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Season set to be extremely competitive

Close run thing: there were two dead heats as the new harness racing season got under way at Vesey Street (File photograph by Nicola Muirhead) ¬

The 2015-16 harness racing season got under way at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre on Saturday night.

All but four of the sixteen scheduled heats were completed before torrential downpours brought the proceedings to a screeching halt.

Those on hand were treated to some spectacular racing under the floodlights for the first time at the Vesey Street racetrack in nearly a year.

The opening heat of the 1:06/1 — 1:07/1 time bar saw all four ponies virtually cross the line simultaneously. The first two ponies across the line driven by Casey Truran and Dylan DeSilva finished in a dead heat, with A Touch of Red and Colonel’s Maestro, driven by Ryan Manders and Lucas Bridges, crossing one fifth of a second behind the leaders.

The third heat featuring Cherokee’s Ironman, driven by Colin Mello, and Skyway Majestic, driven by Philip Correia, also finished in a dead heat after crossing the line in 1:11/1 in the faster 1:05-1:06 time bar.

Mello and Christian Truran were the night’s only multiple heat winners.

Mello won two heats in the 1:05- 1:06 division with Cherokee’s Ironman while Truran had back-to-back victories in the 1:14/4 and Slower division with Inwood’s Progress.

Lucas Bridges and Aaron Maderios posted the night’s fastest times of 1:08/2.

Bridges posted the time in the fifth heat with Colonel’s Maestro which was equalled by Maderios in the tenth heat with Pocket De Gold.

Despite having to abandon racing earlier than planned, organisers were encouraged by the turnout which surpassed their expectations and thrilled by the close and exciting racing on the track.

“The racing was great,” Bettina Truran, the Driving Horse and Pony Club executive and spokeswoman, said.

“The time bars showcased ponies with equal ability and therefore the heats were extremely competitive which makes it a great evening of racing for both the competitors and spectators.

“We look forward to having a successful and competitive season.”

The next harness racing event, scheduled for October 3, will also be held under floodlights.