It was another great weekend for the Irish in the Star Sports/ TC English Derby as half of the eight third round heat winners were trained on these shores, while a further six progressed, leaving ten of the twenty-four remaining greyhounds representing Ireland.
Once again, the undoubted star of proceedings was Ballinabola Ed as he fully justified his position at the head of the outright market with a facile victory in the penultimate heat, while his kennel companion Singalong Sally completed a wonderful double for Pat Buckley.
Peter Cronin also had an impressive winner with Cape Cloud dominating in Heat 5, while Ballymac Fairone continued his love affair with Towcester, leading home an Irish one-two-three in Heat 2.
FAIRONE LOOKS THE PART
Indeed, Ballymac Fairone provided the Irish with their first winner of the night in Heat 2.
Breaking well from trap one, he led by a length on the turn and quickly put his rivals to the sword to halfway. Romeo De Niro turned closest but had no answer to the strong running duo of Ballymac Belvult and Priceless Jet.
Ballymac Fairone went on to score by three lengths in 29.54 (rated .20 slow), with Balymac Belvult getting up late to grab second, a short head clear of the Paul Hennessy trained Priceless Jet in third.
SUPER SALLY TOO GOOD
Singalong Sally again displayed what an incredible competitor she is in Heat 4, outpointing Signet Ace to emerge a comfortable winner.
Fastest into stride, Singalong Sally led to the winning line but was headed into the bend by Signet Ace.
Importantly, Sally still had the rails pitch and she stayed tight to the fence to slip up the inside of Signet Ace down the back straight. Outpacing Signet Ace into the third turn, she took charge once again before staying on strongly to run out a brilliant two and three quarter length scorer in 29.34 (.10 slow). Signet Ace was second. Sadly, Glengar Scholar after plenty of traffic was desperately unlucky not to qualify, finishing just a short head behind Derrinasafa Boss in fourth.
CLOUD TAKES FLIGHT
Cape Cloud made it three for the Irish in Heat 5 as he flashed from trap our to dictate throughout. Posting a rapid 4.06, the talented son of Pat C Sabbath made every inch to see off Mickeys Barrett by a length and three parts in 29.38 (.10 slow). Alas, we lost another Irish runner in this contest with barefoot Supremo just losing out in fourth despite finishing at speed.
MASTERFUL ED DOMINATES
Ballinabola Ed was the star, however. Despite taking on some top-class rivals in Heat 7 he was installed the 8-13 favourite.
It was evident from the early yards that he was overpriced. Aussie Captain flashed from the inside box but Balinabola Ed had far too much pace for his rival.
Showing exceptional acceleration, the son of Confient Rankin mastered Aussie Captain well before the turn to lead by a length as he began to turn left. From there he raced right away to emerge a sensational four and three quarter length scorer in 29.12. Aussie Captain was second, while Pat Buckley’s second runner Bobsleigh Dream ran a big race to finish third.
Earlier on the card, Kildare safely progressed in the opening heat.
The Peter Cronin trained star could never quite find the room to show his wonderful acceleration but he was always challenging before finishing third to former Irish runner Kilkenny Santy. Kildare was a length and a half and the same distance away third behind the winner, who posted 29.60 (.20 slow). Sadly Bockos Vieira made his exit in fourth.
A MAGIC RUN IN DEFEAT
Romeo Magico ran a massive race in Heat 3 despite missing the kick and failing to figure in the early yards.
The Graham Holland trained tracker flew down the back straight and stayed on well to be beaten just a half length behind trap to line scorer Signet Goofy in 29.55 (.20 slow). Jaytee Wexford carried no luck in this contest, eventually finishing a close fourth.
HAMMOND SHOWS BIG PACE IN DEFEAT
It was a case of breaking too fast for Hello Hammond in the finale heat as he ran into traffic problems on the corner.
Thankfully, the Paul Hennessy trained powerhouse had the pace to recover. Showing incredible speed into the third turn, he shot around the chasing pack to move second only to fail by two lengths to get to 29.52 (.10 slow) scorer Global Vision. It was a massive run in defeat.
Incidentally, the only heat without any Irish trained runners went to 20-1 chance Savana Beau as he flew home to collar Lautaro and the pace-setting Signet Devner by a short head and a short head in 29.55 (.10 slow).