Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 8 of 8

Technology is great and it has been used extensively by harness racing tracks around the world to bring their races to your home on your TV or computer. Race tracks now even feature live streaming of qualifying races with live race calls. But York Harness Racing track in the northern part of England is taking it a step further, featuring a trial stage of payperview for the qualifying races scheduled on Saturday, June 13. Under the sanction of the British Harness Racing Club, the governing body for Harness Racing in Great Britain, the qualifiers will be offered at a price of £1.99 ($2.53US). "This is a first for the UK," said Craig Stevenson, Racing Manager at York. "Now anyone in the world will be able to watch our qualifiers at York's half mile hard track." The race announcer and host for the payperview show will be none other than Darren Owen, who is one of the premier race callers in the UK and Ireland and is also Chairman of the BHRC. The payperview setup is being conducted by Rich Green. First race post time for the qualifiers is 1:00 pm UK time. The pre-show gets underway at 12:30 pm. For further information about getting the payforview qualifiers go to The first day of live harness racing in the UK will take place on Saturday, July 4 at York Harness Track. From York Harness Track

England, UK - Today, Friday 8th December, sees the official launch of a new organisation set to work towards securing the future of racing in the UK. The British Harness Racing Development Fund (BHRDF), founded by Coalford Stud's Joseph Maw, seeks to generate sufficient funding to purchase a suitable piece of land for the development of a half mile hard track in a central location for the benefit of all BHRC licence holders to race on in 2019. In a statement to be published in the British Harness Racing Club's (BHRC) membership calendar, the BHRDF describes the present situation as follows: "British harness racing is currently at its lowest ebb; we are at rock bottom and if we continue on our current path then harness racing will cease to exist in Britain in the not so distant future. Over the last 10 years the fixture list has been reduced dramatically. The main reason? The sport's two main facilities (York Harness Raceway & Tir Prince Raceway) are owned/operated by private individuals who, for various reasons, choose not to operate a regular weekly fixture list and can take the venues away at any time (York Harness Raceway is currently for sale). Corbiewood Stadium has been purchased for development and is currently rented for each racing season, thus making it inadequate for the future development of harness racing. Tai'r Gwaith (Amman Valley) also does not operate a regular weekly fixture list. There is absolutely no sense in buying, owning, breeding, training, racing and investing in Standardbreds if we do not have regular all-weather facilities where we can race them. No sense whatsoever. The only people who can save this sport are ourselves." Under the tagline 'Save our sport - back this plan', the BHRDF has set out a detailed action plan to raise the much-needed funding to proceed with the plan to purchase land and build an all-weather track. A steering committee, featuring 15 of the UK's leading breeders, owners, trainers, drivers and commentators, has been formed to forge ahead with this plan with the full backing of the country's harness racing governing body, the BHRC. In addition to money pledged by members of the steering committee, licence holders will be asked to pay an annual membership to the fund which, further down the line, will reward them with certain benefits once the track is up and running and give them stakeholder status. The message is that this will be a track run by the members, for the members, and will secure the future of harness racing in the UK. In conjunction with the official launch of the Development Fund, a Facebook page ( has been set up which will feature regular updates on the progress of the steering committee. Another key feature of the organisation is transparency, and the committee wishes to keep interested parties up to date via an easily accessible platform. Finally, the BHRDF has set up a GoFundMe account ( and it is hoped that harness racing enthusiasts from every corner of the earth will hear their plight - UK harness racing has an enthusiastic and unique array of participants and this may well be our last chance at saving this wonderful sport on our shores before it is too late. by Sarah Thomas, for the BHRCF  

The UK harness racing fraternity are saddened to learn of the retirement of one of the sport's most-loved competitors, Robec, after a career ending injury. Robec was imported into the UK from France in July 2014 as part of the inaugural shipment of Trotteur Francais brought into the country through the Le Trot/TrotBritain partnership. By virtue of the ballot (the method by which the horses were allocated), Robec landed in the hands of trotting stalwart, John Foy. He made the long journey from London, England, to Musselburgh, Scotland, the following week for his first run on British soil. On the day there was betting support for numerous runners in the race, particularly Radjah Normand, one of the new TF to have recently been imported into Ireland. The 17 hand chestnut gelding went to post the betting favourite; Robec slipped under the radar. As the race over 1m 3f (2200m) developed, Radjah Normand towered over the opposition and travelled well to find himself in a commanding position with just over a furlong to go. It was at this moment that Robec introduced himself to the British and Irish harness racing supporters. With his head down and ears back in what became his signature racing style, he powered through the last furlong to a surprise victory. The crowd were in awe, and were left frantically searching their racecards to find out which horse John Foy was driving as he gave the whip salute. That was the moment that John, and the general public, knew what Robec was. Robec went on to win his subsequent start at York Harness Raceway, before being sold to father and son partnership, John and Samboy Howard of Morecambe, Lancashire. Partnered by Richard Haythornthwaite for the first time, Robec headed back to the turf, this time to Tregaron, Wales. For anyone yet to meet Robec, he put on a tremendous display from a 20 yard trail to breeze past his competitors and win by 20 lengths. The remainder of his British season was campaigned at York. Here he won five in a row during a period of time when he appeared unbeatable. He carried an air of invincibility which is something that very few racehorses experience. Despite not reaching the heights of his unforgettable first season, Robec still raced with his usual tenacity to never finish outside the first three, including a victory in the Free For All Trot at the prestigious Appleby Spring meeting in 2015. In his short career in the UK, Robec compiled an outstanding record of 13-9-2-2 with no less than 2 British All-Comer Trotting records still in his name: 1m 2f (2000m) and 1m 6f (2800m). He was also voted British Harness Racing Club Trotter of the Year in 2014 and was a contender for the Horse of the Year award. Furthermore, Robec was voted the first ever UK Trotteur Francais of the Year and John Howard was invited to collect the award at the annual awards in Vincennes, France, alongside all other member countries in partnership with Le Trot. During his time racing, Robec always gave his all. He was the image of determination when he raced and his willing attitude established him as the people's champion. His regular pilot, Richard Haythornthwaite, described him as "the best trotter I'm ever likely to drive". High praise from a driver whose career is still in its ascendency. No matter the success of the Le Trot Series in the UK in the future, Robec will always be remembered as the moment it all began. He was, and always will be, the original and the best. by Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink    

Manch, Ireland - The Irish Trotting and Harness Racing Federation (ITHRF) have announce the inaugural running of the Oakwood Stud Three-year-old Irish Grass Pacing Championship to be held at Manch Raceway on the Red John O’Donovan Memorial weekend of Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st August 2016. .Oakwood Stud, who are one of the leading lights of Standardbred Breeding in Ireland with Foreclosure N and No Pan Intended standing at their County Offaly facility, have joined forces with the ITHRF to promote this series with an eye on the future and making this three-year-old Championship one of the major events on the Irish Harness Racing calendar. Derek Delaney and his brother James, owners of Oakwood Stud, have changed the face of breeding in the country with these two regally bred stallions. "We see a bright future for breeding both here in Ireland and the UK,” Derek Delaney said. “We have got great support from broodmare owners in the Cork region who have used our stallions and the three-year-old  championship is our way of repaying that support." "We are delighted than James and Derek Delaney of Oakwood Stud have come on board with the ITHRF to promote the championship here in Cork,” said Said Tim Kelleher for the ITHRF. “The Red John Memorial was a huge success last year and this year we are making it a full weekend,” Said Kelleher. “The three-year-old race will really raise the profile of the event and it will give overseas visitors who are here for the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend, a chance to taste the atmosphere of grass racing here in Cork.” The series is penciled in for the weekend after the Vincent Delaney Memorial so many of those travelling to Dublin will have another top class racing weekend to look forward to. In addition to the great racing programs that weekend, there will also be hot food and a bar on site, supervised parking, and for the children, free face painting, bouncy castles and colouring competitions. There will, of course, be bookmakers in attendance, stabling arranged for visiting horses, and a race dance the Saturday night. Manch Raceway a half mile grass venue is located approximately one hour from Cork International Airport. For more information and a nomination form visit From the Red John Memorial Weekend Committee Here are the rules and conditions for the race. 1. €50 payable by March 14th     €50 payable by April 14th     €50 entry on race day 2. Any late entries €300 (plus sustaining fees) Any entries after August 1st €500 3. Separate heats for colts and fillies (subject to entries) 4. Mixed sex heats where fillies get preference 5. Final to be run as FFA with fillies getting preference in draw   6. Heats and final to be run over 1 mile. 7. Maximum of eight horses per heat 8. Final to be run with eight qualifiers 9. The promoters (ITHRF) decision is final

York, England – In a shocking announcement Wednesday, the British Harness Racing Club (BHRC) announced that Michael Welling, the owner of York Harness Raceway, has decided to withdraw all 2016 fixed dates for racing at the track. In a statement, the BHRC said, “The BHRC appreciates entirely all the determination, hard work and funding, Mr. Welling has injected into York Harness Raceway and also the extent of what has been achieved there in promoting the racing and the sport. The loss of which is a colossal blow to the BHRC and harness racing. In his letter to the BHRC Council, Welling wrote; “It is with deep regret and a heavy heart that I wish to inform the BHRC Council of my decision to withdraw the racing dates with immediate effect for York Harness Raceway, which I have submitted for 2016 season. Over the past ten years I have invested quite a considerable amount of my own personal money into the track and racing, upgrading the surface, providing new equipment etc., and promoting racing, with very little or no help from the racing fraternity. Running York Raceway and Promoting Harness Racing takes up quite a considerable amount of my time, which in turns means I have to spend all my time living at the track. As you can all appreciate in this day and age it is not wise to leave a property unattended for any length of time. I no longer wish to live this existence. As most of you know I have now retired and I would like to spend more time with my family, running York Raceway prevents me from doing so. Therefore I am moving away from Harness Racing to pursue other interests, this decision wasn’t taken lightly.” “York is the only purpose-built hard track in England,” said Sarah Thomas, an avid horsewoman in Scotland and a reporter for Harnesslink, “There has been and will be this year a fixture at Wolverhampton Racecourse aka Dunstall Park, however this is a Thoroughbred track so technically classed as dual purpose plus they only stage one meeting. “Tir Prince now serves the north of Wales and all of England as a good hard track for harness racing,” Thomas explained, “and Amman Valley is then based in South Wales and serves Wales and the English counties i.e. Herefordshire). Corbiewood is the most northern track (being in Scotland) that's a hard track.” The loss of the harness racing meetings at York has been a “hot topic” on social media throughout the UK and Ireland. Questions to be answered include where the races scheduled at York will be held in 2016. Speculation ranges that they will be “farmed out” to tracks such as Tir Prince and Corbiewood. Also the York Mixed Horse Sale, which has grown from just being the Camden Stud Sale, to a sale for yearlings, broodmares, stallions and racehorses from across the UK and Ireland, will need to find a new home. “This will have a massive knock on effect with regard to the Le Trot Series (Trotteur Francais purchased under a three year agreement with Le Trot with races to be based at York),” Thomas added, “however Trot Britain had the foresight to tender out their races when York initially indicated that only 4 fixtures would be staged at York in 2016.” “Around the York area are where some of the UK’s biggest trainers are based,” said Sterling’s Andrew Dick, a horse owner, “Top trainer/drivers Mick Lord and John Gill will literally need to drive past York Raceway just to get to Tir Prince. “Along with Tir Prince, York is the only real decent hard track we have in the UK,” Dick said, “There are many big time and small time trainers around that area and York would be their base. You will likely find that some small time trainers will sell up as they won’t really have anywhere to race. York has also held some major independent stakes races over the years for big money. “It's a very bad time for the sport and with Corbiewood in its current state,” Dick said, “and with no real security with Tir Prince, the future really is bleak in the UK.” It has also been said that the track is for sale and many are praying that somebody within racing will purchase the track and continue racing. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

The UK/Ireland Inter Dominion series took a new twist yesterday at York on Saturday with the “Flying Scotsman” Astounding for John and Gordon Gilvear, upsetting the applecart with an easy all-the-way harness racing victory in the penultimate heat.    Setting the pace from an inside draw over the mile and a quarter with favourite Meadowbranch DJ parked and Brywinsmagicpotion in the trail, he drew clear in the home straight to a four length win from Brywins with five lengths back to DJ, making it three track records from three Inter heats in the process.   Three different winners from Ireland, England and now Scotland have made the series truly international.   Disappointingly Astounding can’t win the series as he had no luck in his first heat and didn’t go to Portmarnock last week, but he’ll keep things interesting for Brywinsmagicpotion (20) and Meadowbranch DJ (18) as only two points separate them going into next Sunday’s mile and a half final heat at the big Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend in Ireland.   Points are 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 in order of finish and the UK/Ireland Interdom committee will early this week  rule on what happens if the final points are tied.   At stake is a place in the $1.5 million Inter Dominion series at Gloucester Park Perth in late November and early December.   By Bill Hutchison  

It was Ireland and Meadowbranch Stables who dominated the first leg of the Anglo-Irish Inter Dominion series. The curtain raiser to the inaugural competition was held at York Harness Raceway on Saturday over 2400m where Meadowbranch Dj (5-1) stamped his authority on the high-class field with a ten-length victory in a new British record of 3’00”08. Drawn three, the winner took up the running early for driver John Richardson and held his position throughout, making his race-winning move with half a lap to go when surging clear in record-breaking fashion. Brywinsmagicpotion (drawn 6) – who finished a well-beaten second – could be considered unlucky as, while the winner broke clear, he was trapped last with seven lengths to make up. Meadowbranch Romeo, stable companion of the winner, fended off Saunders Mach 3 for third who failed to justify his short price. The disappointment of the race was Sepia Sands who, despite being popular in the betting, struggled throughout from the worst draw of all and was already two lengths down after the first turn. After the race, winning driver John Richardson said, “He’s always been a stayer, he hasn’t been on form but he’s come back good today”. When asked about his confidence going forward co-trainer Mark Flanagan confirmed “There are some good horses in the series and you don’t just win it over one race. Four races to keep a horse on the boil, it’s going to be tough.” He also said both of his horses hadn’t quite been on form coming into York which suggests there could be even more improvement over the coming heats.  This isn’t the first opportunity for the Flanagan team to send a pacer over to the Australasian Inter-Dominion, who had Sable Matters entered in the 1997 renewal. Three weeks before, Mark Flanagan tells the story, the future three-time winner of the series Sir Vancelot was actually beaten in a workout by Sable Matters, however Flanagan’s charge unfortunately failed to make the race due to breaking a side bone. Meadowbranch Stables are now in a very strong position going into the second heat where they will also have home advantage at Portmarnock on July 26th. Meadowbranch Dj receives the maximum eight points for his clear-cut success with Brywinsmagicpotion snatching six points and MEADOWBRANCH ROMEO four. Saunders Mach 3 picked up two while all four other runners collect one each. Unfortunately both Meadowbranch Josh and Meadowbranch Demon were withdrawals early on in the card and will face an uphill struggle in the next three legs. The overall heats winner, decided in the finale at Portmarnock on 9th August, will represent Great Britain and Ireland at the $1.8 million TABtouch Inter Dominion series ran at Gloucester Park, Perth Australia in December. Result – Anglo/Irish Inter-Dominion 2015 – Round One 1st        MEADOWBRANCH DJ             7yr old; Real Artist x Search for Cam             Owner: Meadowbranch Stables & Noel Cowden             Trainer: William Flanagan             Driver: John Richardson   2nd       BRYWINSMAGICPOTION             8yr old: Camotion x Life’s Magic Girl             Owner: James Gammie             Trainer: Theresa Haythornthwaite             Driver: Alan Haythornthewaite   3rd       MEADOWBRANCH ROMEO             7yr old: Fantastic Western x Churchill Queen Owner:  Meadowbranch Stables & Watson             Trainer: William Flanagan Driver: Noel Ryan By Michael Andrews British Harness Racing Club      

An amazing and action packed day at York on Saturday was highlighted by a ten length win by Irish star Meadowbranch DJ (John Richardson for Mark and Willie Flanagan) in the first heat of Australia’s Inter Dominion, where the time of 3.00.8 broke the long standing British record for a mile and a half by three seconds. The winner assumed the lead after a 27.8 opening stanza, ran through the mile in 1.59.4 and in the final lap shot clear of his floundering harness racing rivals. A luckless Brywinsmagicpotion shook clear of traffic late to grab second place from stablemate of the winner Meadowbranch Romeo who led out then took the trail. Outside of the winner Saunders Mach 3 was the run of the race as he sat three wide for the last five furlongs (1000 metres) and was a whisker off the placegetters. The second heat of the series will be conducted at Dublin’s Portmarnock circuit on Sunday July 26. The other highlight of the day was top three year old Titanium’s heat and final victory in the York 3YO Championship – he set a new British record of 1.56.8 for his age group early in the day, then eclipsed that mark with a 1.56.4 clocking in the final, ending Rewrite History’s unbeaten streak of seven when comfortably holding off his late charge. Scottish gelding Robhall was an outsider when outfinishing UK’s best four year olds in a blanket finish to win the York 4YO Championship in a day of class pacing and trotting that will be well remembered. By Bill Hutchison Chris Berry presents York Harness Racing   BHRC presents "Come Harness Racing"

1 to 8 of 8