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Stakes Nominations Up In Ireland

Published: February 8, 2016 8:58 am ET

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While the recent news on the strength of harness racing in the United Kingdom has been less than optimistic, the same cannot be said for that of the industry in Ireland.

For the fourth straight season, the number of two-year-olds entered for the prestigious Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial at Portmarnock Raceway has shattered the record books once again.

A whopping 80 pacing colts and fillies have been nominated for the endurance weekend of racing at Portmarnock Raceway that takes place Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14, 2016.

“This year, thanks to the generous sponsorship by Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Farm, there is a first time final for fillies only and with that addition, the record of 59 entered in 2015 fell quickly to the wayside,” said race developer Derek Delaney of Oakwood Stud.

Of the record 80 royally bred two-year-old pacers that have now staked their claim on the 5th annual Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Cup weekend, 44 are colts and 36 are fillies.

“If they were all to the make the races this year,” Delaney said, “We will have to add a race card on the Friday, just to hold the elimination races. Wouldn’t that be grand?”

The Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial total purses are estimated at over €40,000 in 2016. It is by far the richest harness racing event in the history of both Ireland and the UK.

The increase in nominations was a very positive 33 percent over last year.

To win the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial, two-year-olds must race in elimination heats on the first day and then return the next to compete in the finals.

Also on the program that weekend are three other signature events, the Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-old pacers, the Paul Murtaugh, Sr. Memorial for four-year-olds and the Irish-American Junior Free-For-All. In addition there are other special trotting and pacing events on the program each day.

The race series and festival weekend was developed by Derek and his brother James Delaney, as a tribute to their younger brother Vincent, who tragically died of a massive heart attack at age 26 in 2011.

“Portmarnock Raceway in Dublin on August 13th and 14th is going to be the place to be at,” said Delaney. “We had thousands of patrons come out last year and expect to increase on that in 2016. We already have racing fans from around the globe coming to our venue in Ireland, traditionally dubbed as the land of a thousand welcomes.”

(with files from the Vincent Delaney Memorial)

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