IrELAND'S hopes took a real hammering in the semi-finals of the English Derby at Wimbledon on Saturday, while at Shelbourne there was a brilliant performance from the Phil Gough-trained Sparta Maestro in winning the €10,000 Larry Dunne Open 525 final.
Ireland's hopefuls emerged from a dramatic night at Wimbledon with just a solitary finalist in the shape of the Michael O'Donovan-trained Judicial Ruling.
Dolores Ruth's Razldazl Jayfkay failed to survive the first semi-final as Judicial Ruling denied his compatriot the first-bend lead and the bumping between them saw Matt Dartnall's Farloe Ironman dash to the front from Coolavanny Bert and Judicial Ruling. That's how they finished in a brilliant 28.16.
The second semi-final saw Razldazl Bugatti and Droopys Jet miss their starts and Blonde Snapper won by a short head from reigning champion Taylors Sky in 28.41, with Westmead Adonis in third.
At Shelbourne, Sparta Maestro was baulked on the opening bend but came storming through on the outside at the final bend to race clear for a five-and-a-half-length victory over Droopys Cain in 28.47 with Swift Marathon a half-length third.
Droopys Cain was unlucky as he disputed the early lead but was then crowded on the first and third bends.
Paul Hennessy won the final of the Lee Strand 550 at Tralee with Money Talks, which led all the way to win in a fast 29.65.