Simsfield Hardtimes equals gelding record and season’s fastest time
Simsfield Hardtimes equalled the gelding record and fastest time of the season on the way to an impressive clean sweep of victories at the National Equestrian Centre.
Aaron Sims’s Indiana-bred harness pony posted a blistering 1:01.2 racing on the rail in the second heat of the Free for All with driver Kirista Rabain in the bike.
The time equalled the gelding record held by Mello Family’s pony, War Machine, as well as the season’s fastest time set by Lee and Sergio Raynor’s stallion, Special Gold, in February.
Victory in the second heat completed the sweep for Simsfield Hardtimes and Rabain in their division, having come around Special Gold from the two-hold to win the first heat with the third fastest time of the day of 1:02.1.
“Tying the gelding record is a good achievement and also tying the fastest time of the year,” Sims told The Royal Gazette. “He (Simsfield Hardtimes) has been a multiple double heat winner this season which is no easy feat, especially how these other ponies are running. The other ponies he is going up against in Free for All are no slouches, so it’s always a tough race.”
Sims is reaping the benefits from the hard work he and his pony have put in training.
“He’s felt really strong on training days,” he added. “I have been working him and he feels really good and is happy.
“He is just showing himself right now and is really on form. No matter what position he is in, he is coming home strong.”
Driver Rabain has formed a formidable bond with Sims’s pony after taking over the helm from predecessor Dylan DeSilva in midseason.
“Kirista is doing a really good job with him after getting thrown in the bike from Dylan going away this year and her getting in,” Sims added. “I think they are coming together as a good team and we look forward to a bright future.”
Simsfield Hardtimes is gradually living up to his potential as the son of former world record holder, GV Sir Tux.
“I am pretty happy and excited about it,” Sims said. “He has come a long way from me picking him out as a baby in Indiana, shipping him to Bermuda, breaking him in, racing him as a two-year-old and moving him up to where he is now.
“He has come a long way and I always knew from the first day I saw him away he was special. His father (GV Sir Tux) was a world record holder for quite awhile, so his pedigree is there.”
Simsfield Hardtimes’s time in the second heat was only a fifth of a second shy of the overall track record of 1:01.1 held by Tyler Lopes’s recently retired mare, Google Me.
“It’s pretty exciting and I have been knocking on the door for awhile,” Sims added. “He has really come on strong this year and is feeling himself.”
Meanwhile, rival gelding War Machine posted the second fastest time on the day of 1:01.3 with driver Darico Clarke competing in the combined Free for All and Junior Free for All heat.
Candyce Martins, Macray Bulford, Clarke and Rabain were among the drivers chalking up multiple heat victories.