'Matt' and 'Brandy' star in English derby
The third session of the English Derby first round proved to be a terrific occasion for the Irish at Towcester on Saturday with five winners and 13 of our 18 runners qualifying for the second round next weekend.
The fastest winners on the night were Liam Dowling's great veteran Ballymac Matt and Paul Hennessy's Priceless Brandy as both clocked 29.08 in their victories, while the much-awaited Heat 25 saw Pat Buckley's Droopys Wilbury lead home last year's winner Jaytee Jet by two lengths in 29.17.
Probably the happiest Irish handler after the Saturday action was trainer Paul Hennessy who saw his reigning Derby champion Jaytee Jet run a great race in finishing second behind Buckley's star, while Priceless Brandy gave a powerful winning performance later in the evening.
In addition, Jaytee's litter brother Jaytee Dutch performed well when getting through in third place behind Ballymac Matt.
At home, Ger Kiely's Airmount Tess set a new record when running away with the first semi of the Barry's Tea Open 750 at Curraheen Park.
The big clash with Droopys Smasher didn't materialise as the latter broke slowly and never got involved up front until snatching third place on the line.
Airmount Tess won by eight-and-a-half lengths from Benro Mickey in 41.02, an improvement of 12 spots on the old record. The other semi was won by Pat Buckley's Flying Flyer in 41.76 as she beat Yaya More Pints by two lengths.