjess to an all-the-way victory for his trainer father, Paul.

The 3YO fillies race was won by one of the country's leading stars of 2016, last year's BHRC 2YO Filly of the Year and multiple race winner this season, Jessies Conquest, for owner/trainer/driver Marc Jones.

The colts and geldings event for this age group followed, and was won by another star and in an equally effortless fashion by Party At The Spa, continuing Alan Haythornthwaite's success for owners Shane and Claire Fletcher.

The 2YO events were both hotly contested and in the fillies race it was Rhyds Mystique who followed up her win in the NWSA 2YO Fillies at Tir Prince a fortnight ago, this time winning with the vastly-experienced Steve Lees taking the reins. In the colts and geldings division, Rhyds Decoy impressed on his lifetime debut for driver Andrew Cairns and connections.

Switching gait to the trotters, it was a second winning drive for Michael O'Mahony with a catch drive on Une Pebe, trained by Mike Evans who also drove in the race on another of his charges.

The Free For All, which saw some of the country's top horses compete, was won by up-and-coming FFA contender Coalford Tetrick, a previous top class juvenile, driven to victory by Steve Lees.

On the Saturday, the runners from Grades 2 to 4 contested heats of the Travis Perkins Classic Final. The first of the five heats went the way of Desert Rose and Mick Lord, who qualified for her second final in the space of a week following on from Musselburgh, with John Barley mirroring his run at Cilmery to also qualify for his second final in two weeks as runner up.

Heat two was won by the homebred, home-trained, Only Fools And Horses-inspired Sun Glasses Ron with Gareth Price taking the driving honours. Midnight Diamond qualified in second place.

The third heat was won in the fastest time of the day by Cilmery heat and final winner, Llwyns Delight in the hands of trainer/driver Lee Price, making him the most successful Share The Delight in the UK to date. The penultimate heat gave Steve Lees another one of his four driving victories across the weekend when steering the chestnut Democrat home in front of Gold Fella and catch driver Mick Lord.

The fifth and final heat saw the second winner for the Paterson stables of Scotland, with Hawthorns Maggie and William Greenhorn qualifying for the final ahead of Shaba Hanover and Mick Lord, who finished up qualifying four runners for the main event.

In the final, Mick chose Desert Rose, who led the race from the gate to halfway down the home straight, when passed by Sun Glasses Ron (Gareth Price) and Llwyns Delight (Lee Price) who battled it out the wire, finishing first and second respectively in a thrilling finish.

The five-year-old gelding by BHRC Hall of Famer Stoneriggs J R had already notched up wins at Walton and Wolverhampton this season, following on from his success last year.

On the Sunday, the main event was the Park Lodge Classic Final for horses Grade 5 and up. Mikey Camden and William Laidler won the first of the five heats with stablemate Laneside Lotus and catch driver William Greenhorn finishing in second.

The Appleby Whit Monday Final winner and the Famous Musselburgh Pace winner went head-to-head for the first time this season in the second heat, with the Gilvear family's Master Plan coming out on top of Sports Trick and Alan Haythornthwaite in a tight finish, with the official distance given as a neck.

Steve Lees was in the bike with a catch driver on Ayr Mission to take the third heat ahead of tough handicapper Charlie Pan and Pam Haythornthwaite. The penultimate heat gave Ireland their second win, with the most prolific son of World Record Holder Doonbeg, Porterstown Chris, winning in the hands of Jonathan Dunne. Wellfield Earl, a multiple handicap heat winner, qualified in second with Richard Haythornthwaite who won the Travis Perkins Classic Final last year with Imjustalittleguy. The horse returned to winning ways at the track when taking the fifth and final heat by a short head from Lyons Eryl Hall and Mick Lord.

In the final, Mikey Camden and William Laidler led out and dictated level fractions; the first challenge came from Master Plan and Gordon Gilvear, the second from Sports Trick and Alan Haythornthwaite, but the four-year-old son of Camluck held them both off to win comfortably.

This was Mikey's fifth win in six starts spanning only fourteen days, which kick-started at Hellifield on 19th June with a heat and final win, followed up by a heat win in the Hurricane Pace at Musselburgh and a second-placed run in the final on the same night on Friday 24th June. Having won his heat and then gone on to win the final at Aberystwyth, Mikey Camden notched up his and ninth and tenth career wins respectively for owner Raymond Huschka and connections.

The weather was glorious, the atmosphere was electric and the racing was superb. Roll on 2017!

by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink

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