There were mixed fortunes for the ten Irish trained runners in action at Towcester on Friday evening as the second round of the Star Sports/ TRC English Derby got underway although the display of Ballinabola Ed as he strengthened his grip at the head of the ante-post betting added a real gloss to proceedings.
The Pat Buckley trained star wasn’t the only Irish trained winner as Hello Hammond performed nothing short of a minor miracle to win Heat 4 after encountering serious early traffic.
Sadly, Ireland lost the services of some really talented greyhounds as All About Ted, Deadly Showtime, Ballymac Leon, Cushie Concorde, Ballymore Border and Da Bold Freddie all failed to qualify.
Ballinabola Ed was the real story, however. He had become just the second greyhound to break 29 seconds around Towcester when posting a sizzling 28.97 in the opening round and he duly followed up in Heat 7.
Although a little flat-footed at boxes, the brilliant son of Confident Rankin flew into the turn to shoot around the fast starting, former track record holder Bockos Belly. It was an incredible, and decisive, maneouvre that saw Ballinabola Ed quicken into a clear lead by the third turn.
Bockos Belly gave chase throughout but Ballinabola Ed was in a league of his own as he emerged a two and a quarter length scorer in 29.07. Unfortunately, Ballymac Leon was run out of the frame before coming home last of the six runners.
HAMMOND’S REMARKABLE VICTORY
Hello Hammond had earlier initiated a double for the Irish when picking himself off the floor in Heat 4.
The Paul Hennessy trained star was squeezed in the early yards and pecked badly to sit last into the turn behind Kilkenny Santy and Stefans Rocket.
He remained well off the pace as they entered the back but then started to move through the gears. Incredibly, by the third turn, he had moved into second. He still had a few lengths to make up on the strong running Kilkenny Santy but managed to bridge the gap with the minimum fuss. Powering up the straight, Hello Hammond won by a length in 29.55. Both Balymore Border (fourth) and Cushie Concorde (last) exited the competition.
Glengar Scholar was favourite to win the opening heat of the night for Pat Buckley and while he failed to do so, he did qualify in third.
Here 9-1 Derrinasafa Boss went up fast before cutting across Glengar Scholar on the bend. He proceeded to make every inch, holding the late charge of Faughan Rebel by a short head in 29.85. Glengar Scholar was third, just a further length and a half adrift.
BELVULT A GOOD SECOND
Ballymac Belvult was never a realistic threat for Liam Dowling in Heat 2 but he did finish strongly to grab second after Innfield Trojan and Sporting Chile clashed off the final turn.
Signer Denver was always in charge at the head of affairs but Ballymac Belvult safely secured his passage to the next round by finishing four and a half lengths down in second.
NO LUCK OR TED
All About Ted could never get up to full speed in Heat 5.
After a slow start he could never find sufficient room to move. His fate was sealed at the second bend as he bumped Skywalker Forte, leaving him in fourth without momentum. He eventually finished last behind impressive trap to line winner Swift Iconic.
FREDDIE AND SHOWTIME FAIL TO FIRE
Neither Deadly Showtime nor Da Bold Freddie made the frame in Heat 6.
The former broke smartly from trap one but edged to the middle of the track. He was still in a prominent position at the bend but took a bump as they entered the back and could never get going after that.
Da Bold Freddie missed the start and was left short of room into the bend. He could never recover. The pair finished fifth and sixth behind Signet Goofy, who made all to score in 29.53.