Day At The Track

Scottish harness racing thriving in August

05:16 AM 20 Aug 2015 NZST
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Bestinthewest, harness racing Dreamfair I Say, harness racing Evenwood Sonofagun, harness racing Rewrite History, harness racing Rewrite History, harness racing
Bestinthewest and winning connections at Tir Prince 11th August
Tir Prince photo
Dreamfair I Say and winning connections at Tir Prince 11th August
Tir Prince Raceway photo
Evenwood Sonofagun and winning connections at York 16th August
Janet Cockburn photo
Rewrite History and Scottish supporters at Portmarnock 8th/9th August
Nadina Ironia Photo
Rewrite History and winning connections at York 15th August
Janet Cockburn photo
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In a busy 10 days for Scottish harness racing, victories for Scottish horses were recorded both at home and away at major events across the UK and Ireland.
Kicking things off on Thursday 6th August was the John Mailey Snr Memorial meeting at Corbiewood.
Billy and Angela Sives' Mrs Doubtfire was an impressive winner of the first elimination and followed it up with a second placed finish in the final. Mr Yewkay in the hands of George Drysdale took the second elimination in the fastest time of the night (2.04.13).
Sureamhasty recorded her first win in the maiden pace by a neck from Billy Sives' other runner on the night, Millie May West. K and M Red Pandana, who had finished second in the first elimination to Mrs Doubtfire, reversed the placings in the John Mailey Snr Memorial to take home the top prize and trophy for the Cassells stable.
The night however belonged once again to Grant Cullen who won three on the bounce (Y Not Wait N C - novice pace; Springfield Gem - Grade 1 pace; and Camden Casper - Grade 1 & 2 Pace), and in doing so reached his centenary of winning drives (on Springfield Gem) at the tender age of 22.
From there, racing headed to Ireland for the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend on the 8th and 9th August, which was a truly international affair. Rewrite History for the Gilvear stables of Stirling carried the full support of Scotland across the Irish Sea, and the supporters were not left disappointed as the Sportswriter colt romped to victory in the elimination of the Oakwood Stud 3YO Derby on the Saturday in a 3YO track record-breaking time. Gordon Gilvear returned to the winner's circle on the Sunday, along with half of Scotland, as the colt landed the spoils in the final and in doing so broke his own record for the one and one-half mile race in 3:01.6.
On Tuesday 11th August it was the turn of Tir Prince, north Wales. Brian Gilvear, not wanting to be outdone by his cousin Gordon, made the long journey south with his two charges, Dreamfair I Say and Bestinthewest. His journey was not made in vain as both horses won in style in the Grade 1 and Grade 4 - 6 races respectively.
Having travelled the length and breadth of the United Kingdom and Ireland, Scottish harness racing fans returned to the citadel on Thursday 13th August for a six-race card at Corbiewood.
Greentree Shorty in the hands of the experienced William Drysdale took out the first from Shes Some Deal who has been consistently placed since restarting her career in Scotland. Camden Casper and Grant Cullen repeated their form from the previous week to win the second in the fastest time of the night (2.04.94) with an 8 length winning margin to go with it.
Mrs Doubtfire also retained her good form to return to victory in the hands of owner Billy Sives for race three. The fourth race saw three horses pass the post with only just over a length between them, but it was Sureamsomething who came out n top with Alan Scot second and Dreamfair Dancer improving for third.
The maiden and novice pace was won by Wild Bill Hickok and John Smart who had to battle every inch to the line off a 10 yard trail against Howards Countess. The official distance was given as a nose but there was more like a whisker in it as the six year old gelding on behalf of the Smart stables ensured that he has finished in the first two with every run this season. The final race of the evening belonged to the Cattigan stables' Mayrita who came out on top in a thrilling five-way blanket finish, giving her her first career victory.
Rounding off the 10 days was the two day PACT Charity meeting at York Harness Raceway, England.
The most notable Scottish performers came in the form of Rewrite History and Gordon Gilvear, who won an elimination for the 3YO Rising Starzzz on the Saturday under pressure from the markedly improved Coalford Tetrick (Steve Lees).
Upon return the following day for the final, the betting market was heavily tipped in 'Sporty's' favour, however Steve Lees showed the crowds why he is still one of the greatest drivers in British history when putting the race to Rewrite History on Coalford Tetrick, and in a major upset took the £10,000 top prize back to Wales for the winning connections.
This is only the second time in Rewrite History's career that he has been beaten, both times finishing second. The Mackenzie stables (Callam & Dougie) also tasted victory over the weekend when winning with their novice, Evenwood Sonofagun in a sub-2 minute mile, and with ease. This will be one to watch wherever they head to next.
On a final note, I would like to mention the recipient of the BHRC Special Contribution Award (2014), Mrs Karen Kennedy. Karen received her award at York on Sunday from the snooker player and TV personality, John Parrott and BHRC Chairman, Roy Sheedy.
This award is so well deserved to Karen for her contribution to the sport after being nominated by a number of individuals. Karen is responsible for taking entries, race framing,producing start sheets, race cards, publishing results and making rosettes not only in Scotland, but also for a number of other tracks across the UK.
Furthermore, every Thursday evening at Corbiewood she can be found in the office, keeping things running smoothly so that all of us can race our horses. Most of this work is done on a voluntary basis and with little or no thanks at times, and the award was a way of thanking her for all that she does behind the scenes to keep racing going.
The next race meeting at Corbiewood will be Thursday 20th August, first race 7pm.
by Sarah Thomas, for
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