Ballymac shines in Night of Stars warm-up
The build-up to the Night of Stars moved up a few gears yesterday morning at Shelbourne Park when BoyleSports Irish Derby winner Ballymac Matt returned to the scene of his greatest triumph for a trial in preparation for the big night.
Shane Dowling, son of trainer Liam, made an early-morning dash from Tralee to Dublin to give the kennel's star performers preparatory trials for the big night.
Matt was the star attraction and he didn't disappoint as he covered the 350 yards sprint distance in a very impressive 18.59 and Liam Dowling was delighted to hear the news: "That would be a great run from Matt in the circumstances, being so early in the day and just after jumping out of the van following the journey."
Dowling's recent Dublin Coach Juvenile Derby winner Anopheles went around in 28.78 after practically falling out of traps while the two stayers, Vulturi and Ballymac Bonnie, clocked the identical time of 19.42 in their solo spins over 350 yards.
All four Dowling charges would be among the favourites for their respective races on the Night of Stars programme. The meeting is due to be held two weeks from tomorrow and the word from Shelbourne is that there are just a few places remaining in the restaurant.
By the way, we understand that Droopys Nidge will not be defending his Night of Stars 575 as he failed a fitness test and is being rested until next year. It is likely that he will resume stud duties with the Dunphys in Portlaw.
Double worth a risk
What about a coincidence double this evening? Conor Duffy's War Envoy (7.55) goes in the opening race at Harold's Cross where he occupies trap one and has a decent chance.
Then 15 minutes later the equine War Envoy (8.10) will represent Aidan O'Brien in the Breeders' Cup Dirt at Keeneland. A warning, the horse will be a big price!
Tommy Bolton's Cromwellian Kid (8.40) mixed in hot company at Clonmel last time and must have good prospects at a reasonable price in the fourth at the Cross.
Paula Heffernan's Beauliege (9.25) will be greatly assisted by the step up to 550 yards in the A2/3 seventh
A very interesting runner tonight at Kilkenny is Barefoot Ruler (9.00) in the second semi-final of the Ballybough Mondo A4. He was hugely impressive last week when winning his second round heat in 29.00 when posting a very fast split time.
He was known then as My Elite Jet but has since been purchased by Paul Hennessy on behalf of Bryan and Kathleen Murphy and his early pace can be too much for these rivals. Willie and Ciaran Hanlon's Lemon Dora (8.48) can win the other semi.