Annaghmore Sunday

CLIVE Richardson’s well-maintained oval at Annaghmore was the venue for Irish Harness Racing Association action last Sunday. Patrick Kane junior won the top grade pace with Walter Stewart’s Ladyford Dollar in a sharp 1’58.5 to send favourite backers home happy.

Regulars are in for a treat this autumn as both John Richardson and Patrick Kane junior are at the peak of their powers. The scoreline between the pair was 3-2 at full time on Sunday, to bring John’s cushion back to five in the race for the drivers’ title (see accompanying table). Both men play down the importance of the outright win but you’ll not see them sitting out many dances!

In a welcome move, all races described herein can be seen, free of charge on the IHRA facebook page.

Last week John Richardson took all the plaudits arriving at the last moment with Cash All. This week Patrick Kane junior won his race at the start with a bold move for the top.

Ladyford Dollar (4/5 fav) would not be the first horse to spring to mind when the subject of ‘gate speed’ is being discussed. However, Patrick made the six-year-old’s mind up for him and bombed him out of the four hole to be in the lead even before the field had passed the bookies’ pitches.

Up front is the place to be to avoid trouble and Dollar’s rival in the betting Oakwood Cowboy did not enjoy a clear run with Gavin Murdock. The winner always runs his race and Walter and wife Carmel are great supporters of the sport.

A grade

Harry Knows looks sure to end up an A grade horse, it is only a question of how the Kanes want to ‘spend’ the other grades on the way up. Should he end up in the highest grade he will be the first ‘Trotteur Français raised in Ireland’ to attain that rating.

On the day Harry Knows (4/6 fav) made an uncharacteristic break, threw away a good 40 yards and yet still had the gears to come round the eight-horse field. Dream Paradise (Bernard Nicholson) attempted to make all but Harry Knows is something special.

John Richardson might be 20 years older than Patrick but he still retains the enthusiasm he showed behind the likes of Must Fly and Rippling Skipper all those years ago. Shes No April Fool led out and made all to win a weak looking Grade G pace by 13 lengths. Epopee Du Layon put in a similar front running performance to beat Buliano (Billy Roche) in the A to B Trot.

Meadowbranch Aine had probably the toughest task of John’s treble. The Kane pair, Porterstown Roman and Check On Dancer had both shown glimpses of ability but had no answer to Aine’s turn of foot when John went on at the half. The 5/2 available in one place looked like value considering she won by six lengths and went off at evens.

Meadowbranch Aine is trained in Ederney, Co Fermanagh by Neville Martin.


The Hanson surname is one of the longest standing names in the sport. Indeed, Walter Stewart’s mum was a Hanson. The late Joe Hanson was the first name on the entry sheet at the old Antrim Stadium and was known as a great developer of a young horse.

Therefore it was great to see a win for the Portrush family as Joe’s son Eugene sent the likeable EJ’s Dragoness out to win a Grade G contest with Ryan Hanson in the bike. EJ’s Dragoness did open favourite but there was money for both Ayr Corleone and All Style Camden.

“She has been knocking at the door,” Eugene told The Irish Field. “You know my family, she could be sold in the morning.”

Just in Time (Sean Kane) picked up another €3,000 as part of the Le Trot breeding project. These races are lucrative for the participants but unfortunately not a great spectacle. Hopefully numbers will improve in coming years.

Bernard Nicholson and Harley Lee had no Harry Knows to contend with in the Grade F trot, only the softer option of Urbano Des Selles. Bernard was able to see off Billy Roche’s noble old warrior in a time of 2.41.8

“This mare is improving with age,” said Bernard.

Action resumes tomorrow at Portmarnock Raceway off the R107 Malahide Road turn in at Kinsealey Chapel. Entries and results etc can be viewed at

Potential champions on offer at York Sale

MICK Welling is originally from Camden Town, London also home to the group Madness, not that this fact will help you pick a yearling.

Luckily for English harness racing the entrepreneur bought York Raceway some years ago and has revived its fortunes. Running a trotting track in Ireland or Britain is no picnic as the sport has to survive without the gravy train of media rights money.

Furthermore, Mick established the Camden Stud nursery to some of UK’s finest pacers and this in turn spawned a successful sale at his track at the end of every season.

Where there’s decent horses there will be Irishmen and on October 8th this country will be well represented by vendors and buyers. In 2021 the UK record for a yearling was smashed when Ruairi Mc Nulty went to £75,000 for Oakwood Carmelita (Foreclosure/Carmel Camden).

As if to prove the vagaries of the horse business Oakwood Carmelita is unraced as of September 2022. Meanwhile, Rhyds Dude, who cost £4,100, has won the Breeders Crown and has finished second in the Delaney Memorial. You pay your money, you take your chance, as the saying goes.

We are indebted to Craig Stevenson of York Raceway for a few insights into some likely star lots. We are constrained by space so apologies that we cannot mention all 67 potential superstars.

The auctioneers commission is ploughed back into running costs of racing at York.

All the yearlings in the 2022 sale qualify for the Sales Graduate Pace in October 2023. Ayr Balmoral from the Gavin Murdock camp and Ayr Corleone trained by Neville Martin will travel for this year’s edition barring any mishaps. The final card of the British season takes place after the auction closes.

The following are all yearlings although some two-year-olds, weanlings and older stock are also catalogued.

Oakwood Mick c (Always Be Miki – Carmel Camden) from the Offaly-based Oakwood Stud which presented last year’s sales-topper. Oakwood Paddy from the same dam has won all the top races at two, three and four.

Summer Camden f (Lazarus – My Drag Queen), consigned by the sale host Mick Welling. The New Zealand-bred sire was dubbed ‘The Wonder from Down Under’ in his racing career. Sure to be of interest to those with deep pockets.

Rhyds Sandman c (See and Ski – Sandfly Hanover ), The Rhyds Stud of north Wales has a long history of producing classic winners. The sire provided this year’s top three-year-old in Ireland and England, Rhyds Scoundrel.

Ayr Beauty f (Hasty Hall – JK Majorette). The stud named after its hometown has steadily invested in US broodmares. The dam is a proven producer of three 1’52 performers in the US and three winners in the UK.

Matts All Folks c (Always Be Miki - Another Mattie). Another Mattie is the Urban Sea of UK harness racing and has thrown no less than three VDM winners, namely Miraculous, Matteuceous and Titanium. Her offspring always sell for big money.