TIR PRINCE 27th JULY
CHECK ON JACK WINS DERBY
Once again we hosted a wonderful nights racing and the weather gods ensured it was another dry and sunny evening. The westerlies however were strong and on the cool side which affected the times especially for the earlier races.
We started off the Roosevelt Bowl trot and this was won comfortably by Andrew Cairns on John Love’s Buster Tibby with UFO Apache just pipping Jack OG Lobell by a short head for second.
The second race was a cracker with three finishing together on the line, the nod went to Jim McInally on Catscam ( a dead heat winner here last week) beating Megan Taff on New York Sweetheart and Mark Elvin on Ayr Mission. Mark was a little luckier the day before as his wife gave birth to a bonny baby girl, Charlie.
The large crowd witnessed a blanket finish in race three as Megan Taff’s luck changed in the conditioned pace as Life’s a Beach won by a neck from Mick Lord on Howards Contender, both given a time of 2.022 from ½ length with Susan Young driving No Mercy.
The crowd eagerly awaited the £1000 preferred free for all but as it turned out Rocker Laidlaw’s prolific season continued as JR Hall proved that this could be another horse to watch out for, as it turned out times of 58.2 for the quarter and 57.9 for the half finishing 6 lengths clear of a really good field in a time of 1.593 on a cool, windy night. Springhill Kate just held off Premier Dream for second.
The Roosevelt Cup trot saw a much closer race than was expected as track record holder had to go to the outside due to a break and the leaders were away and gone but with an almost magical turn of pace Need for Run driven by Andrew Cairns gained and gained and went into the lead with only 50 yards to go but still won by 2 ½ lengths from Bambi Kir who just pipped Tomahawk on the line for second. John Foy was delighted with the result and hailed Need for Run as the best trotter he had ever had.
Next was the eagerly awaited Three Year old Derby, could anyone get close to Rocker Laidlaw on Check on Jack. The draw was announced Rhyds Destiny drawn 4, Boat Toy drawn 5 and Check on Jack on the outside in position 7. This draw galvanised the opposition and Mick Lord on Rhyds Destiny went out hard going to the quarter in 29.3 very fast for a 1 ½ mile race but the tactic seemed to work. As Mick dominated the race in the closest Derby for many years. The crowd made a huge noise as they turned for home as three came round together with Mick in front in what might be called position 2, Megan Taff on Boat Toy was screaming on the outside and catching with every stride with Rocker on Check on Jack boxed in on the inside of the track. Mick came out slightly from the inside and all of a sudden Rocker went for the space, was there enough room? It did not seem possible but Check on Jack showed an incredible turn of foot winning on the line by ½ length from Rhds Destiny in second with Boat Toy only ¾ length behind in third, the judges could not split Coalford Potter and Celebrity Tango and they had a dead heat for 4th. On for the memory bank on a cold winters night.
The wind died down for the last two races and although it was 10pm the Welsh Cup heat was won by Colin Bevan on Henry Bulman’s Mahogany Dream an impressive run in 2.012 from Megan Taff on the fast finshing Ynys Mari, clocked at 2.016 giving 30 yards, Vyrny Mark just held off Ceiron Eagle for third place.
It was 10.20pm but the crowd had not moved as they debated could anyone stop Rocker on the in form Laneside Lexus, when it drew 1 on the gate with second last time Scoot around drawing 9, it seemed unlikely. But we all know that this sport can throw all sorts of surprises and problems and on the first bend Portersdown Jack in position 2 seemed to interfere with Laneside Lexus, it was not clear what happened but the upshot was it was now 20 yards behind the leaders and was boxed in in about 6th place. There was no holding the leaders back, the quarter was reached in 28.4 and the half in 58.6, we were in for a fantastic finish and a very fast time. Six came around the last bend and the crowd were going wild for their own horse. Ciaran Morrison mad a break on Ayr Glory, with Alan Haythornthwaite alongside on Matador Hall and Andrew Stenhouse on Blue Russian all contending for the lead with Rocker blocked in on the inside. The Irish screamed Ayr Glory on but a small space once again opened up on the very inside and Laneside Lexus made its move and went from 4th to second in a matter of yards but Ayr Glory proved a worthy winner in a great time of 1.584, Laneside Lexus was second in 1.585 and Blue Russian in third in 1.586 with Matador Hall just behind in 4th, one of the best finishes we have seen in this race for a few years.
Once again the UK can be proud of the quality of the racing, the professionalism and integrity of the drivers, trainers and stewards and on a great track like Tir Prince set up in immaculate condition, shown live on S4C, we can match the competitiveness of racing anywhere in the world.