‘TRULY awesome’ was how an American tourist described the opening event in the 2016 harness racing season, at Inchydoney Beach, last Sunday – and it’s hard to argue with that verdict.
The racing was out of the top drawer at this most famous venue with close finishes and individual performances the order of the day.
The opener saw King Wills Arrival, with driver Finbarr Quill Jnr, make a race-winning move at the five-furlong pole and to win from the fast-finishing Rock On Jo Jo with Get Rockin in third.
The low grade trotters saw Alineka Darche – with Donal Murphy in the bike – reel in long-time leader Vaillant Forgion just in the shadow of the post for a half-length win.
Immortal Mojo, with Denis O’Reilly, led from the start in the Grade E & F and looked to have done enough to win on the sands but a late surge by Gadgie Pan sent it to a photo finish with the judges giving a dead heat.
Ringo Star was next to make the winner’s podium with Ciarán Brickley biding his time on this son of Timon Del Sol, taking up the running with a furlong to pace and easing down to a three-length winning margin.
The top grade trot went the way of Rocky Atout and Micheal Goggin Jnr. Drawn in pole position he held his position and, despite a late challenge from Umbratica, was an easy four-length winner.
Racing concluded, despite an incoming tide, with a first top grade win for IB Mohican.
Seamus Quill set this son of The One Night Pan alight off the gate and the late run of Sunnyside Kildare could not deny this one his red rosette.
The next meeting will be at the Cornfield Oval, Manch this Sunday, May 29th, at 2.30pm.
RESULTS: Grade F G1 & G Pace: 1. Quill Bros, KING WILLS ARRIVAL, S Quill; 2. M O’Reilly, ROCKO JO JO, owner; 3. J Payne, GET ROCKIN, J Manning; distance 1l 4l; time 2.09.1; SP 7/2 3/1 3/1; seven ran.
Grade E & F Trot (1.5 miles): 1. D Murphy, ALINEKA DARCHE, owner; 2. O’Sullivan/Goggin, VALIANT FORGION, M Goggin Snr; 3. Pete Hill, AUBADE A HELENE, Patrick Hill; distance 1/2l 3l; time 3.09.1; SP 3/1 3/1 3/1; six ran.
Grade E & F Pace: Joint 1st. Eachway Racing Ltd, IMMORTAL MOJO, D O’Reilly; M Shanahan, GADGIE PAN, J Manning; 3. K Connolly, TALENTED MAN, owner; distance DH 3l; time 2.07.2; SP 4/1 3/1 5/1; nine ran.
Grade C & D Pace: 1. F Brickley, RINGO STAR, C Brickley; 2. O’Reilly/O’Driscoll, LYONS STALLONE, C O Reilly; 3. M O’Donovan, MR SECURITY, owner; distance 3l 1/2l; time 2.06.5; SP EV 3/1 5/1; seven ran.
Grade A B & D Trot (1.5 miles): 1. M Goggin, ROCKY ATOUT, M Goggin Jnr; 2. Kelleher Bros, UMBRATICA, M Kelleher; 3. Inishford Racing, SILVANO BELLO, D Murphy; distance 4l 1l; time 3.06.7; SP 6/1 3/1 6/4; five ran.
Grade A B & C Pace: 1. Quill Bros, IB MOHICAN, S Quill; 2. S Buckley, SUNNYSIDE KILDARE, D Murphy; 3. C O’Brien, CRUISE HOWARD, T O’Leary; distance 1 1/2l 1/2l; SP 8/1 3/1 2/1; seven ran.