Ian Fortune

Word came through on Wednesday evening that Ballymac Eske had passed on.

One of the stars of the early 2010’s, he captured numerous big prizes across the water where he was trained by Barry Draper and was also played a major part in making the opening Night of Stars a true success back in 2012. 

A brilliant son of Burnpark Champ and Ballymac Penske, he was bred by Liam Dowling for pace and power and had both in abundance. As a puppy, he captured the Puppy Classic at Nottingham and ran up the English Puppy Derby at Wimbledon.

Later that same year he was a brilliant winner of the Olympic at Hove before running at the inaugural Night of Stars at Shelbourne Park. He and Sparta Maestro went had to head over 600yds, providing one of the most memorable clashes in the history of the famous Ringsend venue. Ballymac Eske may have finished a close second but lost nothing in defeat.

He returned in 2013 to capture the Scottish Derby before being made favourite to land the English Derby. Sadly, he crashed out of the classic in the semis. He ended his career in real style in June 2014. At close to four years of age, he produced a stunning series of runs to win the Three Steps to Victory at Sheffield, smashing the 660m track record in the final.

There was no doubting his quality as a racer but he also shone as a sire. A glance through his progeny will unveil so many star names including top class two, four, six and eight bend performers. In fact, many of his progeny were exceptional over extended distances.

Incredibly three of the last five TV Trophy winners were daughters of Eske, while Javielenko provided him with a Corn Cuchulainn success on this side of the Irish Sea. Amongst the stars he produced on the track are Droopys Noah, Roxholme Kristoff, Roxholme Olaf, Droopys Dargle, Sporting Pat, Bull Run Button, Cometwopass, Ballintee Annie, Droopys Nextone, Geelo Monty, Bockos Brandy, Stadom, Aayamza Royale, Lemon Ozzy, Iconic Rory, Down The Green, Broadstrand Ryan and most recently, the remarkable Scooby Princess.

A special greyhound both on the track and as a sire, Ballymac Eske leaves a legacy that could live on for some time.