Ian Fortune

The semi-finals of the Future Champions & Michael Fortune Memorial Open Unraced provided some superb racing and a number of fine displays, both in victory and defeat, at Enniscorthy on Monday evening.

Fiery Mick went fastest posting a very useful 28.96, while Ballymac Gizmo impressed again when overcoming a scary moment at the second bend to win in 29.16. Both ran well to win but so too did the respective runners-up, Annual Presto and Itsallabouted.

Fiery Mick was first into action. Joe Devine’s son of Lenson Bocko and Princess Delilah was a 5-2 chance with Annual Presto sent off the 2-1 favourite to open his account after a couple of eye-catching efforts in defeat. 

The later actually set the pace into the turn from Rapido Bob with Fiery Mick sitting a close third. It was off the second bend that things really started to heat up with the first four separated by just alength at halfway.

Annual Presto continued to lead to this point but Fiery Mick was now charging up the outside of the track, while Ballymac Sargie was flying up the fence. Into the third turn it was something had to give. Fiery Mick shot to the front with both Rapido Bob and Ballymac Sargie left short of room.

It was now a straight shootout between Fiery Mick and Annual Presto with the former dictating into the home straight. Annual Presto began to rally, however, and in a tight finish, Fiery Mick had to be resilient to contain Annual Presto by a neck. Rapido Bob was three and a half lengths further adrift in third.


Ballymac Gizmo would ultimately come home in front in the second heat.

But he had to work hard to get the better of Itsallabouted. Liam Dowling’s son of Ballymac Cooper and Ballymac Arminta actually held a narrow lead into the turn but, after a slight bump between the bends, he was also clipped from behind as he cut across On The Nose at the second turn.

The momentum was now with the prominent Roanna Greeko and he struck the front. Ballymac Gizmo recovered quickly, however, setting up a tremendous second half to the contest. Allabouted charged into the third turn to make it a three-dog contest.

Ballymac Gizmo again found himself short of room at this stage, forcing him to check. This left Roanna Greeko to lead Allabouted into the straight but Ballymac Gizmo again made a quick recovery. Powering up the inside of the track, Ballymac Gizmo got the better of both Allabouted and Roanna Greeko in the dying yards to win by a length and a head in 29.16.       


There was absolutely nothing between the three heat winners in the opening round of the Champion Plate.

Piercestown Dude set the standard with a 29.43 return but Corporal Jack and Amys Gem were just one spot slower. 

Declan Beary’s Corporal Jack (Vic Vega/ Ontheredcarpet) was second for much of the way before picking up Coolpeach Ducks in the dying yards to win by a length in 29.44.

Piercestown Dude never saw another rival or Liam Butler and Seamus ‘Shanks’ Whelan. The son of Pestana and Piercestown Moll shot from trap five to make every inch to see off Cosy Bridie by six lengths in 29.43.

Pat Whelan and Laura Earle won the final heat with Amys Gem producing a very similar run to Pierecestown Dude. Showing fine early speed on the outside of the track, the daughter of Ballymac Best and Glasmeen Gem led before the turn and went on to see off Ballinabola Fox by two lengths in 29.44.