Saturday 21 October 2017

Ballymac Matt is 'Top Dog' as bitch title goes to Ballydoyle Honey

Favourite Hee Haws Sheriff missed the kick but Leonard O’Hanlon’s Ballymac Bigmike flashed out and went within six spots of the track record when winning by two and a half lengths from Slipalong Hero in 18.47.
Favourite Hee Haws Sheriff missed the kick but Leonard O’Hanlon’s Ballymac Bigmike flashed out and went within six spots of the track record when winning by two and a half lengths from Slipalong Hero in 18.47.
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

Boylesports Irish Derby champion Ballymac Matt was named the Supreme Greyhound of 2015 at the National Awards presentation at Limerick Stadium on Saturday.

A few hours later his litter brother Ballymac Bigmike put himself in line for a 2016 award with a superb victory in the Open Sprint final at Shelbourne.

Favourite Hee Haws Sheriff missed the kick but Leonard O'Hanlon's Ballymac Bigmike flashed out and went within six spots of the track record when winning by two and a half lengths from Slipalong Hero in 18.47.

Ballymac Matt had been a strong favourite to be named top dog as he won the Gain 600 in addition to the Derby. Recently he was narrowly beaten in the Scottish Derby final. He is now being prepared for the English Derby at Wimbledon.

Last year's Sporting Press Oaks heroine Ballydoyle Honey was, as expected, voted the Top Bitch.

The Graham Holland-trained bitch enjoyed a sensational year with victories in the Red Mills Unraced, the Heathcare & Transport Services Puppy Oaks, the Sporting Press Irish Oaks, the Mulvaney 600, etc.

The other award winners were Catherines Drico (Sprint), Tradition (Marathon), Kinloch Brae (Stud Dog), Kildallon Maid (Brood Bitch), Patsy Richardson (Hall of Fame), Aidan and Caran Walsh (Recognition) and yours truly (Services to Industry).

The major event at Shelbourne was the Gain 600, in which Tom O'Neill's Night of Stars hero Ballyhooly Henry broke fast and led all the way to beat Hovex Blaze by six and a half lengths in 32.38.

The other semi-final was a tighter affair and Shugabear Barber went clear and then held off the strong late runs of Milldean Cougar and Notorious Ben by a head and a length in 32.83.

Brilliant

Holland has four through to this year's Puppy Oaks final. One of those is the red-hot favourite Ballinakil Clare which maintained her brilliant form as she led for most of the journey to win the second heat by three and a half lengths from dead-heaters Holycross Leah and Slippery Louise in 28.23.

Holland also provided the fastest heat winner in the semi-finals of the Quickpark.ie Limerick Oaks in Sidarian Nell.

She had impressed when winning her first round heat in 28.60 and went even faster this time as she led from traprise and then held the powerful late run of High St Jesse by three parts of a length in 28.44.

In the other heat Twilight Tearled from the second bend and crossed the line with two and a half lengths in hand from Rural Maui in 28.57.

Irish Independent

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