Murphy family have day to remember

The Murphy family from Inishbeg in Baltimore had an afternoon to remember on finals day at the Ballabuidhe harness racing festival yesterday when their runners captured the two big finals.

In the Heineken Ireland grand prix, IB Guicci was made to work hard for his win in the testing conditions.

See My Reflection, a heat winner on the Sunday, took up the running from flag fall. With a lap to race Bon Camotion joined the leader and looked the likely winner, but IB Guicci stayed on best to get the judges’ call in a blanket finish.

The winner, a son of Best Sunshine and Annies Lady, was bred by Matt Murphy, is trained by his son Tadhg and was driven by another son, Donal.

The second leg of the famous double came in the Paddy Connolly Memorial Handicap. Wellfield Speeding, a heat winner on Sunday, was the early leader and set a strong pace .IB Rapido loomed large approaching the final circuit and, once in front, never looked in any danger as he coasted to a six length win with Wellfield Speeding staying on to finish second.

The winner, another home bred by Hasty Hall out of Casamia, will be targeted for the Strata Florida Handicap at the Welsh Harness racing festival, which takes place in Tregaron at the end of August.

Racing opened with a maiden pace and in this Navy Blue made all under driver Mike O Brien and, despite a late challenge from newcomer Hail Spartacus, the grey held on to win by a head.

The second maiden race went to county Clare raider Brywins Lifestyle. Troopers Gold made the early running but went off stride in the final two furlongs and allowed the well backed favourite to win by three lengths.

There was a dramatic finish to the mile and a quarter horse race with a dead-heat between Finny Maguire on Oscar De La Hoya and the locally owned Credit Crunch for Castle Racing ridden by Denis Linehan.

It was a fine weekend for Maguire who won the featured Derby on Sunday and he went on to complete a double on Approach The Bench for Castle Racing.

There was also doubles for Danny Sheehy and Jack Kennedy, two of the rising stars of horse and pony racing.

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