Legends shine on Night of Stars
The Night of Stars proved to be a phenomenal success at Shelbourne Park, where a real feast of racing ended in fairytale fashion as two legends of the track claimed long overdue major victories.
The betting figures were massive and it rivalled Derby night for business and drama. But the lasting memories will have been of the reception given to both Ballymac Vic and Tyrur Sugar Ray as they tasted success at the highest level for the first time.
Liam Dowling's Ballymac Vic was awesome as he left his rivals for dead in the first half of the Boylesports 550 to be six lengths clear from Hawaii Kinsale early in the back straight. Skywalker Farloe took up the chase but Ballymac came out on top by three lengths in 29.58.
Fifteen minutes later PJ Fahy almost broke out in dance as he celebrated Tyrur Sugar Ray's victory in the Larry Dunne 600.
"He is a gentleman of a dog and really deserved this," said Fahy, assessing the performance which saw Sugar Ray lead from traps, shoulder his rivals out of contention on the bend and race away for a seven-length margin over Abbeyville Tipp in 32.79.
Graham Holland had a brace of winners. Knockglass Billy never saw another rival in winning the Head Bound 350, flying from traps to score by three and a half lengths from Cluxtons Free in 18.61.
Two races later Holland turned out Rockburst Pearl to win the Stars of the Night Bitch 525 in 28.77 from Melodys Diamond.
Dolores Ruth's only runner on the night was Razldazl Marilyn and this remarkable bitch finished her career in the best fashion possible as she stormed through in the Track Bookmakers 850 to win by three and a half lengths from Lookusup in 47.76.
Larry Mason's Airlie Dazzler was a hugely popular local winner in the Shaneboy Spencer 750, holding off the brave Shanless Becky by a length in 41.93.
Another Dublin trainer on the mark was Liam O'Rourke as Ballymac Niall flew out of traps in the Red Mills 525 and beat Ardfert Thunder by three parts of a length in 28.76.
There was one British winner on the night as former Irish-owned Exocet won the Dandelion 575 for trainer Chris Allsopp by a length in 31.29.
There were upsets in both semi-finals of the Comerford Cakes National Puppy Stake. Ronnie McKeown's Blenheim Tricks won the first semi from Cashen Maureen in 28.49. The second heat saw Borneo rally to beat Sidarian Blaze by three parts of a length in 28.48.