VETERAN Ballyclare trainer and former stock car driver, Harry Smyth was back in the winner’s enclosure after ‘Willyouwalkwithme’ (5s to 8/1) landed the handicap hurdle at Sligo last Wednesday night. It is almost a year since the same horse supplied his last success in September last year at Downpatrick.
The local winner was always handy on the inside rail under top rider Denis O’Regan, prior to leading at the penultimate flight and asserting after the last to record a very easy victory for the evergreen County Antrim handler now in his 80s.
Smyth said: “He likes the uphill climb to the finish. It’s a fun exercise for me training – I just have the three horses for myself. I told Denis (O’Regan) to be available today a fortnight ago, but I’m not always right. He might go to Downpatrick next – he needs a strong pace and he’s still improving. I’m training 40 years now, but the wee man is disappearing from racing – I had owners many years ago, but not now. I preferred the stock car racing when I was younger and driving – I drove in the Champion Of the World race three times then.”
Denis O’Regan added: “He’s an absolute gentleman (Harry Smyth). He told me to be free at Sligo a fortnight ago. I’ve been riding another one of his – it’s a year and a half since I rode this fella and told him he would win races, but I missed his two earlier wins. I’m delighted for him.”
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