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McNair Leads WDC After Leg Four

Published: May 28, 2019 10:53 am ET

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Canada’s Doug McNair continued to roll in the 2019 World Driving Championship on Tuesday (May 28). Less than 24 hours removed from winning a pair of WDC dashes and being named ‘Driver of the Day,’ the resident of Guelph, Ont. notched another pair of victories and landed the daily honour yet again, this time during Leg Four action in Eskilstuna, Sweden.

Just like he did in Leg Three, McNair kicked off Leg Four with a bang.

McNair and his Post 4 starter, Arctic Agent, proved to be the best in the first of the day’s WDC clashes. McNair and Arctic Agent moved first-up from fourth in the back half of the race and continued to grind down the pacesetter.

It was clear that McNair was utilizing all his options at the head of the stretch, as the reinsman pulled down Arctic Agent’s blind for a late boost. Arctic Agent responded in full through the lane and was a much-the-best winner.

Canada’s James MacDonald, who was aboard Post 7 starter Lord Of Tooma, also put forth a good showing of himself in the first of Tuesday’s WDC dashes, as he closed strongly with his charge and finished second.

“A couple of them had made breaks in the first turn, which helped me a bit,” McNair said afterward. “In the last turn I knew I had a good shot, so I just tried to keep him on his game… I wanted to wait until I was out of the last turn to pull the blind down, and when I did, he responded really well.”

McNair truly showed off his driving chops in the fourth of Tuesday’s WDC dashes, as he moved to the top early with Argbiggan and held off a wall of horses late to record his second win of Leg Four.

McNair and Argbiggan had left well from Post 8 and went on to assume the lead early in the backstretch. McNair and his charge raced well on the engine and were able to reserve some energy for the stretch drive, which would prove to be key.

The field came calling on McNair and Argbiggan in the lane, but the Canadian reinsman was up for a fight. Multiple horses made bids for the lead, but McNair was able to get the most out of Argbiggan, as the pair crossed the wire first after an impressive steer.


(From left to right) Doug McNair, pictured with Standardbred Canada’s Kathy Wade Vlaar, Linda Bedard and Dan Gall in Eskilstuna, Sweden on Tuesday, May 28 during Leg Four of the 2019 World Driving Championship.

Tuesday’s fourth leg is now in the books, and thus the WDC will continue on Wednesday (May 29) before concluding on Friday (May 31).

Twelve of the top harness racing drivers from around the globe are competing in the six-leg championship. Drivers earn points based on their finishing position in the WDC races. The top point-earner from the multi-leg tournament will ultimately be declared the 2019 World Driving Champion and win $25,000 (USD) in prize money.

Points for the Championship are awarded in each heat according to the official order of finish. The winner of the race receives 19 points and then in descending order 14 (2); 11 (3); 9 (4); 8 (5); 7 (6); 6 (7); 5 (8); 4 (9); 3 (10); 2 (11) and 1 (12).

Doug McNair (who is representing Canada) is now leading the WDC after Leg Four with 123.5 points. McNair is followed in second by Sweden’s Ulf Ohlsson (118.5 points). Rick Ebbinge (The Netherlands) currently sits third with 115.5 points. Canadian James MacDonald has held his ninth-place position and has earned 94 points thus far in the competition.

The leaderboard after Leg Four of the 2019 WDC appears below.

1. Doug McNair (Canada) – 123.5
2. Ulf Ohlsson (Sweden) – 118.5
3. Rick Ebbinge (The Netherlands) – 115.5
4. Mika Forss (Finland) – 110
5. Matthew Williamson (New Zealand) – 107.5
6. Eirik Hoitomt (Norway) – 104
7. Yannick Gingras (USA) – 103.5
8. Franck Nivard (France) – 99
9. James MacDonald (Canada/ITA) – 94
10. Michael Nimczyk (Germany) – 92.5
11. Rodney Gatt (Malta) – 79
12. Todd McCarthy (Australia) – 70


A shot of the leaderboard after Leg Four of the 2019 WDC (SC Photo).

Brief race recaps from the fourth leg of the WDC appear below.


Race Recaps

WDC Race 1 – Doug McNair, who won two of Tuesday’s five dashes, kicked off Leg Four action with a big win aboard Arctic Agent.

McNair and his Post 4 starter moved first-up from fourth in the back half of the race and continued to grind down the pacesetter.

It was clear that McNair was utilizing all his options at the head of the stretch, as the reinsman pulled down Arctic Agent’s blind. The charge surely responded in full through the lane and was a much-the-best winner.

Canada’s James MacDonald, who was aboard Post 7 starter Lord Of Tooma, also put forth a good showing of himself in the first of Tuesday’s WDC dashes, as he closed strongly with his charge and finished second.

The Franck Nivard-driven Celtic also raced well and finished third.

“A couple of them had made breaks in the first turn, which helped me a bit,” McNair said afterward. “In the last turn I knew I had a good shot, so I just tried to keep him on his game… I wanted to wait until I was out of the last turn to pull the blind down, and when I did, he responded really well.”

WDC Race 2 – Rick Ebbinge, who had lined up in Post 4, went to the top early with Fabulous Journey, and the pair went on to truly have a fantastic voyage in the tilt.

Ebbinge and Fabulous Journey toyed with the field, as Real Marke (who was driven by Rodney Gatt), Blownaway (Yannick Gingras) and Farica (Todd McCarthy) each kept tabs on the leader through the course of the race.

Ebbinge threw Fabulous Journey into another gear in the stretch, and the duo went on to open up a ton of daylight between themselves and their rivals. The winning margin was significant in what turned out to be a romp.

Although all of the focus was on Ebbinge and Fabulous Journey, Canada’s Doug McNair, who had just recorded a win in the opening heat, was able to record a second-place finish.

Finland's Mika Forss, who was aboard Indie, was able to get up and secure third.

WDC Race 3 – After having raced mid-pack, Sweden’s Ulf Ohlsson was able to navigate his charge, Pelle Roc, into the second-over slot turning for home, at which point it was ‘game over’ for his competition.

Ohlsson and Pelle Roc had started from Post 1 and were methodical with their trip, which ultimately paid off in full.

There was a fight for second place in the third of the day’s WDC races, as the Mika Forss-driven Valnes Ior shot to the inside and grabbed the place spot. The Yannick Gingras-driven Kahnawake, who was also coming home with a good head of steam, darted to the outside and had to settle for third.

WDC Race 4 – Canada’s Doug McNair showed off his driving chops in the fourth of the day’s dashes, as he moved to the top early and held off a wall of horses late to record his second win of Leg Four.

McNair was aboard Argbiggan, and the duo left well from Post 8 before assuming the lead after the first turn. McNair and his charge raced well on the engine and were able to reserve some energy for the stretch drive, which would prove to be key.

The field came calling on McNair and Argbiggan in the lane, but the Canadian reinsman was up for a fight. Multiple horses made bids for the lead, but McNair was able to get the most out of Argbiggan, as the pair crossed the wire first after an impressive steer.

After having been able to work out a second-over trip, Yannick Gingras did what he could to get his charge, Cabaree FC, up in the lane, but McNair and Argbiggan proved to be too much, as Gingras had to settle for second.

Rick Ebbinge drove a good race with his charge, Isabelle Boko, as the pair was overland in fourth for much of the contest. Ebbinge called on his drive late, and Isabelle Boko, responded, but ran out of real estate and had to settle for third.

WDC Race 5 – Norway’s Eirik Hoitomt, who had started from Post 8 in the last of the day’s WDC clashes, employed a power-move early in the race and went on to record a strong win aboard My Dream Art.

My Dream Art had been racing mid-pack before Hoitomt called for a big advance on the outside. My Dream Art looped the field, settled onto the engine, and showed his mettle the rest of the way. The duo was able to hold off a bevy of challengers that made futile attempts on the outer tiers.

The Matthew Williamson-driven Lass Revenue, who had led during the early stages of the race, had taken a ground-saving trip through the race before coming back on late. Williamson was able to get Lass Revenue up to finish second, but couldn’t collar My Dream Art.

The Michael Nimczyk-driven Yankee Boy, who had started from Post 1, was forwardly placed through the race and excelled after having been raced along the pylons in the mile Williamson was able to persevere late and get up for a third-place finish.

Canada’s James MacDonald, who had raced at the back of the pack through the mile, had one of the most impressive finishes of any driver in the race, as he was able to get his charge, Andy Pandy One, to finish fourth.


The WDC will continue on Wednesday (May 29) before concluding on Friday (May 31).

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