Baltimore All Ireland Road Trotting Preview

Two years ago road trotting made a welcome return to Baltimore after a break of over thirty years and the local committee are busily preparing themselves for the annual fixture and this year the local committee applied for and were granted the All Ireland Road Trotting Championships.

Tradition in time gone by was that this fixture was always held on Palm Sunday but this year the committee have taken the decision to hold the fixture a week earlier on next Sunday to fit into the road racing calendar with race meetings being held every second Sunday thus the change in date.

The well prepared course on the eastern side of this famous fishing village runs from Reengaroga Cross to Skinners Cross. The course is an uncompromising test of horse and jockey with a tough uphill two furlong run to the finish.

The original committee comprised of Johnace Hegarty, Youen Jacob, John Crowley, Teddy Browne, Ralph Skinner and members who have passed away Bertie Connolly, Barty Scully and DD O Driscoll. Today members include John and Declan Crowley, Danny Connolly, Maeve McCarthy, Sinead and Tim O Reilly, David and Jenny Brickley, Donal and Tadhg Murpy, Finbarr and Pauline Brickley, Aiden O’ Driscol, Ciaran Brickley, Martin Leonard, Youen Jacob, Paddy Collins, Jerry O’Driscoll, Mike O’ Mahony, James McCarthy, Brian Holmes, Paidi Hegarty, Seamus and M J O’ Driscoll and John Hurley who will all be on duty on the day in lending a helping hand.

The committee have a host of silverware to present to the winners of each of the six races including The Noel Crowley Memorial Cup, The Donie O Reagan Cup, The Bartie Scully Cup, The Micheal O Driscoll Cup and The Bertie Connolly Memorial Cup and The Baltimore Road Racing Committee Cup. An Entry of over thirty horses is expected with the feature race being The All Ireland Road Trotting Championships with a field of six set to face the starter for the highlight of the 2015 Winter/ Spring road season.

There is a €1600 purse for the event with the winner taking home the Noel Crowley Memorial Cup and a specially commissioned rug. 2014 winner Dream Maker is back to defend the crown he won in Old Chapel and will be favourite to retain his title. His stable companion Meadowbranch McCoy will also line up for the event and both have been lightly raced this year and are both trained by John Shanahan who is no stranger to winning All Irelands.

Conway Tiger a winner of two Grade A races this term in Ballygurteen and Dunmanway will have Owner Deirdre Goggin in the plate and must be respected. Stan The Man who defeated Dream Maker at this meeting last year is finding form just at the right time and has another lady jockey Marie Moloney on board and after a second place in Durrus must enter the equation. Cams Decision a multiple winner in Grade B races had his first outing in the Grade A in Durrus but ran below par that day and will be one of the outsiders. Lakeside Dragon is an interesting entry. After a second in Dunmanway he won with ease in the Grade B in Durrus and could be the one to upset his more fancied rivals.

The main sponsors on Sunday are Alan and Linda Holmes of the Sibin Bar in Rath along with many local businesses coming on board to ensure a successful meeting and without their help this meeting would not take place. For the ladies there is a best dressed lady competition sponsored by Marion Creedon Hegarty of “Top Image“ with some great prizes on offer. The event has taken a massive effort by the local committee and a special thanks to Bartie Connolly who is making his lands available at the venue for parking so spectators will only have a short walk to the course.

After racing there will be live music in The Sibin Bar and racing gets underway at 2:30 pm.

By Tim Kelleher.

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