Kicking into high gear

P.E.I.’s James MacDon­ald will rep­re­sent Canada at world driv­ing cham­pi­onship

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - Ni­cholas Oakes Ni­cholas Oakes’ col­umn ap­pears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at nichola­soakes@hot­mail.com.

The 2017 World Driv­ing Cham­pi­onship kicks into high gear on Aug. 12 with the first leg of the com­pe­ti­tion at Cen­tury Downs in Cal­gary but Canada will have a new driver rep­re­sent­ing the north­ern na­tion.

Kingston, P.E.I., na­tive James MacDon­ald is now the rep­re­sen­ta­tive af­ter na­tional driv­ing cham­pi­onship win­ner Bran­don Camp­bell had one of his horses test pos­i­tive for an il­le­gal sub­stance af­ter a race in Al­berta.

Camp­bell is sus­pended from driv­ing and train­ing from Aug. 1 to Jan. 31. MacDon­ald fin­ished sec­ond to Camp­bell in the na­tional driv­ing cham­pi­onship held in Oc­to­ber in On­tario and will don the red and white for legs in Cal­gary, Mo­hawk Race­way and Ge­or­gian Downs in On­tario, Trois Rivieres in Que­bec and the fi­nal leg on Friday night, Aug. 18 at the Char­lot­te­town Driv­ing Park dur­ing Old Home Week.

MacDon­ald has 95 wins so far this sea­son along with his 1,677 life­time vic­to­ries and $22 mil­lion in ca­reer purse money. The 31-year-old is part of the MacDon­ald rac­ing fam­ily with brothers Mark and Anthony, both ac­com­plished driv­ers, and his fa­ther Fred MacDon­ald, a sports colum­nist with The Guardian.

Mar­itime Scene

The two- and three-year-old trot­ters de­scend upon North­side Downs in North Syd­ney, N.S., Saturday af­ter­noon for At­lantic Sires Stakes ac­tion. This draws a num­ber of top driv­ers away from home, lead­ing to a vast num­ber of driv­ing changes for the Saturday evening card at the Char­lot­te­town Driv­ing Park.

The $2,400 Pre­ferred pace in Race 13 on the Saturday evening card is sure to be an ex­cit­ing

one with a re­match of the Gov­er­nor’s Plate fi­nal as Do Over Hanover leaves from Post 6 and Crom­bie A, fresh off a Truro Race­way track record per­for­mance, has Post 7. Mike McGuigan picks up the catch-drive on the Chris MacKay-trained Do Over Hanover rid­ing a five-race win streak while Adam Merner is in the seat be­hind Crom­bie A for trainer Earl Watts. The race also in­cludes two-time Gov­er­nor’s Plate cham­pion D Gs Camme (Gilles Bar­rieau) making his sec­ond start of the sea­son from Post 5 and pos­si­ble Gold Cup and Saucer trial en­try Good Friday Three (Gordie Hen­nessey) with Post 4.

Across The Con­ti­nent

John Camp­bell, a hall of fame driver on both sides of the bor­der, made his fi­nal ca­reer drive Sun­day af­ter­noon in the Le­gends Day trot in Clin­ton Race­way in On­tario.

Re­cently announced as pres­i­dent and CEO of the Ham­ble­to­nian So­ci­ety, Camp­bell will be in P.E.I. for the World Trot­ting Con­fer­ence be­ing held Wed­nes­day, Aug. 16 and Thurs­day, Aug. 17 dur­ing Old Home Week rac­ing in Char­lot­te­town. Visit www.worldtrot­ting­con­fer­ence.com for in­for­ma­tion about the ses­sions and topics at the sym­po­sium as well as to pur­chase tick­ets for the two-day event.

Con­do­lences

My con­do­lences to a pair of Is­land rac­ing mem­bers who passed away re­cently and will be missed.

Ian Smith of Oys­ter Bed Bridge passed away Sun­day af­ter­noon at the age of 58. Known for a great sense of hu­mour, Smith had been an in­te­gral mem­ber of the Old Home Week track crew over the last num­ber of years.

Smith was a mem­ber of Smith rac­ing fam­ily with brothers Al­lan and Rob­bie, both ac­tive horse­man over the years, while nephew Brad Smith is a train­er­driver.

Pat WcWade also passed away Sun­day at the age of 81. McWade was a horse­owner and fan at Mar­itime tracks while brother Bert McWade has been an avid sup­porter of har­ness rac­ing dur­ing his ten­ure at the At­lantic Lot

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