Monday 23 October 2017

Ballymac Matt lands Derby in thrilling style

Greyhounds stock
Greyhounds stock
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

The 2015 BoyleSports Irish Derby final will go down as one of the greatest nights of greyhound racing in this country. It featured the best contested and most exciting final we have seen in years and the biggest crowd to assemble on a greyhound track in modern times.

The supporters went wild with excitement as Ballymac Matt surged up the famed Shelbourne straight to collar arch rival Farloe Blitz in the shadow of the finish line to garner the €125,000 prize for Liam Dowling.

The race was very much a replica of the thriller a week earlier between the same dogs. On that occasion Farloe Blitz had held on by three parts of a length, but this time Ballymac Matt enjoyed a similar winning margin.

The big money on the night came for Farloe Blitz and he flashed out of the inside box and led to the bend from Ballymac Matt, Peregrine Falcon and Gaytime Hawk.

Just like a week earlier, Blitz led by a length and a half at the bend and had increased that to three and a half as they emerged from the second bend.

In behind, there had been a big change in the order and it nearly caused an upset at the finish. As Ballymac drifted a little wide, Peregrine Falcon and Gaytime Hawk were forced wider and through the yawning gap shot Farloe Blitz's half-brother Farloe Rumble to move into third.

Ballymac closed rapidly into the third bend but was forced to check and lost a little ground and momentum.

Suddenly Farloe Rumble was on his quarters but Ballymac came up the outside to challenge while Rumble had to switch to the inner.

Ballymac Matt, which had won the Gain 600, then proved his stamina as he accelerated and nabbed Farloe Blitz just short of the line in a time of 29.63. Farloe Rumble was a similar distance back in third.

Dowling suggested the Night of Stars on November 14 as the likely next target for Ballymac Matt and he also has that spectacular in mind for his other Saturday winners, Vulturi and Ballymac Bonnie.

Paul Hennessy's Jaytee Jet was a hugely impressive winner of the Consolation in 29.30. .

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