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McNair Wins Ben Hur Cup At 3R

Published: June 23, 2019 5:01 pm ET

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The second annual Ben Hur Cup, matching talented young drivers Doug McNair and Louis-Philippe Roy, produced an outstanding contest enjoyed by all concerned on Sunday afternoon (June 23) at Hippodrome 3R, with McNair having a spectacular day but still edging out the tenacious Roy by only three points, 56-53.

The Ben Hur tournament format helped to ensure close competition, but it’s almost hard to believe that McNair could win four of the first seven races and go into the last race with the morning line projection saying he should tie for the title. But Roy stayed near him through the competition with two wins and two seconds, and only four points behind with a race to go. In the final race, Roy finished third and McNair fourth, enabling the Ontarian to join Sylvain Filion as a Ben Hur Cup winner.

McNair’s quartet of wins at 3R was almost matched on the card by Roy’s three, as Roy won a race outside the competition.

The card also featured second round action in the Quebec Plus series for older province-bred pacers, aiming for spots in their $30,000 finals on July 14. Mares went in two $6,500 sections to open the card, while the males had one $6,500 divisions in the second prelim.

YS Tallia, divisional Quebec-bred champion in 2017, recorded her second straight series victory as the heaviest of favourites, this week with Roy in the sulky for trainer Michel Allard and owner Yves Sarrazin. Last week, the Western Ideal mare YS Tallia went 1:54.3 for the fastest local mile of the year. On Sunday, after an early move to the top, she lowered that clocking a tick to 1:54.2. Still on her horizon, just a further tick away, is the divisional track record of 1:54.1, which is held by YS Tallia’s full sister, My Tallia Ideal.


YS Tallia repeated in Quebec-bred series action with a 1:54.2 victory on Sunday.

In the second cut for the distaffers, the Big Jim mare Lune Bleu, second to YS Tallia in the first leg, took early control from the pole for driver Stephane Gendron, then faced an outside challenge to the three-quarters from race favourite Miss Rockadali. That foe continued to press Lune Bleu through the lane, and then pocket sitter All You Can Dream entered the fray up the rail. Lune Bleu persevered and won by a neck in a lifetime-best 1:56.1 for trainer Maxime Velaye and owner Guy Corbeil.

Atomic Million AM notched his second straight preliminary win in 1:55.1. Doug McNair blasted out in :26.4 with the winner, putting favoured (by $10) McKinney and Roy in behind him. Controlling the pace from there, Atomic Million AM first held off a hard challenge by Majo Lou Beka, then a late charge from 2016 Quebec champion HP Patriote by a length for owner-trainer Alain Martin. McKinney (2014) stayed for third and completed a trifecta of former champions.

The big card also featured a $4,500 Preferred Handicap event on each gait, both races counting in the Cup. The trotting event was taken by the favoured Angus Hall mare Talbotcreek Suzie, who went out right to the lead for McNair, then had her task made easier when early challenger Missionoftheheart broke at the start, leaving Rocky Boy and Roy in the pocket. Talbotcreek Suzie moderated the pace, then picked it up when the plucky Ice O Late pressured her the last half, winning in 2:00.1 by a half length. Rocky Boy, who had a left rear bandage come unwrapped early in the race, was in tight between horses in early stretch and could do no better than third. Yves Tessier conditions the talented mare for owner Francois Morin.

In the Preferred Handicap Pace, McNair got Rainbow Palace right to the lead, while Roy got away midpack with cover with Hooter Shooter, then went three-wide before the quarter up to uncovered position and fought with Hooter Shooter from the half onward. There was virtually no separation between the top two from off the third turn, with the rest of the field far back. In the stretch battle between the two pairs, favoured Hooter Shooter got the better of his rival by 1-1/4 lengths. The Badlands Hanover gelding won for the third time — and second straight in this class — in 1:56.2 for trainer-owner Marc Andre Simoneau.

To view Sunday's harness racing results, click the following link: Sunday Results – Hippodrome 3R.

(Quebec Jockey Club)


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