JOHN Richardson, now 56, had his first drive in 1981 on the very ordinary Windys Son. The following year he hit it off with the brilliant little Pipers Gold gelding Mister Brown. Within a season or two he was leading driver at Portmarnock. This year will be his 38th season in the top five trainers in Ireland – he has been leading driver at least 20 times.

In the intervening years he has driven (and quite frequently trained) winners of most of the major classics in Britain and Ireland. He won Derbys on both sides of the Irish Sea including wins at Musselburgh, Appleby, Lyre and even a race in Norway. Wherever there is a meeting, the familiar sight of the lemon and chocolate colours creeping into the picture at the top of the straight is ever present.

JR, as he is known, has lost none of his ability. In the past couple of seasons the race reports in this newspaper told of how he can still win races with horses who were not necessarily the best in the race.

Maybe John is slowing down a bit, or maybe Patrick’s younger legs are making a difference but he has relinquished The Irish Field silver salver for leading driver in both 2021 and 2022 to Patrick Kane jnr.

In our conversation during the week, John did point out that his Ballyboughal -based Meadowbranch team made a decision a couple of years ago not to race any two-year-olds. As these unexposed animals are starting to come through now, it is quite possible that Patrick will have stiffer competition for salver than in 2022.


Meadowbranch Bobby (USA)

3yo g Sportswriter – Disney Pan.

He is out of the same mare as Monsieur Bibeau who we lost in a freak accident. Hopefully, he’ll go up through the grades. He is owned by Brian Redmond and named for his grandson.

Meadowbranch Lil Mil (IRE)

3yo f Sweet Lou – Meadowbranch Millie

It’s frightening that I have now trained four generations of this family. I can recognise the family traits, they look hot, but they are actually very willing.

Sweet Jeff (IRE)

3yo g Sweet Lou - Maddie

I go back a long way with the owner Jack Manning of Limerick. The dam was a top race mare. We broke him last year, gelded him and turned him out. He is a lovely horse to be around.


Isora De Source (FR)

5yo m Bird Parker - Viana du Rib

Charlie (Flanagan) won a race from the front with her late last year. She is by Bird Parker who is a top sire.

She only wears back boots. She is only five and I like the feel she gives me.

Immaculata (IRE)

5yo m Rachmaninov Seven

She won nine out of 10 starts at three and then last year she started galloping in races.

She had a few issues and I’m hopeful that I have her sorted and she will stay level this year.

Harry Knows goes in again at the Meadowlands

THE Irish harness racing community were buoyed by the news that Paddy Kane senior’s Harry Knows won his second race in the US last Saturday night in a time of 1.52 for the mile.

If you’re going to win in America, do it in style and Harry Knows has won twice at The Meadowlands, arguably the world’s highest standard track. Connections will be relieved as the six-year-old gelding put in an uncharacteristic error on his first competitive start, driven by Patrick Kane junior.

Harry Knows becomes the first Trotteur Français produced in Ireland to win in another country. For both recent wins Harry Knows was driven by trainer’s wife Lauren Tritton, a fitting win on International Women’s Day. Lauren is an Australian, so the wins have a true international feel.

Harry Knows joins Oakwood Cowboy, Ladyford Dollar and The Gypsy Queen (two wins) as Irish-breds who have won in America since January. In fact, the list is becoming so long it is impossible to mention all the Irish and British bred winners by name.

The success on the US scene with its better prize money can only help the breeding industry in Ireland and Britain.