Day At The Track

West Cork star coming to Racetime

01:22 AM 01 Aug 2020 NZST
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Racetime Raceway, harness racing Harness racing
Harness racing returns to Racetime Raceway this weekend
Des Loughrey photo
Young harness racing hopefuls training with their trotting ponies

The Northern Ireland Standardbred Association (NISA), the officially recognised governing body for the sport of harness racing in Northern Ireland, is staging their second harness racing meeting of the 2020 season at Racetime Raceway in Lisburn Saturday and top West Cork trainer Mick Goggin is making the long journey from his base at Goleen to participate.

Stable star John Barley will be all the rage in the preferred free-for-all, but Goggin will have to be at his very best in the bike to outfox the wily Hugh Friel and Vyrnwy Saddlepan a proven sub 2 minute performer. Young guns Cieran JD and Monugs Boy will be all out to upset the applecart in what could end up a very tactical affair.

Rainstorm II, a £7200 purchase as a yearling in the annual York sale, makes his eagerly awaited debut for Eamonn O'Connor in the afternoon's Maiden & Novice mile. He will have to be at the top of his game however to fend off Tom Wood, Rhyds Premier and recent winner Fold Mischief.

All eyes will be on the Mickey Connors owned Streamside Skryne in the Grades 1 & 2 Handicap. By Kikicolt out of the 1:57 racemare Artcastic, the gelding has displayed an abundance of talent in previous runs but he will have his work cut out for him if he is to lower the colours of On Top Blackshark, who landed the spoils in the grand final at the opening meeting and is in the form of his life at present. Throw IB Cymru, Lakeview Pan-Am and Derrybeg into the mix and we have the makings of a really cracking contest.

The Swedish bred Diva Valentina is likely to start favourite in the mixed European square trot following her victory last time out, but having been penalised for the win she will be sharing the gate with French breds Avetot and Evan Jive. The former could upstage Diva on this occasion as he was challenging strongly last time out before a break in stride put paid to his chances.

"Rising Stars" races will also be held throughout the afternoon and these pony trotting races have proved to be immensely popular at Racetime. Parents and the children are cheered on and applauded by friends and relations as they glide around the track and its hoped that the harness racing bug bites these juniors who will then become our pro drivers of the future.

A consolation race will conclude proceedings and this will be free entry for all non winning pacers on the day. If there are more than 6 entries a draw will be held for those consolation spots. As ever Racetime pay out prizemoney on the day in cash.

With Covid restrictions now relaxed on public events in Northern Ireland, spectators are welcomed provided they exercise social distancing, so get yourself down to Racetime Raceway on Saturday 1st August where a great days harness racing awaits allcomers. Post time 3pm.

by Thomas Bennett, for the NISA

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