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BANNOCKBURN, Scotland - On Thursday, 13th July, Corbiewood played host to the fourth leg of the Oakwood Stud Mares Pacing Series and once again it was another different winner in the form of last year's Scottish Horse of the Year, Starzapan. The 7-year-old daughter of Genghis Pan led out from the widest gate position after an early battle with Lady Mary (William Drysdale) and set the fastest fractions witnessed so far in the series and on the night on a track which had succumbed to heavy rainfall prior to racing. It was evident that driver Stuart MacKenzie had a forceful drive in mind as they went through the half in just over a minute with no signs of letting up the pace. It wasn't outside the realms of possibility that the winner would come off the pace with the leader setting such strong fractions, however Starzapan was not for stopping and as the challenge came down the back stretch for the final time from Lady Mary, the leader showed her class to go away from the field and win decisively. Lady Mary finished second, with San Diego (Angus Kyle) running on well for third. All three lowered their personal best times at the track in the fastest leg of the series so far. The top grade handicap featuring the eight highest graded horses saw old-timer Jasper Hill (Thomas MacKenzie Jnr) lead out, quickly challenged by Camden Casper (Grant Cullen). The duo had a ding dong battle throughout until the three quarter marker when Camden Casper took up the running. The energy expelled in the tussle with Jasper Hill left him vulnerable to a strong finisher, and it was Jennas Gold (Scott Murray) who came with the first challenge as they rounded the final turn, quickly followed by American Gigolo (William Drysdale) however Camden Massino (William Greenhorn) went widest of all and got up close home under a calculated drive. The first race of the night saw an all-the-way victory for Littlemill Jo who won impressively when losing her maiden tag. The homebred filly's win was a real family affair, with breeder/owner/trainer/driver Steven Henderson's two children, Jamie (7) and Emma (5) both assisting with the training at home in the build up to the race whilst on school holidays. This was the first winner for the family's homebred stallion, Littlemill Rogue, the current 3YO track record holder. After some bad luck in previous starts, Merringtonmoonlite got off the mark for the season for Corbiewood-based duo Karen & Mark Kennedy with a well-timed, three wide challenge under Gordon Gilvear. Stephen Cairney sent Porterstown Keith to the lead in race three, and despite the field appearing to queue up behind him with various horses looking threatening at one stage or another, no challenge was forthcoming and the long-time leader sailed to victory. Corbiewood stalwart K And M Redpandana notched up his first win of the season after numerous consistent runs, having been sent to the front by Hugh Menzies, he dictated sensible fractions and ran out a comfortable winner. The next meeting at Corbiewood is Thursday 20th July on the eve of the two day festival of harness racing at Musselburgh Racecourse, featuring a C Class drivers event. First race 7.30pm. by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink Race 1 - https://www.facebook.com/scottishharnessracingclub/videos/836916743149843/ 1st Littlemill Jo (Littlemill Rogue-Hendos Star) - S Henderon 2nd Rogue Comet (Rogue Hall-Angelas Cosmo) - G Cullen 3rd Bettorbybest (Pro Bono Best-Bettorbynine) - Stuart MacKenzie 5 Ran  Time: 2.09.35 Dist: 3 3/4L & Neck Race 2- https://www.facebook.com/scottishharnessracingclub/videos/836917606483090/ 1st Merringtonmoonlite (Check On Jack-What A Commotion) - G Gilvear 2nd Dynamic Ace (Windsong Dynamite-Dillys Red Ace) - W Greenhorn 3rd Lets Party (Dreamfair Vogel-Party West) - H Menzies 6 Ran  Time: 2.08.25 Dist: 2L & 1/2L Race 3 - https://www.facebook.com/scottishharnessracingclub/videos/836919196482931/ 1st Porterstown Keith (The Panderosa-The Pana Sutra) - S Cairney 2nd Y Not Wait N C (Todays Man-Riverbank Mybatross) - G Cullen 3rd Greentree Destiny (Rogue Hall-Ultramarine) - W Drysdale 6 Ran  Time: 2.08.23 Dist: 3/4L & Head Race 4 - https://www.facebook.com/scottishharnessracingclub/videos/836920043149513/ 1st K And M Redpandana (The Firepan-Rosy Red) - H Menzies 2nd GDs Baby (Daylon Alert-GDs Twin) - H O'Neil Jnr Jnr 3rd Styx N Stones (Daylon Alert-Styx Soprano) - S MacKenzie 6 Ran Time: 2.09.25 Dist: 2L & Nose Race 5 - https://www.facebook.com/scottishharnessracingclub/videos/836920979816086/ 1st Camden Massino (Art Major-Sheeza Sakra) - W Greenhorn 2nd Jennas Gold (Allamerican Ingot-Jennas Desire) - S Murray 3rd American Gigolo (Village Jasper-American Beauty) - W Drysdale 8 Ran   Time: 2.06.63 Dist: 3/4L & Head Race 6 - https://www.facebook.com/scottishharnessracingclub/videos/836922399815944/ 1st Starzapan (Genghis Pan-Starry Nite) - S MacKenzie 2nd Lady Mary (Playwithafulldeck-Marys Solitaire) - W Drysdale 3rd San Diego (Pro Bono Best-San Carra) - A Kyle 5 Ran  Time: 2.03.86 Dist: 2 1/4L & Neck  

Offaly, Ireland - Management at Oakwood Stud have announced that they have reached an agreement with Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Farms in Pennsylvania in the USA, to have semen shipped over from Sweet Lou, for breeding to pacers in Ireland and the UK. Sweet Lou is sired by Yankee Cruiser out of the mare Sweet Future. As a two-year-old, Sweet Lou set, and still holds, the world record on all sized tracks at 1:49. Sweet Lou currently holds the world record for older horses and the all-age mark on a five-eighths mile track in 1:47 with lifetime earnings of $3,478,894. In the summer of 2014 he won 10 consecutive races, with six consecutive wins in sub 1:48. He is the only pacer in harness racing history to achieve this feat. “It’s an honor for us at Oakwood Stud to be able to work on such a milestone project with Diamond Creek Farms,” said Derek Delaney of Oakwood Stud. “and make World Champion Sweet Lou available to breeders in Ireland & the UK via frozen semen for the 2018 Breeding season. Sweet Lou will be the fastest and richest stallion ever to stand in Ireland and the UK. “The timing of this could not have been better with the juvenile stakes racing at an all-time high with record purses in the Vincent Delaney Memorial, the Sire Stakes Ireland Program and the Breeders Crown UK/IRE in 2017,” Delaney added. “This has encouraged breeders to import record numbers of broodmares from USA in 2016, bred to top US studs and now they will have the opportunity to breed their mares to World Champion bloodlines in their own back yard. This in turn will make for a very exciting and competitive racing opportunity in the future for both Ireland and the United Kingdom. “We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Adam Bowden and all the team at Diamond Creek Farms,” Delaney said. “For their shared vision and forward thinking for the future of racing in both Ireland and the UK as we do at Oakwood Stud.”  There is no price yet set on how much breeding’s in Ireland and the UK will cost to Sweet Lou. For more information contact www.oakwoodstud.ie.   From Oakwood Stud

A new mares’ series to be staged at Corbiewood in 2017 is to be sponsored by Oakwood Stud (Co Offaly, Ireland).   The series, which will be staged over 7 weeks, will be run by the Scottish Harness Racing Club (SHRC) for its members and is open to mares aged 4 and above with a BHRC handicap of Grade 1 or above.   Mare owners must be members of the club at the date the entries close.  SHRC members do not need to reside in Scotland. The Oakwood Stud Mares’ Pacing Series will be limited to the top 12 BHRC handicapped mares which enter, with the handicap mark to be determined on the date the nominations close (Friday 9th June).   The series will consist of 6 legs, with the first 3 legs run as open preferred handicaps in two lines as per the BHRC handicap system (lowest earnings drawn 1, highest earnings drawn 8) and the remaining 3 legs run as open preferred handicaps in two lines based on monies won within the series.   The series will culminate with a £1500 purse final for the top 8 highest earners in the series, with the winner receiving £1000 as well as a rug and trophy also sponsored by Oakwood Stud. Derek Delaney, speaking on behalf of Oakwood Stud, was quick to get on board with the idea: “We love to be involved in great start up ideas in UK & Irish Harness racing from the beginning and we believe there needs to be more racing for the mares and love the idea of them racing their own sex as older mares and not only juvenile stakes racing.  When Sarah Thomas told me her thoughts, I was immediately interested in supporting her forward thinking.” Each of the 12 mares will be guaranteed 4 runs in the series should they enter for all of the legs, with the purse for each leg set at £550.  The nomination fee to stake a mare is £150, with the entry fee for each leg being £40.  The final will be run in two lines with all 8 mares to ballot for position. The order of priority for the first leg will be the top 8 BHRC handicapped mares; any mares returned from the first leg will take priority for the second leg. The order of priority for the remaining legs will be as follows: Any mares returned from the previous leg; Mares with the lowest number of runs within the series; Mares with the lowest earnings within the series; Highest BHRC handicap mark. The idea for the series stemmed from the success of the three STAGBI Future Broodmares races staged at Corbiewood in 2016.  All three races were fully subscribed and provided competitive and thrilling finishes in the open preferred handicap format.  In 2017 there will be a maximum of two STAGBI Future Broodmares races sponsored by STAGBI, which will supplement the mares’ series. Further details of the series will be published via the SHRC and BHRC websites and social media pages in due course, however if anybody has any queries regarding the series, please contact Sarah Thomas. by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink

OFFALY, Ireland - It has been announced by Derek and James Delaney of Oakwood Stud in Ireland, that they will be standing the French trotter, Rachmaninov Seven, for the 2017 breeding season. It will be the first time a French trotter has ever stood in Ireland. Acquired in a lease arrangement from his owner in Belgium, Rachmaninov Seven is a 12-year-old stallion sired by Korean from the Pelican Du Pont mare, Indiana Of The Bridge. Korean is also the sire of world champion racehorse Sebastian K. "We hope to have Rachmaninov Seven at Oakwood Stud by mid-March," said Derek Delaney. "It's great news for Oakwood to get involved in the breeding of French trotting horses here and to bring a horse of his calibre to the quality broodmares that have been bought in France for Ireland and the UK." The resulting foals from the 2017 season at Oakwood Stud will be eligible to all of the LeTrot Series in both Ireland and the UK plus they will be eligible to race not only in France, but throughout Europe. Rachmaninov Seven made 55 career starts with 12 wins, six second and four third place finishes with earnings of €418,975 and a record of 1.11.9 at 2175 meters. He was victorious in the Prix D'Angouleme, Prix Joseph Aveline, Prix De Clermont-Ferrand, Prix Magimnus and the Prix Bernard Le Quellec, all raced at Vincennes, Paris. He is owned by Lieven de Groot and is being leased from Star Breeding Company. 2017 will be the fourth season standing stud for Rachmaninov Seven. "His oldest foals are now three," Delaney said. "And the trainers are all talking good things about the ones they have training in Belgium. Delaney said they have not yet set a stud fee price for Rachmaninov Seven. "This is a win win situation for all of us." Delaney added. "The revitalization of the trotter here in Ireland and the UK over the last year thanks to the arrangements made with LeTrot in France is outstanding and growing by leaps and bounds." By Steven Wolf, for Oakwood Stud    

Going to Ireland truly made me realize why I love the sport of harness racing- it is the people. I will never ever forget the people, their kindness and their passion for the sport. They made me more passionate. I got to meet people from all around the world and I came home with new found friendships. As I reflect on my trip to Ireland as a whole, the words that come to mind are: amazing, unforgettable, surreal and overwhelming and the phrase "it was the trip of a lifetime" is an understatement. Having the opportunity to go to Ireland to attend the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Racing Weekend (VDM) is an experience I will always remember and cherish. I was invited over to Ireland to attend the VDM by the Delaney family, who organize the weekend. I was able to get to Ireland with help from a sponsorship from Mr. Ed James of SSG Gloves and my friend Bill Galvin. I will be forever grateful for to them for their generosity. I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time. This would be my first trip outside of North America. My trip become somewhat real for me the night before my parents and I were scheduled to leave. I still could not believe what is happening. My mom packs the last few things and makes the final preparations. She sews my SSG Gloves patch on the sleeve of my colors. I try to contain my excitement, so I decide to go to bed to get some sleep so I could be well rested for the upcoming days. As hard as it was I did my best to fall asleep with the excitement of the week to come bouncing about in my head. The next day I wake up filled with pure joy. I had been anticipating this day and now it had arrived. It was departure day! August 9th- a date I will always remember. We walk through the doors of the airport. Only now did I realize that in a couple of hours I would be on a plane bound for Ireland. I find my seat and settle in for my flight. The time passes moderately fast. Ireland is the only thing on my mind. My mom suggests I have a nap. I tried to close my eyes a few times. I am too thrilled to be going on this trip to sleep. So, I sit silently dreaming of the days to come. Before I know it, we land in Ireland, it was 5:30 in the morning, local time. Normally, I would complain about how early it was. But, I was so thrilled to be in Ireland I did not care about the time, I did not even feel tired. The Delaney family started the Vincent Delaney Memorial as a single race in memorial in honor of their late loved one, Vincent, who shared the love for harness racing. He tragically passed away at age 26 in 2011. Since then the Vincent Delaney Memorial has grown into a full two-day event. It has become a major racing event for fans to watch and a prestigious event to win. At the hotel, I try my first Guinness that very evening, thank you to Steve Wolf for making the memory; because when in Ireland, do as the Irish do. It was not my favorite, I guess that means I will have to go to Ireland and try it again. That night I went to bed looking very forward to my first full day in Ireland. The next morning, I wake up filled with joy, I just know it is going it to be an amazing day. We travel through downtown Dublin in a horse drawn carriage. I feel so fancy and privileged. Dublin is a beautiful city, full of charm and history. We stop at a local pub right next to the Guinness factory for some drinks. With the exception of a few people in the pub, it is all people involved in the Vincent Delaney Memorial Racing Weekend. Everyone was laughing and sharing stories. Within the pub was the who's who for international harness racing. The atmosphere is cozy and it feels like I am home, where I belong. Then, again we were off, this time bound for a restaurant for lunch. After lunch, I had the opportunity to see do some exploring on foot in the Temple Bar District. Temple Bar is a very tourist ordinated area. It has a lively atmosphere, all of the buildings are brightly colored and the streets were lined with cobblestones. I go to a couple of shops and pick up some souvenirs. This is where I see my first Leprechaun, and yes, they do exist. My first full day in Dublin is complete. The day was better than anything I ever imagined. I could not wait to see what the next day would bring. That night I went to bed with a smile on my face and my dreams were retracing my steps because I did not want to forget a single moment. The next day, I board the bus and head for the Irish countryside. As the bus rolls and weaves through the winding roads, my gaze is glued to the window beside me. The countryside is so picturesque, with what appears to look like never ending fields, and walls of stones that lined the road. Before long the bus pulls into Oakwood Stud. The farm is beautiful. I walk into the main barn and all the horses look out happily and greet me. There is one filly - Oakwood Delight, who I walk to, and we bond instantly. She cuddles with me, blowing in my ear. She did not want me to leave her. Every time I go to step away to go and see the next horse, Oakwood Delight sticks her head out and draws me back in. Oakwood Stud has the world- renowned stallion Foreclosure N. He is gorgeous and has regal presence about him. His dapples glisten in the late morning sun. Then everyone walks to where an oak tree is planted in memory of Vincent Delaney. There are also plaques commemorating the honored guest over the years, I could feel something special about this spot as the 2016 plaque was unveiled. After that everyone travels to the other farm owned by Oakwood Stud which is home to their mares and foals. James Delaney was kind and took Roger Huston and myself in the field in his car. As we pull into the field, all of the mares and their foals came over to the car. That is one of the most unique experiences I have ever had. The mares and their foals investigate the car and were sticking their heads in the windows, seeing if I had any treats to give them. I had none, but stroking their faces seem to suffice. Then everyone is treated to a delicious lunch at a local pub down the road, where the best vegetable soup I have ever had was served. After visiting Oakwood Stud, I had the incredibly special opportunity to go to Cari's Closet; a dress shop in Dublin, to pick out a dress for the VDM kick off gala dinner that was taking place the following evening. Thanks to Chris and Lisa Kavanagh, the staff of Cari's Closet and Lillian and Lexi Delaney. The dress I pick out was a fuchsia- raspberry in color. It is a truly stunning dress. The dress is a gift and to top it all off, Cari's Closet even gave me the accessories to go with my dress. In my dress I feel like a princess, it is another memory that adds to my Ireland fairy-tale. The following evening is the VDM Kick-Off Gala, which means it is time for me to put on my dress and get ready for the gala. I still remember the joy I felt when I put my dress on. Then, I went downstairs to get my hair and makeup done, thanks to Lillian Delaney, I feel so glamorous. At the gala, I meet more friends and pictures are taken. I walk by the table where the items that were to be auctioned off later in the evening were sitting. The memorabilia that is being auctioned off is amazing. There are sets of colors and horse memorabilia, such as halters. The night is splendid. I get to watch Irish dancing, which is magnificent. After the auction Roger Huston comes to chat about the night so far, and hands me a gift, a set of colors. The colors were that of the legendary driver Dave Palone. Thank you so much Roger Huston for giving such a special gift. Today, those colors are proudly hanging in my room. I will forever cherish and treasure them. I consider it a true honor to have the colors of such an iconic individual. That night there were many unforgettable memories made. It was truly a night I will always remember. I did not want to forget a minute of what happened. One of the highlights was getting to dance with World Driving Champion Dexter Dunn. Someone even video taped Dexter and I dancing https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByButnVgha-qY2FQV1lTeFpQTVk/view?usp=drive_web. With that, I fell as sleep. The next two days were going to be spent at Portmarnock Raceway watching the races. It is Saturday morning and the bus pulls into Portmarnock Raceway. There is a sense of excitement in the air, it feels like a special day and it is. I walk through the grandstand and I am in awe. The grandstand and track were both beautiful. I open my program and flip to the first race; I am stunned. The programs are very different than what I am used to seeing, the major difference was this program has a picture of the driver's colors but no racing lines for the horses. I really like seeing the driver's colors and this made the program much more fun to read. I walk through the grandstand; the atmosphere draws me and fills me with happiness and awe. It is difficult to put into words because it is just so amazing and unique, so special. The passion is so heartwarming. The Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Racing Weekend is something a person just has to experience in order to fully comprehend what passion for harness racing is. The grandstand gets busy and the bookmakers are setting up. Their bright colored umbrellas marking their places. I take in the picturesque surroundings. That is one image that is forever stuck in my mind. The rosettes for the winners hang ready and waiting for an incredible day of racing. I sit along the fence and in the distance there is a white rod iron carriage. The carriage looks like it belongs to Cinderella and is decorated in pink. The horses, are wearing pink feathers. They trot along the fence and stop in front of me. Lillian Delaney then says to me: "This is the last surprise". I am speechless and feel truly special. Lillian, her daughter Lexi and Rihanna (Vincent Delaney's daughter), myself and some other harness racing princesses board the carriage and go for a tour of the track. I have a truly special time going around the track as so many racing fans are clapping for us, I get to see the grandstand from an entirely different perspective and I get to see the paddock. That is another major difference. The paddock at Portmarnock is the trailer you ship in with. There is no actual paddock barn. I was also told as a result everyone brings their own water. I am so surprised, and filled with a greater appreciation for their love of harness racing. As the first race drew near people rushed up to the bookmakers to place their bets. It is like nothing I have ever seen - it is incredible just to watch. People were yelling so the bookmaker would hear them and take their bets. Each bookmaker provides their own odds, some had electronic boards others have whiteboards. That was one unique things that was different than at home. The bookmakers add so much more hype to the scene. Oh, and there is only one type of bet - win. The passion people in Ireland have for the sport from both horsemen and fans is immeasurable and refreshing. Everyone in attendance is bounded by a common love for harness racing. One thing I find remarkable is the starting gate; I have never seen anything so unique. The gate is only five [horses] wide, but to be safe they only go three four wide except for the Free-For-All races. So, in most races there are three tiers. The first and second tiers have four horses each with the third tier having two three or four. This made the races even more interesting. Horses that start on the second and third tier do win. As the gate let the field go for the first race, the tiered field picks up speed, and everyone in the grandstand is cheering. I will never forget the warm and fuzzy feeling I got with everyone cheering around me. I felt at home, everyone cheers as loud as I do. Portmarnock Raceway is only a half mile track. The racing is intense, and like nothing I have ever seen. The style of driving is extraordinary. It is so different than what I am used to seeing. I did not understand how they do what they do sometimes; some of the moves they make blow my mind. I also see something I have not seen before, a driver with a whip in one hand and a stopwatch in other. The weekend features two international driving talents, acclaimed driver Dexter Dunn of New Zealand returned for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend; and winning driver Aaron Merriman of the United States attended for his first time. There was also races which featured trotters from France. They are interesting to watch as French trotters also go the opposite way than what I am used to. They raced clockwise in one event, the distance they race is also longer. The famous announcer Roger Huston and United Kingdom commentator Darren Owen would share announcing duties. The first day of racing features the eliminations of both the fillies and the colts divisions of the Vincent Delaney Memorial, with the finals being held the following day. The long wait of anticipation is over, as the fillies make their way to the track. Everyone is as close to the fence as they can get; all eyes are on the fillies. I take a quick glance at each of the driver's faces as they pass by. They are focused, and the filly which they sit behind mirrors their determination to win. Everyone wants to race in the final, but only a few will have the chance to do so. The voice of Roger Huston echoes over the speakers as the fillies go to the gate. The fillies take up their positions, the gate lets them go and the crowd cheers. My eyes are gripped on the track as the fillies battle it out. Dirt flies and the thunderous pounding of hooves hitting the track gets louder, as does the cheering. The fillies whiz past me- they are at the half. They race around the track for the second time, as quick as the field disappears, they reappear. The fillies' hooves look as though they barely make contact with the track as they pace. I start screaming as loud as I could; drivers are urging their horses in every way they can, and fans are smacking their programs. With one final stride the fillies cross the wire. Then it is time for the boys to face off. The colts step on the track, all of them want to come back and race again tomorrow. The colts score out, their drivers in tow. They move behind the gate and pick up speed. The colts captivate my attention. Drivers lean back in the seat of their bikes. Screams echo around me, I am solely concentrating on the race. The colts cross the wire with same powerful presence they had displayed through the entire race. The battle is intense and I am entranced. The look in the colts' eyes all reflect determination; how much they want to be in the final, they battle until the end and they cross the finish line. That is it for today. It was a day of spectacular racing, all of the rosettes and trophies had been handed out, and the display where they once were is empty, waiting for more rosettes and trophies to take their place. The next morning I return to Portmarnock Raceway. I am eager for another special day. Today the winners of the 2016 Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend would be crowned. It is a special day so in spirit of the occupation everyone dresses up. It is known as "Ladies Day". Everyone looks fancy. I wore my yellow dress and of course a fancy hat. My hat was perfect for the occasion- it is horse themed; and I made it. There are horses on the brim standing in a field which is actually green felt; and to top it all off there is a mini trophy on top. Yes, it is a little heavy to wear. As the day begins more and more people file in. Although I did not think it was possible there is even more enthusiasm and passion than the day before. Everyone, including myself is thinking the same question: Who will win the 2016 Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial races? Walking through the grandstand I am further inspired by the love and passion, everyone was socializing and just enjoying the day. I had the honor of being interviewed by Darren Owen. Mr. Owen asks me a variety of questions: about why I love for harness racing, my experience in Ireland so far and what racing back home [in Canada] is like. It gives time to reflect on how blessed I feel. I truly love the atmosphere here, it provides so much joy to me. As I continue to walk through the grandstand I see the cutest sight. There are four young lads (I am in Ireland, I have picked up some of the language), all wearing driving colors. Seeing this warms my heart. This further demonstrates the passion everyone over here has. No matter what their age, the passion for harness racing is the same. As part of Ladies' Day there are a variety of categories in relation to being dressed up; including Best Dressed Couple, Lady, Man and Best Hat. It is a great and fun idea and the contests add even more ways to celebrate the special day. It made the day even greater when they announced that I won the Best Hat Competition. The closer it got to the finals the more enthusiastic I become. It all comes down to this. Whoever crosses the finish line first will be the winner of 2016 Vincent Delaney Memorial Filly Final. As the fillies and their driver's circle the track in preparation everyone watches and listens to Roger Huston announce each filly's presence. All of the fans in the grandstand wait with baited breath as the fillies turn for the gate. My heart begins to beat faster and faster as the field picks up speed. I watch as the fillies' battle it out with a little help from their driver's. The crowd yells in encouragement. I scream as loud I can. As they turn for home, the crowd becomes deafening. With one final stride the fillies push past the wire with grace. One filly and her driver has written their name in Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial history, that being I B Coyote driven by Dexter Dunn. The final for the colts holds the same captivation and exhilaration as the filly's final had. The screams boom like thunder in the afternoon sun. Dirt flies and the whips of drivers crack. As the wire draws near, with one final gallant stride the colts cross and the winner for the 2016 Vincent Delaney Memorial Final is crowned. The colts and gelding final goes to celebrity pacer Tyrion Hanover. This Winner's Circle was something truly special. The connections were over the moon. They also happen to be Facebook friends, and I had not had a chance to meet them yet, and being a part of their Winner's Circle was the perfect way to do so. During the Winner Circle celebration, the driver of Tyrion Hanover, Richard Haythornwaite, turned to me, introduced himself and said "I want you to have this", handing me his whip. I was honored to be given this special memento, it is something I will always cherish. I will never forget the pure joy I am filled with as I stood back in admiration as the connections celebrated in the Winner's Circle. I felt special and blessed to be a part of the celebrations. Helping the Delaney family hand out rosettes throughout the day was an honor and a thrill. Seeing the look of excitement and gratitude as I handed the winning connections their rosette was such a rewarding experience, one which I will never forget. I am blessed to be given rosettes from winning connections, it was very kind of them. I felt honored that they wanted me to have them. Everyone gathers in the grandstand one more time. It is here I get to talk with the connections of Tyrion Hanover. They give me a hat with "Tyrion Hanover" inscribed on the front. As the second day of racing comes to a close, it marks the end of another Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend and everyone look forwards next year's race at the same time in the late summer at the same track. The Delaney family memorialized Vincent- someone who loved horses and harness racing in the greatest way. Not only are they keeping his memory alive, but they bring people together and create friendships and lifelong memories. They have built something which is full of passion for everything that is great about harness racing. As I left Portmarnock on Sunday, I began to realize that my trip to Ireland was slowly coming to a close as on Tuesday morning I would board a plane bound for Canada and that meant going back to reality. But, it was not Tuesday yet! On Monday I decide to go sightseeing, do a little more shopping and see the Irish seaside. When I return to the hotel, I go into the restaurant to socialize. There, I see Derek Delaney and we chat and then he says he has something to give me on behalf of Dexter Dunn. Out of his pocket Derek pulls out a pair white gloves, Mr. Dunn's driving gloves. I am speechless, in awe and honored. Today, those gloves proudly hang above my bed. As we pack to go home, and I put my treasures in my suitcase, I begin to realize that my week in this magical place is coming to a close. The week felt like it happened in the blink of an eye. So many memories had been created in a short amount of time. This story is only a small snapshot of my magical time in Ireland. This story does not even begin to describe my experience, no story I could write would ever do it justice. I have said it before and I will say it again: going to the Vincent Delaney Memorial is something everyone who has a passion for harness racing needs to experience. I could not pick just one favorite memory. All of the memories I made in Ireland are my favorite, and they all hold a special place in my heart. The week I was in Ireland felt like one continuous dream that I can relieve through pictures that were captured truly amazing memories forever frozen in time. To this day, I still hear the thunderous echo of the crowds cheering. Every now and again I even watch the replays from the finals to fill my heart with the warm nostalgia being in Ireland. Going to Ireland changed my life; although I may be Canadian, a little piece of me will forever be Irish. I hope to return to Dublin again one day to experience the magic all over again. There are not enough words of thanks I could say to Derek and Lillian Delaney, the VDM Committee and Steve Wolf, who made our trip to Ireland possible and everyone who made this dream a reality. Sydney Weaver is 16 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, groom's horses, jogs them on the track, owns both a Standardbred and a Thoroughbred racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.

WALES, UK - The annual Brightwells Mixed Standardbred Sale set records on Monday with a total of £254,940. This was significantly more than the £164,700 spent in 2015, with the top 10 yearlings on Monday averaging £17,900. The sale topper and rightly so was the dark bay colt, Matticulous. This son of Hasty Hall topped the sale at Brightwells with a winning bid of £32,000. Matticulous is the full brother of champion pacer Titanium and a half-brother to champion Miraculous. He was purchased by the BKB Racing Syndicate of Wales, UK. It was Derek and James Delaney's Oakwood Stud's Oakwood Playboy who created a great deal of interest and was the second highest priced yearling at £30,000.. This yearling by McArdle was snapped up by Joel Richard's Wye Stud Farm in Herefordshire. "I think that the sale was of a very high standard across the board." Said Oakwood Stud's Derek Delaney. "The quality of yearlings was the best I have seen for sale in the UK. The market for well-bred yearlings is on the up. I will definitely be bringing some fantastic prospects to Brightwells in 2017". Oakwood Stud's four yearlings was the best average of the breeding farms this year at £13,475. Rhyds Farm was second with seven selling for and average of £11,385 while the average total yearling price this year at Brightwells was £7,541. The Rhyds Farm yearlings, as ever, were very popular and Rhyds Shoofly was the top sell filly at £19,000. She is sired by Hasty Hall and is a half-sister to last year's sales topper and champion two-year-old this season, Rhyds Ideal. Rhyds Shoofly was purchased by William Flanagan from the Meadowbranch Stud Farm in Ireland. To view the sales results go to http://www.brightwells.com/equine/horse-pony-sales/standardbred-sales-2017/past-results/standardbred-past-results-2016/ By Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink

Derek and James Delaney’s Oakwood Stud is ready for next week’s Brightwells Mixed Sale at Royal Welsh Showground in Builth, Wales with five top yearlings going into the auction ring.The sale takes place Monday, October 24 at 11:00 am. “This is just the beginning for us at Oakwood Stud,” said Derek Delaney. “We have five well-bred and great looking yearlings ready for the sale and by next year we will have maybe a dozen or so, many sired by our own Foreclosure N. It’s been a few years in developing but James and I are very proud of where Oakwood Stud is going.” The first Oakwood Stud yearling to head to the ring is Lot 50, Oakwood Playboy, a brown colt by McArdle from The Panderosa mare, Only Gossip. Oakwood Playboy is a full brother to McCedes p, 1:49.3 ($1.3 million); McCito p,1:52 ($125,000) and a full sister to the fastest mare in all of North America last year, Hot List p,1:48.2 ($405,000). Here is video of Oakwood Playboy https://youtu.be/4o2RL7a5pug. Next up is Lot 51, Oakwood Writeontime, a brown colt by Sportwriter from The Panderosa mare, Abbey Won. This mare has already produced nearly $2 million in winning foals including Bettors Glass, p,1:48.4 ($489,000); On The Glass p,1:49 ($757,000); Art Glass p,1:51.4 ($257,000) and Glass In The Sand p,1:53.4 ($54,000).  Abbey Won is also a full or half-sister to pacing greats Mystical Mike p,1:51.2; Manvers Short Cut p,1:51.3; Cut Throat p,1:51.3, Artistry p,1:53.1 and Major Glass p,1:53.4. Here is video on Oakwood Writeontime https://youtu.be/2CATrEAj5NY. Next up for Oakwood Stud in the sale is Lot 65, Oakwood Ideal, a bay colt by Western Ideal from the Jenna’s Beach Boy mare, Dreamlands Hardie. Oakwood Ideal is a full or half-brother to top performers Livestrong p,1:50.4 ($572,000); Mylivmylife p,1:50.4 ($450,000); Dreamlands Latte p,1:52.3 ($226,000). Of Dreamlands Hardie’s last 11 foals, 8 have all been winners at age 2. Here is video on Oakwood Ideal https://youtu.be/jWxvQKMhflE. Lot 66 features Oakwood Spur, who is a bay colt sired by Share The Delight from the Life Sign mare, Olympic Sign, whose dam was none other than the great world champion mare, Nadia Lobell p3,1:53.4 and over $1 million in earnings. Oakwood Spur is a brother to Brooklyn’s Best p,1:52.4 ($150,000) and Signs of Terror p,1:57.3. Here is video on Oakwood Spur https://youtu.be/4s8ylm-sNRs. The last of the Oakwood Stud consignment is Lot 67 and the lone filly of the group, Oakwood Delight. This bay filly is sired by Share The Delight from the Four Starzzz Shark mare Oakwood Alanah. This is only the second foal from Oakwood Alanah, whose damn, Eternal Prophecy is a full sister to Immortality p,1:51.2 ($1.6 million) and the dam of top foals Captain Mo p,1:51.2 ($500,000) and McGwire p,1:53.2 ($250,000). Here is video of Oakwood Delight https://youtu.be/v50SmjrvK8w. It should be noted that all Oakwood yearlings bred by USA stallions have been staked well in North America. Just a reminder for those of you that cannot be at the sale that you can bid by telephone or by leaving a commission. For more information email to welsh@brightwells.comhttp://www.brightwells.com/media/2395/commission-form.pdf “After the great results at the York Raceway Sale two weeks ago,” Delaney said, “We feel that Brightwells will be very strong. And with so many additional racing opportunities and raised purses for young horses next year, we think the yearlings this season could break all the sales records.” By Steve Wolf, for Oakwood Stud

A night of Classic Racing is due to take place at Tir Prince Raceway this Saturday night. The BHRC Classic races namely The Pacing Futurity for 2 Year Olds and The BHRC Derby and Oaks Divisions are races that are steeped in history of over 50 years. The first BHRC Derby was held at Prestatyn Raceway in 1964 and was won by Ranger Cob owned by Noel Simpson and trained and driven by Trevor Payne. Over recent years the numbers for both races have dwindled but in the off season the BHRC and Tir Prince Management held a meeting and the Classic Races and how to revitalize them was top of the agenda. It was decided that the colts and fillies would definitely be split in the hope that this would reassure fillies owners that if they entered they would not end up racing the colts. A new staking program was also devised and sponsorship was secured from two prominent studs namely The Rhyds Stud in Wales for The Futurity and The Oakwood Stud in Ireland for The Derby. The horse owners gave the new format a huge thumbs up when the entries came around with forty two horses entering The Futurity consisting of 23 Colts and 19 Fillies this was up from sixteen in 2015 and represented a 162% increase. The Derby nominees numbers were up by 38% from 18 to 25 nominees with 13 Colts and 12 Fillies being the split. The additional numbers and the new staking program in addition to the sponsorship means that the total purses for these classic races combined is £21,794 which is a real boost to juvenile racing in The UK and Ireland. So who are the main protagonists? In The Rhyds Stud Fillies Futurity Rhyds Mystique has been a revelation for the Elvin family bred in North Wales by The Race Sponsors this filly is pure class and will be strongly fancied to add this classic race to her ever expanding resume. Greenhill Debatable has finished runner up on several occasions this year and she could give the favourite most to do. In The Rhyds Stud Colts Futurity Johhny Camden has found form when it matters taking the Breeders Crown and The Junior Welsh Dragon in his last two runs. Rhyds Decoy was flying early season but a bout of sickness resulted in an enforced layoff just before his season was about to take off proper. If he is anywhere near back to his best he will give Johnny Camden most to think about. In The Oakwood Stud Oaks Jessie's Conquest is unbeaten at Tir Prince and the mile and a half distance shouldn't pose any problem for the daughter of Arts Conquest. Porcelain Seelster is an excellent filly in her own right and has simply been unfortunate to be a three year old in the same season as a horse as special as Jessie's Conquest. In The Oakwood Stud Derby Miraculous has lived up to his name so far in his three year old career he is three from three from the track and paced 1.56.9 for the mile here in August smashing the three year old track record and being on seven tenths of a second outside of the all age track record. Party At The Spa and Arts Place Hill are both top quality three year olds an champions in their own right and will be looking to capitalise if the favourite has an off day. It should be noted that the one and a half mile track record for three year olds of 3.4.4 which has stood for 11 years is under serious threat here from this quality field. The last race of the night if The Billy Williams Memorial Free For All this race is in memory of the gentleman who built this track The late Billy Williams father of current owner Adam Williams. Billy was a visionary when it came to harness racing and one only has to look at the track to see that he wanted the very best for harness racing in the UK and Ireland, we can only wonder where harness racing would be in this country today had the internet been around when Billy first built the track it is fair to say that he was probably twenty years ahead of his time. A stellar field of six runners go to post and Lyons Mischief fresh from his win at Tregaron will be favourite especially if he gets a good draw. Brywinsmagicpotion is another class act but is returning from a lay off and may come on for the run. First race post time is 7:00 pm. by Eric Witherspoon for Tir Prince

Two of the sports biggest breeding operations in all of harness racing, Hanover Shoe Farms in North America and Alabar Stud in Australia/New Zealand, have both signed on as new sponsors for the 6th annual Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend (VDM) in Ireland for 2017. In addition, Diamond Creek Farm and Joe Bellino Racing Stable in the USA, PJI Engineering and Oakwood Stud in Ireland, have all “re-upped” their race sponsorships for the big race weekend. The Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend is the creation of Derek and James Delaney of Offlay, Ireland, who is 2012, a year after the tragic death of their younger brother Vincent, decided to have a memorial race in his honor. Little did they know that their weekend honoring their lost brother would develop into the richest harness racing stakes event in all of Ireland and the UK. “My brother James and I look back at what we’ve done with our brothers race in just four years,” said Derek Delaney. “And it blows us away. We have a VDM Committee who is the backbone of our big weekend and now we hire some outside agency’s to help us. It’s amazing. We know that Vincent is very proud of what we have done in his memory.” Hanover Shoe Farms is the leading money earning breeding farm in racing and they are now the title sponsor of the Vincent Delaney Memorial Colt Pace for two-year-olds. The icing on the cake for Hanover Shoe Farms management may have been after Tyrion Hanover, a son of Somebeachsomewhere, won the VDM colt division on August 14. He was purchased at Hanover’s Harrisburg Sale at a yearling and flown back to the UK. “Murray (Brown) came back with great enthusiasm about the weekend in Ireland.” Jim Simpson, president of Hanover Shoe Farms. “He told me how they are in it for the love of Horse Racing...not the money. The sponsorship was available so we took it. We sponsor races in Lexington, Meadowlands, The Hambletonian, The Little Brown Jug, Chester, The Meadows, Pocono Downs, UK and Germany.  So why not Ireland?” Simpson said that he is already planning on coming to Ireland next year for the VDM Weekend. The Diamond Creek Farm VDM filly division is being sponsored for the second straight year by Diamond Creek Farm and the Adam Bowden Family. “It was an easy decision.” Bowden said. “After going to Ireland for the 2016 edition of the VDM Memorial we were blown away by the hospitality of the Irish people as well as the Delaney family. “Joining a grassroots movement is addicting, Bowden explained, “and being part of something great is what we are all about. Diamond Creek Farm wants to be involved in events that showcase the greatness of Standardbred racing both at home in the US as well as abroad. Derek Delaney, single-handedly has energized the sport in that region and we could not be more excited about the what the future will bring. “How could you not be entirely blown away over there?” Bowden said. “You can see the event in pictures or follow Heather Vitale's live Facebook posts, but being there in person is an out of this world experience. My wife and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity and the generosity shown by everyone we came in contact with. “I grew up going to the races in Maine (especially the Cumberland Fair in my hometown),” Bowden added, “and being at Portmarnock Raceway was like being transported back in time to 1985 when I was a little kid and reliving my first harness racing experiences where everything was novel and new. It was grassroots racing at its finest.” The VDM is the world’s most rugged race for two-year-olds, requiring the young horses to race Saturday in elimination divisions and then return Sunday for their respective finals in the one-mile race. “We even have sponsors now for the VDM elimination races,” Derek Delaney added. “Clive and Anne Dalton from Australia have signed on and are guaranteeing that each elimination division for both the colts and fillies will race for €2,000 each.”    Alabar Stud, the largest breeding operation down under with 28 stallions in Australia and New Zealand, is now co-sponsoring the Alabar-Oakwood Derby for three-year-old pacers. This race calls for the same format as the VDM, eliminations Saturday (if necessary) and the finals on Sunday. The race is also at a one-mile distance.   And, with the Alabar sponsorship, there will also be a filly division for the 3YO Derby in 2017. Alan Galloway, owner and director of Alabar Stud, was in Ireland for the VDM Weekend this past August and was infatuated with everything he saw. “It was my first time in Ireland for the VDM,” said Galloway, “And what a show they put on. Just a fantastic race weekend. So much excitement. So much passion for the sport that I knew Alabar had to get involved again. “We actually were sponsors when the first Breeders Crown UK & Ireland came about over ten years ago.” Galloway said. “We were invited to come over and help them and the Ireland improve racing. I met and worked with its president, David Wilson, when he first developed the Breeders Crown series. We bred over 100 mares back then,” Galloway said. “We sent over Village Jasper, Armbro Operative and Safely Kept. It was very difficult getting all the approvals from the government but we got it done. Many of the horses racing there now are from their offspring’s. “I was really taken back this year,” Galloway said. “The Irish are such lovely people. Everything that Derek Delaney and his brother have done to promote this weekend is fantastic. Their story is very moving, so emotional, it’s what we at Alabar want to be part of.” Another major sponsor, smitten by coming to the VDM this year, was Joe Bellino and his family, all eight of them. The Bellino Racing Stable in the USA had agreed to sponsor the Rocknroll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace this year and was so enthralled with the entire Ireland experience, Joe re-upped for 2017 even before he came home. “It was the way the people in racing there embraced my family,” Joe Bellino said. “And their deep love for the sport that convinced me to want to sponsor the race again. The way they celebrated a win with cheering and excitement. It’s just the same way I am whether racing for $100 purse or $500,000. It was also great to see and feel it firsthand. “In some way in North America we have lost our way with that sort of enthusiasm.” Bellino explained. “It’s almost like the people who win are used to winning and have come to expect it. That’s why I really appreciated the Hambo this year as it was great to see and feel the passion for our sport just as they do in Ireland.” PJI Engineering of England, one of the largest metal fabricators in all of the UK and Ireland, has come back on board as the sponsor of the Junior FFA Pace. “I first met Derek and James in 2015,” explained Paul Johnson, owner of PJI Engineering in England, “and he was telling me the story on Vincent and the passion the two of them have for the sport is unbelievable. “These two are trying there utmost to take this sport to the next level,” Johnson said, “and the VDM has done so. This is an event that everyone looks forward to every year now, and it gets better every year. Let's not forget the charity's they give to as well. We look forward to be a part of the VDM for many years to come!” With new and renewed sponsorship support coming from around the world, Derek and James Delaney are putting the money right back into their big race weekend. “Because of the great growth of sponsors for the VDM Weekend,” Derek Delaney said, “we will be able in 2017 to also expand the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial for four-year-olds to both a horse and mare divisions with Yirribee Stud in Australia taking on as sponsor of the mare division and there will be an increase in purse for the Elvin-Delaney Invitation Le Trot race. This is all so grand! “We now have many of the world’s leading harness racing breeders, owners, trainer, drivers, announcers and journalists coming to Ireland for the VDM.” Delaney added, “It’s hard to imagine that just five years ago we raced for €20,000 ($25,000US) in total purses that first year and now in 2017 the weekend will feature more than €100,000 ($127,000US) in purses. “The VDM has become a major success story to have the biggest breeding farms in the world sponsoring our brothers memorial weekend” Delaney added, “and it's also a major step in the right direction for our breeders, owners, trainers and drivers that they can now breed and sell, train or own horses that has real earning potential in juvenile racing and more! “When you have Alan Galloway and Alabar Farms, Joe Bellino and his Bellino Racing Stables, Jim Simpson & Murray Brown of Hanover shoe Farms, Adam Bowden and Diamond Creek Farms, Rod Woodhouse of Yirribee Stud Australia, all willing to advise and sponsor us and help improve the breeding in Ireland and the UK.” Said Delaney. “We all know this can only mean a very strong future for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend and a very bright future for our Oakwood Stud.” Delaney added, “We have been a major factor in the racing and breeding in Ireland and the UK and I believe our Standardbreds will become world class in the future. Ireland has a history for producing the best gallopers in the world, so why can't we in Ireland and UK not be the best producers of Standardbreds in the world or at least one of the best! “We are also working with Sire Stakes Ireland and the Breeders Crown UK and Ireland, bricking and building stronger with devoted people like my brother James Delaney, Bernie Kelly, Dave Wilson, Jackie Mann, Thomas Bennett and others. It's all going to complement our events and others stakes. It’s going to be something special how our racing will be growing in the next two to three years’ time, getting stronger year on year. “Maybe most important about all of this,” Delaney said, “is the great new friends we have made over the years that will last a lifetime.” For more information, visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com. The dates for the 2017 Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend are Saturday and Sunday, August 12 and 13. By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend   

WEST CORK, Ireland - The two day Red John Memorial Weekend is drawing closer and the post draws were held on Tuesday night in The Harbour Bar Leap. Two-day harness racing meet takes place Saturday and Sunday at "The Cornfield Oval" in Manch. The Red John Memorial handicap is the feature of the weekend with five elimination heats on the Saturday and the Grand Final on Sunday. Prize money has increased to €5000  (€3500 last year) and 40 pacers will contest the five heats. Heat One looks wide open .Dublin raider ON TOP JEREMYS JET will be fancied along with another Dublin runner FAIR ENOUGH but BRYWINS STARSHIP and FAIRDAYS BRET can keep the flag flying for West Cork. Heat Two is another wide open affair with RINGO LADY ,THE HITMAN ,MR SECURITY and MEADOWBRANCH MILLI all locking horns in this . Heat Three will see RHYDS COBBLER start as favourite but ARMOURED BEAR will have his first outing in the handicap proper for owner John Boyle whose stock have been in top form .Throw in IB MAXIMUS and SAUNDERS PICASSO into the mix for another top class heat . Heat four has the big grey horse COOL NIGHT AYR who finished second at Portmarnock at the VDM off pole position a repeat of that form should be enough to see off SREAMSIDE STAR and THE GOVENOR . Heat five SUNNYSIDE KILDARE going for the big Summer handicap double .A winner of The Paddy Connolly Memorial at Ballabuidhe this son of Bear Dance will have to be at his best to account for RHYDS TRIXTER,RINGO KID ,RHYDS RAMBLER and MAXIMUS LAD The PJI Engineering Free For All could develop into a battle between MEADOWBRANCH ROMEO and his half brother MEADOWBRANCH DEMON but RHYDS DESTINY a winner last day here in Manch and Grand Prix winner HAIL SPARTACUS waiting in the wings . Last years Red John Handicap winner RINGO STAR could also cause an upset . The Anthony Russell Memorial Clockwise trot and and a Grade G /G1 pace make up the remainder of Saturdays card. On Sunday there is something for everyone. The Gold and Silver divisions of the Le Trot Grand Criterium Grass trotting feature the French trotters with nine runners in each. There are two saddle races a grade G and a Grade G1 pace. The Oakwood Stud sponsored Irish Three Year Old Grass Pacing Championship has attracted a select six runner field. LAKEVIEW PANAM and HILLSIDE AURELOIUS both won impressively here last day out and must be fancied . IB A MAGICAN has been coming on nicely for the in form IB Stables .COALFORD BRUCE won as he liked in Aberystwyth but has disappointed on his two runs since that win in Wales back in July .MEADOBRANCH ROMAN won the sire stakes in Portmarnock but a virus has curtailed his preparation while BRYWINS MAGICAN represents the Delaney Brothers who sponsor the race. The Red John Memorial final brings the curtain down on a weekend that has already seen record entries for record prize money. Action at "The Cornfield Oval" in Manch has a 2.30 start on both days. To view the post positions for the week visist www.harnessracingcork.com/entries.html.  by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

WEST CORK, Ireland - The harness racing community from all over Ireland will converge on the famous "Cornfield Oval" in Manch next weekend 20th & 21st August for the 2016 Red John Memorial Festival of Racing . And to add an international flavor, visitors from the USA and Australia who have been attending the Vincent Delaney Memorial meeting in Portmarnock will see harness racing on the grass turf for the first time, taking in the festival as part of their tour of Ireland "Red" John O'Donovan, who was an integral part of harness racing here in West Cork, died tragically in January 2015 and following a successful memorial day last year, the hard working committee have organised a two-day event which has attracted entries from Cork, Limerick, Clare, Dublin and as far away as Louth and Donegal. The feature of the weekend will be The Red John Memorial Handicap. This will consist of five heats on Saturday with two horses set to qualify for the Grand final on Sunday. Sunnyside Kildare, who won the Connolly Memorial at the Ballabuidhe will be out to complete a big Summer Handicap double, but he will have plenty of fancied runners including Coalford Hardy, Fairdays Bret, Brywins Starship, Armoured Bear, Springhill Doyle and many more to try and deny him the famous double. A new addition to this years program is The Oakwood Stud three year old grass pacing championship. Meadowbrach Roman will start as favourite but there will be plenty of local runners including Hillside Aurelious, Lakeview Panam,IB A Magican and Coalford Bruce out to get the better of the Dublin based runner . The PJI Engineering Free For All Pace will be another highlight on finals day on Sunday . Eight of the best pacers are set to battle out this event with Rhyds Destiny, who seems to have come to form just at the right time starting as favourite .2015 horse of the year Cruise Howard lines up along with Grand Prix winner Hillside Spartacus. Ringo Kid has been lightly campaigned and must enter the calculations . The Le Trot series which has seen imported French trotters race here has been a huge success and thbee "Frenchies" only races are on the card. There is a full supporting program with in excess of €25,000 euro in prize money on offer . A donation from proceeds of the weekend will go to Motor Neuron Ireland . Off the track there will be plenty of entertainment for all the family. For the kids there will be free pony rides, bouncy castles, colouring competitions and face painting. The adults can relax in the marquee with bar and catering facilities on site and after racing live music at the track . Saturday night in The Leap Inn the DVD of the days racing will be shown with music and dancing . So all roads lead to Manch raceway for what promises to be a weekend to remember. Details of all entries can be got on www.harnessracingcork.com Racing has a 2.30 pm start time on both Saturday and Sunday. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink    

DUBLIN, Ireland - The biggest and richest race weekend in all of Ireland and Great Britain, the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial, is set to go Saturday and Sunday (August 13 & 14) at Portmarnock Raceway in Dublin. With a record number of 180 horses set to compete over the two days, the limelight will be on the Vincent Delaney Memorial (VDM), which is for two-year-old pacers. For the first time colts and fillies each have their own divisions to compete in. Both divisions drew 14 entries so two elimination divisions will take place Saturday with the top four official finishers returning Sunday afternoon for their respective finals. "It is the biggest and toughest challenge for any two-year-old in the sport." Said Derek Delaney, head of the VDM committee. "No other race weekend requires 2yos to race back to back days. But every year since 2012 our entry numbers increase by more than 10 percent. The VDM has become the race that everyone wants to win in Ireland and the UK." The race was developed by Derek and his brother, James Delaney, who own and operate Oakwood Stud, one of the top up and coming breeding facilities in Ireland, to honor the memory of their younger brother, Vincent, who tragically died of a massive heart attack at age 27 in 2011. The first colt division is the third race Saturday and is headed by recent Breeders Crown UK & Ireland winner Share A Smile (Pro Bono Best), Rhyds Rock Star (Hasty Hall) and Tyrion Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere). The second division is the fourth race featuring the super tough Rhyds Rival (Hasty Hall) taking on Benny Camden (Pro Bono Best) and Talavary Motivator (Crown Manhattan). The fillies get underway in the sixth race with Breeders Crown UK & Ireland winner Rhyds Mystique (Hasty Hall) the big favorite going against Greenhilldebatable (Well Said) and Coalford Honey (Coalford Laag). The Share The Delight filly, IB Coyote heads the seventh race second filly division against Cross Hill Ace (Cam's Card Shark) and Theladieslovejim (Big Jim). "We have many of the leading owners, breeders, drivers and trainers from around the world coming to Ireland this weekend." Derek Delaney said. "Our feature drivers are Aaron Merriman from the USA, who led the world with the most wins in 2015 and currently leads all drivers in 2016. Also here for the second straight year is New Zealand's Dexter Dunn, who wowed the crowd at the VDM last year and has been racing in Wales at Tir Prince Raceway the last ten days. "We also have Adam Bowden from Diamond Creek Farm in the USA," Delaney explained, "and they are sponsoring the inaugural VDM Filly Final. Top owner Joe Bellino of Rocknroll Heaven and Pet Rock fame is here from the USA with his entire family, Alan Galloway, the owner of Alabar Stud, the biggest breeders in all of Australia and New Zealand is here. World renowned trainers John McDermott from New Zealand and Joann Looney-King from the USA are all here for the VDM weekend." Additional major stakes events over the weekend include the Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-olds at 1.5 miles, the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial for four-year-olds, the RocknRoll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace that is sponsored by Joe Bellino, the Lee Edwards/PJI Engineering Junior FFA Pace and the Elvin-Delaney French FFA Trot. In the Oakwood Stud Derby, all eyes will be on last year's VDM winner, Miraculous and driver Patrick Kane, Jr. This year Miraculous has become the top three-year-old pacer of the year with five straight wins and last week set the track record at Tir Prince and prior to that took his lifetime mark of 1:55.9 at Portmarnock Raceway. "We have full fields in nearly every race," Delaney added, "which should make for some great action and odds for the fans and the bookies on site. Both race cards are very competitive and I know the fans coming out and our special guests from around the world are going to have a super time. "And for the third straight year our special guest announcer is USA Hall of Famer Roger Huston joining Darren Owen in the booth." Delaney added. "It is just amazing how this weekend has grown into such a special event. Both James and I know that our brother Vincent would be so proud of what we have done in his memory." By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial

DUBLIN, Ireland – A record number of 180 horses have entered the weekend race card for the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend at Portmarnock Raceway just outside of Dublin. “My brother James and I cannot believe how everyone wants to race this weekend,” said Derek Delaney, head of the Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee. “For the fourth straight year we keep growing and growing.” A total of 188 horses have been entered for the Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14 two-day meet. That is up 11.12% over prior year. The big race of the weekend is the 5th annual Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial (VDM) for two-year-old pacers. This is first year that there are both a colt and filly division with 14 youngsters entered in both events. The VDM is a rugged event that requires horses to compete in elimination divisions on Saturday and then come back again Sunday to race in the finals. The inaugural filly division is being sponsored by Diamond Creek Farm of Kentucky, USA. Each of the finals race for a purse of $16,000 euros.  Vincent Delaney was Derek and James younger brother who tragically died in 2011 at the age of 27. The brothers then developed the memorial race series in his honor and it has since grown to become the richest stakes event and weekend in the history of harness racing in Ireland the UK. Additional major stakes events over the weekend include the Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-olds at 1.5 miles, the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial for four-year-olds, the RocknRoll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace, the Lee Edwards/PJI Engineering Junior FFA Pace and the Elvin-Delaney French FFA Trot. There is a gala kickoff dinner Friday evening at the Airport Hilton Hotel that is already sold out and Sunday’s VIP Marquee Tent is also sold out with over 300 to attend. Every year the VDM Committee selects a local charity to benefit from the VDM Weekend, especially at the Friday night gala dinner auctions. This year’s charity is the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) of Dublin. The organization, which is comprised 100% of all volunteers, operates a seven-day outreach service across the city, coinciding with their mobile outreach unit. ICHH’s outreach support service operates nightly providing access to beds, sleeping bags, food or case management referrals. ICHH works a 16-hour mobile outreach service, responding to rough sleeper reports within 15 minutes of getting a call. The service also operates seven days a week. The website is at http://www.innercityhelpinghomeless.ie/. It is just grand how all of this has come together,” Derek Delaney said. “And this year we have so many great horsemen and women coming over for Vincent’s weekend. Dexter Dunn from New Zealand, Aaron Merriman from the USA are the special guest drivers, Diamond Creek Farms Adam Bowden, Joe Bellino and his entire crew, Roger Huston, Heather Vitale, Heather Wilder, Murray Brown, John McDermott, Alan Galloway, Sydney Weaver, Joann Looney-King, Susan Looney and a huge group from Australia on tour. "What a great time we will show them all!” Delaney said. "Most everyone is arriving today and tomorrow and we are looking forward to meeting everyone." The guests begin their VIP weekend with carriage ride tours of downtown Dublin plus lunch at the world famous Temple Bar, a bus trip to Oakwood Stud training and breeding facility, the gala kick-off dinner Friday and then the two big VDM race days Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com. By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend

After Hambletonian Week is over, a large number of owners, breeders, trainers, drivers, caretakers, journalists and race fans from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe will all be boarding planes and heading to of all places, IRELAND! They will all be coming to Dublin as part of a new age Mecca of harness racing called the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14.   But two very prominent owners and breeders in the industry, Joe Bellino, of Rocknroll Heaven, Pet Rock and Bellino Racing stardom and Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Farm, Pure Country, Creatine and Divine Caroline fame are coming to Dublin for more than just a great vacation.   They are also sponsoring races that weekend at Portmarnock Raceway and are big time excited to feel the passion for harness racing that the Irish and UK horsemen and women have for the sport.   The reason that both of these men are not just coming over on holiday, but sponsoring races, came about because of their Facebook friendship with Derek Delaney, the chairman of the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend (VDM). Derek, along with his brother James, run Oakwood Stud, a prominent breeding and training facility in Ireland and where they stand the former top racehorse, Foreclosure N.   Back in 2011, Derek and James lost their younger brother, Vincent, age 27, after a massive heart attack. Young Vincent was helping run the farm, working with the yearlings and showing great promise in the sport. To honor their late brother, they developed a race in his memory that has grown to become the richest and biggest stakes weekend in all of Ireland and the UK.   To Joe Bellino, his Facebook friendship with Derek Delaney has grown to the point where barely a day goes by that they are not in contact with each other via FB messenger. "I have become great friends with Derek through Facebook." Joe Bellino explained. "We have a lot in common, we both lost our brothers, and I think that has some special meaning to me.   "I am always looking to help (sponsor) groups that help promote harness racing," Joe explained when asked what prompted him to sponsor the Rocknroll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace at Portmarnock Raceway that weekend.   "Derek has a lot of the same love that I do for harness racing," Joe said, "We speak almost every day about racing. I have never met the guy face-to-face, but we are like best friends. It will be so great to finally meet him." "I have never been to Ireland," Joe said. "My mother is from the Dublin area. Maybe I will meet someone who knew her family.   "We are so excited about this trip." Joe explained, "That my wife and I are bringing her mom and most of our team over with us. Maybe eight to ten of us are coming to Ireland.   What does Joe Bellino look forward to most on this trip? "Meeting Derek and his family and then the two race days," Joe said. "I'm ecstatic about all of this. I don't go much to the races here in America. Even for the big races as we feel it is taboo, but I can't wait to come to Portmarnock Raceway for Derek's big weekend."   "I've never been to Ireland and am really excited about going." Adam Bowden said. "My wife Lindsay and I are looking forward to this trip and we are even leaving the kids are home.   "It was Heather Vitale who first came to me to consider sponsoring a race in Ireland at the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend." Adam said. "I wanted to make sure if I was sponsoring a race that I would be to come over and attend. I could not do it last year but made it a priority for this year and it's all come together nicely." Adam and Diamond Creek Farm are the name sponsors of the inaugural filly final of the VDM.   "The story that Heather told us about the VDM weekend was really intriguing," Adam explained, "Then I started reading about it online and then got a hold of Derek. He and others from Ireland and the UK have purchased horses from us over the years and this is a great way to give back and what Derek and his brother James are doing is inspiring in memory of his brother.   "Derek has developed this race and made it really big." Adam said. "They are promoting our sport and Derek has pretty much accomplished all the goals he has put to his committee. Their ability to get this race weekend so popular it is attracting people from all over the world is pretty neat and I wanted to be part of it."   Is there any Irish blood in the Bowden family? "Probably." Adam laughed. "I would have to say yes figuring if you go back far enough we would find some Irish blood.   "Everyone I have ever talked to about this race weekend has said what a wonderful place it is." Adam said, "We're really excited to experience whatever comes our way. Hopefully I will love it so much I will want to come back again next year. It's really shaping up that way." Joining Joe and Adam on this special adventure to Ireland will be Hall of Fame announcer Roger Huston and social media extraordinaire Heather Vitale, each of whom, along with this reporter, are making our third straight trip for the VDM.   Newcomers this year include North America's leading driver in 2015, Aaron Merriman, USA's Heather Wilder from the Meadows, Hanover's Murray Brown, Heather Vitale's mom (Joanne Looney-King) and sister Susan and Canada's darling owner, breeder and journalist, Sydney Weaver and her family.   Returning for his second year at the VDM is Dexter Dunn, the reigning world trotting council driving champion along with an entire tour group from down under. Other prominent breeders, owners and horsemen from down under include Alan Galloway, John McDermot, Bill Hutchison, Clive Dalton, Peter Ferguson, Peter Larkin and Steve Phillips.   "It is just so grand that Joe and Adam and everyone is coming to Ireland for the VDM," Derek Delaney said. "My brother James and I and the VDM committee are so thankful to Joe and Adam for their sponsorships and for their friendship. And for sure we will be showing everyone a great time, great racing and hopefully everyone will go home and tell their friends how they must come over to Ireland next year. That's the impression we love to leave with our guests." Just by this VIP guest list alone, Portmarnock Raceway, on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland, is THE place to be the second week of August.   For more information, visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com.   By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend          

DUBLIN, Ireland - It was a weekend of record breaking at the second annual Barney Joyce Memorial festival of harness racing at Portmarnock Raceway last Saturday and Sunday where a bumper attendance were treated to twenty races and two track records. Miraculous, a half-brother to the ill-fated Titanium, owned by Derbyshire's Arnie Flower, was billed as the star of the show and just like Wiggle It Jiggleit continues to enthrall harness lovers in the US, Miraculous does the same for enthusiasts in the UK and Ireland. On Saturday evening he blitzed the 3 year old pacers record to win his heat comfortably by 2 lengths in 1:56.6 whilst the following afternoon he lowered it further down to 1:55.9 in the final by five lengths, scooping the  €10,000 first prize for trainer/driver Patrick Kane, Jr. Honourable mention must go to Alan Wallace aboard the vanquished Newtown Rock, the gallant runner up, who still clocked under 1:57 himself, a performance that would have been considered good enough to win on any other year. Two more juvenile prep races for the forthcoming Vincent Delaney Memorial and these were well supported by owners desperate to get more experience into their babies in advance of the big festival weekend at Portmarnock on 13th/14th August. First up were the Ladbrokes sponsored colts and Rhyds Rival justified long odds-on favouritism for driver  iBilly Roche, who laid out his stall from the outset by establishing a commanding early lead. The much-hyped Benny Camden, who was making his debut, ran very green at the early stages of this event before finishing with a flourish to be only 3/4l of a second ahead of Talavary Motivator, who stayed on to be third, a further 3 lengths in arrears. The time was an electrifying 2:01.6 and whilst overjoyed connections collected their prize, some shrewd punters instead invaded bookmaker Dan Carlin's pitch in order to try and grab some value about Benny Camden, who will arguably come on leaps and bounds for the run and could be the dark horse of the entire championship. His odds in the betting are now 6/4 second favourite from 8/1. But take nothing away from Rhyds Rival, he could do no more than win and the Roche camp will be happy with their colt, who was backed from 40/1 into 4/1 earlier on in the year. He is not likely to go down without a fight and must surely have one hand on the winners trophy with the finals just days away. The females were next up and a calamity on the first turn resulted in Oakwood Eternity, Newtown Onyx and Jennifer Camden all being hampered. That left What Mam out in front pursued by IB Coyote, Shes Royal and Earnies Casino. Jonathan Dunne who managed to avoid the carnage on the opening turn, then made a sweeping forward move with Triplicity at the ¾ pole and the momentum carried the debutante past IB Coyote and a tiring longtime leader What Mam. By Kikicolt out of Tripleplay Hanover, Triplicity went on to triumph in 2:08.1 to the delight of trainer Geoff Dunne who admitted this was his first ever 2 year old winner, having never really concentrated his efforts on juveniles before. Marc Elvin, owner of Rhyds Mystique, current even money ante-post favourite for the Diamond Creek Farms sponsored event, was on hand to size-up the competition his filly is likely to face and a comparison of winning times of all the prep races so far indicate that the Welshman's Hasty Hall bred star remains the one they all have to beat. Coalford Honey is next best at 2/1 followed by She Be Rockin at 9/4. Rhyds Voodoo is 8/1 and Sundays winner Triplicity represents real value at 12/1. Other winners over the weekend included a heat and final for Matt Roches Deans Alibi. On Saturday in a heat he trailed 10 yards at the off and won in 1:55.7 just a half second outside the all-comers national record whilst in the final on Sunday a 40 yard starting deficit was not able to prevent him winning again, this time in a scintillating 1:55.8. Junior and senior free for alls were also held during the festival and these were won by Stoneriggs Chris in 1:57.4 and Meadowbranch Demon in 1:58.8 respectively. But the Barney Joyce Memorial weekend belonged to Patrick Kane and Miraculous, who has now brought his winnings to almost  €50,000 in less than 2 seasons and with the Breeders Crown in Tir Prince and the Oakwood Stud Derby at Portmarnock, more big prizes await the Arts Conquest colt out of Another Mattie. by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink

Anyone who are attended Tir Prince Raceway Towyn on Saturday night was treated to a top class display of harness racing that will live long in the memory. The showers that had fallen earlier in the day had dampened the track nicely leaving it extremely fast come race time. Ayr Trooper took the opener for Mrs Wilma Morton he was produced in the straight by driver Mick Lord overtaking long time leader Rhyds Firebird to win by half a length in a time of 2.02.8. A Kind Of Magic stayed on for third. Kikis Boy rewarded favourite backers in race 2 leading from pillar to post under a confident Stevie Lees drive. 2 Year Old Boos Fury came with a very impressive late run to finish second with Elsa Camden back in third the winning time was 2.04.9 the distances were half a length and a length and a half. Race 3 saw the Silver division of The George Dixon Memorial Le Trot and things really became interesting as Sire Pazenais broke the track record for the 1.5 Mile Trot coming home in 3.08.5 with Paul Mather Snr in the sulky. Titan De Prelong was second with Alza La Belle in third. Paul Mather,Jr. co-owns Sire Pazenais with Simon Elvin of Kinmel Clwyd, UK. Connections of the winner faced an anxious wait to see whether they would collect the £1000 bonus for breaking the track record as the gold division of the race was yet to come and if a faster time was clocked then the winner of that race would collect the bonus. The previous record of 3.09.1 had stood for over 24 years so this was no mean feat by the 10 year old French Trotter. Setting the old record in 1992 was the Swedish trotter, Ideal Key in 3:09.2.. Click here to view the track record race. Next up was The Vincent Delaney Memorial Prep Race Fillies Division,  and Rhyds Mystique and driver Vicky Gill made it three out of three with a performance that simply said "I'm the boss bring on Dublin!" Marc Elvin bought this filly for £3000 with every intention of giving her John Gill to break in and then bring her home to train himself when John Gill phoned Marc in December and insisted that this filly had to stay with him as she was special he definitely was speaking the truth! Rhyds Vodoo and Greenhill Debatable filled the places. The race time was an impressive 2.03.5 and this performance will no doubt leave Rhyds Mystique firm favourite for the VDM Fillies Division. Click here to see the Diamond Creek Farm VDM Filly Prep The Gold Division of the George Dixon Memorial Le Trot saw Sulky De Blequin come from the clouds to clinch victory from Showbusiness in one of the closest finishes seen at the track for many many years. The gasps of the spectators around the finishing line told you all you needed to know about the quality of the finish to this race. They crossed the line in 3.08.9 meaning that the winner of the Silver Division collected the £1000 bonus which was kindly put up by Billy Dixon in memory of his late brother. Race 6 saw the Colts and Geldings division of the Ladbrokes VDM Prep Race go to post, hot favourite Tyrion Hanover broke at the start of the race and lost over 100 yards, this left Rhyds Decoy  and trainer/driver Andrew Cairns to lead out and he never looked like relinquishing the lead coming home in 2.05.8 from Share A Smile in second and Ladyford Express in third. Tyrion Hanover made up a lot of ground and finished fourth. Race 7 was the Crock Of Gold Heat and Porterstown Road took full advantage of his gate position leading out from the two hole he clocked the first quarter in 27.9 and then hit the half in 57.4 anyone who was expecting him to come back to the field after setting such a fast pace to the half was left dumfounded as he extended his lead clocking the three quarters in 1.26.7 he ran out the eight lengths winner in a very impressive time of 1.57.3. Tarawood Messi stayed on for second clocking a time of 1.59.7 with Bath Lane back in third in a time of 1.59.9. The winner was very impressive and has now booked his place in the final on 20th August. Race 8 was The Oakwood Stud Grey Free For All and Wellfield Ghost caused an upset by retaining his crown as the top Grey in the UK with a gutsy front running performance under a superb Patrick Kane drive. Favourite Shades Of Grey never really travelled and it was left to Blue Incredible and Coalford Chief to fight out the places with the former just getting up at the death to claim second. The time of the race was 2.00.6 and the distances were three lengths and half a length. Click here to see the Oakwood Stud Grey FFA Pace  Race 9 was the fillies division of the North Wales Horse Owners Association Three Year Old Championship and Jessie's Conquest lived up to her billing as hot favourite with a fantastic front running performance breaking the track record for three year old fillies in the process! The previous record was 2.01.20 and this was smashed as the daughter of Arts Conquest came home in 2.00.30 to win by seven lengths from Porcelain Seelster in second and Greenhill Gracie in third. Owner Trainer and Driver Marc Jones paid an emotional tribute to the horse in the winners enclosure at the end of the race and we look forward to seeing her return to race here in the Breeders Crown Meeting on Tuesday 2nd August. Race 10 was the colts division of the North Wales Horse Owners Three Year Old Championship. Billed as a 2 horse race between Miraculous and Party At The Spa it didn't disappoint as Miraculous led out clocking his first quarter in 28.5, Alan Haythornwaite on Party At The Spa chose to stalk the leader, Patrick Kane then cannily slowed the pace reaching the half mile in 1.01.3. As they turned into the back straight the race was on as Party made his move Miraculous had it covered though fending him off as they came around the final bend, Party seemed to me getting there momentarily but then Miraculous kicked on again to win by 2 lengths from Party At The Spa with Rockin Mambo a further 10 lengths back in third. The quality of this race just left you wanting these two horses to race each other every week and I for one cannot wait to see them do battle again. A great night was had by all see you on Tuesday 26th July when the third and final Crock Of Gold Heat takes place. Please see current standings below; Brywinsmagicpotion - Qualified Porterstown Road - Qualified Imjustalittleguy - 16 Points Tarawood Messi - 12 Points Bath Lane - 9 Points Meadowbranch Josh - 9 Points Lyons Mischief - 7 Points Fool Around - 7 Points Ayr Regal - 6 Points Stoneriggs Mystery - 5 Points Lyons Eryl Hall - 5 Points Stamp Hill - 4 Points by Eric Witherspood, for Tir Prince Raceway

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