Thursday 24 May 2018

Vic primed for Wimbledon comeback

Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

Ballymac Vic, so unlucky in last year's English Derby final, is on his way back to Wimbledon for another crack at the richest ever Derby.

Liam Dowling's dog has been one of the best trackers in Ireland in the past few years and he was retired to stud following his brilliant victory in the Night of Stars 550 at Shelbourne on November 30.

He has been very popular with breeders but Dowling always had a possible return for another Derby bid at the back of his mind.

Speaking from his Ballymacelligott base in Co Kerry yesterday, Liam said: "He is in great form and it looks like he hasn't lost any of his ability. It was always part of the plan that, if he was looking okay, we would have a go.

"He did a brilliant 17.42 trial around Tralee last Friday week and he was very good in a trial around Limerick on Saturday when he did 18.42. It is only three weeks now to the start of the Derby so it doesn't look as if he will have a race or a trial around Wimbledon beforehand.

"We'll probably give him another spin at home and then travel over."

Ballymac Vic went off second favourite for last year's English Derby final and would surely have won the race but for a hefty first-bend bump.

He eventually finished a close third in the final behind Sidaz Jack.

There is a possibility that Dowling could also bring Vulturi and Green Prince to Wimbledon but these dogs are currently leading fancies for the Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake at Tralee and the gap between the final of that event and the first round of the Wimbledon classic is just six days.

It would be a big ask if either dog reached the Kirby final and then had to race at Wimbledon less than a week later and without a prior look at the track.

WOOLIE'S MATCH

They staged a rather unusual "race" at Kilkenny at noon yesterday when Woolie No Shoes and Barefoot Arthur met in a special run-off for a place in Friday's FFK McCalmont Cup final after dead-heating for third place in the semi-final last Friday.

Darren Ellard's Woolie No Shoes came out on top yesterday when holding off Barefoot by half a length and he will now take his place in trap five in Friday's final.

FLYING MAYBE

The sheer volume of top-class events on Saturday night prevented us from reporting on two stakes which were run. The big run was surely the 28.20 from Moss O'Connor's College Maybe as she beat Billys Hope by six-and-a-half lengths in the first semi-final of the Pat Hennerty Sales Cork Oaks.

In the other heat, John Kelleher's Native Gypsy led all the way for a very easy victory over Nellies Flyer in 28.39.

At Newbridge, the fastest winner in the Red Mills Unraced Bitch semi-finals was John Linehan's Droopys Muriel as she overcame a slow start to win by a length-and-a-half from Expert Chick in 28.69.

The other semis were won by Robert Gleeson's Bit View Ma in 29.00 and Paul Kiely's Ballyrobin Venus in 29.11.

Irish Independent

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