THE Red Mills All-Ireland finals day at Portmarnock resulted in the favourite winning both the pacing and trotting divisions.
However, the two races panned out very differently. Harry Knows hacked up in the trot, posting a 13-length victory, unusual in a classic race. Churchview Frankel only beat Northern Pride by a nose in the pace.
The Paddy Kane stable needed the big win on Sunday as they had endured a real setback during the week. Rhyds Scoundrel, as dominant in the three-year-old pacing ranks as ‘Harry’ is in the five-year-old trotters, died in a freak accident on winter grass.
It would appear that the horse stumbled and fell on rough ground and suffered a heart attack on attempting to recover. The sport in Ireland is reeling as he was a real star and beat allcomers on his trips to Britain.
Social media was full of the news following the All-Ireland that Harry Knows will be sent to race in the USA. Alas, but for the cruel hand of fate, Rhyds Scoundrel was also meant to head for the bright lights where he would surely have paced in 1.51 or faster.
The Kanes are nothing if not resilient and we can be sure that the famous red and black colours will be represented wherever racing takes place in 2023.
For now, let’s accentuate the positive. ‘’I wasn’t surprised that Harry Knows won by so far,’’ stated driver Patrick Kane jnr. ‘’There’s nothing around that can live with him. He had a wind operation during the summer and is seven from eight since.” The family have retained their home-bred Trotteur Français.
The current champion driver also told The Irish Field. ‘’We have decided to send ‘Harry’ to Shane Tritton who is based in New York. We are hoping that Shane will race Harry Knows at The Meadowlands as the one-mile track will suit him.
“We believe American racing, with the mobile start, will suit the horse better than the French walk-up and turn, or volte as it is known.”
Fermanagh runner Epsom de Corvees (Darren Timlin) was five lengths clear of the third Duc d’Arry who galloped when in contention with Donal Murphy. If Epsom wasn’t born in the same racing generation as a freakishly good trotter, he could have been an All-Ireland winner.
All this bad news and good news overshadows two superb performances on the pace. Troy McAleer judged the fractions well on Northern Pride and led everywhere but the line. Cootehill driver Bernard Nicholson knows ‘Frankel’ well and stayed on the rail until the top of the straight.
In a tough finish, Churchview Frankel got up by the minimum distance in this sport i.e., a nose. The race went 1.59.2, sharp for a winter’s day.
“I knew Northern Pride would be tough to pass but I did think we would get there. I have no real plans for next year yet, but the horse has a great record on his English raids,’’ said the Cavan-based reinsman.
The meeting marked the retirement of the teak-tough Fairdays Western. The Corey’s 12-year-old took up many column inches on this page as he won 38 races over 10 seasons.
IB A Magician was unfortunately a late withdrawal on the undercard. Owner Wayne McNevin got sweet compensation when Donal Murphy drove another Baltimore-bred, IB Notorious, to win the B to D pace.
Notorious, a grade B, was giving the gate horses 20 yards. Double Deuce (Adam Corey), North To Alaska (Noel Ryan) and Meadowbranch Dynasty all traded blows up front.
There was no room at the inn for Donal. The West Cork man sat and suffered and produced IB Notorious on the rail for a win by a neck.
The run must be another contender for drive of the season.
Four from six
Mary Kane and Hot To Trot seem to be 10 lengths better going right-handed than left. The Naul runner made four out of six runs in the clockwise trot, seeing off useful yardstick Devoir Math (4/6) in a three-runner affair.
Devoir Math, like many of the runners on the day, had his winter coat well pronounced. The onset of winter makes it harder for horsemen to wash down and cool off their charges.
Unlike over jumps, it’s hard to start clipping horses when you know they are heading for the turn-out paddocks.
Sean Kane’s decent season continued when he took out the grade F trot with Energy Oaks. Recent imports Homa (Eoin Murphy) and Galant du Loir, with his uncle Donal were second and third respectively.
Sean is off to ‘The Temple of Trot’, Vincennes in Paris, to defend his title in the international drivers invitational on December 2nd.
All at The Irish Field wish the airport-based fireman the best in his venture.
Luke Timlin of Derrylin scored a double on the day. Both winners were favourites on a day when five jollies obliged over nine races. Imperial Attitude saw off the luckless One Cool Touch and John Boy Roche in the grade F pace.
Oakwood Amari had a facile win in 2.11 in a grade G pace. J and Ks Closure with Daniel Hyland put up some resistance, but the winner was not extended. The winning time was one of the slowest of the season thus far.
“Wayward horses and gallopers our speciality,” could be the sign above the Timlin barn. Luke and his father Darren have a great record with difficult horses.
Joseph Caffrey doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘panic’. The Ashbourne man looked to be in trouble when Helios de Lara galloped early in the C to F trot.
However, Joseph let the five-year-old regain his rhythm gradually and creep back into the race.
At the jam stick, they saw off Joe’s uncle John Richardson with Isora de Source on Irish debut. JR has been on a quiet run in recent weeks.
Another nephew of John’s, this time Noel Ryan upstaged the 20-time champion when Ecrin de Grimoult took out an A to C trot. The second horse, Elysium d’Ostal was not pushed once his chance had gone and should be followed. The winner is owned by John Morgan of Omeath.
Racing is scheduled to continue until December 11th with a great team effort raising sponsorship for some memorial cups. A meeting in memory of Stephens Green jarvey Gerry Farmer is due to be held.
The track is off the R107, turn in at Kinsealy Chapel. Newcomers to the sport will be made welcome. Fast food, bookmakers and licenced bar are on offer.
Further details, race cards and results can be seen on www.irishharnessracing.com. Excellent race replays can be viewed on Irish Harness Racing Association Facebook page.