Day At The Track

Ayr Escape steals the show at Corbiewood

12:48 AM 09 Jun 2016 NZST
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Ayr Escape, harness racing Harness racing Ayr Escape, harness racing
Ayr Escape and driver William Greenhorn, winning at Corbiewood after 63 straight losses
Bill Cardno photo
The O'Neil Family and friends making presentation to Ayr Escape and William Greenhorn
Bill Cardno photo
Ayr Escape and driver William Greenhorn ready to race
Kareen New photo
Corbiewood
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It was a cold heart that wasn't touched on Friday night at Corbiewood when family favourite Ayr Escape cruised to victory after five years in the wilderness.

The ten-year-old Artiscape gelding, a previous Corbiewood 4YO Champion, had raced 63 times across five seasons without success; however the faith shown by the O'Neil family paid dividends as Ayr Escape led from the starting gate to the finishing line in the hands of William Greenhorn.

The first of the six races saw Greenhorn notch up his first win on home soil for the season when piloting the exciting three year old filly, Imogen Camden, in a combined maiden and novice event.

Imogen Camden led from the start, holding off challenges from three separate contenders: the first came from Blue Au Revoir (Anna Wallace) before she faltered badly; the second from Mayrita (William Drysdale) approaching the bell; and the third from Ayr Trooper (Grant Cullen) as they rounded the final bend, however the winner had paced the race to perfection and broke her maiden tag comfortably.

Race 1

1st Imogen Camden (Pro Bono Best-Roaring Good Time) - W Greenhorn

2nd Ayr Trooper (Daylon Alert-Ayr Queen) - G Cullen

3rd Mayrita (The Firepan-Minerva) - W Drysdale

6 Ran Time: 2.09.74 Dist: 1 1/2L & 6L

It was a similar story in the second, as the horse which led out from the gate again went on to be victorious. Miami Seelster, in the hands of novice driver Ross Leary, had a clear run at the start after several runners were hampered behind.

Betting favourite Jacks Red (Grant Cullen), last year's SHRC 2YO Futurity winner, came with a late challenge to keep Leary under pressure however the youngster had done enough in the early stages of the race to bag his second career win.

Race 2

1st Miami Seelster (Pierce Seelster-Miamicrombie) - R Leary

2nd Jacks Red (Check On Jack-Red Wilma) - G Cullen

3rd ATM (Genghis Pan-Yoko Hall) - H Menzies

7 Ran Time: 2.08.70 Dist: 1/2L & 1L

The Paterson stable were in form and after training the winner of the second race, took the third with Dreamaway Carrie and catch driver William Greenhorn in the bike.

Coalford Mystery (George Drysdale) blasted from the gate and led until the seven furlong marker at which point Dreamaway Carrie, who had enjoyed a perfect trip throughout behind the leader, tipped out and stormed home a clear winner. GDs Baby (Grant Cullen) gave a noteworthy performance in second, having sat off the pace at the rear of the field until very late on, with long-time leader Coalford Mystery finishing third.

Race 3

1st Dreamaway Carrie (Net Pool Pricing-Dreamfair Carrie) - W Greenhorn

2nd GDs Baby (Daylon Alert-GDs Twin) - G Cullen

3rd Coalford Mystery (Wolfdancer Mindale-Coalford Surprise) - G Drysdale

7 Ran Time: 2.08.62 Dist: 4 1/2L & 1L

The fourth race saw Ayr Pandemic, a winner last time out for owner/driver Gary Logan, go to post the betting favourite. However, it was another Ayr horse who stole the show.

Ayr Escape, with William Greenhorn seeking a three-timer, bolted out of the gate and set strong fractions throughout to win in impressive style. It was an emotional win for the O'Neil family, as their homebred gelding had been absent from the winner's circle for five years despite numerous credible efforts and had suffered under a handicap system which punished consistently-placed horses without winning. Another veteran

performer, Kas Best (Michael Grealis), ran close to his personal best to secure second. K and M Redpandana (Lee Cattigan) stayed on for third.

Race 4

1st Ayr Escape (Artiscape-Unforgotten) - W Greenhorn

2nd Kas Best (JWs Best-Beentheredunthat) - M Grealis

3rd K and M Redpandana (The Firepan-Rosie Red) - L Cattigan

7 Ran Time: 2.04.5 Dist: 4L & 4L

The penultimate race saw Grant Cullen return to the winner's circle with new charge Loriznitestar. Having shown good speed but faltered early, the eventual winner settled in third whilst Wellfield Liam (John Allan) set the pace. Funtime Frankie (Gordon Gilvear) mounted a prolonged challenge until the three quarters when Loriznitestar tipped out and challenged the leader.

As they straightened up off the last bend, coming home three lengths clear of the two Welsh-bred geldings Wellfield Liam and Wellfield Alfie (George Drysdale) with the latter coming out on top by a head.

Race 5

1st Loriznitestar (Dreamfair Vogel-Starry Nite) - G Cullen

2nd Wellfield Alfie (Village Connection-Garys Advice) - G Drysdale

3rd Wellfield Liam (Village Connection-Going Grey) - J Allan

7 Ran Time: 2.07.00 Dist: 3L & Head

The high grade pace featuring eight of Scotland's finest provided the crowd with a thrilling finish as seasoned campaigners Camden Massino and William Drysdale painted the outside rail down the home straight to get up by two lengths from Sureamsomething, denying William Greenhorn his fourth on the night.

Pantihistamine (Tony Allan - nicknamed 'more panic than Yannick') set blistering fractions in the early part of the race, but finally relented at the three quarters when Sureamsomething coasted to the lead. She looked to have the race in safekeeping until the diminutive Camden Massino burst from the pack to power down the stretch and win decisively.

Race 6

1st Camden Massino (Art Major-Sheeza Sakra) - W Drysdale

2nd Sureamsomething (Wolfdancer Mindale-Suream Smart) - W Greenhorn

3rd Caraghs Star (House Of Cards-Flyers Comet) - G Gilvear

8 Ran Time: 2.04.4 Dist: 2L & 3/4L

The next meeting at Corbiewood will be Friday 10th June, first race 7.30pm, featuring the STAGBI Future Broodmares Race.

Also, please take a moment to watch the following video, created by Kareen New (girlfriend of Hugh O'Neil Jnr Jnr) illustrating perfectly the spirit of harness racing - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us_I6XWggkU

by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink
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