Ballymac Matt sizzles as Hennessy's Jet faces a Wednesday run-off
The second round of the William Hill English Derby at Wimbledon provided mixed results for the Irish team over the weekend as we had five heat winners and the likelihood of nine representatives in the third-round draw.
In a very unusual scenario one of our more fancied runners, Jaytee Jet, faces a run-off on Wednesday morning after dead-heating for third place in his heat with former Irish racer Badmoonrising.
Jaytee Jet actually turned in an amazing performance to force the dead-heat after being badly baulked on the first bend. He made up about a dozen lengths to force a dead heat for third in a race which was won in a fast 28.27 by Pat Buckley's Lenson Sanchez.
It was a quick change of luck for Buckley and owner Len Ponder who had experienced the horror of seeing Lenson Panda suffering a broken hock when well clear in Heat 15. The heat was then won by Peter Cronin's Imperial Express in 28.60. The run of the classic thus far came from reigning Irish Derby champion Ballymac Matt as he won Heat 13 in a blistering 28.05 but he only won by a length and a half from Robert Gleeson's Droopys Latina which ran an extraordinary race and made up considerable ground from halfway.
The draw for the third round will not be made until after Wednesday morning's run-off and the most likely scenario is that there will be nine Irish-trained dogs plus "our" Ballymac Matt in the draw for the eight heats.
There was a massive crowd at Shelbourne on Saturday where the first round of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks was run and the big performance of the night came from Ballinakil Clare as she won Heat 7 in a flying 28.13.
The most significant effort was surely Ballydoyle Honey's second placing behind Faypoint Lisa in Heat 6 where she came from fifth place off the second bend to be beaten a length and a half in 28.62. This performance came less than 10 weeks after last year's winner came in season and she is obviously again going to be a major player in the bitch classic.
There was another big run from Gerry Melia's Holycross Leah as she beat the strong-finishing Follys View in Heat 9 by a length and a half in 28.27. Another big effort was the 28.40 from Droopys Sambuca as she came home a length and a half in front of Bar The Sizzler.