BELFAST, UK – Sometimes just inches separate sweet victory from agonizing defeat with punters treated to a series of desperately close harness racing finishes at Racetime Raceway last Saturday.
The first of these came in the opener when Paul Telford’s Ballycoan Major won by a rapidly diminishing short head to spare over Alex Patterson’s Alpha Papa. Ballycoan Major had led all the way in this but came under pressure rounding the final bend. Alpha Papa was then produced with a storming late run but the gallant major held on to score in 2:04.3. One to take from the race was the third placed horse Foxfield Tom who looked short of room close home and he will claim a red rosette very soon at the venue.
A well-orchestrated gamble went astray when Frisco Hold Up overturned Mystical Carbs in the afternoon’s Grade 1 pace. Six went to post in this contest with Ryan Hanson a late driver change aboard Mystical Carbs who was then the subject of sustained support in the betting ring. At the off Mystical Carbs shot into an early lead and over the course of the mile the eleven year old veteran fended off all challengers except Frisco Hold Up who sprinted up the finishing straight to nail the longtime leader by a neck in 2:01.3. Camden Pro held on for third spot ahead of the fast finishing Rio Bravo another two lengths adrift.
Current track record holder John Barley demonstrated why he is still the best horse around Racetime in 2021 with another stellar victory on Saturday in the Grade 2/3/4 Handicap. Starting off in the third line trailing 15 yards the nine year old had to pass every one of his five rivals in order to triumph and turning for home this appeared an impossible task.
Driver Michael Goggins however galvanized the gelding into another gear and the duo rallied well to strike in 2:01. Lucky Cam ran his usual game race to snatch the runner-up position from IB A Warrior with the distances a half length and another length.
On strict form Bocage De Fornet looked to have a fairly straightforward task ahead of him in the afternoons square trot. Hurricane Star and driver North Lucas (replacing Sam Crothers) set a strong pace from the outset and Greg Deans aboard the odds-on favourite struggled reduce his 35 yards starting deficit until just yards from the winning post when Hurricane Star began to tire.
Collared close home by Bocage De Fornet the four year old is improving with every run and will be winning soon based on this performance. Evan Jive, the other participant made countless mistakes and finished a distance behind the main protagonists in a mile time of 2:08.1.
The victor Bocage De Fornet seems to have recaptured last seasons form which seen him visit the winners enclosure 5 times at Racetime in 2020 and the veteran looks like achieving a similar tally this campaign in the coming weeks.
A consolation mile was held to conclude the card for all unplaced pacers on the day and five entered for this event. Stablemates Fairday’s Bret and Veelas Imprint shared the workload upfront for most of the mile and it looked as if the pair had the race between them turning for home.
Rio Bravo and driver Peter Lyttle had other ideas however and he produced the nine year old with a devastating turn of foot to claim the scalps of both of them to win rather snugly in 2:04. Fairday’s Bret had to settle for second spot with Veelas Imprint finishing third with the distances a half length and a length respectively.
Next meeting at Racetime Raceway is 7th August.
by Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink