Day At The Track

WEST CORK, IE - Sean Kane drove two winners at Annaghmore on Saturday and repeated that feat with another brace at the opening meeting of the 2018 West Cork harness Racing season at Inchadoney Beach on Sunday.   Brasilia Match a winner in Portmarnock a few weeks ago followed up with another victory in the Grade F & E Trot. Kane sent the winner to the front from the off and despite a late challenge from Un Boss he was never in danger and stayed on to win by 1 3/4 lengths . His driving double came in the finale The High grade trot . This time Kane employed the same front running tactics aboard Uldiem Alfa and was never for catching holding off Tarnao Josselyn for a 5 3/4 length winning margin Kane who is retained driver for Moorside Stables is enjoying a rich vein of form in the early season and the four hour drive back to their Naul base in County Meath will be made shorter by their winners . Racing opened with a four year old trot and here Denis O Reilly got a well over due win on his Empereur Souverain . O Reilly led off the number on slot and was never in any sort of danger eventually winning by 6 3/4l lengths from Eve Du Parc "He was very unlucky not to win in Portmarnock a few weeks back and done everything right today.We head to Dundalk for the big PMU meeting on the June weekend" explained winning driver Denis O Reilly . Reclamation opened her three year old campaign with a facile victory in the Grade G & G1 pace . This daughter of A Rock N Roll Dancer led from the start and was not over extended by Donal Murphy .She is owned by the Florida based Bill Donovan and The Murphy Bros and the plan is to race her in all the big three year old races both in Ireland and The UK and will most likely be shipped back to the US at the fall of the year. Canadian visitors Carla Selig and Kathy Byrne were on hard to make the presentation . King Wills Arrival justiofied good market support in the saddle race . Coalford Bruce and Hail Spartacus battled it out early but at the 3/4 pole Oisin Quill went through the middle of the two pace setters and ran out an easy two length winner. Earnies Umpire (Earned Income / Elizabeth Ann) followed up on his win in Portmarnock last Sunday with a victory that would suggest that he could be a very smart type .His eight length win from Pan Cam Drift was most impressive " We think he could right to the top and we will aim him at The Red John Memorial Handicap and then The big Handicap at The Grendon Memorial weekend" were the thought of winning owner Tadhg O Reilly The Iron Horse Meadowbranch Demon showed scant regard for his three rivals in the High Grade Pace.Running off a thirty yard hard handicap driver Luke Kelleher made his move down the back straight and passed with ease and "sat back in the armchair " on the run to the line "Hes just simply the best we ever had and at 12 years of age he seems to be enjoying himself .We give him ma week or two off and plan after that" winning owner Mike Kelleher said of this son of The Commissioner . Next Sunday is George Deane Memorial Day in Dunmanway with heats and finals for pacers By Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslinl RESULTS Race One 1 Emperaur Souverain D O Reilly 2 Eve Du Parc D Murphy 3 Extase Des Epines L Kelleher Distance 6 3/4 6 Time 3.21.6 Race Two 1 Reclamation D Murphy 2 Riverdance Hanover L Kelleher 3 Moorside Captain S Kane Distance 21 1/4 7 1/4 Time 2.10.1 Race Three 1 King Wills Arrival O Quill 2 Coalford Bruce M Shanahan 3 Hail Spartacus E Murphy Distance 5 2 Time 2.06.5 Race Four 1 Brasilia Match S Kane 2 Un Boss J O Mahony 3 Dream Des Broeuts Distance 1 3/4 1/4 Time 3.23.8 Race Five 1 Earnies Umpire M O Reilly 2 Pan cam Drift L Kelleher 3 Brywins Starship R Kingston Distance 8 2 Time 2.07.5 Race Six 1 Meadowbranch Demon L Kelleher 2 Rhyds Panache C O Reilly 3 Kestrels Dot Sammy J O Mahony Distance 3 3/4 1/4 Time 2.08.1 Race Seven 1 Uldiem Alfa S Kane 2 Tarnao Josselyn 3 Aubade A Helene Distance 5 3/4 38 1/2 Time 3.17.3  

WEST CORK, IE - The 2018 West Cork Harness Racing season opens on Sunday next at the beautiful Inchadoney Beach at 3.30 PM Described by the purists of the sport as one of the best venues to be found anywhere in the world Around 1pm on Sunday The Great Atlantic Ocean tide will be begin to turn outwards and a hippodrome for harness racing will begin to uncover at this Blue Flag Beach (An award only given to the cleanest beaches in Ireland) . Committee members will then mark out the track ,a temporary judges box will be driven on to the beach and at 3.30 racing begins A seven race program is on offer with a mix of three pacing races ,three races for trotters and one saddle race . "Everyone helps setting up the track owners ,drivers and even the race day officials "added Donal Murphy " Its a race against time in every manner firstly setting up the track then getting through the card and finally taking down the track and of course timing all the races " according to Timmy O Donovan a member of the ITHRF (The Irish Trotting and Harness Racing Federation) one of the clubs which make up the Irish Harness Racing Club. " With South West winds due lunch time on Sunday the beach should be at its very best with a half mile oval "coming out of the sands" it is one of our show piece meetings and I have sun glasses ready for the good weather which is forecast" said O Donovan This scribe through the medium of social media had contact from Canada from people who "had it on their bucket list " to make it to the famous beach and will be guests on the day and will enjoy the famous West Cork hospitality . So 3.30 pm at Inhadoney Beach is the place to be and remember TIME NOT TIDE WAITS FOR NO MAN! By Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

On Saturday 12th May, the BHRC Star Makers Series sponsored by the Standardbred Horse Sales Company (USA) kicked off with its first leg of nine at Tregaron. The Alexis Laidler-trained mare Laneside Layla held off a strong challenge from Colin Bevan's Laughing Buck to secure her place in the grand final, to be staged at Tir Prince Raceway on Saturday 14th July. The series was developed for horses aged 4YO+ with lifetime earnings of £1000 or less. The remaining 8 heats are scheduled to be staged at a variety of hard and grass tracks across Scotland, England and Wales in the coming weeks. Thirty-three horses were originally staked, with heat winners automatically progressing to the final. Those horses which have not won a heat, can enter the remaining heats an unlimited number of times in an attempt to secure their places in the final. The tenth horse in the final will be the highest point scorer from the heats (with a reserve list to account for subsequent withdrawals from the final). The horses which have been staked for the series are: Al Jolson Ayr Freedom Blytheview JJ (1 run) Borntorun (1 run) Brywins Mayhem Cash All Ceiron JD Coalford Insignia Coffee Mate Country Major Dynaramic Father Ted Finley Wells GDs Hurricane Hawthorns Melinda Hilltop North Art (1 run) Ithon Orbit Ladyford Warrior Laneside Layla (1 run - WINNER OF HEAT 1) Laughin Buck (1 run) Lyons Aceofspades Lyons Comet Lyons Saint Marys (1 run) Mahogany Charmer Natalie Camden Olivia Camden Rhyds Girlpower Rodney Camden Soul Searcher Springhill Calaburn The Dark Destroyer The Lion King Wye Joels Best The remaining heats are as follows: Corbiewood - 18th May Presteigne - 25th May Corbiewood - 1st June Amman Valley - 3rd June Tir Prince - 9th June Evenjobb - 10th June Corbiewood - 21st June Pikehall - 1st July The grand final at Tir Prince, the home of the Crock of Gold, has an estimated purse of £6000 and will be the feature race on the card on Saturday 14th July. With entries from all corners of the UK, the series has captured the imaginations across the board and promises to be a competitive and prestigious event. British Harness Racing would like to take this opportunity to thank the Standardbred Horse Sales Company (USA) for their continued support of harness racing in the United Kingdom and hope that this series will become a regular event in the calendar in years to come. by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink      

Endurance riding events – long-distance competitions against the clock which challenge both horse and rider – are run across the UK. Gayle Ritchie meets those taking part in one round Tentsmuir Forest A breathtakingly beautiful Friesian stallion canters through the forest, his glossy coat shimmering in the sunlight. His luxurious mane and tail flow freely and his ears prick forwards, listening to the gentle tones of the rider perched on his majestic back. The stallion in question is 16.3hh Oscar and his rider is Blairgowrie-based Janine Mason. The duo is taking part in a timed ride around Tentsmuir Forest alongside 71 other horse and rider combos. © Kris Clay Janine Mason taking part in an endurance ride at Tentsmuir Forest on Freisian stallion Oscar. Run by the Scottish Endurance Riding Club (SERC), the goal is to complete a set distance in an allocated time and with the horse in sound condition, its heart rate below a certain level. Routes today range from a “taster” 9km to a full-on 62km challenge but some riders can boast of completing longer rides – up to a staggering 160km. Some ride in teams while others go solo and there are horses of all shapes and sizes – from slinky, speedy Arabs to hairy Highlands. Overall, there’s a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere; there’s no snobbery or elitism whatsoever. A major focus is on fun and there are some fantastic colour combinations going on, with riders matching their hat silks to their horse’s bridles. Horse welfare and safety are hugely important. Spurs, martingales, blinkers and other restraints are not permitted and horses are vetted before the ride. © Kris Clay From Highlands to Arabs, all breeds take part. “Heart rates must be at a certain level and during the ‘trot up’, they mustn’t be lame,” chief steward Nancy Murdoch tells me. “Those doing big distances have another vet check half way round, and again at the end. “Rather than having a winner, mileage accumulated over time can result in awards.” Top team Mary Stockdale and her stunning black Arab Cumbria Khafifa, and Fiona Kirk with handsome Mr Charles, a Welsh D Cross Thoroughbred, are the first team to hit the half-way 32km mark. As they take a quick break to feed and sponge down their horses, they reveal why endurance is their favourite equestrian discipline. “You can be as competitive or non-competitive as you like,” beams Fiona. “You build a lovely partnership with your horse – a fantastic bond. You can ride all day as long as your horse is sound. “Performance is based on merit, unlike showing, which is based on someone else’s opinion.” © Kris Clay Mary Stockdale on Cumbria Khafifa. Mary, meanwhile, who has awards coming out of her ears – having clinched SERC’s 2017 trophy for rider with most mileage – tells me Khafifa has completed 3,742km under competition rules. “It’s a great opportunity to ride across beautiful countryside we’d never otherwise be lucky enough to see,” she smiles. “There’s a wonderful community and it’s a simple sport to get into. Any horse can do it, provided it’s reasonably fit, and taster sessions allow you to get a feel for the sport. “The relationship that horse and rider build together over the years is deeper than for many other disciplines.” © Kris Clay Mary shares a moment with Khafifa. Lorraine Laing is competing in the 30km option with her Standardbred ex-harness racing horse Tom, who is 20 years old. “We started with shorter pleasure rides then progressed to competing,” she tells me. “We’ve done 50km but prefer to do 30km. I ride in a team with Anne Scott and her Arab, Smokey. “We really love it and are trying to encourage more people to give it a go!” Sheila Bruce, chair of the Tayside branch of SERC, says the sport is open to everyone. “You go out, have fun, set your own parameters and ultimately, compete against yourself,” she says. “Our motto is: ‘To complete is to win’. We believe in challenges – and in the welfare of the horse.” © Kris Clay Janine Mason and Oscar about to be vetted. It wouldn’t be possible to run rides without helpers and roles include everything from runner to vet writer, timekeeper, gate opener, road crossing marshall and checkpoint steward. It’s hugely rewarding and addictive and who knows, it could inspire you to get involved in the sport yourself. To check the calendar or to sign up as a volunteer, see www.scottishendurance.com INFO The Scottish Endurance Riding Club organises three types of ride: pleasure rides, normally between 16 and 29km, competitive rides of 30km and over, and endurance rides of 60km and over. The ultimate competition is the endurance race, which may be up to 160km in one day but is always 60km and over. By Gayle Ritchie Reprinted with permission of The Courier

A tribute to Lazarus has been put together and shown on New Zealand's premier harness racing television weekly show 'The Box Seat' May the 9th 2018. You can watch the video below; Here is a behind the scenes feature video taken on Lazarus on the morning of the 22nd of February 2017 the day that Lazarus won the Victorian Cup. Harness Racing New Zealand produced this Good Luck Lazarus video;  

New Zealand's greatest racehorse Lazarus has been sold to a North American syndicate in a record deal and will not race here again. The $3.8million earner will leave for the US on May 24 where he will be aimed at a possible four-race mini career in an attempt to secure a major win there to help his dual hemisphere stallion credentials. While the exact price is confidential the Herald estimates it must be close to $4 million when the other public offer for the five-year-old stallion is taken into account. Lazarus has been purchase by US thoroughbred breeding giant Taylor Made Stallions, a Kentucky-based operation run by the Taylor brothers, who started their racing lives in harness racing but have concentrated on thoroughbred breeding and yearling preparation for the last three decades. It is believed they have recently reignited their interest in standardbred breeding by purchasing at least part of champion US trotter What The Hill but the Lazarus deal, put together by South Auckland agent John Curtin, breaks new ground. While North America's best horses shuttling here to stand at stud in their off-season is common, trying to turn an Australasian standardbred into a dual hemisphere stallion is extremely rare. Christian Cullen stood one season at stud in the US but without having raced there was never going to be hugely commercial. Lazarus will be given his chance with two races at the famous Red Mile track in October targeted as well as the Breeders Crown at Pocono, a series his new connections would need to pay a supplementary payment to make him eligible for. But he will head to the US without his champion trainer Mark Purdon, with two of North America's leading trainers apparently in the frame to take over his training. If, and it is a big if, Lazarus could win a serious race in the US and pace a super fast mile he has the attributes to become that rare dual hemisphere stallion. In his 45 start career he has proven to be one of the greatest stayer bred in this part of the world, with some remarkable wins in two New Zealand Cups, an Inter Dominion, Hunter and Victoria Cups. But just as importantly from a stallion appeal point of view he was a sensational two and three-year-old, suggesting his stock will have the natural speed to run early. And he is bred on Australasia's golden cross, being by breed-defining stallion Bettors Delight out of a Christian Cullen mare. The one down side to that he is obviously can't serve Bettors Delight mares, who could be the dominant broodmare bunch in Australasia over the next decade. Details on where he will stand and for which studs in either hemisphere are yet to be decided. His departure will sadden many local harness racing fans as it means Lazarus will not get the chance to attempt a third New Zealand Cup win at Addington in November. And with several other high profile retirements or exports in the last year - Smolda, Heaven Rocks, Vincent being the biggest - next season's open class pacing ranks looks the most open in a decade. LAZARUS Breeding: 5h Bettors Delight-Bethany Trainers: Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Record: 45 starts, 35 wins, nine placings. Earnings: $3,821,066. Highlights: New Zealand Cup (twice), Inter Dominion, Hunter Cup, Victoria Cup, Chariots Of Fire, Messenger, Taylor Mile, New Zealand, Northern and Victoria Derbys, Harness Jewels 2-yo, Sires' Stakes Final 3-y-o. By Michael Guerin Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald New Zealand Cup 2016 New Zealand Cup 2017 2017 Inter Dominion Grand Final Hunter Cup Victoria Cup

A training course for ‘sulky’ drivers and trotting horse owners will begin next month in the Dublin area as part of a “carrot and stick” approach by the Government to curb illegal road racing. The Department of Agriculture has commissioned the training programme, which will also be rolled out in other areas of the State, and is currently examining the issue of regulating sulky racing. This follows an increase in the number of collisions on public roads involving such vehicles and the death of a 12-year-old boy in a sulky incident in Dublin. A sulky is an unprotected lightweight, two-wheeled cart usually drawn by a horse or pony. The department said the course would be run by a team of veterinary surgeons and nurses with a “clear understanding of the cultural sensitivities surrounding participation in road racing”. Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said the issues around sulky racing were complex and not always clear cut “particularly as a variety of horse-drawn vehicles are legitimately and safely used on Irish roads”. “The course will encourage participants to move away from road racing practices and move to racing on tracks and to engage with the regulated sport of harness racing on tracks, as operated by the Irish Harness Racing Association,” he said. People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny has expressed concern that sulky racing would be banned, something which he said would not work. Independent TD Mattie McGrath has stated an intention to introduce legislation to ban the practice. Complex issue Describing the sport as popular among the Traveller and working-class communities, Mr Kenny said banning it “will simply drive the practice underground”. Raising the issue in the Dáil this week, the Dublin South-West TD referred to a sulky event in Portmarnock, Co Dublin and said that while the track was not widely known about it was “very good and very positive for those who use it”. Mr Creed said the unregulated nature of sulky racing on public roads was dangerous for horses, their owners and the public at large. Describing it as a complex issue, he said: “We need both the carrot and the stick in this area. We have the legislative toolbox necessary but we need to ensure all actors involved in the implementation of that legislation live up to their respective responsibilities”. The Minister said the department was keen to raise awareness of the importance of good horse welfare among sulky participants and the owners and keepers of trotting horses. Mr Creed last year formally opened the Clondalkin Equine Club in Dublin, a facility for urban-owned horses where local youths are taught about equine care and welfare. He said “the urban horse is as much a part of the story of the Irish horse and cannot be forgotten or written out” but “there is an issue around welfare that is disproportionately evident” in urban areas. Mr Kenny said urban horse ownership sometimes had very negative connotations, “but it is actually a very positive thing, particularly for young people in working-class communities. Travellers have also been unfairly criticised in relation to horse ownership.” Marie O'Halloran Reprinted with permission of The Irish Times

WEST CORK, IE -The harness racing community in West Cork has always been generous when it comes to looking after local charities. Following the record breaking Red John Memorial Festival of harness racing in Lyre last August, the committee made a presentation recently to Cork University Hospital Charities Committee. "We feel that it is important to look after those who may need medical help and CUH was our chosen charity this year." said Caroline Collins, treasurer of the RJM. "In 2018 we are going local with Bantry Pallative Care the charity "added Collins. Harness racing received a massive boost recently with the government funded Indecon report into the industry published and following on that report the government have announced funding of a five year strategic plan giving the sport a chance to grow further. The West Cork season opens at Inchadoney Beach on May 13th with the Red John Memorial Festival pencilled in for Sat 16th and sun 17th June at Lyre. By Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink