Team Laidler dominate once again .....
The Ceredigion Trotting Club staged 29 races at its recent two day racing extravaganza, which is without doubt one of the 'Crown Jewel' events of the harness racing season in the UK.
The meeting attracted the very best eqine stars and did not disappoint with a superb Free For All finish and a nine winner haul form the Laidler stable, including the Group 1 Park Lodge Classic and Travis Perkins Classic.
Day 1 started with victory for Forest Drifter driven by fifteen year-old Lee Wakefield who was enjoying a sprakling start to his career with a successful first drive.
Sarah Allen felt Brywins Overbeach would benefit from firm handling, hence the fact Richard Haythronthwaite was given the task of steering the strong mare to a short head win over Tarawood CJ.
The pocket rocket stallion Doonbeg was responsible for two Saturday winners when Ring Of Fire in the hands of Bobby Richards took a division of the Novice Pace and Meldoon continued to fulfil her promise of last season with success in the second Handicap heat.
Enter The Dragon gave the Tregaron team of Huw and Rhys Evans a nice winner with an authoritive display in heat one.
Jack Swagger was odds on at aroubd 4/5 at the start of the day for the featured handicap and in heat three Rocker Laidler's drive gave supporters little to worry about, coming home in 'second gear' in 2.08.53.
Recent Carlisle hero Billy Wilk continued his progression with a game victory over Someone Like You in heat four.
The fastest clock of the day was recorded by Rockin Mambo in heat five, the son of Rocknroll Hanover, handled by Marc Jones, recorded a time of 2.06.46 in beating Triplicate by a length and a quarter.
Frankie Camden looks a potenially top drawer three year old, he advertised those claims for team Laidler in a grade 1 pace with a two and a quarter length win.
Valseur Du Cygne trotted to an empahatic ten length with in the race for aged totters, while there was drama in both three year old trotting races.
In the first of those races for the young square gaited athletes Equilea Du Hauty and Eliothrope were involved in a tremendous dual through the final quarter, and after both horses broke stride at the top of straight, the former came home in front giving Rhys Evans a driving double. In the second such race the Mike Evans driven Enez Leman made it two wins from two starts when beating recent York winner Eldivina D'Esge in a faster time than the first of these races, with both the first two surviving mistakes.
Last year's champion juvenile filly Rhyds Mystique was once again at her billiant best when accounting for Greenhilldebatable by four lengths in the hands of Vicky Gill in the three year old filly pace.
Springhill Glory landed the three year old colts and geldings pace by a nose, holding on from strong finishing Sper Buggy.
Group1 Appleby winner Happy Hands, ridden by Alexis Laidler, paced to an impressive seven length win in the Saddle Race.
The Tarvis Perkins Classic Final saw favouitre Jack Swagger take full control for Rocker Laideler, beating strong finishing Billy Wilk by a length and a quarter in 2.06.61, with Irish challenger Triplicate another two and a half lengths back in third.
The liklyhood is the front two will now be bound for Musselburgh later this month.
Day 2 was played out under blue skies with the afternoon starting with a maiden pace which resembled a demolition derby, a race with a number of green horses, one won by Grant Cullen and Lets Party.
Rocky First showed a decent finishing kick for Rocker Laidler in the second maiden pace of the day, beating Tarawood Kiki by one and three quarter lengths.
The first heat of the Group 1 Park Lodge Classic went to classy five year old filly Shaba Hanover for master reinsman Mick Lord in a time of 2.05.81.
Last year's Welsh Classic winner Evenwood Sonofagun, the short odds on favourite for the day's feature, recorded the fastest time of the weekend in landing the second heat in 2.02.38.
Merrington CheckM8 looked home in the third heat, however Colin Bevan and Buckland Fox Trot had other ideas. After everyting that could have gone wrong did go wrong with mistakes and getting outpaced, Bevan and the son of The Cammissioner got up in the final stride to prevail by a nose. Group 1 Senior Welsh Dragon hero Party At The Spa looked vulnerable entering the final quarter but kept finding for Alan Haythornthwaite, ultimately scoring by three lengths in 2.05.90 in heat four.
Rhyds Passion landed a division of the Novice Pace for driver Patrick Kane, while Tarawood Joy and Andrew Cairns paced to a seven lengths success in a grade one contest.Coloured pacer White Flame, partnered by Clive Kavanagh, mastered Springhill Ruby in a grade one pace, making it three staright wins in decent times,
The build up is on for the classic juvenile races and Aberystwyth played host to some smart types. The Fillies divison saw Robyn Camden make it two from two by two and a half lengths, not before David Bevan and Rhyds Sapphire had a say by proving a fairly tough nut to crack. Matticulous, half brother to the great Miraculous, was quite an expensive purchase at the sales, and after being narrowly denied at Tir Prince on his debut, he impressed with an eight length success for driver Andrew Cairns.
Both juvenile winners will probably make more headlines as the season unfolds.
So, on to the Brian Thomas Free For All, a race with six quality pacers and one, which at he finish saw less than a length seperate the first four home. One of the finest sights this harness racing seaon has to be of veteran champion Stoneriggs Mystery joined for the lead by the current champion Miraculous at the three quarters pole, with the latter prevailing in the stretch drive by a neck from the former Champion, with another neck to Porterstown Chris, followed closely by Coalford Tetrick.
After what can only be described as one of the races of the season so far, the Group 1 Park Lodge Classic Final went in straightforward style to favourite Evenwood Sonofagun and Rocker Laidler in 2.03.12, beating Kikass Katie by seven lengths with the winner's stablemate Merrington Checkm8 another two lengths back in third. As Frank Huschka stated, this is a pacer who should be the latest big name to enter the Free For All picture, with the Crock of Gold a possible aim.
All in all a wonderful weekend's racing was staged at the seaside venue, all made possible by Heulwen Bullman, who, along with husband Henry, is Aberystwyth harness racing.
From organising the portaloos to taking entries and conducting the draw, this great meeting would just not exist in its present, successful guise without Heulwen. If that is not enough she also orgaises the Tan Y Castell meeting!
So, it was only right that the British Harness Racing Club's Special Recognition Award should go to Heulwen, and this was presented to her at this year's fixture by the club's Chairman Roy Sheedy and Vice-Chairman Jim McInally.
Don't forget there is more racing at this venue with the Tan Y Castell meeting due to be staged Sunday, August 6th
As reported by Race Commentator Darren Owens.