Road Trotting Racing gets underway at Drimoleague - St Stephens Day, Saturday 26th of December 2015

It was a day of doubles at the annual St Stephens Day Road trotting fixture in Drimoleague which signaled the start of the 2016 Winter Road racing season in West Cork. Despite the torrential rain on Christmas day and on St Stephens morning the gods smiled down on the Drimoleague Committee with the clouds disappearing and a mild day ensured a bumper holiday attendance at the age old fixture.

Action from the Grade C Race.

Three jockeys rode doubles on the day. Timmy O' Leary had the honor of riding the first winner of the new season aboard Big Jim in the opening Novice Grade. Lailas Boy set the early running in this mile contest but O' Leary sent the winner to the front at the first turning point and ran on to a two length winning margin from Lakeview Romeo who came a long way off the pace to grab second.

Dunmanway based O' Leary completed his double in the Grade D contest where he teamed up with his retained trainer Jer O' Mahony to get the red rossette aboard French Trotter Tactician Du Lys who is trained by O' Mahony for Co Meath based Ger Kane who also owns the first winner Big Jim.

Deirdre Goggin on Rhyds Ponder on their way to victory in the Grade C Race.

2015 Female champion jockey Deirdre Goggin also visited the winners enclosure twice on the day. In The Grade E Lakeview Allstar continued on the upward curve with a hard fought win over race favorite IB Rapido holding on by half a length.

Goggins second victory was a far more easier task. Rhyds Ponder who won in Old Chapel on the final day last year set a blistering early pace and never looked in any danger with 10 lengths back to newcomer Rhyds Artist who lost a lot of ground at the second turning point. This was a popular success for local owner Niall Forbes.

Winning connections of Rhyds Ponder and committee members.

David Brickley champion jockey in 2015 was not to be out done on his home road and he also notched two winners on the scoresheet. Newcomer Maithi Buachill and 2015 horse of the year Meadowlands Falcon were head of the market in the Grade B and Brickley made the running on Maithi Buachaill and saw off all rivals by eight lengths with another debutant to the "tar" Rhyds Trickster finishing second.

The feature of the Day The Grade A was a thriller. Conway Tiger with Deirdre Goggin and Dream Maker with David Brickley have been slugging it out in the premier grade for the last two seasons and were almost inseparable for the two mile contest exchanging the lead several times. With a furlong to pace Conway Tiger seemed to have annexed his arch rival. In the final 100 yards Brickley asked Dream Maker for one final challenge and he got up on the line to win by a short head. Both horses gave their all and no doubt more titanic struggles lay in store.

Dream Maker winner of the Grade A Trot with connections and Committee members.

The road racing carnival heads to Durrus on New Years Day, January 1st with a 2PM start time.

By Tim Kelleher.

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