Vega dominates in Champion Stakes romp
Graham Holland again claimed the headlines at Shelbourne on Saturday night as his charge Sidarian Vega raced to an impressive and very convincing victory in the final of the Doire Construction Champion Stakes.
This was a result that was set up in the early yards as Sidarian Vega came away smartly from the inside box and he led up from Budgie Bypass and Midtown Raffa. He was a length clear on the opening bend but his tight railing style saw him enter the back straight with three lengths in hand.
Budgie Bypass closed slightly down the back as he ran the race of his life but Sidarian was still clear around the third bend and he raced on to win by two-and-a-half lengths from Budgie Bypass in 29.64 with Paradise Maverik a strong staying three parts of a length third.
Holland was beaming afterwards as he confirmed that the first round of the BoyleSports Derby will be the dog’s next target. “He needed this experience and he is staying much better. I’m delighted with him and now it will be straight to the Derby.”
The build-up to the Derby is really gaining momentum and we witnessed a few significant performances on the night. For instance, Laughil Duke, a younger half-brother to last year’s Derby hero Laughil Blake, gave an exhibition of inside running as he won the Consolation Champion in 29.73.
That time was actually equalled two races later by PJ Fahy’s lightly-raced bitch Tyrur Ellie as she was much too strong for her rivals and ran out a five-and-a-half-length winner from Calzaghe Clampet.
But arguably the run of the night came from BIF Produce Stakes finalist Ballybough Mike as he completed a tremendous treble for trainer Murt Leahy when he won the concluding AAO 550 in a stunning 29.47.
He destroyed his rivals for early pace and romped home by three lengths from Fair Taxes. The other Leahy winners were High St Flash in 28.72 and Lemon Elgrand in 28.95.
By the way, there five Derby qualifiers decided on Saturday and they resulted in victories for Ballyana Foxtrot (Limerick), Mimis Ace (Curraheen), Affane Scolari (Drumbo), Killaghan Impact (Mullingar) and Burgess Four (Waterford).
The James Roche-trained Ballyana Foxtrot created history on Saturday night as he won the Limerick qualifier for the BoyleSports Irish Derby for the third year on the trot.
The near veteran tracker led all the way when beating Musical Dawn by three lengths in 29.73.
He has reached the quarter finals of the premier classic for the past two years.