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DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: Hennessey impressed with The Guardian Gold Cup and Saucer Week racing

Wally Hennessey got his start in the harness racing business in Charlottetown.
Wally Hennessey got his start in the harness racing business in Charlottetown. - Jason Malloy
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Even though he is in New York right now, Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey wants everyone back home to know what kind of show people at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park are putting on.

 

I spoke with the winner of more than 10,500 races on Wednesday evening as he watched The Guardian Gold Cup and Saucer week races.

“These boys can drive,” Hennessey said of the colony at the capital oval.

Hennessey has competed against some of the best people to ever be involved in North American harness racing and he is looking forward to Saturday night’s final full of Maritime flavour. The race will be different this year with a very limited crowd able to be on site, but race fans across the region have still been enjoying Gold Cup and Saucer week with all kinds of house parties. Saturday night will add another layer to the spread-out enjoyment with a number of Island businesses holding Gold Cup and Saucer parties. For more information on those events, go to Redshores.ca.

Wally Hennessey got his start in the harness racing business in Charlottetown.  - Jason Malloy
Wally Hennessey got his start in the harness racing business in Charlottetown. - Jason Malloy

Casimir Richie P is sure to be the betting favourite in the $60,000 The Guardian Gold Cup and Saucer final Saturday evening after a 1:51.2 victory in Trial 2 Monday night.

Dale Spence will make his first Gold Cup and Saucer appearance in the race and will steer the pacer for trainer Dr. Ian Moore, a native of Summerside, and co-owner Michael Goldberg of Toronto. Of note is the fact that Moore trained Casimir Richie P’s sire, Astronomical, and raced him in the Gold Cup and Saucer final in 2006. Moore is the only trainer in the field to have won this race in past years. He trained 2012 winner Eighteen and 1988 winner The Papermaker.

Three of the drivers in the race have won the final before.

Marc Campbell will drive Post 2 starter Time To Dance for Brent Campbell of Charlottetown and Matt McDonald of Edwards, Ont. Campbell won the race in 2013 with Escape The News and 2015 with Take It Back Terry. Time To Dance won Trial 1 on Saturday night.

Gilles Barrieau has the mount on the other Campbell trainee, Rose Run Quest, from Post 8 after a runner-up finish to Casimir Richie P in Trial 2. Blair Hansen of Charlottetown owns the If I Can Dream pacer, who is the only horse in the race to have previously competed in the Gold Cup and Saucer final.

Barrieau first won the final in 1997 with Comedy Hour, followed by wins with Canaco Simon in 2000, London Mews N in 2002 and Shadow Place in 2017. His four Gold Cup and Saucer victories make him second all time for wins in the prestigious event behind Mike MacDonald’s five wins.

Father Ofthe Year will occupy Post 4 for driver Mike Downey and son and owner Dr. Mitchell Downey of Saint John, N.B. The elder Downey last won this race 30 years ago in the 1990 edition with Tigerbird.

Of the drivers that have not won this race, Lisburn (Kenny Arsenault) has rail control, Screen Test (Corey MacPherson) leaves from Post 3, Woodmere Ideal Art (David Dowling) has Post 5 and Simple Kinda Man (Jason Hughes) will leave from Post 7.

Nick’s Picks

Saturday evening at 7 p.m. at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park:
Race 1 – Spack Jarrow
Race 2 – Tobinator
Race 3 – Seethelightsngo
Race 4 – Arrived Late
Race 5 – Ashes To Ashes
Race 6 – Mile Hill Willie
Race 7 – Cowboy Logic
Race 8 – Misty Memory N
Race 9 – Windemere Ryan
Race 10 – Silver Beast
Race 11 – Intended Royalty
Race 12 – Tobins Rebel
Race 13 – Woodmere Chella
Race 14 – Time To Dance


Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at nicholasoakes@hotmail.com.

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