Ian Fortune

It’s been pretty evident since her display in the opening round that Ballymac Beanie was a major player in this year’s Sporting Press Irish Oaks at Shelbourne Park and, on Saturday night, she completed a near foot-perfect march through the classic with a stunning display of front running to land the €25,000 prize.


This had been a vintage Oaks from the very outset and it was fitting that the final was won in such decisive fashion by a bitch that really does seem to have the world at her feet.

This was a contest that was decided at trap rise with the Declan Byrne trained star rocketing from trap two.

Ballymac Art gave pursuit into the corner with Droopys Curio and Nemesis on her outside disputing third. Swanley Chick and Ballymac Juliet were just behind in a tie for fifth but it was already clear that Ballymac Beanie, barring accident, was going to take some stopping.

Swanley Chick displayed wonderful track craft and determination to slip up the fence to challenge Ballymac Art for second spot as they entered the back straight. Droopys Curio, in contrast, was forced to stay wide of Ballymac Art and had to ride a bump.


The race was now on. Ballymac Beanie entered the back straight with almost three lengths in hand.

Swanley Chick was on the inside of Ballymac Art and seemed likely to emerge as the main challenger to the leader. Droopys Curio had other ideas.  

At halfway the order remained unchanged with Ballymac Beanie remaining three lengths clear of Swanley Chick but Droopys Curio then started to move through the gears. By the third turn, Curio was almost upsides Swanley Chick and in full flight.


Ballymac Beanie still hadn’t seen a rival but Droopys Curio now looked a massive threat.

 Droopys Curio moved into second as they exited the third turn but, as she set her sights on the leader, she came in contact with Swanley Chick.

She didn’t find bad traffic but it was enough to halt her momentum. Ballymac Beanie was now on her way to Oaks glory and there was nothing any of her rivals could do to stop her. The daughter of Ballymac Matt and Coolavanny Pet powered up the home straight to race into the history books as the 87th winner of the bitch classic.

At the winning line Ballymac Beanie had three and a half lengths to spare over Droopys Curio in a fast 28.18. Ballymac Juliet flew up the straight to collar Swanley Chick for third, a further length and as half behind Droopys Curio.


Ballymac Beanie is still a puppy and won’t turn two until January.

She remains eligible for the Kirby Memorial and Produce Stakes in 2021, while she could be given the chance to defend her Oaks title in little over six months.

Her record now reads six wins from ten starts with five of those wins coming in her last six starts. Her owners Ciara Vereker and Pat and Alan Dobbs can start dreaming of further classic success because they have a very special lady indeed.

Presentation of trophies after Ballymac Beanie victory in the 2020 Sporting Press Irish Oaks final at Shelbourne Park. Pictured are trainer Declan Byrne, Keith Lonergan accepting trophy on behalf of owner Ciara Vereker and Pat Loughlin ICC.                           Pic: Imelda Grauer



While Ballymac Beanie was securing a first classic success, a couple of other sensationally fast bitches were playing a starring role in the opening round of the IGOBF National Puppy Stake.

After qualifying in 27.92 and displaying amazing pace on debut, all eyes were on Ballymac Ariel and she duly obliged in the opening heat but honour of going fastest was Billys Diva as she again gave an indication of her incredible potential.


Ballymac Ariel was brilliant in the opening heat.

Explosive Boy, who stood out as the main danger, came away racing from trap three and seemed likely to take some stopping. Ballymac Ariel had other ideas, however.

Despite her inexperience and the size of her task, Liam Dowling’s daughter of Ballymac Bolger and Ballymac Cameo couldn’t have been more impressive. She didn’t make a flying start but was soon second. As they approached the turn, Ballymac Ariel stepped right to avoid Explosive Boy.

It was an intelligent move and one that allowed her to attack the opening bend. Just a length separated the pair into the back straight although it was down to a half length at halfway. It was now just a matter of time before Ballymac Ariel went to the front.   

Driving the third turn, Ballymac Ariel shot to the front and quickly her rival to the sword. Running a wonderful line, and powering up the straight, the April ’19 whelp hit the line five lengths clear in a very quick 28.18.

Explosive Boy was second with Jet Stream Chief a further three lengths adrift in third. It was a special run from Ballymac Ariel and one gets the impression she will go far faster in thee future.     


Just fifteen minutes after Ballymac Ariel, Billys Diva sent out a clear warning that this is far from a one-dog competition.

Of course, John and Maria Kennedy’s daughter of Good News and Jaytee Sahara had won in an incredible 28.09 on debut and had since run with real credit in the Oaks but this was her best performance to date.

Making a good start from the inside box, the fawn youngster led from the opening yards and proceeded to pulverise the opposition, pulling further and further clear throughout to post a wonderful 28.04, seeing Waikiki Nona by eight length in the process. There was a further seven length gap to Kilbride Maestro in third.  


Ballymac Notoyou made it three from three for the ladies in Heat 3.

Trained by Karol Ramsbottom for Stephen Murphy and Miles Anderton, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Ballymac Razl who weighs in at over seventy pounds came away on level terms but soon quickened to the front.

Once moving into the lead there was no stopping the April whelp. Jet Stream Emma gave chase throughout but Ballymac Notoyou raced to a comfortable two length victory in 28.68. Crossfield Feena was three and a half lengths away in third.


All About Ted was the sole heat winner for the male of the species.

Willie Rigney’s son of Kinloch Brae and Enable had an ideal draw on the fence and he made full use of it. Only third to hit the ground, the Peter Cronin trained puppy displayed superior early dash to his rivals to lead before the corner.

Once going to the front, All About Ted was never under any pressure. Moyola Seamrog gave chase for much of the way but the eye-catching Kilara Getaway ran on strongly to grab second on the run in. All About Ted emerged a three and a half length winner in 28.33, with Moyola Seamrog a further two lengths behind Kilara Getaway in third.




As always, one of the feature races on the undercard of Oaks final night was the final of the Joe Dolan/ ICC 350 and The Other Rory confirmed semi final form, leading before the turn to score for Jennifer O’Donnell.

The son of Silent Whisper and the Other Niamh did edge inwards from trap five but he just built enough of a lead to clear those on his inner. Once clearing the corner, the January ’19 whelp drew right away to score by five and a half lengths from Fawn Bear in 18.92.


After crashing out of the Leger last weekend, The Graham Holland trained Newinn Session immediately returned to winning ways in the penultimate race on the card, making most of the running to see off Broadstrand Bono and Beechview Cognac.

Newinn Session displayed fine acceleration from trap three to lead into the turn but Broadstrand Bono was soon in chase. The order never changed thereafter although Newinn Session had to keep up to his work to repel the challenge of his pursuer.

Staying on to the line, Simon Taylor’s Newinn Session (Laughil Duke/ Coolavanny Pearl) emerged a two length winner over Broadstrand Bono in 29.53.


There was a tremendous end to the evening’s proceedings with Auxerre securing a narrow victory after a thriller.

Auxerre displayed fine early dash to open a two length lead into the turn but he could never shake off those in pursuit.   

Indesatchel looked a big threat into the third turn but he ultimately ran out of steam in his first start since the Derby decider. Instead, Scooby Princess and Ballymac Tas came through in the closing yards to press Auxerre. Oliver Shields’ Auxerre was determined, however, and the son of Droopys Sydney and Toms Delight ran right to the line to contain Scooby Princess by three parts of a length in 31.29.      


Ballydoyle Blake, trained by Martin Lanney for the Wildd Boys Syndicate, returned from the UK to make a winning Irish debut in the eighth race on the card.

Staying tight to the fence around the opening two bends he entered the back straight just behind Nametab Anubis.           

Moving upsides Nametab Anubis into the third turn, Ballydoyle Blake made use of his inside line to take charge before staying on well to score by three lengths in 28.69. Our Swans Rock stayed on to grab second on the line.


After scoring earlier on the card with Glory Kilara, David Murray completed a fine double in the ninth race as Blue Jig Luck came home clear of his rivals.

The race to the turn was certainly competitive with Blue Jig Luck, Pilgrim Hill and Clona Hawk all battling for early supremacy.

Importantly, Annmarie Daly’s Blue Jig Luck (Kisses For Cloda/ Royal Diva) had the inside line and this allowed him move on at the bend. Clona Hawk emerged in second and tried to keep tabs with the leader but it was futile. Blue Jig Luck ran right to the line to score by four lengths in 29.72.    

Racing commenced with Thomas Glynn’s Glory Kilara claiming a fourth career victory. The David Murray trained son of Droopys Jet and Kilara Cher was prominent in the early yards before forcing his way to the front on the turn. From there he was never threatened as he ran out a six and a half length winner over Ballybough Chief in 28.47.        


Juvenile Derby champion Skywalker Barry made a superb return to action in the eleventh race, showing his tremendous early speed to make virtually all the running.

 Ray Patterson’s son of Droopys Jet and Calzaghe Jan was headed at traps but he flew up the fence to assert well before the corner.

It was all pretty straightforward thereafter, although he did give his connections a fright at the final turn as he drifted wide. This allowed Airmount Nando to close but the Mark O’Donovan trained Skywalker Barry held on to score by a half length in 28.28.


Chasing Belfast successfully stepped up in trip to win the sixth race over 575yds.

Trained by Graham Holland for the Hovex Racing Syndicate, the son of Rural Hawaii and Buddies Friend relished the long run to the turn, moving clear in the early stages before making all. The brindle went on to cross the line two lengths clear of Joey I Said in a fast 31.05.