Day At The Track

Oakwood Maverick shines in Bassett Memorial

04:29 AM 28 Sep 2020 NZDT
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Oakwood Maverick, harness racing Racetime Raceway, harness racing
Oakwood Maverick and trainer-driver Barry Reavey
Gary Forsythe photo
Racing action down the stretch at Racetime Raceway
Gary Forsythe photo
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
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