Day At The Track

It's Great Britain vs Ireland in LeTrot race

08:08 PM 20 Jul 2016 NZST
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Harness racing Harness racing
Artwork by Simon Elvin
Simon Elvin (left) and Derek Delaney in race paddock at Melton in Melbourne, Australia last year

DUBLIN, Ireland - When good friends Derek Delaney in Ireland and Simon Elvin in the UK were talking over both harness racing and football (soccer), they decided to sorta mix the two together and came away with an excellent special edition LeTrot race set for Saturday, August 13 during the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend at Portmarnock Raceway.

It's Great Britain vs Ireland and the added purse is now totaling €4500 in addition to the bragging rights of the country that wins the race.

The Invitational Free-For-All will be a one-mile race with ten horses entered, five of the best from Great Britain and five from Ireland.

"We talked about what else we could to make the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend that much more exciting," said Derek Delaney, chairman of the VDM Committee. "This was during the UEFA Euro Football Championships and Simon gets the credit for coming up with the idea at first for having Great Britain vs Ireland and then the idea for the excellent artwork."

"It's all about the bragging rights," laughed Simon Elvin. "Derek and I love harness racing and football so we have combined the two together and I fooled around on my computer and came away with the artwork, covering both our diehard football fans with harness racing."

The leading racing officials in both Great Britain and Ireland will decide on who the top ten horses currently racing in the LeTrot Series in both countries that will receive invitations to the special race.

LeTrot in France has made a three-year agreement both in Great Britain and Ireland to help improve the trotting races and breeding with French horses. LeTrot matches funds with owners in both Great Britain and Ireland, for the purchase of racehorses and broodmares (that must be bred back to French stallions) in addition to helping fund the LeTrot Series races held throughout Great Britain and Ireland.

The program has been sensational in helping bring back trotting races and has seen an increase of more than 200% in races held from 2015 to 2016. In addition, there are special LeTrot friendship races featuring French, Great Britain and Irish drivers, held in France, Great Britain and Ireland during the year.

"Derek and I first co-sponsored a LeTrot race in 2014 during the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend." Simon added. "And now it has become something special during the big weekend. The first edition was won by USA's Wally Hennessey, then last year Dexter Dunn from New Zealand won it in track record time.

"The series had developed a great following at Portmarnock during the VDM weekend," Simon said. "It will be great to see if USA's Aaron Merriman gets a drive in it or perhaps Dexter Dunn, who is coming back this year, can win it a second time."

Does Derek Delaney and Simon Elvin have a friendly wager on which country will win the LeTrot race at Portmarnock Raceway August 13th?

"Not as of yet," Delaney added, "I'm gonna have to wait and see what horses are invited and what post positions they draw. At Portmarnock they race five on the starting gate, so that will mean two tiers going on a half mile track."

"I say the loser must paint his face like on the poster, only in the winner's colors and then have to wear it the next day at Portmarnock!" Elvin laughed. "Now that is a real bet!"

"We will see," Delaney said, "We will see."

For more information about the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend, visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com.

by Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend

 
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