Thursday 22 August 2019

'Blake' leads Irish Derby dominance

'Many made the journey to support the four Irish dogs in the decider and Priceless Blake ensured they didn't leave disappointed' (stock photo)
'Many made the journey to support the four Irish dogs in the decider and Priceless Blake ensured they didn't leave disappointed' (stock photo)

Michael Fortune

Nottingham was turned green on Saturday as the Irish sent out the first three home in the final of the English Derby with Priceless Blake leading home his compatriots Ballymac Tas and Skywalker Logan.

Many made the journey to support the four Irish dogs in the decider and Priceless Blake ensured they didn't leave disappointed. In victory, Priceless Blake was handing Paul Hennessy a second English blue riband following the success of Jaytee Jet in 2016.

Priceless Blake had a favourable draw in three and used it to great effect. Making a flying start, he held off advancing Magical Bale into the turn and, when the latter checked wide, the race was effectively over.

Ballymac Tas and Skywalker Logan did keep it interesting, with both finishing fast, but there was no denying Priceless Blake. The talented black held on by a half length and a head to claim a famous success in 29.32. Celebrations went long into the night, but Paul Hennessy was missing as he was on a ferry home with his champion.

Meanwhile at Shelbourne Park, the stars of the future were on show in the second round of the Red Mills Champion 550. Ballymac Cooper was most impressive as he came home a mile clear in 29.35, while Cabra Firmino in 29.60 and Ripley Lad in 29.76 took the other heats.

At Cork, Killmacdonagh claimed another big prize when running out a brilliant winner of the Shelley Fennelly Memorial. Clocking a scarcely believable 29.07, she smashed the national record for the 550-yard trip.

Irish Independent

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