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WEST CORK, Ireland - For road trotting followers all roads lead to Owenahincha on Sunday next the 5th of March for the staging of the 2017 All Ireland Road Trotting Championships . The venue is just off the the N71 just on the Eastern side of Rosscarberry. Owenahincha boasts a blue flag beach and is a top tourist attraction for holiday makers during the Summer season . Although a tiny hamlet in off season during the peak season the population swells to over 2000 with Hayes Holiday parks holding the majority of the visitors . The rack is a testing run from Castlefreake Cross on the Sothern side past the hoilday park and Ocean View hotel to Owenahincha bridge on the Northern side of the venue. Spectators gather on the natural Grand stand on the Sand Dunes which run down to the Atlantic Ocean (Next stop west is the USA) It is one of these places only God himself could have designed . But at approx 4 PM next Sunday it will be All Reland time at the seaside Maitha Buachaill will start as favourite in the classic .He has won all of his four outings this season and looks the one thay all have to beat . Owned by Ger Hegarty and James Hurley this former grass specialist will be ridden by Jamie Hurley a second season jockey . Rhyds Ponder the 2106 champion is back to defend his title which he won in Old Chapel .Owned and trained by Ned Forbes he finished second to Maitha Buachaill on there four meetings this season but won in Dunmanway wherehis great rival was absent . Top female jockey Deirdre Goggin will once again team up with Rhyds Ponder Tactician Du Lys an imported French trotter takes on the pacers once again .He isowned by County Meath based Ger Kane but is trained locally by Jeremiah O Mahony in Dunmanway .His last run was in Dunmanway where he only went down to Rhyds Ponder after a titanic battle. "Cool Hands"Timmy O Leary gets the leg up on this imposing type. The enrty of Rhyds Destiny has really thrown new light on the race. This former track and turf specialst will be having his initial run on tarmac but trainer John Shanahan is no stranger to winning the classic .The owner of Lakeview Stud in Leap Shanahan has often being dubbed "Mr All Ireland" with Fidlin ,Dream Maker ,Hilos Pride .Eastwood Florist,Perfect Dream and Bodeen all former winners . Destiny is owned by Shanahan in partnership with Derbyshire UK dairy farmer John Mycock. David Brickley has been the stable jockey for the firm but has his own Meadowbranch Kiki listed as an entry so riding arrangements need to be confirmed. Kiki has been a model of consistency all year but will start as anoutsider . Racing on Sunday has a 2 30 start time with details of entries on www.harnessracingcork.com by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink  

WEST CORK, Ireland - Harnes racing jockey's David Brickley and Jamie Hurley both rode two winners on the day while Rhyds Ponder returned to winning ways in the featured Grade A & B Pace that were the headlines on a bitterly cold but dry day at the annual Dunmanway Road Trotting Races on the Killbarry Road . Brickley, the former multiple champion jockey, started off the day guiding The Red Rebel (a winner on Memorial Day in Skibbereen) to victory in the Novice Pace. On The Other Side was sent off a warm favorite and sat in behind Fame Earned to the first turn. Both horses over shot the turning point and this allowed The Red Rebel and jockey Van Helsing to go clear with The Red Rebel eventually going on to win by 2 lengths with eight lengths back to On The Other Side. Young Deano, a dashing grey pacer, has finished second on three of his four tarmac outings and this time put it right on the day, taking an ultra competitive Grade D and gave David Brickley his second win of the day . The winner and Millers Boy, ridden by Ciaran Brickley (a brother of David), were at the head of affairs for most of the contest .At The final turn Young Deano had edged in front in the "Battle of The Brothers" and ran out a three length winner from newcomer Coalford Hardy with Millers Boy staying on to finish third. Jamie Hurley has been racking up the winners in his second season on the road and added two more on the day. IB Tweedy wont get an easier assignment all year when landing the Grade E at prohibitive odds. IB Tweedy was sent to the front after a furlong and the six length winning margin could have been a lot more with Return Of The Mac putting in its best performance to date to finish second. Ryds Artist has been mixing it with the big boys in the top grade but was down in the handicap today in the Grade C, but came up against the unbeaten Saunders Paris who was having her first outing in higher company today. Both market principles were prominent at the opening turn. There was drama at the second turn where Deirdre Goggin got unseated from Saunders Paris leaving Rhyds Artist clear and this gave Jamie Hurley his second win of the afternoon. Thoughts then turned to the fallen jockey and horse, but thankfully both returned unscathed. Deirdre Goggin is made of stern stuff and following the compulsory check over by the Medical Staff, sat back on Rhyds Ponder in the grade A . With his arch rival Maitha Buachaill an absentee, "Ponder " got back to winning ways but not before a great battle with Tactician Du Lys. The imposing French bred trotter really served it up to the 2016 Horse of the year and it was only in the final furlong that Rhyds Ponder got the better of Tactician, winning by four lengths. The All Ireland Road Championships are next on the menu in three weeks time at Owenahincha and we will preview that next week by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS GRADE A & B (The George & Monica Deane Memorial Cup) 1. N Forbes RHYDS PONDER Deirdre Goggin 2. G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O Leary 3. D Brickley MEADOWBRANCH KIKI Owner GRADE C 1. L O Brien RHYDS ARTIST J Hurley 2. J Manning SPRINGHILL JAZ D Brickley GRADE D 1. D Brickley YOUNG DEANO Owner 2. J woodland COALFORD HARDY J Hurley 3. C Brickley MILLERS BOY Owner GRADE E 1. On For The Road Syn IB TWEEDY J Hurley 2. P Kane RETURN OF THE MAC M O Reilly 3. G O Callaghan TROOPERS HARMONY M Goggin Jnr NOVICE 1. D O Callaghan THE RED REBEL D Brickley 2. M O Brien VAN HELSING P O Brien 3. D McCarthy ON THE OTHER SIDE Marie Moloney    

WEST CORK, Ireland - A double on the day for David Brickley, Saunders Paris and Maitha Buachaill maintain their unbeaten run and Hillside Mustang made it two wins on the bounce were the headlines from the annual Skibbereen Memorial Day on Sunday. Brickley kicked off his brace of winners with a hard fought win on The Red Rebel in the opening Novice pace .This one had a length to spare over Van Helsing. The double was completed in the very next race the Grade C. Here Brickley set the pace on Meadow Branch Kiki who he owns jointly with John Shanahan. Coming off the final turn he had a four length advantage and despite a late rally from Springhill jazz this son of Kikicolt held on to win by a length with Beautys Harmony a further two lengths back in third.   Saunders Paris has been a revelation in her debut season on the tarmac and the fine run continued in the Grade D.  Gadgie Pan and Young Deano disputed the running for the opening mile .Approaching the final turn Deirdre Goggin eased this daughter of Play With A Full Deck to the front and went on to win by four lengths.   Old rivals Rhyds Ponder and Maitha Buachill crossed swords once again in the Grade A . The scoreline read 3 - 0 to Buachill from their the e previous meetings and he had to give a twenty yard handicap to his five rivals.   Rhyds Ponder set all the early fractions from trotter Tactician Du Lys .Maitha Buachill remained in touch .Turning for home Rhyds Ponder looked as if he might upset the favourite.   In a titanic battle to the line both horses gave their all with Maitha Buachaill just getting up on the line for a half a length victory with Tactician Du Lys four lengths back in third.   Hillside Mustang followed up on his Ballygurteen victory with another impressive performance in the Grade E. This son of Harmony P led from the start to beat IB Tweedy who was having his first outing since being upgraded from the Novice Grade. Jason O Reilly rode the winner for the Cuigear Racing Syndicate and steps up to grade D next time.   Our next meeting takes place in Dunmanway on Sunday 12th February.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink   RESULTS NOVICE (PAT HURLEY MEMORIAL CUP) 1. D O Callaghan THE RED REBEL D Brickley 2. M O Brien VAN HELSING P O Brien   GRADE E (THE PADDY AND JASON KANE MEMORIAL CUP) 1. Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG J O Reilly 2. On For The Road Syn IB TWEEDY J Hurley 3. G O Callaghan TROOPERS HARMONY M Goggin Jnr   GRADE D (THE JOE & MARTIN BENNETT MEMORIAL CUP) 1. M Goggin SAUNDERS PARIS Deirdre Goggin 2. D Brickley YOUNG DEANO Owner 3 .C Brickley MILLERS BOY Owner   GRADE C (THE GERARD COLLINS MEMORIAL CUP) 1. Brickley/Shanahan MEADOWBRANCH KIKI D Brickley 2. P Manning SPRINGHILL JAZ Deirdre Goggin 3. R Joyce BEAUTYS HARMONY M O Reilly   GRADE A & B COMBINED (THE TIM COOPER KELLEHER MEMORIAL) 1. Hegarty / Hurley MAITHA BUACHILL J Hurley 2. N Forbes RHYDS PONDER Deirdre Goggin 3. G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O Leary

WEST CORK, Ireland - This Sunday the Road Trotting action takes place in Skibbereen where the annual Memorial Day has become one of the biggest meetings on the Winter Tarmac racing season. Already the crowds have flocked to the three race days already held. Drimoleague , Durrus and Ballygurteen have already entertained bumper crowds and that should be echoed this coming Sunday . The fixture also coincides with an annual tour of harness racing fans from Dublin ,Scotland ,Wales and England who have been travelling to "Skibbz" for over 25 years. "Christmas is for the ladies and the kids but Skibbereen is for the men" explains Thomas Bennett who has been a stalwart at the fixture for many years. A six race program is planned with cups dedicated to former trotting greats on offer for all races. These include The Tim Cooper Kelleher Memorial in memory of the former trotting bookmaker whose son Tim Junior continues the business on the Cork circuit. Paddy Kane and his son Jason from Dublin are also remembered with the large volume of Dublin visitors sponsoring their memorial race. Jack Pat Collins , Micheal O Driscoll and Pat Hurley were all members of the Skibbereen Committee and though they have departed us will be fondly remembered with a cup honoring each of them fot three of the races. A new addition this year is the Joe And Martin Bennett Memorial Cup. The Bennett family have supported racing in West Cork for many years and Martin was a regular Skibb visitor until his death a few years ago. So to the equine stars on display. Maithi Buachaill unbeaten so far this year carries a 20 yard handicap against his old foe Rhyds Ponder in the grade A . Tactician Du Lys an imported french trotter looks to make it four from four in the Grade B and already the talk on the street is his clash with the big boys in the Grade A when he joins them. Saunders Paris is another with a 100% record and looks for another win in the Grade D. IB Tweedy with wins in the Novice grade at Drimoleague and Ballygurteen moves to the grade E race where his unbeaten record will be tested by last weeks winner Hillside Mustang. A lot to look forward to .The venue is located on The Marsh Road with ample parking at the Mart complex a 30 second walk from the course. Action gets underway at 2 PM. Details of entries will be available on www.harnessracingcork.com by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

WEST CORK, Ireland - Jamie Hurley took the riding honors riding a first and last race double IB Tweedy in the opener and Maithi Buachaill in the finale of the Grade A trot at the annual Ballygurteen road trotting races on Sunday. Maithi Buachaill was looking for his third win on the bounce in the Grade A. Here he locked horns with his old rival Rhyds Ponder, who has finished second to him in their previous two outings . As always Deirdre Goggin set the fractions on Rhyds Ponder leading at the three turning points but Hurley did not let his arch rival get too far away and overtook her with three furlongs to go. Rhyds Ponder to his credit, battled back but Maithi Buachaill was not for catching and eventually had four lengths to spare. IB Tweedy had earlier impressed in the Novice. Here Hurley sent the winner to the front after two furlongs and never looked in any danger of defeat and will race in Grade E the next time out. Saunders Paris has swept all before her in her two previous outings and despite the step up to Grade D, this daughter of Play With a Full Deck continued to impress, making light work of her five rivals to record a six length rompn .Deirdre Goggin was in the plate and "Paris" is owned and trained by her father Micheal. Tactician Du Lys also remains undefeated this term.This imposing French bred trotter made his debut in the Grade B a winning one. When Favorite Democrat made a mess of the opening turn and was pulled up, this left Rhyds Artist with a commanding lead nearing the final turning point.  "Cool Hands" Timmy O'Leary had cut the advantage on the leader and coming off the sand at the last turn swept to the front to win by eight lengths. Already the talk has started of Tactician Du Lys taking on the big boys in the Grade A . The large partisan local crowd roared on Hillside Mustang to victory in the Grade E Race. Owned by the five strong Cuigear Racing syndicate, this son of Harmony P was given the office by Jason O'Reilly to lead home Big Jim by five lengths. David Brickley's season has been slow by his terms, but he got the ball rolling with a win on Meadowbranch Kiki in the Grade C, who had a titanic battle with race favorite Lakeview Walter eventually getting up to win by a head . The next meeting is the annual Memorial Day in Skibbereen on Jan 29th by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS NOVICE (Donal McCarthy Memorial Cup) 1.One For The Road Syn IB TWEEDY J Hurley 2. D McCarthy ON THE OTHER SIDE Marie Moloney 3. McCarthy/ Daly SHANES INCOME Grade E (Denis Dullea Memorial Cup) 1. Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG J O'Reilly 2. G Kane BIG JIM T O'Leary 3. C Brickley MILLERS BOY Owner Grade D (Jeremiah Keohane Memorial Cup) 1. M Goggin SAUNDERS PARIS Deirdre Goggin 2. R Joyce BEAUTYS HARMONY M O'Reilly 3.H Bennett WELLFIELD DAMIAN Marie Moloney Grade C (William O Donovan Memorial Cup) 1. Shanahan / Brickley MEADOWBRANCH KIKI D Brickley 2. R Joyce LAKEVIEW WALTER M O'Reilly 3. P Manning SPRINGHILL JAZZ Deirdre Goggin Grade B (Sean McCarthy Memorial Cup) 1. G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O'Leary 2. L O Brien RHYDS ARTIST Grade A (Paddy Keohane Memorial Cup) 1. Hegarty / Hurley MAITHI BUACHAILL J Hurley 2. N Forbes RHYDS PONDER Deirdre Goggin 3. N Forbes MOUNTAIN DEW LAD J O'Reilly                                                          

WEST CORK, Ireland - Champion jockey Deirdre Goggin and "Cools Hands" Timmy O'Leary rode two winners each while Maithi Buachaill took the featured Grade A & B Pace following up on his win in Drimoleague .Those were the headlines from the annual New Years Day road trotting fixture at Durrus before a near record holiday crowd. The sun shone but temperatures never rose above 6 C, but close finishes kept the huge attendance on their toes all day long. 2016 champion jockey Deirdre Goggin kicked off her brace of winners in the Grade D on GADGIE PAN who disappointed in Drimoleague but today that prior run was forgotten as Goggin saw off last weeks winner BEAUTYS HARMONY by three lengths with WELLFIELD DAMIAN a further two lengths third . SAUNDERS PARIS has been a top class lady on the turf and has taken to the tarmac in the same fashion and made it two wins from two starts for the Goggin clan from Goleen. The nearest track to Goleen heading West would be Yonkers Raceway in the USA. This was the second winner on the day for Deirdre. "Cool Hands" Timmy O'Leary, who stood himself down at Drimoleague with flu certainly hit form this afternoon with a brace of winners for his retained Jer O'Mahony Stable. In the opening Novice Pace FAME EARNED opened his account. This son of Earned Income and Fame Again ran green on his debut last week but was a different prospect today, seeing off ON THE OTHER SIDE and THE RED REBEL in a blanket finish. The winner is owned again by Jer O'Mahony and Caroline O'Brien from Dunmanway. TACTICIAN DU LYS another O'Mahony stabled runner is an imposing French bred trotter and once again was too good for his pacing rivals CAMDEN CORLEONE and LAKEVIEW WALTER in the grade C. O'Leary over took "Corleone" with three furlongs to race and next time steps up to the Grade B (which is four furlongs further) but he looks blessed with stamina in abundance and may continue his winning run. The top Grade A & B really set the pulses racing for the large attendance. Commentator Brendan Goggin set a great pre race atmospehere and the race lived up to that billing . RYDS PONDER as is usual set a quick pace through the opening twelve furlongs .Victory beckoned for the leader but Jamie Hurley was waiting patiently on MAITHI BUACHAILL (the Irish for thats the man) taking up the running with three furlongs remaining and winning by three lengths. Speaking in a post race interview Hurley was full of praise for the winner who is owned by his father James along with Ger Hegarty, "He's a gent to train and all going well he go to Ballingurteen in two weeks and we take our chances!" added Hurley. The next meeting takes place at Ballingurteen Sunday 15th Jan at 2pm. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS GRADE A & B (The Timmy Daly & Cottage Table Cups) 1. Hurley / Hegarty MAITHI BUACHILL J Hurley 2. N Forbes RHYDS PONDER Deirdre Goggin 3. N Forbes MOUNTAIN DEW LAD J O'Reilly GRADE C (The P J Barry Memorial Cup) 1. G Kane TACTICIAN DU LYS T O'Leary 2. Hurley / O Reilly CAMDEN CORLEONE J O'Reilly 3. R Joyce LAKEVIEW WALTER M O'Reilly GRADE D (The John O Sullivan Memorial Cup) 1. N Forbes GADGIE PAN Deirdre Goggin 2. R Joyce BEAUTYS HARMONY M O'Reilly 3. H Bennett WELLFIELD DAMIAN M Maloney GRADE E (The Charles Cremin & Jack Connolly Memorial Cup) 1. M Goggin SAUNDERS PARIS Deirdre Goggin 2. D Brickley YOUNG DEANO Owner 3. Cuigear Racing HILLSIDE MUSTANG J O'Reilly NOVICE (Jan Goregrimes Memorial Cup) 1. O Mahony / O Brien FAME EARNED T O Leary 2. D McCarthy ON THE OTHER SIDE A McCarthy 3. D O Callaghan THE RED REBEL D Brickley      

WEST CORK, Ireland - Jamie Hurley took the top jockey honors riding two winners at the opening of the 2017 Road Racing season at Drimoleague on St Stephens Day. Reenascreena based Hurley took the featured Grade A Pace on Maithi Buachaill and the Novice Pace on IB Tweedy. In the Grade A, 2016 Horse of the Year RHYDS PONDER, was installed as favorite and set his usual brisk pace and led for the opening ten furlongs of the two mile contest. Then he was joined by MAITHI BUACHAILL, who led at the the final turn with four furlongs to the finish and the two battled it out from there to the finish as MAITHI BUACHAILL stayed on top to win by 6 lengths. RHYDS PONDER lost nothing in defeat in finishing second. The winner is owned by Hurleys father James and Ger Hegarty. Early in the day Hurley had a facile win aboard IB TWEEDY, who is owned by The One For The Road Syndicate, which comprises of Hurley ,James O'Driscoll, Richard Kingston and Karl Mitchell. IB TWEEDY is a four year old and looks a bright prospect for this season. Champion jockey Deirdre Goggin got on the score sheet aboard SAUNDERS PARIS for her father Micheal. She led from the start of this mile contest and had three lengths in hand on YOUNG DEANO. David Brickley teamed up with his retained Lakeview Stud ti take the Grade B. RHYDS TRIXTER looked to have stolen a march on his rivals, but Brickley on DEMOCRAT slowly reeled in his rival to win by two length.The winner is owned by Derbyshire UK owner John Mycock. TACTICIAN DU LYS, a multiple winner last winter, took an ultra competitive Grade C with regular jockey Timmy O'Leary sidelined with the flu, Micheal Goggin, Jr. came in for the spare ride on this imposing French Bred trotter and beat LAKEVIEW WALTER and MEADOWBRACH KIKI. BEAUTYS HARMONY was friendless in the betting ring in the Grade D, but put his five fancied rivals to the sword, winning by six lengths for joint owners Richard Joyce and Matt O.Reilly. The action switches to Durrus on New Years Day with racing on "The Boggy Road " starting at 1 45 PM. RESULTS GRADE A (Tommy McCarthy Memorial Cup) 1. Hurley / Hegarty MAITHI BUACHAILL J Hurley 2. Ned Forbes RHYDS PONDER Deirdre Goggin 3. Niall Forbes MOUNTAIN DEW LAD GRADE B (P J Daly Memorial Cup) 1. Shanahan /Mycock DEMOCRAT D Brickley 2. L O Brien RHYDS ARTIST J Hurley 3. G Kane URI GELLER M Goggin Jnr GRADE C (Joe O Sullivan Acorn Life Cup) 1. Kane / O Mahony TACTICIAN DU LYS M Goggin Jnr 2. R Joyce LAKEVIEW WALTER M O Reilly 3. D Brickley MEADOWBRANCH KIKI Owner GRADE D 1. Joyce /O Reilly BEAUTYS HARMONY M O Reilly 2. N Forbes GADGIE PAN J O Reilly 3. H Bennett WELLFIELD DAMIAN Marie Moloney GRADE E 1. M Goggin Snr SAUNDERS PARIS Deirdre Goggin 2. D Brickley YOUNG DEANO Owner 3. G Kane BIG JIM T O Leary NOVICE 1. One for the Road Syn IB TWEEDY J Hurley 2. O Mahony / O Brien FAME EARNED T O Leary 3. D O Callaghan THE RED REBEL P O Brien by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

Only four sleeps to Santa Claus as millions of kids around the world are waiting patiently. For die hard Road Trotting fans they have a little longer to wait, only an extra night, for the start of the 2017 Winter Road Racing season in West Cork. Drimoleague on St Stephens Day has hosted racing for over 130 years. Only twice in those 130 years has racing been cancelled .Firstly in the 1950s when the dreaded Foot and Mouth Disease was present in Ireland and again in the early part of this century when a foot of frozen slow covered West Cork. Fast forward to this Monday and the tarmac on the Eastern side of this village will play host to beating hoofs and the smell of sulphur lifting off the famous half mile stretch of road from the village heading East to the old Creamery. Many purists believe this road is the Holy Grail of road trotting. Looking at the road from ground level it can be very deceiving. From the outside turning point the horses race down a slight incline but approximately 200 metres from the finish there is a lung bursting rise to the finish. 26 horses will race in six races with Memorial Cups for each event remembering locals from the village who have left us. RHYDS PONDER the reigning road racing champion returns from the Summer break to try and emulate last seasons unbeaten run .He will face stable companion MOUNTAIN DEW LAD and MAITHI BUACHILL in the Grade A pace. In the grade B event newcomers SPRINGHILL JAZZ and DEMOCRAT will lock horns with URI GELLER an imported trotter from Sweden and the consistent RHYDS ARTIST. In the Grade C another trotter TACTICIAN DU LYS takes on pacing rivals MEADOWBRANCH KIKI and another debutant CAMDEN CORLEONE. The Grade D looks between IB RAPIDO and HILLSIDE DARTANIAN while in the grade E race SAUNDERS PARIS ,GADGIE PAN and BIG JIM should be the principals in an open looking contest. The Novice Grade sees IB TWEEDY going to post as favourite for "The One For The Road Syndicate" who as their name suggests will celebrate if successful. The action gets under way at 2 PM. By Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink  

Chris O'Reilly created his own bit of history on Saturday night when he became the first West Cork based driver to win on the American harness racing circuit at Pompano Park in south Florida. An invite was sent from Jeff Schaefer, a prominent blacksmith and amateur harness driver at Pompano Park to Lee Morris in Wales to bring a team of amateur drivers to the USA. Morris contacted O'Reilly to see if he would travel to Florida to take part in this USA V IRELAND UK challenge . it was a chance of a life time for O'Reilly, whose family are an integral part of harness racing in West Cork. Fast forward to last Saturday night, and through modern technology, all the action from Pompano park was beamed live to the "Home Contingent " at the Mai Deanes Bar in Drimoleague.   In the first of three races luck was not with O'Reilly,  ut it turned to gold in the second of the three races where Chris drove A CROWN FOR LINDY to victory in1:59.3, becoming the first West Cork driver to win on US soil. It was also the fastest mile ever for O'Reilly and it was the first time he had ever driving a trotter!   Team Ireland/UK sounding defeated the American Team, winning two of the three races.   Chris, a carpenter by trade and part time harness racing driver, was welcomed back to the winners enclosure by the locals and in a post race interview gave an insight of harness racing here in West Cork.   The local media were taken aback with his insight into the racing here in Ireland as O'Reilly explained how there are just a dozen race meets in Cork and that they are all on grass turf courses.   Management at Pompano Park, who organised this US vs IRELAND/UK challenge are already planning ahead to 2018 after the worldwide success of this event . The US amateur drivers have been invited and will be coming to Ireland next August, competing at Portmarnock Raceway in Dublin.   But Chris O'Reilly will be long remembered as the man who put West Cork on the harness racing map in 2016.   by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink

The Irish Trotting And Harness Racing Federation held its annual awards night at The Village Inn Enniskeane and both the 2016 Winter and Summer Racing winners were honoured on the night. Starting with the Winter season which ran from Drimoleague on St Stephens day 2015 right through to Ballydehob on Easter Sunday 2016 and it was RHYDS PONDER who went through the season unbeaten and included in his wins was The All Ireland road Trotting Championship in Old Chapel Bandon. This incredible run of victories ensured his Winter Horse of the Year Award for his owners The Forbes Family from Drimoleague. Deirdre Goggin, so often the bridesmaid to her arch rival David Brickley on the tarmac, annexed the Jockey of The Year award. This popular Goleen native rode RHYDS PONDER to all his victories and was a popular winner. Moving on to the Summer Turf season and with the popularity of the French trotters, there was for the first time awards for both trotter and pacer of the year. SUNNYSIDE KILDARE was joint winner of Pacer along with RHYDS DESTINY. Kildare created history by winning the two big Summer Handicaps, firstly the Paddy Connolly Memorial at the Ballabuidhe Festival and later that month capturing The Red John Memorial Handicap at the big two day festival at The Cornfield Oval In Manch. Rhyds Destiny on the other hand was a model of consistency in The Free For Grade and remains one of the top perfomers on the West Cork circuit. Trotter of the year went to ROCKY ATOUT, who showed his class winning on both clockwise and anti clockwise tracks. This french import is trained by Mike Goggin and was driven in most of his races by Mike Goggin Jnr. It was a great year for The IB Stables in Baltimore and Tadhg Murphy received trainer of the year honors. IB COYOTE was the first winner of the Fillies Division of The Vincent Delaney Memorial and is the shining light of the Murphy family. Sunnyside Kildare and Rhyds Heartbeat are other winners who are trained By Tadhg. Mike Kelleher got the driver of the year award. . Along with his own Adagio De Cebe, Panam Colt and Meadowbranch. Demon Kelleher is retained driver for the powerful Lakeside Stud in Leap. Shelley Brickley once again got Turf jockey of the year award and it was double celebration for the Brickley family as their RINGO KID was the winner of saddle horse on turf. THE ITHRF always encourage the younger generation and Ryan Manning and Eoin Murphy were joint winners of apprentice Jockey on Turf while John O Mahony and Luke Kelleher were winners in the apprentice driver category. The Winter road racing season is fast approaching with the traditional St Stephens Day Fixture December 26th which signals the start of the 2017 season. by Tim Kelleher, for ITHRSF

WEST CORK, Ireland - The curtain came down on the 2016 harness racing season in West Cork with a meeting at Lisangle last Friday evening and there was top class fare on offer for the trial evening meeting at this half mile grass oval. Mike Kelleher took the driving honours with a brace of winners for John Shanahans Lakeview Stud. In the top class pace Sunnyside Kildare fresh from his saddle win in Dunmanway was the punters choice in a vibrant betting ring. Donal Murphy sent this son of Bear Dance to the front from the start and looked comfortable in the pole position . After two furlongs Rhyds Destiny joined the leader and led for Mike Kelleher. Hail Spartacus was near to the leaders and tracked them to the half mile marker. Cruise Howard was trailing 30 yards and was beginning to close in on the leaders with two furlongs to pace but Rhyds Destiny was not to be out done on the day and held on to win by a length and a half from Sunnyside Kildare with Cruise Howard only a further length back . Kelleher had earlier won the opener on Fairdays Bret . This son of Jimmy Long put recent poor performances behind him to win by three lengths from Springhill Doyle with Scorpion back in third .At the press briefing Shanahan stated that he had shown plenty of ability at home and they had made a few changes to his harness and it seems to have worked . The Le Trot series has been an unqualified success this season and tonights renewal was another top drawer event. Valiant Forgion had led early in this with Tarnao Josselyn in close attendance. The latter actually led at halfway but Valiant Forgion never gave up the rail and with Socrate Du Noyer ,Audabe a Helene and Silvano Bello joining in it was a blanket finish with Mike Goggin getting the judges call by half a length from Tarnao Josselyn the same distance back in third . Ringo Star took an incident packed mid grade pace. In a race that saw Llywns All Star , Rhyds Heartbeat and Western Dreamer all share the lead at some point in the race the winner only took up the running with two furlongs to pace and despite a stewards enquiry the result stood with no changes to the placings . Young John O Mahony finished off his first season with a win in the maiden pace . Moorside Charlie has been on the improve all year and broke his duck holding off the late challenge of last weeks winner Splash The Cash . Dundalk Stadium hosts racing next Sunday 11th September with Portmarnock racing until the end of October. The ITHRF awards panel will now sit to select the annual awards for Pacer Of the Year ,Trotter of the Year ,Leadinh trainer ,jockeys and drivers and a function is planned to honour this years winners by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS (No Times available) GRADE E & F Pace 1. J Shanahan FAIRDAYS BRET M Kelleher 2. S O Reilly SPRINGHILL DOYLE M O Reilly 3. J O Mahony SCORPION T O Leary DIST 3L 1L 7 Ran GRADE G & G1 Pace 1. S Kane MOORSIDE CHARLIE J O Mahony 2. J O Sullivan SPLASH THE CASH M Goggin Jnr 3. G Cooke WESTERN BEACH D McCarthy DIST 1L 1L 7 Ran GRADE C & D Pace 1. F Brickley RINGO STAR C Brickley 2. P J Cleary WESTERN DREAMER K Sheehy 3. A & M Hurley RHYDS HEARTBEAT D Murphy DIST 2L 1L 8 Ran LE TROT 1. M Goggin VALIANT FORGION Owner 2. Quill Bros TARNAO JOSSELYN S Quill 3. F Brickley SOCRATE DU NOYER C Brickley DIST 1/2L 1/2L 7 Ran GRADE A3 A & B Pace 1. Shanahan / Mycock RHYDS DESTINY M Kelleher 2. S Buckley SUNNYSIDE KILDARE D Murphy 3.C O Brien CRUISE HOWARD T O Leary DIST 1 1/2L 1L 6 Ran

WEST CORK, Ireland - The Hitman with Micheal Goggin, Jr. in the seat took the George Deane Memorial Handicap at Dunmanway on Sunday. There were three heats with two qualifing for the six horse final. In the opening heat Scorpion was the pace setter and led to the final turn. Here The Hitman was produced and sprinted clear to win by a length. In the second elimination IB Maximus tried to make all but was collared close home by Llywns All Star and Tyson Howard. The third and final heat went to Western Dreamer who showed old form to lead home Rhyds Heatbeat by a length. In the final Scorpion was quick off the gate to lead Llywns All Star with The Hitman content to sit on the rail. As the field began to close in it was a wide open contest .With two furlongs to pace The Hitman finally saw daylight and was not for catching winning by two lengths from Llywns All Star with Scorpion another half a length back in third. This was the third winner on the day for Goggin who had earlier dove Splash The Cash to a neck victory from Greentree Padiano Twelve year old Eoin Murphy will long remember the day as he rode his first winner under rules in a pulsating saddle race. All five runners had turns at leading but Murphy produced Sunnyside Kildare wit 100yards to go and ran out a two length winner. Eoin is a son of leading trainer Tadhg Murphy (IB Stables) and his mother Christine is a former champion jockey in West Cork. Brickley Racing had two winners on the day . Ringo Kid drew pole position in the Grade A & B pace and saw off an early challenge from Rhyds Destiny and was too good on the day for his four rivals. David Brickley drove this son of Timon Del Sol to an easy two length win. Not to be out done Ciaran Brickley drove the second winner for the Baltimore based Brickley Family. Swift Sunshine was all the rage in the betting ring and didnt let down the punters. Oozing with confidence he set the winner alight on the final corner and won by six lengths. Tarnao Josselyn took the only trotters race on the day. A model of consistency all year he put his rivals to the sword and eased down to a ten length win. It was a good weekend all round for the Quill Brothers who own the winner as on Saturday in Tregaron Wales their Awesome Dude was another winner for the team .Seamus Quill was driver on both winners. The curtain comes down on grass racing in Cork next Saturday with a meeting in Lisangle with a 3:20 pm start time. by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS GEORGE DEANE MEMORIAL HEAT ONE 1.J Hill THE HITMAN M Goggin Jnr 2. J O Mahony SCORPION T O Leary 3.F Brickley LAKESIDE ALERT D Brickley DIST 2L 1L TIME 2.34.2 7 Ran HEAT TWO 1. M O Brien LLYWNS ALL STAR Owner 2. N Forbes TYSON HOWARD Owner 3.S O Reilly SPRINGHILL DOYLE M O Reilly DIST 2L 1/2L TIME 2.34.6 7 Ran HEAT THREE 1. P J Cleary WESTERN DREAMER Owner 2. A & M Hurley RHYDS HEARTBEAT D Murphy 3.K Connolly TALENTED MAN Owner DIST 1L 1L TIME 2.35.3 7 Ran FINAL 1. J Hill THE HITMAN M Goggin Jnr 2. M O Brien LLYWNS ALL STAR Owner 3. J O Mahony SCORPION T O Leary DIST 2L 1/2L TIME 2.32.5 6 Ran GRADE G1 PACE 1. F Brickley SWIFT SUNSHINE C Brickley 2. S Kane MOORSIDE CHARLIE J O Mahony 3. S Jennings HEATHER BREEZE Owner DIST 6L 1/2L TIME 2.36.2 5 Ran GRADE G PACE 1. J O Sullivan SPLASH THE CASH M Goggin Jnr 2. J Helen GREENTREE PADIANO Owner 3. O Farrell/Healy MEADOWBRANCH MATT M Kelleher DIST NK 2L TIME 2.39.1 5 Ran TROTTEUR FRANCAIS GRADE A C & D 1. Quill Bros TARNAO JOSSELYN S Quill 2. M Goggin Snr ROCKY ATOUT M Goggin Jnr 3. Brickley /O Reilly SOCRATE DU NOYER F Brickley DIST 10L 1/2L TIME 3.38.1 5 Ran GRADE A & B PACE 1.F Brickley RINGO KID D Brickley 2. Quill Bros IB MOHICAN S Quill 3.P Hill HAIL SPARTACUS Owner DIST 3L 2L TIME 2.30.7 5 Ran UNDER SADDLE 1. S Buckley SUNNYSIDE KILDARE E Murphy 2. Quill Bros KING WILLS ARRIVAL O Quill 3. J Shanahan FAIRDAYS BRET L Kelleher DIST 2L 2L TIME 2.33.85 Ran  

WEST CORK, Ireland - Sunnyside Kildare completed the big Summer Handicap double double when landing the Red John Memorial handicap at The Cornfield Oval in Manch Sunday. This son of Bear Dance was a thirty yard trailer in the nine horse final. Vyrnwy Terror and Frisco Hold Up led at the start at halfway. The Hitman and Gadgie Pan also shared the lead. Then heading out on the final circuit Donal Murphy made his move with Sunnyside Kildare and led with two furlongs to pace .Despite late rallies from Gadgie Pan and The Hitman, the winner had a length to spare from Gadgie Pan with The Hitman another length third. The winner is trained by Tadhg Murphy, the brother of the winning driver. The second big final of the day, The Oakwood Stud Irish three year old Grass pacing Championship, also went to the Murphy brothers. IB A Magican, who was bred by the Baltimore based Murphy brothers and is a half brother to IB Coyote the winner of the VDM two year old fillies division in Portmarnock last week . Lakeview Panam and and Hillside Aurelious made the early running with the winner always a close third .On the back straight Murphy made a race winning move to steal three lengths out of the field and maintained that advantage at the finish. The Little Welsh Dragon in Tregaron in Wales is next on the menu for this one. Murphy drove three winners on the day having earlier taken the Grade G pace on Alert Code who made light work of his rivals . The Le Trot Gold and Silver divisions produce two great finishes . In the Silver division Rohan Des Thirons had a short head to spare over Viking Du Layon with another short head back to Saxo De Maroncourt . The Gold division went to Aubade A Helene.Patrick Hill gave this six year old an inspired drive patintly waiting until the last furlong of the contest before swooping to collar Best Of Burious with Vocan Erem vack in third . There were two saddle races on the day and both went to the lady jockeys . Shelley Brickley won on Swift Sunshine in the low grade while Mary Rose Shanahan denied Brickley a double when steering home Rhyds Destiny in the high grade division . Despite the poor weather conditions the crowds came out to honor the late Red John O'Donovan . by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS RED JOHN MEMORIAL HANDICAP FINAL 1.S Buckley SUNNYSIDE KILDARE D Murphy 2. T Forbes GADGIE PAN J Manning Jnr 3. J Hill THE HITMAN K Sheehy DIST 1l 1l TIME 2.43.9 9 Ran OAKWOOD STUD IRISH THREE YEAR OLD GRASS PACING CHAMPIONSHIP 1. IB Stables IB A MAGICAN D Murphy 2. J Hurley LAKEVIEW PANAM P Kane Jnr 3.J P O Callaghan MEADOWBRANCH ROMAN B Roche DIST 3l 1l TIME 2.46.5 6 Ran LETROT GOLD DIVISION 1. P Hill AUDABE A HELENE Owner 2. Meadowbranch Stables BEST OF BURIOUS N Ryan 3. P Kane VOLCAN EREM P Kane Jnr DIST 2l 1/2l TIME 3.55.5 * Ran LETROT SILVER DIVISION 1. P Kane ROHAN DES THIRONS P Kane Jnr 2. G Murdock VIKING DU LAYON A Wallace 3. S Kane SAXO DU MARONCOURT DIST SH SH TIME 3.57.9 9 Ran GRADE G PACE 1. D Murphy ALERT CODE Owner 2. A Cuffe ALL EYES ON YOU S Kane 3.O Farrell/Healy MEADOWBRANCH MATT M Kelleher DIST 3l 3l TIME 2.51.1 5 Ran LOW GRADE SADDLE 1. F Brickley SWIFT SUNSHINE Shelley Brickley 2. McCarthy/Twomey MYROSS SON S Twomey 3. Quill Bros KING WILLS ARRIVAL O Quill DIST 3l 4l TIME 2.51.0 4 Ran HIGH GRADE SADDLE 1. Shanahan /Mycock RHYDS DESTINY Mary Rose Shanahan 2. F Brickley RINGO STAR Shelley Brickley 3. DHK Racing RHYDS TRIXTER R Manning DIST 3l 4l TIME 2.48.7 4 Ran GRADE G1 PACE 1. J Manning SAUNDERS JUBILEE Owner 2. Kelleher Bros PANAM COLT M Kelleher 3. L O Reagan JONOS COLT K Sheehy DIST 8l 10l TIME 2.27.3 6 Ran

WEST CORK, Ireland - The opening day of the 2016 Red John Memorial weekend at The Cornfield Oval in Manch produced some fantastic fare despite poor weather conditions. The five elimination heats of The Red John Memorial Pacing Handicap produced ten qualifiers for the Sunday Final. The opening heat went the way of Vyrnwy Terror .Fair Enough was all the rage in the betting but broke on a few occasions .Vyrnwy Terror was sent to the front by Mike O'Brien and was never in danger of being caught with the favorite coming back from his mistakes to grab the second qualifing spot. In the second heat Frisco Hold Up set the pace with Meadowbranch Milli in close attention .Nearing the final two furlongs, The Hitman joined the leaders and in a battle royal the three crossed the line together. The photo finish finish went the way of Frisco Hold Up with a neck back to The Hitman and the same to Meadowbranch Milli. Heat Three was another ultra competitive affair with Rhyds Cobbler and driver Billy Roche eventually seeing off Armoured Bear with John Boyle and the late finishing King Wills Arrival just failing by a neck to make the final. Only four went to post in the fourth heat and Gadgie Pan was waited by John Manning overtaking leader Lyons Stallone with three furlongs to pace and won going away by four lengths . The fifth and final heat was a classic .Maximus Lad led from the start and had a good tussle with Western Dreamer for pole position which he held .With three furlongs to pace Sunnyside Kildare arrived to deliver a challenge.All the while Ringo Kid waited in the wings and David Brickley sent him to the front in the last 100 yards to win by two lengths . The PJI Engineering Free For All Pace pitched eight of the top grass specialists into battle . Sprinhill Jazz lead off the gate from Meadowbranch Romeo and Meadowbranch Demon . At the half way point "Jazz" slipped out of contention and Romeo and Demon(half brothers both out of Churchill Queen)were left in front .Last weeks winner Rhyds Destiny had crept into the contest .Turning for home all three went to war with Hail Spartacus getting no room to challenge .Un the final 50 yards Meadowbranch Demon poked his nose in front and won by two lengths from Rhyds Destiny with Meadowbranch Romeo third . Racing opened with a Grade G Pace where victory went to Swift Sunshine and Ciaran Brickley . The Anto Russell Memorial trot saw aw win for Valiant Forgion who with Mike Goggin in the bike led from the start and was not for catching by Tim Kelleher, for Harnesslink RESULTS RED JOHN MEMORIAL HANDICAP HEAT ONE 1. J O Leary VYRNWY TERROR M O Brien 2. A Wallace FAIR ENOUGH Owner 3. Kane/Donaghy ON TOP JEREMIES JET P Kane Jnr DIST 4l 1/2l TIME 2.37.1 7 Ran HEAT TWO 1. J Stewart FRISCO HOLD UP P Kane Jnr 2. J Hill THE HITMAN K Sheehy 3. Meadowbranch Stables MEADOWBRANCH MILLI N Ryan DIST NK NK TIME 2.37.3 8 Ran HEAT THREE 1. J Gannon RHYDS COBBLER B Roche 2. J Boyle ARMOURED BEAR Owner 3. Quill Bros KING WILLS ARRIVAL F Quill Jnr DIST NK NK TIME 2.38.6 8 Ran HEAT FOUR 1.M Shanahan GADGIE PAN J Manning Jnr 2. O Driscoll /O Reilly LYONS STALLONE C O Reilly 3. Quill Bros KEYSTONE WINGMAN S Quill DIST 4l 2l TIME 2.41.1 4 Ran HEAT FIVE 1. J Brickley RINGO KID D Brickley 2. S Buckley SUNNYSIDE KILDARE D Murphy 3. P J Cleary WESTERN DREAMER Owner DIST 2l 1/2l TIME 3.36.3 7 Ran Grade G Pace 1. F Brickley SWIFT SUNSHINE C Brickley 2. S Jennings HEATHER BREEZE Owner 3. H Bennett FAIRDAYS HART S Quill DIST 4l 2l TIME 2.39.3 6 Ran ANTO RUSSELL MEMORIAL TROT 1. M Goggin VALIANT FORGION Owner 2. Hurrell /Kane SOPRANO GEDE S Kane 3. Brickley/O Reilly SOCRATE DU NOYER F Brickley DIST 4l 4l TIME 2.44.9 5 Ran PJI ENGINEERING FREE FOR ALL 1.Kelleher Bros MEADOWBRANCH DEMON M Kelleher 2. Shanahan/ Mycock RHYDS DESTINY P Kane Jnr 3.Meadowbranch/Watson MEADOWBRANCH ROMEO N Ryan DIST 2l SH TIME 2.34.1 8 Ran

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    

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