War Machine and Simsfield Hardtimes to go head-to-head on New Year’s Day
War Machine and Simsfield Hardtimes are set to face off in an exciting head-to-head showdown at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre on New Year’s Day.
The rival harness ponies have been pitted against each other in a two-horse match-up in the Free for All Division.
The pair are heading into the next race day with plenty of momentum having earned a share of the season’s fastest time of 1min 3sec along with Google Me, the overall track record holder, at Vesey Street on Boxing Day.
It will be the second straight meet competing in a two-horse race for Aaron Sims’s gelding Simsfield Hardtimes, having done so against Google Me the previous weekend.
“The New Year’s Day card seems pretty good,” Sims told The Royal Gazette. “It’s another two pony race for Hardtimes and War Machine going at it head- to -head.
“We are both tied for the fastest time of the year, so it will be pretty interesting to see what comes out of it for New Year’s Day.”
Mello Family’s gelding War Machine was the first to eclipse the season’s previous fastest time of 1:03.2, posted by Sims’s horse on December 4, on Boxing Day with driver Tyler Lopes at the helm.
Simsfield Hardtimes, with driver Dylan DeSilva, and Google Me, with owner Lopes in the bike, then came along and equalled the time later in the day.
Sims’s pony won the heat by a nose to give driver DeSilva the perfect send off as he is set to start a new job abroad.
“Dylan is going away to start a job with horses so that was his last race racing Hardtimes,” Sims added. “He was expecting a little bit faster time but it was a good day.”
Experienced driver Joseph Vieira is among the options to take over the helm in DeSilva’s absence.
“I have a few options. I am going to use Joseph Vieira on New Year’s Day who hasn’t raced in quite a few years,” Sims added. “He is the one who actually got me into racing 25 years ago.
“He is a good driver and I have convinced him to come out and race and then days he cannot I will grab someone else. But my main driver is going to be Joseph Vieira.”
The Driving Horse and Pony Club opted for a standard race day format for the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day racing programmes this year rather than the traditional stakes races due to Covid-19 restrictions, which delayed the start of the season till November 21.
The season runs until April 3 with the prestigious Champion of Champions officially bringing the curtain down on the 2021-22 campaign.