Sunday 18 February 2018

Rio spoils party as Ballymac Matt is superb

Photo: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE
Photo: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE
Michael Fortune

By Michael Fortune

The anticipated Irish victory didn't quite materialise in the final of the William Hill English Derby at Wimbledon on Saturday night, while at Shelbourne there was a hugely impressive victory in the final of the Gain Feeds 600 for the Liam Dowling star Ballymac Matt.

We'll start with that massive £250,000 prize for the English Derby where Owen McKenna's Farloe Blitz failed to justify odds-on favouritism after his unbeaten and dominant path to the final.

But the podium was still full of Irish accents as Danny Riordan, a man born and reared in Cork and Kerry who also spent time in Portlaw in Waterford before finding his way across the water, was toasted by his army of fans and friends.

Danny is one of the real gentlemen of the sport and the victory of his dog Rio Quattro was well received down in Waterford where he was reared and where the Dunphy household was celebrating another great success for one of the their stud dogs, this time Ace Hi Rumble.

It had started so promisingly for Farloe Blitz as he flew out of trap two in impressive style. But it was already worrying approaching the bend to see Rio Quattro poised on the rail behind him with the second Irish challenger, Tynwald Bish, on the outside.

The zip appeared to be missing from Farloe Blitz down the back and Rio Quattro stormed past him on the inside approaching the third bend while Tynwald Bish improved on the outside.

Farloe was crowded on the final bend and Rio Quattro was on his way to victory with Tynwald running a huge race for Peter Cronin and Terry Corden in second.

Rio Quattro won by a length and a quarter from Tynwald Bish in 28.24 while fast-finishing Eden The Kid was just a short head back in third with Farloe Blitz finishing fourth.

Joy for Dowling team

At Shelbourne Ballymac Matt gave a superlative performance in winning the Gain 600 final in an absolute canter for trainer/breeder Liam Dowling and the Ballymac-Kelly-The Lads Syndicate.

Ballymac wasn't the fastest into stride but he displayed characteristic early pace to join Skywalker Farloe into the bend.

Skywalker drifted wide at this point and Ballymac accelerated into a four-length lead by the start of the back straight.

From here it was simply a case of the size of the winning margin. By the line, Ballymac Matt had surged six-and-a-half lengths clear from Droopys Bomber in a very fast 32.13 with Greenwell Hulk a length back in third.

This brilliant success made up for Dowling's heart-breaking defeat in the 2008 final when Ballymac Penske was caught in the final stride by the great College Causeway.

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