Tyler Lopes and War Machine threaten the season’s fastest time in impressive showing
Mello Family’s gelding War Machine set the pace during harness racing at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre at the weekend.
The Indiana-bred racing pony blazed his way to the season’s second fastest time to date ‒ 1:03.3 in the fourth and final heat of the Free for All with driver Tyler Lopes at the helm.
“We were really pleased with him. Colin (owner Colin Mello) does a great job keeping him ready to race and it felt really good,” Lopes told The Royal Gazette.
The impressive time exceeded the driver’s expectations.
“Didn’t really expect to see such fast times to be honest,” he added. “Conditions weren’t great for it.
“The track was pretty heavy and the weather wasn’t really ideal for fast times either. So you add in those factors and it’s definitely a good feeling to have him go out there and do those times given the circumstances and not having many race days either.
“It definitely leaves us with a good feeling. It definitely shows us that the horse has lot left which is exciting, so looking forward to the next few race days to see what more he can give us.”
Owner Mello, the Bermuda Driving Horse and Pony Club president, added: “I was pleased with him and his performance he seems to be coming into form.”
War Machine holds the gelding’s track record of 1:01.2, which is also his lifetime best.
The time was the previous overall track record, which was set during the 2018-19 campaign, before Lopes’s mare Google Me eclipsed it by one fifth of a second the same season.
Simsfield Stables’s gelding Simsfield Hardtimes posted this season’s fastest time to date of 1:03.2 with driver Dylan DeSilva on December 4.
Meanwhile, Lopes also posted the second fastest time during last Sunday’s racing programme with his own mare and overall track record holder Google Me going 1:03.4 in the Free for All.
DeSilva and Simsfield Hardtimes achieved the third fastest time of 1:04.1 also in the Free for All division, reserved for the island’s fastest ponies.
Lopes (three), Candyce Martins (two), Demian Tucker (two) and Tahzil Flood (two) were among the drivers achieving multiple heat victories.
Harness racing will continue throughout the festive period at Vesey Street.
However, unlike in previous years, the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day racing programmes will not feature the traditional stakes races.
“Given the season got off to a late start due to Covid restrictions, the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day races will follow a standard race day format,” Mello explained.
“The committee hope that we will be able to do a stairs race format at some point in the new year when all the ponies have more track time in. We also plan to still have the end of season Champion of Champions series.”