Greyhound Racing: Irish raiders fall short in Derby
Irish hopes of victory in the English Derby at Wimbledon were dashed on Saturday night when Ballymac Vic finished best of the raiders in third place.
Droopys Jet and Ballymac both broke well, accompanied up the inside by the young tracker Sidaz Jack. Ballymac began to forge ahead into the bend and looked set to sweep the corner but he just failed to get across Sidaz Jack and shipped a hefty bump. Droopys Jet was the meat in the sandwich and paid the penalty.
The two leaders bumped again straightening out for the back and Sidaz Jack now led narrowly from Ballymac. The latter closed again into the third bend but couldn't get past and checked to go back inside.
The move proved costly and Sidaz Jack raced on to win by a length-and-a-quarter in 28.37 with Airlie Impact pipping Ballymac Vic for second spot by a short head.
Later on the Wimbledon card, the Plunkett Matthews-owned and trained Ballyhill Sub landed a gamble when leading before the bend in an Open 480 to hold off Guinness Dusty by a head in 28.69.
The big story on the home front was the brilliant return performance from last year's Irish Derby hero Skywalker Puma. He lined up for the Greyhound & Petworld Open 550 at Limerick in his first outing since November and looked as good as ever as he led all the way for a six-length victory over Droopys Kirani in a new track record time of 29.35, an improvement of six spots on the old mark.
Also at Limerick, the final of the €5,000 Greyhound & Petworld Golden Muzzle was won in all-the-way fashion by Paddy Darcy's Bypass Blackie which dashed into a four-length halfway lead before crossing the line two lengths ahead of Droopys Banner in 29.73.
The big run at Shelbourne was the 29.65 from Graduation Game in a heat of the ECC Timber Open 550.
It was the dog's first victory since he was bought by Niall Quinn on behalf of daughter Aisling and son Mike. Graduation Game broke fast and led all the way for a seven-length margin over Townspark Tucker in 29.65.
FOUR AND FIVE
English owner Ray Patterson had a memorable night with a "Skywalker" four-timer. With Puma in such impressive form at Limerick, he also had three winners at Shelbourne.
This number included victories for Skywalker Mandy in 29.82 and Skywalker Star in 29.88 in the ECC heats while Refuge Of Sinner landed an Open 525 in 28.55.
Ray's trainer Frances O'Donnell went one better as she also turned out Ardfert Thunder for a flying 28.32 win which puts him right into Derby contention.