If you haven't seen the poll on Tim Tetrick's social media pages/Harnesslink/the BHRC website, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!
Kidding, you've probably been busy doing important stuff. Point taken.
You must surely be able to find yourself half an hour though to watch six videos of drives shortlisted for the inaugural BHRC Drive of the Year 2016 and then cast your vote. I rarely ask anything of anyone, but on this occasion, please do.
The award is being supported and sponsored by none other than Tim Tetrick himself, a master reinsman regarded worldwide as one of the best. The driver whose drive receives the highest number of votes will receive a gift package from Tim, as well as a trophy which will be presented at the BHRC & STAGBI Awards Dinner on Saturday 25th February. We're actually going to be keeping the name of the winner under wraps until the night, to add to the suspense. Voting closes at midday on Valentine's Day (for those romantics among us) or 14th February (for those unromantics among us). So time is running out guys - GET VOTING NOW!
To make things easy for you, I'm going to post the links for the six shortlisted drives with a bit of background info to the race so you can place them in context.
James Haythornthwaite & Porcelain Seelster
The three-year-old imported grey filly (Camluck-Pantecostal-No Pan Intended) came from the rear of the field under a patient drive from regular pilot James Haythornthwaite to take on stablemate Indie Hanover down the stretch, winning the Victor Carson Memorial Final at Corbiewood in September.
John Nicholson Jr & Cochise
Sixteen-year-old John Nicholson Jr was living the stuff of dreams when winning a heat of the Red John Memorial Hurricane Pace at Musselburgh in June on Cochise (Dreamwork-Running River-Raque Bogart), however his drive in the final makes the shortlist for, amongst other things, holding his nerve when being chased down in the last furlong by the previous year's Leading Driver, William 'Rocker' Laidler.
As an aside, keep an eye out for John's father, John Sr, and sister, Savannah, jumping up and down wildly by the inside rail just before the line - his mother Georgina was also in the race as the family had qualified two runners and there were tears in the winner's circle afterwards as John became one of the youngest drivers ever to win a major handicap final.
Ian Pimlott & Thunder Jiel
This was the first of two trotting races staged at Chelmsford City Racecourse in November following a Thoroughbred card. The races were televised live on At The Races which gave the sport much-needed exposure to the general public, and they were treated to a driving masterclass from seasoned campaigner Ian Pimlott who certainly didn't panic when the front horses went clear early on. His well-timed drive ensured Thunder Jiel (Historien-Houba Houba Jiel-Kimberland) broke his duck on British soil having been imported from France earlier in the year.
News today is that Chelmsford have agreed to stage numerous trotting races this coming summer on the back of Thoroughbred cards - GREAT NEWS!
Mick Lord & Shaba Hanover
Commentator Darren Owen sums up the race to perfection in the closing stages of the race at York in October. Mick Lord painted the outside rail with Shaba Hanover (Real Desire-Shakeitupamy-Western Hanover) to pass the frontrunners and storm to victory late on. This win was the former BHRC 3YO Filly of the Year's sole victory of the season after a successful juvenile career.
Richard Haythornthwaite & Ayr Majesty
Not to be outdone by brother James, Richard Haythornthwaite finds himself on the shortlist after steering Ayr Majesty (Daylon Alert-Ayr Queen-Albert Albert) to success in the Tregaron FFA at the two-day festival in August. The horse finds himself in top company following much success as a youngster, and on this occasion the wily moves of his driver to weave his way through the field provided the horse with his sole win of the season in a leg of the Standardbred Sales Company-sponsored Battle of the Big Guns, after numerous consistent placed runs.
Vicky Gill & Rhyds Mystique
BHRC 2YO Filly of the Year 2016 Rhyds Mystique (Hasty Hall-CPs Village Jigsaw-Village Jiffy) burst onto the racing scene with this impressive debut, which became the first of 8 wins from 9 runs in her freshman year. Vicky Gill partnered her in every race, and the duo's first victory stemmed from a late burst of speed to pass the field in impressive style. Little did we know just how good this filly would be during the course of the season. One suspects that driver Vicky knew though, driving with immense confidence on this first start.
Now to the nitty gritty - voting.
Follow this link HERE
If, for any reason, that doesn't work (I'm still a technophobe at heart), go to the BHRC website (http://www.bhrc.org.uk/racing/news/drive-of-the-year-2016/) and follow the link at the bottom of the story. WARNING: Do not be alarmed at the enormous photo of Tim Tetrick's face when you click on the link - the details are below it).
Come on, get involved. Most of my readers will be totally impartial viewers, not knowing any of the drivers or horses shortlisted. So judge them, be critical, be impressed, click on your favourite.
REMEMBER: voting closes at MIDDAY on TUESDAY 14TH FEBRUARY GMT (that's Greenwich Mean Time, to you and me). I don't know what this is in the various US time zones - look it up. Or vote AS SOON AS YOU'VE FINISHED READING THIS. Go on, you know you want to.
Over and out,
SHOUTY CAPS LOCK #1 GROOM