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Ireland is set to hold its first ever Standardbred Public Auction at the world renowned Cavan Equestrian Centre in Cavan on Tuesday, October 9 this year. "We have been talking about holding our own Standarbred sale in Ireland for a number of years now," said James Delaney for the Irish Harness Racing Association's Breeding Committee." Traditionally both vendor and purchaser of Standardbreds would have to travel to the sales in the U.K. "With the rise in popularity in stakes races and prizemoney over the past number of years in Ireland," Delaney said. "It has had a huge impact on the value of yearlings and breeding stock and we talked with breeders, owners, trainers, etc. and the feeling was strong to have a sale here in Ireland." The Cavan Equestrian Centre is located on the edge of Cavan Town in the Republic of Ireland. The complex is ideally situated in the center of Ireland with easy access to seaports and to the two main International Airports, Dublin & Belfast. The Centre is the biggest and busiest equestrian centre in Ireland for Showjumping Events and Performance Horse & Pony Auctions. The facility includes; 450 permanent stables 3 indoor arenas (Hall One 80m x 30m, Hall Two 45m x 22m, Hall Three 72m x 55m) 2 outdoor all-weather arenas (Arena One 80cm x 40cm, Arena Two 65m x 60m) 3 grass arenas Boomerangs Restaurant Snaffles Bar Large hardcore truck and car park "The Cavan Horse Sales and Equestrian Centre are delighted to announce the hosting of the first official Standardbred Sale in Ireland on Tuesday, October 9," said Stuart Clarke for the Centre. "The Cavan Horse Sales management are very excited with our new partnership with the Irish Harness Racing Association (IHRA) and the promotion of this sector in Ireland, which is currently a worldwide sport." The sale will feature yearlings, race horses, stallion shares, frozen semen, etc. Some of the farms and stables that have already committed to entering horses in the sale include Newtown Stud, Springhill Stud, Meadowbranch Stables, Moorside Stud and Oakwood Stud. "The breeding here in Ireland has really taken off," Delaney said. "We feel this sale could not come at a better time as we need an outlet for both vendors and purchasers alike that is a bit closer to home. "There has been a large number of French Le Trot breeding stock imported," Delaney added, "including in foal mares and we have been leasing French Le Trot stallions to continue the breeding program over the last number of years. This along with the introduction of frozen semen from world class stallions from the USA has really helped the breeding program in Ireland and we are looking forward to hosting our first sale." "This is the first ever sale of French trotters and pacers in Ireland," Said Ronan Murphy, CEO for Horse Sport Ireland. "All animals entered in the sale have been bred in Ireland. I wish the IHRA and Cavan Equestrian every success in this new venture." For more information, contact Cavan Equestrian phone 049 4332017 or Email info@cavanequestrian.com. by Steve Wolf, for the Irish Harness Racing Association  

While the first Saturday in August is usually Hambletonian Week at the Meadowlands, perhaps the second biggest harness racing event of the month happens the following weekend, and it's only 3,200 miles away in Dublin, Ireland. It's the Vincent Delaney Memorial (VDM) weekend of racing at Portmarnock Raceway in Dublin. It's the biggest harness racing weekend of the year in both Ireland and the UK and will take place Friday, August 10 through Sunday, August 12. The race itself was developed by the Delaney brothers, James and Derek, who first came up with the special race for two-year-old pacers after their younger brother, Vincent, tragically died from a massive heart attack in 2011 at age 27. "Our brother Vincent loved working with the horse," explained Derek, who with brother James have Oakwood Stud, one of the bigger Standardbred breeding facilities in all of Ireland. "We only saw it fitting to have a special race in his memory. Little did we know back then that this race weekend would become a world-wide event." The Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend has been hailed as a miniature Little Brown Jug and Gold Cup and Saucer all rolled into one. People from all over the world now travel annually to Dublin to attend the weekend festival and the races. "It is just amazing how this race has grown in popularity over the last few years," Derek Delaney said. "Now we have world class sponsors from the USA, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand involved in the races and they all come over after the Hambletonian for our big weekend." And the race itself has grown by leaps and bounds. The VDM is perhaps the most grueling test for two-year-old pacers in harness racing. It requires these young horses to first race in elimination heats on Saturday with the top finishers returning the very next day (Sunday) to compete in the finals. And every year there are so many young horses entered that most of the race card on Saturday are elimination heats. There are also special stakes for three-year-old's, Le Trot events, and stakes for older horses too over the weekend. Hanover Shoe Farms in the USA is the main sponsor of the colt division of the VDM and the filly division is sponsored by the USA's Diamond Creek Farm. A new sponsor for 2018 is Tara Hills Stud (David Heffering) in Canada. What is also impressive is the "guest list" of who is coming to Dublin for the VDM. "I know I will forget someone," laughed Derek Delaney. "This year we have some well-known people in the harness racing industry coming over for the Vincent Delaney. The list includes Jim Simpson from Hanover Shoe Farm along with Murray Brown and his wife Carol, Heather and Mike Wilder, and Mike will also be driving that weekend. "Also coming are Tom Charters and his wife Sue, Dr. Courtney Pink from Diamond Creek Farm, Australia's and UK's Bill Hutchison, Sweden and Germany's Klaus Koch,," Derek went on. "Our regulars Roger Huston, Heather Vitale (wouldn't the VDM without her running about), Dale Welk, John McDermott, Jeff Kuhen and more. I am getting emails, texts and calls almost daily." The VDM weekend kicks off on Friday night with a dinner and in the special VIP Tent at the races there will be a great auction for charity. Already donated are a helmet, gloves and colors from Yannick Gingras and a set of Doug McNair's colors. If you ever really want to renew your passion for harness racing, then contact Derek or James Delaney at Oakwood Stud and they will send you all the details. It's a guaranteed must on everyone's bucket list. Check out www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com or www.oakwoodstud.ie for more information and to contact Derek and James Delaney. By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial    

The Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee is proud to announce today that one of North America's top drivers, Dan Noble, has committed to coming to Ireland for the Delaney Memorial Weekend, August 12 & 13, 2017. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Noble, "I was so surprised and pleased to be asked to come over. I was talking with Aaron Merriman about it and he told what a good time I will have. I've heard about what a great race weekend it is and now I'm gonna be part of it." Dan has been following the footsteps of his late father, top driver and trainer, Chip Noble. Dan first started driving in 1999 with just eight wins and now sports nearly 4,700 victories and is fast approaching earnings with the horses he has driver at $25 million. His banner year was 2011, when Dan won 773 races and was the leading dash winner in all of harness racing. He was the leading driver at both Northfield Park and Scioto Downs. That year Dan was also honored by the United States Harness Writers Association with the Dan Patch Rising Star Award. "How great it will be that Dan is coming over to Ireland for our brother's race," Said Derek Delaney, founder of the VDM with his brother James. The race is named after their younger brother who tragically passed away in 2011. "Not only is Dan a world class horseman, but he also drives Drunk On Your Love, perhaps the best 3-year-old in Ohio this year, who is sired by Foreclosure N, who we have standing at Oakwood Stud in Ireland." "Dan is a world-class driver," Delaney added, "And we are sure to show him a great time here both on and off the track. He will be sure to have some good drives at Portmarnock Raceway on Saturday and Sunday." The Vincent Delaney Memorial is the most grueling test in harness racing for two-year-old pacers with elimination divisions on Saturday and the finals the very next day on Sunday. The colt division is sponsored by Hanover Shoe Farm and the filly division by Diamond Creek Farm. Also on the program that weekend is the Alabar/Oakwood Stud Derby, the Yirribee Stud Australia Paul Murtagh, Sr. Derby, PJI Engineering FFA Pace, the Elvin/Delaney FFA Trot plus other big stakes events. Dan Noble says he does not think he has any Irish heritage in his bloodlines. "Not a drop that I know of," Noble laughed. "But I am sure it will not stop me from having a great time and meeting lots of great people there. "I'm bringing my girlfriend Christi Rae and my mom is also coming with us," Noble said. "I've got good help to take care of the 20 horses in my stable while we are away. Can't miss this chance. It will be a hellva experience." The list of special guests who are coming to Ireland this year for the VDM reads like a Who's Who of harness racing from around the world. Also attending are Murray Brown from Hanover Shoe Farm, Brett Coffey from Alabar Stud in Australia, Heather Vitale of Post Time and sister Susan Looney, Roger Huston will be calling the races again, Klaus Koch of Sweden's Elitloop fame, Rachel Keeney and Caroline Vazquez from Diamond Creek Farm, Clive and Anne Dalton from Australia, Mike Carter of the Mike & Mike Show, Australian promoter and publicist Bill Hutchison, Belgium breeder Filip Van Hauwermeiren, Dean Hoffman, former Hoof Beats editor, prominent USA owners Bill Donovan and Joe Sbrocco of the USA, who is bringing a group of ten people over. For more information about the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend, visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com. From the Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee  

The Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee is proud to again announce that a record number of horses have been nominated for the sixth annual VDM weekend of racing. The richest stakes weekend in all of Ireland and the UK, the VDM has developed into a must attend week-long festival in Dublin, Ireland with the races being held August 12 and 13, 2017. "To say we were overwhelmed with the support from the horse owners," said race founder Derek Delaney. "would be an understatement for our festival of harness racing. While we are slightly down on numbers in the two-year-old divisions, we made up for it on three-year-old's with our new joint sponsorship with Alabar Stud and Oakwood Stud." The premier event of the weekend is the sixth annual Vincent Delaney Memorial for two-year-old's. Perhaps harness racing's most grueling race as it calls for two-year-old's to race in elimination divisions Saturday and then the final on Sunday. A record number of pacing fillies entered the Diamond Creek Farm VDM with 38 nominated over 35 in 2016. The newly sponsored Hanover Shoe Farm VDM for colts saw a decline over prior year with 38 nominated for 2017 vs 45 in 2016. Rhyds Mystique, the BHRC filly of the year in 2016 and IB Coyote, winner of the Diamond Creek Farm VDM Final last year, are both nominated. Another record was set in nominations for the three-year-old Alabar-Oakwood Stud Derby with a total of 45 colts and fillies entered. The colt division has 23 entered and the new filly division has 23 nominated. Heading the list of colts for the Derby is Tyrion Hanover, the BHRC colt of the year last season and the winner of the VDM colt final. In the four-year-old newly sponsored Yirribee Paul Murtagh, SR. Memorial, only seven entered the horse division, mainly because of the presences of the 2016 Harness Horse of the Year in Ireland and the UK, Miraculous, returning for another championship season. He is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest racehorses ever in Ireland and the UK. Unfortunately, due to a lack of entries (only four) in the Yirribee Murtagh Mare Division, the race has been canceled. "We will however," said Delaney, "try our very best to stage a four-year-old and older mare's race on the weekend. "Overall we are really excited that our three major stakes events are up again in total horses." Delaney add, "This year we have 127 entered for the three stakes and last year was at 120. Anytime we can continue to increase total nominations it shows we are growing and that is always good." Complete listings of all the horses nominated will be available soon at www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com. By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial      

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.

DUBLIN, Ireland - The ante-post betting for both the Ladbrokes sponsored colts and Diamond Creek sponsored fillies events for the 5th annual Labrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial carnival of harness racing. took another twist last weekend following two more juvenile prep races held at Tir Prince in Wales on Saturday night. First up were the fillies and eight regally bred females lined up behind the starter with the Vicky Gill driven Rhyds Mystique going to post the Evens favourite on the bookies boards. Taking maximum advantage from a three draw near the rails Mistique (by Hasty Hall) hit the front and never seen another rival as she cruised to a 2:03.5 victory. The win seen her overtake She Be Rockin and Coalford Honey in the betting for the eliminations and grand final to be held at Portmarnock on August 13th and 14th. Runner up Rhyds Voodoo was shortened further in the betting to 5/1 with Greenhilldebatable drifting in the betting out to 8/1. Mystique, stable named Ruby, is now 3 from 3 and improving with every run. Her overjoyed owners Marc and Viccy Elvin have been stalwart supporters of harness racing in the UK for many years who were forced to retire stable star Ayr Mission through injury earlier on in the week so this win was especially bittersweet for the family. The Elvins now face the unenviable dilemma of giving Mistique one more race or heading to the Vincent Delaney Memorial a fresh horse. The fact that this race is the Breeders Crown fillies final at Tir Prince the owners local track will make this decision all the more difficult to call! Rhyds Decoy (by Hasty Hall) was the subject of a late gamble in the colts division and the early break in stride by odds on favourite Tyrion Hanover made his job a whole lot easier as he delivered in spades for trainer-driver Andrew Cairns in 2:05.8, a full 2.3 seconds slower than the fillies. But as the old saying goes "time only matters when your doing it" and Rhyds Decoy only had to do enough to land the spoils and still looks a top class prospect for owners Brett Lloyd, Kevin Myles and Brent Thompson. Share A Smile rallied late to claim second ahead of Ladyford Express and while oddsmaker Dan Carlin shortened up the winner to 9/4 second favourite, Tyrion Hanover, the Somebeachsomewhere colt, still heads the market at 4/5 favourite to hit paydirt in the final August 14th. Tyrion will need to get it right on the day however as he cannot afford to fluff his lines at Portmarnock and trainer Samboy Howard will be working overtime to eliminate the greenness that plagued his Tir Prince performance. For breeding afficianados it was interesting that the dam of Rhyds Decoy is out of CPR whilst the dam of Rhyds Mistique is out of CPs Village Jigsaw, a daughter of CPR. What a triumph it is for breeders Greta and John Wright of the Rhyds Stud in Wales to have that dynasty still producing after more than a decade and of course both horses are sired by their prolific stallion Hasty Hall, whom has also been at the top of his profession for over a decade. by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink

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