A huge crowd assembled at Tir Prince to see one of the best fields assembled for a nights racing in the UK with 8 races including five free for alls on offer. Once again the weather was kind it was a walm balmy night with little or no breeze.
Earned Income winner of 2009 Crock of Gold
The first race was won by Stoneriggs Mystery driven by Rocker Laidlaw in 1.597 giving 10 yards an incredible time for a grade 2. The second race was a hotly contested grade 3 and 4 race with an upset caused by Ciaran Morrison on Vyrnwy Mark that improved well to fight off the strong finishing Srormy Sea by 1/2L with one of the fancied horses Portersdown Kirk in third.
The Star Trade Trophy FFA Trot was won by the wonderful trotter Stas Hazelhaar driven to perfection by Paul Mather with an electrifying turn of pace winning by 3l from the front runner Love Excalibur and Iris de Linde a neck back.
The Len Bach grade 5 and 6 pace was won by the very impressive Coalford Pride in 1.591, another rug winner, the horse had not won in its last 6 runs but in the hands of Andrew Cairns won by 6L from a posse on the line, after much deliberation Matty O was given 2nd with the same time as Pallet Hill Storm and Yankee Doodle Grande in 4th. The William Hill free for all was a humdinger of a race with the Shane Lee’s improving Dillingers Dream just holding off Mick Lord on Howards Contender by 1 1/2L in 1.596 with the fast finishing Cutchall Hanover and Strike Gold in third and fourth.
The crowd was growing noisier and the atmosphere was electric for the start of the Billy Williams free for all with the crowd asking “Can Doonbeg beat the best of British?”. The race was an absolute classic with the 10 horse field all being fully involved in the race and approaching the last bend it seemed any horse could win but Alan Haythornthwaite driving Matador Hall held its leading position and unleashed an unexpected electrifying turn of speed as the otheres faded into the distance. The race for first over the crowd cheered Alan along with an eye on the clock, could the track record go, the clock stopped at 1.576 the third fastest time at Tir Prince. The wily old campaigner Scoot Around was a marvellous second in 1.592 with two of the big favourities in third and fourth River Inny and Doonbeg. We look forward to seeing Doonbeg again when it has accliamitised to the British conditions.
The draw for the first ever Welsh Cup final was unkind to the pre race favourite Immpartial, drawn 8 and kind to Megan Taff and Life’s a Beach drawn 1. After the draw the race was a lot more open and the race proved to a real cracker but in the end Life’s a Beach was 1st 1n a time of 2.003 by 2 1/2 L from Immpartial with the wonderful 3 year old Wexford Beach in third and fast finishing Catscam in 4th.
The time was now after 10pm the weather was calm and the expectations extremely high. It was accepted that this was the greatest field ever assembled for the Crock of Gold final 8 superb horses. Would the draw have an impact on the results first out He’s For Real drawn 8, the crowd gasped now Crown Manhattan drawn 1, many cheered what a draw the other highly fancied Irish horses Ayr Glory and Earned Income drawn 3 and 5 respectively. The track was in fabulous condition and many of us expected the first sub 1.57 mile in the UK.
At 10 15 pm the horses paraded in front of the huge, knowledgable crowd, no one had left. The start car started the 1/4 mile to the start slowly all the horses in position, John Richardson on Crown Manhattan on the inside, the crowd wnt quiet then theyre off, huge cheers but before the first turn disaster fror Crown Manhattan it goes into a break, John pulls it back this proved to be the end of its real challenge. The other shock at the quarter only 29.9 slow for these fast horses, this was a tactical race nobody wanted to set the pace 1.027 for the half the slowest split of the night. However most of the crowd were following their own favorite, 1.328 at the 3/4 pole, now there was a huge noise as they approached the final turn it seemed every horse was going wide to get the best palce to attack the final straight but out of the pack only one horse emerged Earned Income, it seemed it was turbo charged as it made 5 lenghths in no time at all, it galloped to the line and the famous salute on the line by Alan Richardson but this time with the reins in both hands. A devastating 27.3 for the final quarter. This was a popular win for Alan and earned Income. There was a mass finish on the line with second going to He’s For Real with Pan Lubber and Blue Russian in third and fourth. A fabulous race to cap off a memorable world class nights of racing at Tir Prince. If the sport is going to make a real breakthrough in the UK surely it is under the lights on nights like these at Tir Prince.