Ian Fortune

On what was a special night at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night, there was also huge interest in the Michael Fortune Memorial Derby Plate.

The action was of the highest quality with Kildare setting the standard with a brilliant 29.40 return in the final heat.

The English Derby runner-up stepped up on his previous Shelbourne Park form, showing fine speed to lead the field into the turn. Kilgraney Sydney was second but hit the deck on the bend, leaving Aidan Comerford’s Kildare (Droopys Sydney/ Palermo) to his own devices.

Quickening clear, the Peter Cronin trained Kildare was always in command and he duly emerged a facile five length scorer over Sunshine Dream. Ballymore Border was three lengths further back in third.


Next fastest was Ballymac Joey as he ran out a ready winner of the penultimate heat, leading home a one-two for Liam Dowling.

The promising son of Ballymac Bolger and Ballymac Arminta broke fastest to lead the field into the turn. 

Gymcrack gave chase down the back straight but Ballymac Ben charged into the third turn to take over in second. Ballymac Joey wasn’t for catching, however, and he stayed on to claim a two and a half length victory over Ballymac Ben in 29.62.


The opening heat provide a thrilling finish with Garryvoe Joe (Dorotas Wildcat/ Jalingo) and Bobsleigh Dream having a great battle to the line with the verdict just going to the former.

As predicted The Other Kobe broke well and eased across to the fence but Pat Moloney’s Garryjoe Joe quickened up on his outside to hold a narrow advantage on the bend.

The pair bumped at the bend and again at the second turn. This allowed Bobsleigh Dream draw closer in third, setting up a tremendous finish. Bobsleigh Dream flew into the third turn and looked a serious threat.

The Graham Holland trained Garryvoe Joe got the better of The Other Kobe at the third turn but still had plenty on his plate with Bobsleigh Dream absolutely motoring in second. The bitch was forced to make her move on the outside of the leader and this saw the pair bump as Garryvoe Joe started to edge off the final corner. In a desperate finish, the pair flashed past the post together with a short-head verdict going to Garryvoe Joe in 29.68. The Other Kobe was two lengths adrift in third.


Incredibly, there was an even tighter finish to the third heat with Emilys Jet, Well Met and Ballymac Drama virtually inseparable on the line.

Scooby Prince came in for plenty of support ahead of the race to start favourite but was always struggling to land a telling blow despite bot being beaten far into fourth.

The early battle for supremacy was between Gareth Williams’ Emilys Jet and Well Met with the later just showing in front on the bend. The duo clashed allowing Emily Jet to go back to the front but it was short-lived as Well Met flew into the third turn to take over again.

By this point Ballymac Drama was on their heels in third and still advancing. The Peter Cronin trained Emilys Jet came back at the leader to challenge on the run in, while Ballymac Drama slipped up the fence to join the front pair. For the final fifty yards the trio couldn’t be separated and they crossed the line locked in battle.

The judge was called into action with the verdict just going to Emilys Jet (Dorotas Wildcat/ Droopy Elite) in 29.78. There was just a short head to Well Met and a head to Ballymac Drama in third. 


Pat Buckley was the man to follow in the remaining high-quality races on the card.

Not only did Flashing Willow confirm his standing as one of the finest sprinters in training but Ballinabola Ed also sent out a reminder that he is a true canine superstar.

Ballinabola Ed was a 1-2 favourite for the penultimate race on the card and was always in the position to strike after trapping on terms. Leading by a length into the turn, he was pushed off by Bockos Crystal and was relegated into second.

Ballinabola Ed was quickly back into top gear and flew down the back straight to lead a long way before halfway. Once doing so, he was never going to be stopped. Easing right away, Brendan Murphy’s son of Confident Rankin and Dolls Lady went on to score by five lengths in a stunning 29.25. Bockos Crystal was second.


Flashing Willow may have been left standing at traps by the lightning-fast starter Hawkfield Ava but his magnificent pace into the turn saw him take over before running out a most impressive scorer for Kenny Glen and Pat Buckley.

Showing superb early speed into the corner, the son of Laughil Blake and Cabbage flew up the inside of Hawkfield Ava to lead into the corner before easing away to score by five lengths in a rapid 18.44.


Racing ended with a stunning run from the Pat Guilfoyle trained Magical Kuba as he ran out a ready six and a half-length scorer.

This was barely a contest with Magical Kuba relishing the long run to the turn before entering the back straight with a commanding advantage.

The battle for second was much more competitive but Magical Kuba, owned by the Westwell Racing Syndicate, was far too hot for his rivals. The son of Magical Bale and Impact Miami ran out a ready six and a half length scorer over Urban View in a stunning 30.71.       


Velasco had a wonderful prep run ahead of a crack at the Juvenile Derby in the second race on the card.

The Owen McKenna trained son of Ballymac Bolger and Ballymac Arminta had a near-perfect draw on the fence and he made full use of it, flying up the fence to lead his rivals into the turn.

Galloping Sydney passed Paradise Nikibel on the corner to go second but was never catching the leader. Des Grace’s Velasco coasted home a most impressive four length scorer over Galloping Sydney in 28.32.


Bogger Hunter provided the perfect start to proceedings, showing fine pace to lead from the turn before going on to score in 28.39.

Liam Peacock’s son of Skywalker Farloe and Bottle Of Banter is a brother to Callaway Pro Am and looked scarily similar to his sibling as he galloped with real fluency to keep his rivals at bay.

Staying on strongly, the September ’20 whelp went on to see off A Lucky Lady by five lengths. The winner seems likely to challenge for Juvenile Derby glory following this superb success.