Day At The Track
Search Results
65 to 80 of 355

Harness racings big day on Sunday at Menangle features several great clashes and we thought we would preview them all this week with a runner by runner assessment First up is the Ladyship Mile. 1) Frith - Starts 40 -  Wins 30 - Seconds 6 -Thirds 2  -  Stakes $819,572 Frith is surprisingly only having her third lifetime start over a mile, all of which have been at Menangle with her best time to date being 1:53 We are not convinced the one draw suits her that much as say two or three as there is plenty of gate speed outside Frith and she may end up getting crossed at the start. She is a great stayer but hasn't had a run for a month so question marks remain about her race fitness but her class will take her a long way. One of Adore Me's two biggest  threats. 2) Pas Ultimate Delight - Starts - 41 - Wins 12 - Seconds 4 - Thirds 6  -  Stakes $134,411 Has continued to improve since coming to Australia but this still looks a bit rich at this stage.  Does have a best time of 1:52.3 and from her draw of two we think Lauren will make a serious play for the front early but we are of the opinion Pas Ultimate Delight is better driven with a sit and we give her an outside first  four chance if she is driven like that. 3) Dynamite Denn Nee - Starts 90 - Wins 17 - Seconds 15 - Thirds 12 - Stakes $181,628  (2nd Emrg) Has been in good touch lately including a second to Frith two starts back so probably unlucky to be on the ballot but is unlikely to get a start. Rough first four player if she did. 4) Beauty Secret - Starts 54 - Wins 24 - Seconds - 9 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $ 393,451 Will come into barrier three if there are no scratchings and from there she is a real danger to the two favourites.  Has real gate speed if Gavin Lang wants to use it and can also run a big half if held up as she showed in the Robin Dundee on Miracle Mile night where she brushed home in 54 flat in front. Has the all round game to trouble the two favourites and with Gavin in the bike you just know he will give her the run that she needs. 5) Major Foxy Styx - Starts - 24 - Wins 11 - Seconds 4 - Thirds - 1  -  Stakes $197,830  Has built up a great record in Perth and stamped that form with a win in the Ladyship Cup at Melton on Hunter Cup night beating amongst others Beauty Secret.  However  she did get a dream run that night and even with the mercurial Luke McCarthy in the bike we can't see her winning the race on Sunday with the three favourites having a class edge but she is still a definite first four player for us. 6) Tact Hayleys Delight - Starts 72 - Wins 11 - Seconds 15 - Thirds - 6  -  Stakes $160,016 In career best form at the moment but from the draw we think she has a hard job to get some of this. We think she will have to go back from the draw and try to have one run at them late in the race but we can't see her rolling over the top of  the favourites and for us she is an outside place chance at best. 7) Laterron - Starts 82 - Wins 16 - Seconds 16 - Thirds 11  -  Stakes $173,515 - ( 1st Emer ) Produced a great run when a handy fourth to Adore Me in the Brian Hancock Cup on Saturday night and her connections must feel slightly aggrieved to be on the ballot.  Laterron has beaten Elusive Chick home the last three times they have met and that combined with the run in the Brian Hancock Cup should have seen her make the field. Great place chance if she gains re-entry into the field. 8) Courageousnquick - Starts 42 - Wins 16 - Seconds 6 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $204,352 Quality mare who has just had two runs back from a spell but the draw has negated her biggest asset which is her blinding gate speed. We still think that Anthony Butt will press the go button early and if she happened to get the front she would present all kind of problems for Frith. Definite place chance if "Ants" can work his magic early 9) Rathmore Lady - Starts 76 - Wins 17 - Seconds 19 - Thirds 8  -  Stakes $147,976  On her day a very handy mare but is inconsistent and can throw the toys out of the cot every now and again. On her best behaviour she would be a rough first four chance but the draw and the quality of the field leads us to think she has a mountain to climb.  Not for us. 10) Pemberton Shard - Starts 55 - Wins 11 - Seconds 7 - Thirds 11  -  Stakes $212 997 If there is a smokey in this years race then Pemberton Shard is it for us. A mile is maybe a touch short of her best but she is a super tough mare who needs the speed on and that's exactly what she will get on Sunday. Has struggled to cope with Adore Me in New Zealand but then again who hasn't  and has gone some great races in behind her in mares races. Dexter Dunn in the bike is a big plus and she is a big first four player for us. 11) Elusive Chick - Starts 57 - Wins 13 - Seconds 11 - Thirds 11  -  Stakes $389,147 A high quality mare who was in good form earlier in the season but whose form has tapered off badly with her only placing in her last six starts a win in a five horse field just before Xmas. Throw in the draw for a mare who likes to race on the speed and we struggle to see her running in four. Not for us. 12) Adore Me - Starts 34 - Wins 25 - Seconds 4 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $1,503,429  A great racemare who has the same visitors draw as she had last year when she was beaten. The field this year is stronger in our opinion but Adore Me has gone to another level this season as well. This year the All Stars team have arrived earlier and given her a run leading into the race which is all a positive in our book. The change of driver took us by surprise a bit but Natalie has been in unbelievable form this season in New Zealand and the change is a plus not a minus in our view. Clear first pick for us even from the draw. Selections Adore Me is a clear first pick for us In the end we couldn't separate Frith and Beauty Secret for second even if logic said Frith Others to throw into multiples include Courageousnquick, Pemberton Shard, Major Foxy Styx and if you are going a bit wider Tact Hayleys Delight. Harnesslink Media

American trotter Real Babe will make her Australian harness racing debut at Shepparton on Saturday night. Prepared by Jayne Davies, Real Babe will contest the Group Three George Gath, which has attracted a stellar field. The mare has had two trials ahead of her Down Under debut, finishing second at her most recent hit-out at Tabcorp Park Melton on Monday. To be driven by Anthony Butt, who has partnered the daughter of Donato Hanover at both trials, Real Babe’s task has been made tough by drawing gate seven – the outside of the front row. Real Babe is here for the Great Southern Star on March 7, one of two international invitees for the series. Star local Spidergirl will resume after a five-month break for trainer David Aiken. Last season’s dominant squaregaiter, with victories in the Vicbred and Breeders’ Crown Finals, Spidergirl will begin from the inside of the second row. With quick beginner Flying Isa drawn the pole, Spidergirl is likely to enjoy the perfect trip along the pegs. In a terrific coup for the Victorian industry, all trot races at Shepparton will be broadcast live into France for wagering purposes. Harness Racing Victoria will receive a product fee for beaming the action into the world's biggest trotting market. HRV Media

Promising filly All Under Control lived up to her name in last Saturday night’s Empire Stallions Home Grown Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton. Despite going into the Group One as a maiden, and one of the outsiders as $40.90, All Under Control was never in danger of being beaten. Impressed with the trotter’s performance, trainer Brent Lilley will aim All Under Control towards features such as the Victoria Oaks and Vicbred Super Series. “She’s still got to improve a fair bit, but she goes along well,” Lilley said. “I will wait until her next start or two to see if this was a one off or if she can keep producing those kinds of runs. “There is a bit to like about her on this run, especially the way she responded when Anthony (Butt, driver) showed her the whip. “He gave her one crack up the straight to keep her mind on the job and she found a bit like good horses so.” After travelling midfield from the outside of the front row, All Under Control completed a metre-and-a-half win from Casa Fundada, with Zaire Diva a half-head away third. “I went into the race thinking she was a rough chance, but she really put in,” Lilley said. “On that run, and with a bit of improvement as she gains experience, I’ll have a look at races like the Oaks and Sires’ Stake.” Covering the last half in 60.6 seconds, the daughter of Majestic Son rated 2:02 for the 1720 metres. PAUL COURTS

He is already one of the most successful reinsman in Victoria’s major harness racing events, so why not become a local? That’s the logic behind New Zealand driver Anthony Butt’s decision to relocate to the state. Despite his status as a Kiwi, Butt boasts a record seven A G Hunter Cups, having scored with Blossom Lady in 1994 and ’95, Mister D G 2004, Mr Feelgood ’09, Stunin Cullen ’11, Choise Achiever ’12 and Mah Sish in ’13. Mister D G is a son of Blossom Lady. Butt has also won the Ballarat Cup (Stunin Cullen 2011 and Mah Sish’13), Australian Grand Prix (Take A Moment 2002), Australasian Trotting Championship (Lyell Creek 2000 and ’01), Bill Collins Mile (Lyell Creek ’01, Take A Moment 2002 and ’03) V L Dullard Cup (Lyell Creek 2000 and ’01), Great Southern Star (Vulcan 2013) and the Moonee Valley Inter Dominion (Lyell Creek 2000) Making the move across the Tasman to be stable driver to another former Kiwi – trainer Brent Lilley – Butt will be based on Melton. “It’s been in the pipeline for a while now, but the time is right,” Butt explained. “The clincher was being able to drive for Brent. “Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up some other drives as well. The important thing when making a move like this though is to have a good base. “Everywhere you go is a different racing style. In New Zealand they race very different in the North Island compared to the South Island and in Australia they race differently in all the states. But I’ve always been able to adapt pretty well. “It’ll take me three or four weeks to get my head around the form of the lesser races. It’s easier to know the form from the bigger races because you’ve watched those closely.” Butt hasn’t wasted time finding making way to the winners’ circle, registering a feature double at Gunbower yesterday. Driving for Lilley, Butt captured the Trotters’ Cup with Kvintet Avenger and the Pacing Cup with Lets Elope. The latter has Butt eyeing another A G Hunter Cup victory in February. “Lets Elope looks as though the Hunter Cup might suit him,” Butt said. “He’s an up-and-comer and he’s good from the stand, so it ticks a couple of boxes.” PAUL COURTS

Harness racing competitors always tend to go better when their confidence is up, which of course, makes perfect sense. And Brent Lilley has his Bolinda team firing on all cylinders right now! Lilley took home all the silverware from Gunbower yesterday, snatching the Bill Poxon Memorial Gunbower Trotters Cup with in-form Kvintet Avenger and the Gunbower Pacing Cup with talented gelding Lets Elope. Speaking of talented ex-Kiwis, Lilley is based in Australia after moving across the Tasman, while winning reinsman Anthony can also lay claim to the title as news came through last night he would be basing himself full-time in Victoria. “He’s going to work mornings for me and he’ll do most of my stable driving,” Lilley said. “Rodney Petroff has been very good though and has done a great job for me, so we’ll still be looking after Rodney as well and Anthony is aware of that.” Butt will live in Melton with his move is yet another windfall for Victoria following last week’s announcement trainer Nicole Molander is moving from New South Wales, while James Rattray will be spend the summer in the state. A seven-year-old by Love You out of Nobes Hanover, Kvintet Avenger was simply too good in the Cup with a record-breaking performance. Successful at six of his eight Australian starts, the stallion rated 2:02.9 for the 2630-metre trip. “Anthony said he actually won quite easily and he was never worried in the run,” Lilley said. Kvintet Avenger will eventually have to tackle the might of Keystone Del, My High Expectations, but Lilley will avoid the topliners for as long as he can. “I’d rather dodge the top ones as best I can for the moment, but of course he’ll eventually have to take them on,” Lilley declared. Lilley stated the Australian Trotting Championship during the Sumer of Glory carnival would be a realistic target on the way to hopefully securing a berth in the Great Southern Star next March. Kvintet Avenger Lets Elope also broke the track record with a power display of pacing. Shrugging off a 20-metre handicap, Lets Elope rated 1:57.9 to register an easy victory in the 2630-metres feature. “He had a great run. Anthony drove him a treat,” Lilley said. “We’re really looking forward to the summer with this horse. “We’ll probably now go to some metro races. He’s an M1. He wasn’t far from them in New Zealand, so it’d be no surprise to me for him to be a Hunter Cup horse.” Lets Elope HRV Media

The Butt brothers Tim and Anthony announced today that their imported superstar trotter Peak had been retired and would now take up full time stud duties. Peak was the flagship for an attempt by the Butt brothers to strengthen the trotting breed down under. The trotting breed in Australasia has always been the poor cousin in the harness racing industry in the Southern Hemisphere. Pacing has always been in the ascendancy and with access to the best sires in the world for the last fifteen plus years has closed the gap with North America. Trotting broodmare owners have not been as well served over the same period but in the last two or three years attempts have been made on several fronts to change that. One of those attempts was the importation of three well bred and performed European trotters by the well respected Butt brothers. Having witnessed first hand on their travels to Europe the ability and gait of European sired trotters, the Butt brothers imported the three entires and syndicated them to stable clients with a view to racing them first and then standing them at stud if they proved themselves in local conditions. As most people realize, it was a very brave decision to try to bring three stallions half way around the world and attempt to get them to adjust to the different racing style in New Zealand and the different training methods. The first of the three stallions to set foot on a New Zealand track was the son of the French super sire Ganymede in Peak. Although not 100% ready,Peak made his New Zealand debut in the Group 3 trotters Flying Mile at Ashburton in October 2013 and what a debut it was. Parked early, Peak worked to the front after 400 metres for Anthony Butt but was attacked from a long way out by The Fiery Ginga which should have made him a sitting duck in the straight. The whole way up the long Ashburton straight Peak lead and come post time he was still in front after cutting out the mile in 1:57.6. It was a wonderful introduction to New Zealand racing and held the promise of better things to come. Second up was the $80,000 Group 1 New Zealand Trotting FFA on Cup Day in 2013. Parked for the first 800 metres, Anthony took Peak to the front with 1200 metres to go and in a replay of Ashburton was immediately attacked again by The Fiery Ginga. Clear as they turned for home, Peak was challenged by a wall of trotters with 100 metres to go and when seemingly beaten got off the canvas to come back and grab the win. Peak's winning time was 2:26.4, a mile rate of 1:57.7 over the 2000 metres which was just outside the New Zealand record held by I Can Doosit It was a stunning performance and one that cemented him as one of the favourites for the $250,000 Group 1 Dominion Handicap three days later. Away well, Peak was shuffled back in the running line before joining the three wide chain at the 800 metres mark. Sent four wide by Anthony at the 500 metres mark, Peak looked poised to challenge as he ranged up to the leaders with 200 to go but then uncharacteristically broke and lost all chance. Sore the next morning, Peak has fought soundness issues ever since. Given a long break, Peak was readied for the 2014 New Zealand Cup meeting but when the pressure went on the soundness problems returned. Already available to New Zealand trotting breeders as Peak combined training with stud work, Peak has already served over twenty mares this season and with the announcement today of his retirement from the track that number should swell by a lot more before the end of the breeding season. The Butt brothers have had several champion trotters through their barn over the years with the likes of Lyell Creek 1:52.4 $2,961,137 and Take A Moment 1:56.7 $1,164,356 to name just two but their is no mistaking how highly they rated Peak. Anthony was effusive in his praise of the son of Ganymede. “The most clean gaited trotter I have ever driven. He is the perfect trotter with speed, gait , heart and manners. When you ask him to go he goes, and keeps going” he said. Tim was no less impressed by the abilities of Peak. “He is such a beautiful horse with a massive heart and superb attitude. He has an unbelievable gait, far superior to any other trotter I have trained. His will to win was his biggest asset,"  he said. Standing for a fee of $2500 +GST, Peak should get his chance to make it as a sire. The two other trotters brought in from Europe with Peak have been a mixed bag to date. Kvintet Avenger had one start in New Zealand before joining the Brent Lilley stable in Victoria where he has looked a trotter on the rise. In seven starts for Lilley, Kvintet Avenger has had five wins and two placings for $41,388 in stakes and looks headed for the best grades.  The other import was Sir Lexington who has won one race from six appearances to date but has had a decent spell and bigger things are expected of him when he resumes shortly. All things considered the Butt brothers should take a lot of heart out of the fact they were able to transport a horse like Peak half way around the world and turn him out a winner at the highest level. Harnesslink Media      

The North Island has won the fifth annual ‘Island Of Origin’ series at Alexandra Park. The Peter Ferguson captained team of six beat the South Island by 25 points to 11 tonight (Friday August 29th). Points were awarded on a 3-2-1 basis for first, second, and third. Ferguson was rapt with the victory. “We didn’t come here to run second. It’s a great concept and I’m rapt to have won it. We all did our bit. 3-2 sounds very nice,” Fergie said. South Island captain Ricky May, who replaced the suspended Anthony Butt as skipper, enjoyed the night. “It’s a great concept especially with owners getting penalty free wins. We were going pretty good early on and then we faded a bit," May said. The North Island paid $1.80 for their third victory. “I really enjoyed it and am always proud to represent the South Island,” he added. Zac Butcher won the Individual title and paid $4.60 on the New Zealand TAB. He amassed eight points thanks to two wins and a second. Blair Orange (six points) finished second with two wins, while Tony Herlihy (MNZM) was third with five points from two seconds and a third. ‘The Postman’ aka Orange delivered in the first heat with a win behind the Andrew and Lyn Neal trained Lucky Fortune. Butcher then won the second heat behind the Stephen Doody trained Te Kawau, while Ferguson led the way with a third heat victory behind the Richard Brosnan trained Torbjorn. The fourth heat went to Orange and the Roni Lauren trained I Got Rhythm before Butcher won the fifth heat behind the Stewart Ashworth trained Machinegun Kelly. The last heat was won by Todd Mitchell and the Peter Scaife trained Rip Roaring. The teams were: North Island: Peter Ferguson (c), Tony Herlihy (MNZM), Todd Mitchell, Philip Butcher, Zac Butcher, and Scott Phelan. South Island: Ricky May (c), Gerard O’Reilly, Dexter Dunn, Blair Orange, Jim Curtin, and Mark Jones. The Island Of Origin winners: 2014: North Island. 2013: North Island. 2012: South Island. 2011: South Island. 2010: North Island. Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand

Kentuckiana Lodge trainer Cran Dalgety has joined Patumahoe’s Geoff Small as NZ’s most successful trainers of Group One Breeders Crown Final winners after Katy Perry’s hard fought success in last Sunday’s $A297,000 Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Australasian Breeders Crown 2YO Fillies Final at Tabcorp Park, Melton. Both have achieved five Breeders Crown Final successes in the specialised two-four age group categories, just one ahead of NZ’s premier trainer Mark Purdon. Cran Dalgety’s growing list of ABC Grand Final winners is: Sparks A Flyin (2001 3YO fillies), Smiling Shard (2009 2YO colts/geldings), Bit Of A Legend (2012-13 3YO colts/geldings) and Katy Perry (2014 2YO fillies). Former world champion driver Mark Jones partnered Sparks A Flyin. Current NZ champion Dexter Dunn has driven the stable runners since 2009. The Kentuckiana Lodge mentor is challenging as NZ’s most successful trainer at the Breeders Crown, taking into account his additional three Grand Final seconds _ Smiling Shard (2010 3YO colts/geldings), Onlyforyou (2012 2YO fillies) and Bit Of A Legend (2014 4YO entires/geldings). Northern-based, but Canterbury-raised Geoff Small, set the early pace among the Kiwis. Small’s ABC Pacing Grand Final winners are: Pullover Brown (2003 3YO Fillies), Changeover (2007 3YO Colts/geldings), Tintin In America (2009 3YO Colts/geldings), De Lovely (2010 3YO Fillies) and Cowgirls N Indians (2011 2YO Fillies). He also has a Group Two Australasian Breeders Crown Graduate FFA (open class race) to his credit, with All Tiger in 2009. Recuperating Cambridge driver David Butcher has partnered all but one of Small’s ABC winners. Templeton driver Anthony Butt partnered Pullover Brown for her ABC win after also driving her to win the NZ Oaks that season.  Anthony Butt, a close second driving Joanne’s A Delight in last Sunday’s 2YO Fillies Final, also won the 1998 ABC 3YO Fillies Final driving Under Cover Lover, Mark Purdon, who gained early ABC Final training successes with Galleons Assassin (2005 2YO trot) and Fly Like An Eagle (2012 3YO colts/geldings), doubled his quota when (My) Ayra (2YO fillies trot) and Follow The Stars (2YO colts/geldings) delivered last Sunday. His additional driving win with (Our) Twentyten (who he formerly trained) in the 3YO trot final on Sunday, makes him jointly NZ’s top driver in the 2-4YO age group catergories, with David Butcher, who besides the Small-trained winners, also reined Miami H to win the 2010 3YO trot final for trainers Derek Balle and Owen Gillies. Victorian trotting training master Chris Lang is the most successful Breeders Crown trainer with seven wins. His successes, all in ABC trot finals, are: Kyvalley Road (2002-03 2 & 3YO trot), Right Interest (2006 3YO trot), Skyvalley (2008-09 3 & 4YO trot) and Let Me Thru (2009-10 3 & 4YO trot). Lang has also added three Group Two Australasian Breeders Crown Graduate FFA wins, a race for open class trotters, with former champ, Sundons Gift (2007-08 & 2010). Lang’s brother, champion Victorian reinsman Gavin, although winless at the Breeders Crown this year, remains the most successful driver in Breeders Crown Finals, with 10 successes. Courtsey Of Cran Dalgety Racing

Harness racing often throws up great contests when the Kiwis and Australians meet in battle but the Breeders Crown semis at Ballarat tonight were very one sided with the Kiwis in complete control. In the first semi final, Linda Lovegrace was sent straight to the front by Mark Purdon from barrier four and dictated a solid tempo from the start.  Niki No No worked early from barrier five to get up outside Linda Lovegrace but then proceeded to badly over race with a 29 quarter outside the leader as Greg Sugars fought to get her to settle. Given more reign as they turned for home Linda Lovegrace shot away but then had to withstand a huge finish from the other Kiwi in the race in Cyclone Kate but had enough in reserve to hold on by a length. Linda Lovegrace paced the 2200 meters in 2:41.5, a mile rate of 1:58.1 with closing sectionals of 57.7 and 27.7 Cyclone Kate was sent forward three wide from the 600 meters and to get as close as she did was a big effort and she is a filly that has really improved in the last few weeks. Lettucesomewhere lobbed the trail from barrier one and battled on for third while Niki No No stuck on bravely for fourth after pulling her head off most of the way. The first two looked a class above the competition and both will approach the final with some confidence. Linda Lovegrace In the second semi final Big Lucy and Mark Purdon grabbed an early lead from barrier three before handing up to Kate Perry and Dexter Dunn from barrier four. There was a lot of early moves from the back in this heat and when the dust settled, Joannes A Delight with Anthony Butt in the bike was in the death seat outside Kate Perry with Soho Tokyo on her back. Dexter and Kate Perry snuck a quiet quarter down the back and then brushed home in 27.1 to hold out a game Joannes A Delight by half a neck with Big Lucy finishing third after being unable to clear the pocket. Soho  Tokyo was unable to get clear until late in the race and finished fourth and the same applies to Bamako Mali who finished fifth. Kate Perry paced the 2200 meters in 2:41, a mile rate of 1:57.8 with closing sectionals of 56.5 and 27.1. Joannes A Delight was game in defeat after doing a truck load of work while Big Lucy was going double with no where to go in the straight. The first three home were all Kiwis and after the two semis, the  Kiwis would appear to have a stranglehold on the 2 year old fillies division. Kate Perry Harnesslink Media 

If the weather forecasters were paid by their accuracy most would be pretty much broke as we awoke Sunday morning to sunny skies and a strong breeze when the forecast was for rain all day. It was shaping up to be a picture perfect day for the big races at Portmarnock Trotting Track. After a hearty Irish breakfast we all prepared for the big day of racing and piled into the shuttle for the track. Our gracious host, Derek Delaney and his family were dressed to impress for their special memorial day to their late brother Vincent. Derek took head counts to make sure everyone was accounted for and off we went. And everyone had to have a good look at my specially designed Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial pith helmet hat that my wife Stephanie helped me make for the occasion. It was unique, the only one in the world, and it featured the flags of all the nations that were racing that day, the band around the brim was the logo for the race and atop the hat was a racehorse. Throughout the day everyone had to comment and check out my special hat. I must have taken two dozen photos with people and the children all laughed and wanted to try it on. It was a big hit. As we drove to the track we saw plenty of horse trailers of all shapes and sizes entering the grounds and everyone had great big smiles as it was a special racing day. The race paddock area was jammed with trailers and horsemen and women preparing for the races. There are no “race paddock” like they have in North America for harness racing. Here at Portmarnock, just like most tracks in Ireland and the United Kingdom as many fairs do back home, your trailer is your paddock area. You tie your horse up on the side and harness them, bath them between warmups and throw a “rug” over them and walk them around to cool out. Everyone is prepared and they bring coolers with sandwiches and drinks and make a day of it. After your horse races and is put away then you head over to the main track for the festivities. The bounce house and tenting for the children’s area was already filled with tyke’s ripping off their shoes to have a go and allow their parents a little time to check out their race programs. The bookies were setting up their stands, the bar was already open and I was offered my first Guinness of the day, which I had to refuse…too early and too long an afternoon with work to do for a late breakfast stout to start off the afternoon. But there was plenty of people already in the bar getting prepped for the day’s events. As the crowds come in you get your racetrack fixtures of people just like every track around the world. You have your hard core punters, your average fans, your die hard regulars who immediately head to their favorite spot to lay claim for the day. But today was extra special and with that came the ladies dressed for the Royal Ascot or perhaps the Kentucky Derby of harness racing in Ireland. There was a contest of the best dressed man and women at the races. And there were many women dressed up beautifully along with many of the younger daughters of the horsemen. There was also a special exhibition by world champion Irish Dancers and music throughout the afternoon between the race announcements. The bookies had a field day at the track. Everyone wanted to get a bet in. Here at Portmarnock there is win wagering only, no exactas or trifectas or any gimmick bets, no place or show, just the win bets. But the action was feverish before the start of the first race. It was amazing as the “punters” were known by every “bookie” by first name or a nickname. They would place their wager, the bookie would shout it out to his teller, who wrote it done and then the punter was given a special card with a number on to verify the wager. I placed my bets with Dan Carlin of Belfast, Ireland. He was the main bookie who set the early wagering odds on the races last Monday once the fields were drawn. But what is so unique with bookie wagering at a track like this in Ireland and the UK is that as the wagers are made the odds can change. You can bet way ahead of time on fixed odds but as post time draws near and more wagers are made, the bookies change the odds to reflect the wagering. Sometimes they will shave a fraction of a point just to draw more attention. On Saturday in the second elimination heat of the Delaney Memorial, Carmel Camden had received so many wagers that most of the bookies stopped taking bets on her with two minutes to post. Dan Carlin called me out as “Steve the Yank” when I made my bets, never said how much someone wagered except after he counted the wagered cash and dropped into the cash holder he would say it in some sort of code to his teller to keep the record of it. The bookies would shout out new odds to encourage punters to wager a few more euros and it all added up to a lot of excitement. I figured just from watching a few races that the average bookie at the track, with 1,000 people at Portmarnock this Sunday, handled at least 40 or more wagers per race x 7 bookies x 10 races would be near 200,000 euros ($267,000) in total wagering going back and forth between winners and losers for the day. Dan Carlin would not say how things were going except that everyone was having a good time. Mother Nature cooperated as best it could and it seemed that when the rain clouds came over the skies would open up and it would pour for five minutes and then the sun would come back out and dry everything up. It was raining hard for a few minutes before the start of the feature race and then as if Vincent Delaney himself made it stop before the finish of his memorial race. After the racing was over the track pub was filled to the brim with race fans, owners, trainers, drivers and everyone’s children, all have a grand time. And the Guinness stout and Irish whiskey, mainly Jamieson’s as both are produced right in Dublin, were enjoyed quite a lot, even by this reporter, for the two nights in a row. Between the superb hospitality of everyone I met for my five day venture to Dublin and their deep rooted passion for the sport of harness racing, I can honestly encourage anyone and everyone to make their plans well in advance to come to Portmarnock Trotting Track next year for the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series. The Delaney brothers, Derek and James, who were the best of hosts to the visiting guests, Roger Huston, Wally Hennessey, Anthony Butt, Heather Vitale, myself and my wife Stephanie, have already promised that the race weekend will be bigger and better with richer purses for next season and more special events. It’s the Irish version of the Little Brown Jug and they have already gotten a commitment from Roger Huston who said he will be back to call the races once again. It’s a weekend of “grass roots” fair racing that will keep you smiling and having a great time in a country that thrives on friendliness and first-class hospitality from the minute you arrive. Only there is no Little Brown Jug waiting at the finish line at Portmarnock, but there will be a glass of good strong Guinness stout! By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Portmarnock, Ireland – For the second straight year, owner/driver Vicky Gill showed why she is the best female driver in all of Ireland as she again drove the winner of the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series Final for two-year-old pacers Sunday at Portmarnock Trotting Track. Last year it was Vickie and John Gill’s Camden Tino winning the final, this year belonged to their colt, Titanium, who on Saturday won his elimination heat in a track record 2:01.2, coming from off the pace and blowing away the field. Today it was complete form reversal as Vicky Gill was not going to race from behind on the track labeled good after some hard rain earlier in the afternoon. USA/Canada’s Wally Hennessey was first on the lead off the starting gate with Carmel Camden, who was one of two fillies in the final and had won her elimination heat the day before. But before the opening quarter mile was reached in :29.8, Vicky Gill had Titanium on the move and in command. Hennessey was content to sit the pocket trip with Carmel Camden. Once Titanium settled in on the lead, Gill backed down the pace and then they were challenged first-over by Coalford Tetrick and driver Stevie Lees to the half mile in a slow 1:03.1. Then Alexander Camden (Mick Lord) got into the battle as he come up on the outside as they reached the three-quarters in 1:34, but it was too little too late as Vicky Gill asked Titanium for more and the colt responded, pacing the last quarter mile in :27.7 and drew off from the field at the finish to win by four open lengths in 2:01.7. Alexander Camden was second with Coalford Tetrick third. “We had raced him once before on the front end,” said Vicky Gill after the race, “But he was not brilliant, he is young and still learning but I always knew once he settled on the front he would get us home and he did.  He has been remarkable since we first started training him. I can’t believe now that I’ve won this race two years in a row.” Sired by Hasty Hall from the mare, Another Mattie, Titanium is owned by Vicky Gill and was a 3,400 euro ($4,500US) yearling purchase. He has now won four of his five lifetime starts. The total purse for the race was 18,000 euros and the winner’s share of the purse was 12,000 euros ($16,000), making it the richest pacing series ever in all of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Titanium was selected at the yearling sales last year by John Gill, Vicky’s father, who trains the stable. Vicky owns Titanium. “I do everything my daughter tells me to do,” said John Gill smiling from ear to ear after the race. “That’s the secret. We have been fortunate to have some good stock. You are nothing unless you have good stock. I picked this colt out at the sales and I knew we had something special the very first time I jogged him. He just braved up and went about his business and I thought ‘could be, could be’ and here we are today. “When you can come home in :58 on a sloppy track, that’s pretty good.” John Gill said. “I’m very proud of Vicky. She drove him right and now she has won this great stake two years in a row.” The Vincent Delaney Memorial was created by Derek and James Delaney of Dublin as a tribute and in memory of their younger brother Vincent, who tragically passed away in 2011 at age 27. He was very active in the family breeding and racing operations at Oakwood Stud. In the 7,000 euro Paul Murtagh Derby for four-year-old pacers going 1.5 miles, a track record was set by Tarawood Messi and driver Noel Ryan as they traveled the course in 3:03.5. Ryan had set patiently as Stamphill (Rocker Laidler) set the early pace fractions and after they went the mile in 2:00.7, came first-over with Tarawood Messi and wore down the pacesetter, then held off a game No Regrets with driver Anthony Butt from New Zealand for the victory. Trained by W. Flanagan and owned by C. Bennett, Tarawood Messi is by Arts Conguest from the mare One Mile Meg. In the very next race, the 5,000 euro Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-old pacers saw Rhyds Rainbow and driver Richard Haythornwaite set a course record for that age group going 1.5 miles with a 3:04.2 record. Sired by Hasty Hall, Rhyds Rainbow is from the mare Kentucky Sunshine. He is owned and trained by S. Howard. North American driver Wally Hennessey scored his second win on Irish soil in the Delaney Free For All Trot with Caminetto and nearly tied the track record for trotters. Starting from post two, Hennessey sent Caminetto right to the lead and never looked back. They cut fractions of :28.2 to the opening quarter, :58.6 to the half mile and started then to draw away from the field at the three-quarters in 1:28 before cruising home to win by more than eight lengths in 2:00.8. They missed the track mark by two fifths of a second. Owned and trained by John Foy, Caminetto is by Gidde Palema from the mare Shy Lady. “All I had to do was get him off the gate trotting and he really did the rest,” Hennessey said. “He just wanted to trot as fast as he could go and I really had to lean back on him to try and rate the mile. I am sure if I had let him have his head we would have broken the track record.” “This was one of the great weekends of my life,” said Derek Delaney, who promoted the special weekend of racing and arranged for world renowned and Hall of Fame drivers Wally Hennessey and Anthony Butt along with track announcer Roger Huston, to come to Ireland for the race. “Everything and everybody was so great. Words cannot express how wonderful and special this event is to my brother James and myself and our families.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Dublin, Ireland – You could call it the “Little Brown Jug” of Ireland and most everyone at the track would know what you were talking about. There were horsemen, women and children from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales and they all have great passion for harness racing. Portmarnock Trotting Track is just fifteen minutes from the center of Dublin. The passenger train runs past the backstretch every 20 minutes or so, day and night. We started off the afternoon with a meet and greet featuring Hall of Famers Wally Hennessey (USA/Canada), Roger Huston (USA) Anthony Butt (New Zealand) Heather Vitale and myself. The tented area immediately became packed with nearly 200 race fans both young and old in attendance. After the introductions were made Roger Huston took charge and told some great stories that got the crowd in motion and questions to the guest started to fly. People wanted to know why they still used the Australian jog-cart styled long shafted race bikes down under instead of the American version. Fans wanted to know what it was like for Wally Hennessey to drive Moni Maker all over the racing world and which Roger Huston’s favorite Little Brown Jug races was. Then there was a great live auction with the proceeds going to the Pieta House that is country-wide suicide prevention organization with 15 locations throughout Ireland. I was most proud that horsemen from the USA and Canada donated great items, driving colors autographed from Tim Tetrick, Corey Callahan, George Brennan, David Miller, Jody Jamieson and, of course, Wally Hennessey. Anthony Butt brought over a set of his colors and a special Inter dominion jacket were all bid for feverishly. Bobble heads too (Roger Huston, Jody Jamieson and Corey Callahan) and the Meadowlands sent over Hambletonian caps from last week’s race. The biggest item of all was a used UFO race bike used by Foiled Again from the Ron Burke Stable and that alone brought 3,000 euros ($4,000 US). The auction continues Sunday but I overheard that proceeds just for Saturday may have tipped the scales at over 6,000 euros and could surpass 10,000 after Sunday. Then the racing began and the crowds piled in more and more despite on and off rain showers throughout the day. Portmarnock is not that big a track. The infield is used during the day as a golf driving range so racing did not start until 5 pm. Up until 4 pm a tractor was in the centerfield scooping up golf balls. They race four on the gate and four trailers. Roger Huston called the races from the infield on the second floor of glass trailers. He was sitting on a swivel chair so he could swing around the see horses at the raced down the backstretch. But despite the rain the fans came out, maybe 1,000 strong for the races. And what I found to be the most interesting was the wagering on the races. There are no betting windows and pari-mutuel machines, no self-service bill accepting units. They have actual live bookies. Men taking bets, writing down first names and handing back a business card type voucher, shouting out the odds and parlays, checking their competition and if they were willing, raising their odds a fraction to entice others to come wager with them. A fistful of cash in hand to make quick change before the field lined up behind the starting gate. Some bookies had an LCD board and could change odds in a split second typing away on their keyboard. Others had dry erase boards that would smear in the rain so they had to wipe them with their sleeves in order to post the new odds. Some were dressed in nice suits with loud ties, one had a top hat. It just made the races more interesting than I had seen before. It was wagering at its grass roots. Legalized bookies encourage punters to come forward and try their luck. And everyone loved Roger Huston’s race calls. He had them cheering for the field at the half mile and the finish of each race. And the fans applauded the winners and losers after every event. And then once the races were over, the party did not stop. The bar at the track was packed from the start of the first race and was still going strong when I left to come back to the hotel at near midnight. Everyone was having a great time. I just hope some of them remembered to get a little rest because everyone was looking forward to the Sunday card and hoping for Mother Nature to provide them with a sunny, dry afternoon, especially for the final of the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Pace Final. We started out Day 2 in Dublin, Ireland sorta on the wrong foot, perhaps even the wrong side of the bed. As some of us (me) overslept because of our 36-hour first day, I missed the trip to the Guiness Factory, so Stephanie (my wife) and I talked with the lobby desk people and they turned us on to a pleasant surprise. The Village of Malahide. We took a taxi and within 20 minutes was at the entrance to the Malahide Castle and its lavish 1,000 acres grounds. We walked up what seemed to be a half mile tree-laden drive, stopped to watch youngsters playing cricket, just like kids in America playing organized baseball, on the beautifully manicured lawns of the palatial estate. Then we reached the castle and its stunning four-acre walled gardens, all first built in the 12th century. The Talbot Family owned and lived there for almost 800 years. The castle is full furnished and magnificent. We then took a quick walking tour into the Malahide Village with its picturesque streets decorated with flower displays, lovely store fronts and boat marina. Then back to the hotel and to get ready for the harness racing at Portmarnock. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Portmarnock, Ireland – Titanium and driver Vicky Gill rewrote the track record for two-year-old pacers at Portmarnock Trotting Track Saturday in winning their elimination division of the third annual Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series. The race surface, despite overcast skies and rain, was in perfect shape. Gill, along with her father, John Gill of Yorkshire, England, won the Delaney Memorial Final last year with their colt, Camden Tino, and at that time had set the track record with a 2:01.9 victory in the final and have now done it again. Camden Tino has first set the record in his elimination heat the prior day in 2:02.2. Depending on their post position draw on Sunday, Titanium could well be the betting favorite for the final tomorrow as he was very impressive in winning his elimination heat. The purse for the final on Sunday is 18,500 euros ($23,000US). It was Ballyhill Jimmy (Martin Loughran) who went to the early lead over Portmarnock’s half mile over with Lyons Premier (Andrew Cairns) who took the pocket-trip to the opening quarter mile in :29.2. Race favorite Alexander Camden (Mick Lord) was stuck first-over from the start. Past the half mile marker in 1:00.1, Ballyhill Jimmy led the way as Alexander Camden was having trouble being parked out and began to fade by the three-quarters. Then Lyons Premier and Cairns pulled from the pocket and came after Ballyhill Jimmy. Coalford Tetrick came three-wide for driver Stevie Lees and following their cover was Vicky Gill with Titanium. After the three-quarters in 1:30.1, It was Coalford Tetrick taking command and Alexander Camden found a second wind and was back in the hunt, but on the far outside it was Titanium and Vicky Gill flying on the outside to win it all by three and one-half lengths in 2:01.2. Coalford Tetrick was second with Alexander Camden third. Also making it to the final tomorrow were Lyons Premier (4th), Rhyds Gambler (5th) and Ballyhill Jimmy (6th). “I was following live cover and thinking that I actually had a pretty good chance,” said Vicky Gill after the race. “We were not very pleased after the draw and getting barrier seven, but we made the most of it. He raced so well. It would be great to be able to win this race again. It’s going to be tough.” Sired by Hasty Hall from the mare, Another Mattie, Titanium is owned by Vicky Gill and was a 3,400 euro yearling purchase. He has now won three of his four lifetime starts The second elimination heat was for fillies with five starters. Leaving from the rail was the race favorite, Camden Carmel and North America’s Wally Hennessey doing the driving. They cut the mile in the rain to a quick :29.5 opening quarter mile with Meadowbranch Millie (John Richardson) in the two-hole. Then Hennessey backed off the pace as Springhill Nancy came first-over and started to apply pressure as they went to a slow half in 1:03.4 and that convinced John Richardson who popped the pocket and took the lead away with Meadowbranch Millie. Meanwhile, Showtime Big Cigar (Anthony Butt) was second-over behind Springhill Nancy. At the three-quarters in 1:35.4, Hennessey then came back with Carmel Camden and cleared to the lead at the top of the stretch and then held the field at bay to win with ease by two lengths in 2:07. Regal Sensation (Johnathan Dunn) came on for second place to make the final on Sunday. For Wally Hennessey it was his first drive ever in Ireland and he started it off with a victory. “It was a little crazy at the beginning,” Hennessey explained. “We did not hear in the back paddock to come out for the race so we were late getting to the track, then we had a piece of equipment break so my filly never had a chance to warm-up properly. “The track surface was actually pretty good,” Hennessey said, “It has just started  raining hard as the race was ready to go. I figured to get out early and secure good position so when they came at me I was fine letting them go at the half and taking the two-hole spot. “Then we came back at them the filly on the rail gave us a fight,” Hennessey said. “But once we started down the stretch my filly was much the best. We’re going to give it a good shot tomorrow. It will really help that the two fillies in the final get to draw for the inside positions.” "What a great way to start off and in my first drive ever in Ireland," Hennessey said. "Not only my first win in my first drive but to do it with a horse owned by Derek and James made it all the better. They have been such great hosts here in Ireland." Owned by Derek and James Delaney of Oakwood Stud, whose brother Vincent that died in 2011 is whom the race is named in memory of, purchased Carmel Camden as a yearling for 12,000 euros. She is sired by No Pan Intended from the mare Pan Culottes, both of whom were Breeders Crown winners in the United States. Carmel Camden is undefeated in four starts. If Carmel Camden can win the final Sunday she would become the first filly to have won the Delaney Memorial. The fastest mile on the ten-race program Saturday was won by Merrington Motion and driver Rocker Laidler in 1:58.2. There was also a special 1.5 mile Trottrur Francais that was captured by Ritial Brio and driver Billy Roche in 2:10.6, the mile time in 2:07.9. New Zealand’s Anthony Butt, who competed in six races on the program was not able to win any heats but was a close second in the fourth race pace with Rhyds Premier. Camden Kofi and owner/trainer/driver Cathal Kerrigan was the winner in 2:01.9. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com 

When we first arrived this morning in Dublin, Ireland, it was cloudy and overcast with a misty rain about, but customs was a breeze off we went to drop off our bags at the hotel. That would all change for the better! There would be no rest for the weary on this trip, it was a harness racing trip of a lifetime and we were already going in an extra distance race after an opening quarter mile of :26.1. We (Wally Hennessey, my wife, Stephanie Wolf, and myself) had just finished flying in from Toronto, Canada on the red-eye, leaving at 11 pm Thursday and getting into Dublin Friday morning at 10:30 am. We headed to the hotel and met the rest of the crew. Anthony Butt from New Zealand had arrived Wednesday and had a leg up on us already, Roger Huston and Heather Vitale came in at 8 am Friday, and we got to meet our host, Derek Delaney and his lovey wife Lilian and their cute daughter Lexie. Other special guests that would join us on the trip were David Wilson of Scotland, Bernie (Bernadette) Kelly and the superb equine artist/photographer, Nadina Ironia. Then it was off to Derek and James Delaney’s Oakwood Stud Farm and Training Center in Greenhill Rhode in County Offaly. A beautiful facility that can be best described by the photos in this story. Lunch was at a splendid Irish pub nearby called Killeen and then we were able to head back to the hotel and pass out for a few hours. We capped off the 36-hour day by being part of a special kick-off dinner for the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Series weekend with a tribute dinner at the hotel with another 50 new friends. Words cannot describe the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and great time we had so please enjoy these photographs! By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

A total of 15 two-year-old colt and filly pacers have entered the 3rd annual Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial this weekend at Portmarnock Trotting Track in Dublin, Ireland. There will be three five horse field elimination divisions on Saturday, August 9 with the top two official finishers and the fastest two third place finishers to return the very next day, Sunday, August 10, for the finale. Each preliminary round will race for a purse of 750 euros ($1,000 US) and the final will go for a record 18,500 euros ($25,000 US), making it the richest stakes race ever in the history of harness racing in both Ireland and Great Britain and the richest pacing event ever in all of Europe. One of the three divisions will be for fillies and the fillies that advance to the final will then draw for the inside post positions. The draw for post positions will not take place until Saturday afternoon before the start of the race card at Portmarnock, that way all owners, trainers and drivers will be on hand for the draws. The same will take place on Sunday. Currently the 6/4 favourite and leading contender is Alexander Camden, who was the highest priced yearling ever sold in Ireland and the United Kingdom last season, fetching £38,000 sterling ($53,000 US) at the York Standardbred Sale last year. His is sired by Cambest out of Lola making him a full brother to two sub 1:49 pacers Canyon Wind and Paragon. In his short career on the track, Alexander Camden seems to be living up to his purchase price as the good looking youngster is being trained by English maestro Mick Lord for Scottish owner Davy Morton. In his four races so far, the colt has two wins and two seconds with his fastest victory in 2:02.3 at York Raceway, the UKs premier half mile track. However, the fastest of the freshman pacers so far this season is a filly, Carmel Camden, who is owned and trained by Dubliners Derek and James Delaney, who originally developed and sponsored the race back in 2012 in memory of their younger brother Vincent, who tragically past away in 2011 at age 27. Since the inception of the event, the brothers have dearly sought to have a runner in the line-up and last October they acquired Carmel Camden, a £12,000 sterling ($17,000US) daughter of No Pan Intended out of Pan Cullottes, who were both US Breeders Crown winners respectively back in 2003. Carmel Camden is the second choice in the early wagering at odds of 7/4. She has made three starts so far and remains undefeated. Her fastest win was 2:01.7 over Portmarnock’s half mile oval, just a few ticks shy of tying the track record for two-year-old fillies. Another top prospect is Titanium, who was a bargain £3,400 sterling ($5,000 US) yearling purchase and is by super sire Hasty Hall, who has dominated the ranks of the juvenile classic winners in the UK in recent years. Owned and driven by leading lady driver Vicky Gill of Yorkshire and trained by Vicky’s Dad, John Gill, of the Emerald Stables, Titanium has won two of his three starts so far and has a personal best time of 2.02.2. Vicky and dad John won this race just last year with Camden Tino, so the combination know just what it takes to win the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial. Titanium is listed at odds of 7-1. Other contenders include Lyons Premier at 5-1, another son of Hasty Hall, who has two impressive starts so far, a strong win at York Raceway in 2:03.3 for Welsh owner/breeder Geoff Mound. Mound races pacers all over Canada and the USA under the Lyons prefix. Just last week Lyons Premier won a colts division Breeders Crown in the UK by six open lengths in 2:07.2 in defeating It’s My Check with Titanium third over a heavy wet track.; Mikey Camden at 12-1, is by Cambest, who is a £27,000 sterling ($38,000US) yearling purchase, has one win after three starts in 2:03.1 and locally owned Meadowbranch Ideal, an imported son of Western Ideal who has been impressive in three qualifiers so far, but as yet to win at the Dublin venue. He is 7-1. Listed below are the 15 horses entered in the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Pacing Series for two-year-olds. Morning line odds for the punters are listed next to the name of each horse. 6/4 Alexander Camden 7/4 Carmel Camden (f) 5 Lyons Premier 6 Coalford Tetrick 7 Titanium 7 Its My Check 7 Meadowbranch Ideal 12 Mikey Camden 12 Watch Your Back (f) 16 Rhyds Gambler 16 Ballyhill Jimmy 25 Showtime Big Cigar 25 Meadowbranch Millie (f) 33 Regal Sensation (f) 40 Springhill Nancy (f) (f) denotes a filly Handicapper Thomas Bennett has put the race in summary. “Based on all known form this looks like a straightforward match between Carmel Camden and Alexander Camden,” Bennett said, “with the latter just getting the nod. Top trainer Mick Lord has gradually built up momentum with the colt and is improving rapidly whilst a filly has never won this event going against the chances of Carmel Camden. Titanium could upstage the pair of them and Lyons Premier, Coalford Tetrick and Its My Check boast solid credentials and are more than capable of causing a shock.” In addition to the Delaney Memorial with it eliminations on Saturday and final on Sunday, there are other top race events over the weekend. “We had more than 150 horses entered for this weekend,” said Derek Delaney, “That is a great number for any weekend meet. Looks like everyone wants to be part of the racing action at Portmarnock.” The supporting card over the weekend will feature the Oakwood Stud Three-Year-Old Derby; the Paul Murtagh Senior Memorial 4YO Championship and the Elvin/Delaney FFA Trot. On Saturday starting at 3:00 pm guests at the track are invited to a meet and greet with the three Hall of Famers who have come to Ireland for the event. They are world-class drivers Wally Hennessey from the USA/Canada, New Zealand’s Anthony Butt and calling the major races both days is world-renowned track announcer, Roger Huston. At 3:30 pm will be the drawing of post positions for Saturday’s race card followed by the special charity auction with proceeds going to the Peita House of Ireland, which is a center for the prevention of self-harm or suicide. The top item in the auction is a UFO racing sulky from world famous trainer Ron Burke. This bike was used on many of the Burke Stables top horses, including world champion Foiled Again. There will also be six sets of driver’s autographed colours from some of the top horsemen in harness racing. The racing will get underway Saturday starting at 5:00 pm. In addition, there will be 18 services to stallion at stud here in Ireland and some in the UK. All the donation from these proceeds will be presented to the representatives from the Pieta House during Sunday’s race program. Ladbroke’s, the premier sponsor of the Vincent Delaney Memorial,  is also giving out a 5 euro match play wager to everyone that comes out to track on Sunday. Entertainment for the children each day will include a Playbus, face-painting, balloonist, candy cart, a colouring competition and a free goody bag for all the children. Sunday’s first race post time is 2:00 pm and there will be a competition for the Best Dressed Lady, Best Dressed Gentleman and the Best Dressed Couple with some wonderful prizes including a Designer Dress Hire, Hotel Break, Pampering Vouchers and much more. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com  

TV host for PA Harness Week and her own show, Post Time, Heather Vitale is joining the group of hall of fame drivers, announcer and journalist who are all heading over to Ireland this weekend for the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial series at Portmarnock Trotting Track outside of Dublin. Vitale, a third generation horsewoman, first read about the race back in June. “I read about the Vincent Delaney Memorial for the first time on Harnesslink,” Heather said. “It was back in June when they announced that Roger Huston was going over to call the races. “Then, it seemed like every time I turned around there was something else written about this big race weekend,” Heather said, “So I got very curious. “I’m the kind of girl who hates to miss a race that has this much excitement surrounding it.” Heather added, “I live for events where people like Derek and James Delaney have a passion for the sport and they are remembering their brother Vincent in this spectacular way.” Heather said that she has traveled to Europe before but never to Ireland. “I’ve been to England a couple of times,” Heather said, “And to several other countries in Europe, but I’ve never been to Ireland. I am beyond excited about going.” And don’t be fooled by Heather Vitale’s last name! “My late grandfather was a top horse trainer named Elmer Looney,” Heather explained, “I was told as a child that our family on my mother’s side was originally named O’Looney but they dropped the “O” when they came to America from Ireland. “So I’ve already started looking up the name O’Looney in Dublin,’ Heather said, you never know, maybe I’ll run into someone with that last name. Plus, my first name is Heather and that is the native wildflower in Ireland. “I'm Irish and Italian, Heather said, “And I've been to Italy twice so I've seen the country where my dad's family came from. Now I get to travel to the country of my mom's ancestors. “ Heather will arrive in Dublin Friday morning off the red-eye along with Hall of Famers Roger Huston, USA/Canada’s Wally Hennessey, New Zealand’s star Anthony Butt and Harnesslink’s reporter Steve Wolf. There is a full agenda for the working guests with a trip to the breeding farms Friday afternoon and a gala dinner that night. Then a meet and greet at the Portmarnock track early afternoon Saturday followed by the special auction items finale and then the early evening race card that will feature the elimination divisions for the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial. The series is for two-year-olds with elimination races Saturday and the finale on Sunday afternoon plus both days will feature other special trotting and pacing events. Heather Vitale is on a whirlwind tour for harness racing as last month she did the CBS SportsNet Meadowlands Pace broadcast and next month will do the CBS SportsNet live broadcast of the Little Brown Jug from Delaware, Ohio. “On Tuesday morning I fly out of Dublin non-stop to Philadelphia,” Heather said, “Then I go directly to Harrah’s Philadelphia and shoot this week’s edition of PA Harness Week with my co-host Steve Ross. I know that sounds nuts but the flight is only seven hours and non-stop so I’ll sleep on the plane and there’s a Starbuck’s in the Philly airport that I am familiar with! “I am going to shoot lot of video for myself and my show Post Time (which airs in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia on the local CBS affiliates), “Heather explained, “I love doing features on what harness racing is like in different parts of the world. So many people are familiar with racing Down Under, in North America, and even over in Sweden and France, but what about Ireland and England? I don’t know that much about harness racing in Ireland so this is going to be a great education for me and for my TV viewers.” It will also be a special time for Heather as she will be interviewed herself on Irish TV. “It is so great that Heather Vitale is joining the list of special guests coming to Ireland for my brother’s race,” Said Derek Delaney. “When the arrangements were finalized for Heather coming over, one of the Irish TV stations that will be covering the races asked if they could do an interview with her about all she does in covering harness racing in the USA. I think that is more than fitting and will make for a great interview.” “I never get tired of telling people how fantastic our sport is,” Heather said. “Whether it’s on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, meeting race fans at the Hambletonian or doing an interview in Ireland, I’m ready to talk with everyone about harness racing!” Heather’s mother, Joanne Looney-King and her sister Susan Looney were harness racing driving stars during their careers in racing. Mom still owns and trains while her sister Susan is an attorney. Both held long time records at the Meadowlands and Heather had her trainer’s license before switching full time to journalism. So whether it’s being interviewed, doing interviews, learning about Irish harness racing or maybe even finding her “roots” or perhaps even a long lost “O’Looney” family member, Heather Vitale is set for a big weekend in Ireland. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

65 to 80 of 355