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Darren Owen's thoughts on the Charity Weekend at York Harness Raceway

21 races over two days in aid of the Blossom Kelly Legacy Charity and PACT at York saw the British record for a mile and a quarter tumble, that was just one of many highlights at the Yorkshire venue. The Blossom Kelly Low Grade Pace looked competitive on paper but it was torn apart by a very much in form pacer Rhys Nightlife, winner of heat and final. In the heat he clocked 2.00.8, winning by two lengths before taking pole position in line one for the final where he had a dream journey from the front to take the honours in 1.59.7. The winner was driven by Alan Haythornthwaite and is owned by Dewi Lloyd-Davies, and bearing in mind he is the Treasurer at Tregaron, a trip to that great festival of racing at the end of the month must surely, be on the cards! The second heat may not have been the fastest but it was extremely thrilling, with True Magic, who kicked for home entering the final quarter, worn down close home by Camden Claire and Peter Holgate. Two pacers who only days before were both placed in Breeders Crown races, occupied the first two places in heat 3, with No Brakes beating Ayr Trooper in a time of 2.02.1. JMS Macy Hallstar, a winner at Musselburgh, clocked 2.01.8 when beating another Joanne Cairns trained inmate Tarawood Joy in heat 4. Hurricane Pace hero Rhyds Passion recorded 1.59.7 when outpointing Itsmycheck towards the finish in heat 5, thus continuing his improvement. The Sam Ostle Pace was a race littered with mistakes from green pacers, but there were no such issues for Katanya Mathematix, who was steered home for a deserved success by Anna Wallace. The Sam Ostle Novice Pace was a red letter result for Jordan Heath, his first winner in the seat when guiding home Frisco Jenna. Now onto the 3-Y-O Trotters, with three Le Trot heats on Saturday, leading to the Blossom Kelly Memorial 3-Y-O Le Trot Final the final day. Heat 1 was taken by Evoilala Star in the hands of Mike Evans in 2.09.4, beating Espoir Lila. There was drama when one of the leading lights in the series Eliothrope broke and failed to complete. Another top notch young trotter Ecume De Mer recovered from a poor start to take heat 2 in 2.06.1, impressively by four lengths. The third heat was won by Emma Star, who was getting off the mark in the hands of Andrew Cairns in a time of 2.10.6. Sunday's final turned out to be controversial, this on the back of the major headlines coming out of the Hambletonian the night before at the Meadowlands. Okay, this was not as worth as much but it was still dramatic and meant an awful lot to some of the connections. Ecume De Mer broke early on and was disqualified for being off stride for more than fifteen strides. It certainly isn't an easy task that faces the officials in these cases, remember, in the UK we don't have the technology used by our foreign counterparts in this role. It was such a pity this happened as Ecume De Mer certainly has an engine and hopefully we will see her in a better light as the season unfolds. Let's not ignore the winner and praise Emma Star who scored in good style from Elliot De Buliere and Etoile De Villodon, covering the mile and a quarter in 2.42.1. So, to an outstanding pacer, a dual group 1 winner, a pacer who since last year has won three of the four major handicaps, and on Sunday faced a true champion of many a season in his heat. Evenwood Sonofagun, partnered by Rocker Laidler paced the mile and a quarter in 2.27.5 ( mile rate 1.58.0), in doing so, breaking the British Record when not appearing to be at full stretch. Rhyds Boots and Coalford Chief chased him with old Stoneriggs Mystery in fifth. After the race, when asked about a possible tilt at the Group 1 Crock Of Gold for the winner, there was little reaction from connections. However, after the classy 5-Y-O came from line 5 in the Final to gather in both Rhyds Boots and Rockin Mambo close home in a race which has to be one of the races of the season, trainer Alexis Laidler sportingly shouted up to the commentary position, declaring the the final Crock of Gold heat is now on the agenda. We are lucky to have great sporting connections in this game, and I'm sure race fans are now thinking dreams my turn to reality as an Evenwood Sonofagun Miraculous clash could be imminent. In fact, Arnie Flowers, one of Miraculous' owners, is looking forward to such a race whilst being in full admiration for the Laidler team's hero. Marc Jones was present at York, even though there was racing at Aberystwyth, a lot closer to his home, the same day. Jones made the trip worthwhile when scorching home behind Rockin Mambo in heat 1, winning by five lengths in 2.32.9. The jones family are now looking forward to a trip to the VDM with this fella and Jessies Conquest. Musselburgh scorer Rhyds Cobbler won heat 2 emphatically in 2.31.2 for driver Simon Duggan, while the classy Master Plan beat Rhyds Rainbow in 2.32.6 when taking heat 3. Sacha Of Carless put in a nice round to land the Gold division FFA Le Trot for Phil O'Neill, advertising he is back on song after his recent return to action. The silver version was taken by Simon Clarke and Sun Gahn, who was making progress when race leader Alza La Belle went into a break inside the final quarter when holding an advantage of several lengths. Tarawood Kiki landed the Sam Ostle Maiden in 2.04.4 for the Cairns team. The Novice went to decent prospect Easy Company in a time of 2.01.8, a talented pacer who I am sure will be making more headlines. Well, that's a wrap from York, time to bring on the VDM!

Click below for a review of the Championship Races held on Saturday 24 June

Benny Camden Champion 3 Year Old

Evenwoodsonofagun World Record

Racing Fixtures 2018

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