Monday 19 March 2018

Holian's Hero snatches Sprint Cup honours

Slipalong Hero won a tight battle with Hillcroft Hero
Slipalong Hero won a tight battle with Hillcroft Hero
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

The Sunday joy for Galway sportspeople continued unabated until late into the night when Athenry trainer Gerry Holian, himself a former hurler, gained further classic glory when he won a second Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup as Slipalong Hero ran out an 8/1 winner of the €20,000 prize on offer for Dundalk's two-bend major.

Slipalong Hero went off the joint outsider for the final but nobody told the dog about his rating and he proceeded to win a tight battle with Hillcroft Hero by a head after a thrilling battle up the long Dundalk straight.

It was actually an all-Tyrur battle as the winner is owned by Fergus O'Farrell from Coalisland and the runner-up runs in the ownership of Paddy Corrigan from Dungannon.

The favourite Trinity Forest got away reasonably well but was crowded early and lost his position. Hillcroft Hero led up but was joined into the bend by Slipalong Hero. There was a bump between the pair on the corner and Slipalong Hero moved two lengths up turning for home.

Hillcroft Hero rallied strongly and in a thrilling finish Slipalong Hero held on by a head in 21.31 with Catherines Drico over four lengths away in third.

Holian indicated that the winner will run on Derby final night at Shelbourne and will then be aimed at the Night of Stars Sprint for which he has earned an automatic invitation.

Bonnie's Trophy hunt

there has been no news of any injury problems concerning the 96 survivors in the BoyleSports Irish Derby following the weekend action.

Ballymac Matt is the general 8/1 favourite though Farloe Blitz is also on that mark with some firms while being available at 10/1 with others. Next in the betting come Ballydoyle Honey and Laughil Duke at 16/1 and then Sidarian Vega and Slippery Fred at 20/1. It is 25/1 bar.

Liam Dowling, trainer of Ballymac Matt, had a one-two in Friday's GM Concrete Puppy Oaks at Harold's Cross with Amanita Chic and Ballymac Belle and he will be chasing another major prize this evening when Ballymac Bonnie contests the final of the TV Trophy at Towcester.

Bonnie recently won the Gain Corn Cuchulainn at Harold's Cross and is a highly talented stayer. She broke the track record in the semi-final last Saturday week but that record was later broken again. Nevertheless, Ballymac will have a huge chance in tonight's £8,000 final which will be shown live on Sky Sports at 9,08pm.

Ballymac Bonnie goes from four trap this time and hopefully she can get on to the inside rail pretty quickly. Then she can go on to another famous victory and establish herself as the undoubted champion stayer of the year.

Irish Independent

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