The first dead heat in an Irish Classic final since 1999 was served up in the final of the Gain Feeds Irish Cesarewitch at Mullingar on Saturday, when Ringtown Snowy and Gizmo Classic couldn't be separated after an enthralling struggle.
Dead heats in Classic finals have been rare, the most recent having occurred in the Laurels final at Cork when Lumber Boss and Tigers Eye battled it out.
This time the Paul Hennessy-trained Ringtown Snowy shot ahead on the run-up but was joined by the John McGee-trained Gizmo Classic halfway down the back. The latter never headed Ringtown and almost forfeited his chance when running very wide off the final bend. In a thrilling finish, Gizmo came storming back up the straight to share the top money with Ringtown Snowy in 33.23.
Clydal Rumble was two and a half lengths back in third. Ringtown Snowy and Gizmo Classic are now likely to contest the Open 600, which begins at Shelbourne on Saturday week.
Meanwhile, it looks as though the Red Mills Produce Stakes will be run as a 60-dog event, with the draw to be made at Clonmel this morning. This puppy classic boasts loads of quality and the current plan is to run four heats on Thursday and then the remaining eight on Sunday.
Some of the big names in the book include Leamaneigh Turbo, Farloe Calvin, Conna Kingsmill, Gene Tashadelek, Holborn Junior, Glenanore Dancer, Droopys Adelaide, Christys Bolt, Airforce Fear and South Armagh.
The first Classic of the season will reach its conclusion at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night, with the final of the College Causeway/Killahan Phanter Easter Cup down for decision.
Ballymac Vic remains the clear favourite at a best-price 6/5. North Bound is 5/1, Cabra Buck 11/2, Ashfield Impact 6/1, Droopys Adler 7/1 and 16 Hillcroft Champ 16/1.
Harold's Cross dates
For next week only there will be a change of race dates at Harold's Cross. There will be three meetings, with Monday racing returning in order to accommodate a large tour group which has been booked in.
So, there will be eight races on Monday, eight on Tuesday and 11 on Friday, with racing starting at 7.45 each night. The new two-nights-per-week schedule resumes the following week.
New Lifford event
The McLean Bookmakers Mini-Open 525 is an interesting newcomer to the Lifford calendar and the €12,500 event will begin on Saturday, May 18.
It will be for 36 dogs but backgraders will not be accepted.