Pacer of the Year – EVENWOOD SONOFAGUN


A now six year old son of The Firepan, out of Im The Last, bred by the Nicholson family.

Owned by Raymond Huschka, trained by Alexis Laidler and driven by William Laidler. This team had one heck of a season!

The first of the Group 1 races lined up at Appleby, but Sonofagun was not aimed at the Handicap. Instead he took up under saddle with Alexis as rider and won by an impressive 11 lengths.
Back some four weeks later at the York Major 3YO fixture, another saddle pace beckoned. With the venue a half mile track, the event was prepped to challenge the World Record for pacers under saddle. Sonofagun was again partnered by Alexis Laidler and in a blistering pace they completed the mile in 1.57.3 – a new World Record. The previous World Record was held by Darla Frakes (nee Conklin) who clocked 2.00 in July 1998 at Northfield Park, USA with the gelding Highly Rated. Thanks to the race organisers, the eight time BHRC Leading Trainer and her charge, Evenwood Sonofagun, entered the Harness Racing history books.
Next port of call was the Park Lodge Handicap at the Ceredigion Festival. In the Heat with a barrier draw of 4 he had some reasonably solid competition which he overcame quickly finishing 4½ lengths clear from Kickass Katie and Dontstoptheparty in third. In the Final he picked up a 10 yard trail, which he conquered effortlessly to catch victory a second time from Kickass Katie by 7 lengths. Piloted by William ‘Rocker’ Laidler, the race scored up their first Group 1 triumph.
A jaunt across the northern border was next to take on the Famous Musselburgh Pace. Some of the other contenders included a previous Vincent Delaney winner – Tyrion Hanover, a previous Derby winner – John Barley, the 2017 Ceredigion Travis Perkins heat & final winner – Jack Swagger, and in his own Heat the 2016 Famous Musselburgh Pace winner – Sports Trick, as well as his own stablemate Mikey Camden. The weather did not favour either the contestants nor the spectators with the rain refusing to relent. ‘Rocker’ took the decision to partner Sonofagun and Will Greenhorn teamed up with Mikey. Sonofagun was steered around with ease in a clock of 3.03.65, 2½ lengths clear of Mikey Camden. The two qualified for the Final but faced a 40 yard trail, which on Musselburgh is no easy feat to overcome. However, overcome it they did to finish in fine fashion up the home straight in 1st (Sonofagun) and 2nd (Mikey Camden) for the Laidler team and owner Raymond Huschka.
Back at York in early August, the huge event in aid of the Blossom Kelly Foundation and PACT charity threw up another heat and final victory and another track record for the 1¼ mile distance – 2.27.5 in the heat. The win in the Final also meant that Sonofagun had won 12 from 12.
As connections had hinted after Musselburgh, he was next aimed at a Crock of Gold Heat at Tir Prince. In a small field of just four runners, Sonofagun was the victor by 3½ lengths in 1.59.3. Now he was 13 from 13.
For the Tregaron Festival, rather than the Heats and Finals of the Group 1 Welsh Classic, Sonofagun was supplemented to the Battle of the Big Guns Free For All. He proved his class and finished 3½ lengths ahead of Coalford Tetrick in 2.04.0.
On the horizon now was one of the mostly hotly anticipated Free For Alls ever seen. After a spectacular race and an agonisingly tense judging of the photo finish, the Dead Heat of the Crock of Gold Final was declared between Evenwood Sonofagun and Miraculous.

Evenwood Sonofagun finished his 2017 campaign with THREE Grade 1 races on his profile, a streak of 15 straight wins, Track Records and a WORLD Record plus whispers of exportation to race abroad.

Nominated alongside Coalford Tetrick and Miraculous, ‘Sonofagun’ gained the most votes to be awarded Pacer of the Year 2017. The award will be presented at the BHRC & STAGBI Awards Event this coming weekend at the Mercure Haydock Hotel (WA11 9SG).