Ballinabola Ed is the RPGTV Open 600 champion but that only tells half the story.
This was a race that certainly didn’t pan out how most expected but the long odds-on favourite found a way to win, eventually getting the better of the rank outsider Millridge Bryce, who ran an incredible race.
A MEMORABLE RACE
This contest will live long in the memory as a great greyhound race.
Millridge Bryce proved that no matter the odds, if a greyhound gets to a major final he has the talent to make a bold bid. That was certainly the case for Donal O’Mahoney’s charge but he was unlucky to run into a supreme athlete like Ballinabola Ed.
Those that took the short odds about Ballinabola Ed – he was sent to traps the 1-3 favourite – would have been feeling the pressure in the opening yards. The brilliant son of Confident Rankin and Dolls Lady fluffed the start, coming out behind each of his five rivals.
BRYCE BOLTS OUT
In contrast, Millridge Bryce flew from traps, holding Disco Pants to lead the field into the turn.
But it was clear that Ballinabola Ed was not going to throw away another chance to claim a big prize. Showing huge early speed after his poor start, he challenged on the outside of Millridge Bryce.
Edging in at the bend, Ballinabola Ed took a bump from the pace-setter to give his followers further reasons to be concerned. He quickly recovered, however, and was upsides Millridge Bryce early in the back straight.
ED GETS TO THE FRONT
Ballinabola Ed finally got his nose in front by halfway and eased on to the third bend but still Millridge Bryce pressed.
There was a good gap back to the chasing pack headed Disco Pants but this was clearly a two-dog affair.
Turning for home the race was still there to be won but Ballinabola Ed was, for the first time in his career, was in the driving seat in a classic decider. Brendan Murphy’s sensationally tracker was not going to let his opportunity slip and he maintained a powerful gallop all the way to the line.
A DESERVED SUCCESS
Millridge Bryce was every bit as determined in second but he just couldn’t get back on terms.
Ballinabola Ed claimed a wonderful and thoroughly deserved victory by a length in 32.49. Millridge Bryce did himself proud in second with McNeill finishing fast to grab third, some two and a half lengths adrift.
For Pat Buckley and Brendan Murphy, it must have been some relief to finally land a big prize with Ballinabola Ed. Certainly, he deserves to win one and both Pat and Brendan suggested he would be chasing more silverware in the near future with the Race of Champions at Tralee and the Dundalk International on the horizon ahead of an Irish Derby challenge.
Robert Catterson presents the trophy to Mary Murphy after Ballinabola Ed won the final of the RPGTV 600 at Shelbourne Park. Also included are owner Brendan Murphy, handler Emma Buckley, James Cordon, Conor Matthews Racing Support Officer Shelbourne Park, Alex Grassic GRI, Jamie Dempsy and winning connections. Pic: Imelda Grauer
SUPER TED TAKES OFF
As predicted, the opening round of the Shelbourne Champion 550 produced some fine displays with Bens Teddy claiming the headlines as he posted the fastest time of the round in the opening heat.
Here Kirby Memorial champion Clonbrien Treaty was favourite to continue his winning ways but after a missed start he could never quite get back to the leaders despite showing plenty of pace.
Instead, Lotto Other News set the fractions in the early yards but he was pressed hard by the likes of Sober Glory, Angry Grandad and Clonbrien Treaty. Things got tight up front around the last two bends with Bens Teddy closing rapidly in behind.
He may have been fifth into the third turn but was clearly close enough to make a big challenge. Trained by Pat Buckley for Kim Prichard, the powerful son of Droopys Sydney and Beechgrove Bell stayed tight to the fence and improved his position with each powerful stride.
Finishing with a real flourish, Bens Teddy took control on the run in to emerge a superb length and a half winner over Sober Glory in 29.74. Lotto Other News was another length and a half adrift in third, while Clonbrien was out of luck, finishing out of the frame in fourth.
CATHAL COLLARS RIVALS LATE
There was a thrilling finish Heat 2 with the outsider of the field Priceless Cathal getting up in the final strides to deny the big two in the market, Belindas Finn and Storys Law.
After a very level starts, Storys Law got the better of his rivals as they approached the corner to slip around in front.
With crowding in behind, Priceless Cathal, who was last into the bend, was allowed to slip around a close fourth. There was very little change in the order to the third turn with As I say and Belindas Finn chasing the leader with the Paul Hennessy trained Priceless Cathal in fourth. That would soon change.
Storys Law led the field into the straight but Belindas Finn was now on his shoulder and closing, while Priceless Cathal was also starting to make a move. In a tremendous finish, Priceless Cathal, owned by Bryan and Kathleen Murphy, flew up the middle of the track to get the better of his two rivals in the final strides. The son of Belles Direction and Priceless Dancer took the verdict by a half length and a neck over Belindas Finn and Storys Law in 30.38.
RUN WENT FASTER THAN RIVALS
The aptly named Run Faster took his chance when it arose in Heat 3.
Only second into the bend behind the fast starting Borna Mick, he shot to the front when his rival eased slightly after brushing the fence.
Once moving on, the Owen McKenna trained son of Droopys Cain and Sarista was always in control. Owned by Martin and Eve Crowe, Run Faster held the spirited challenge of Ballyhimikin Rex to the third turn, closing the door on his rival, before going on to record a comfortable length and a half success over the same rival in 30.12. Borna Mick was a further two and a half lengths adrift in third.
PAPE WINS DESPITE A ROUGH RIDE
The final heat was a most eventful contest with Pape Di Oro eventually coming home in front despite some serious traffic problems.
Both he and the hot favourite Scaglietti went up fast to dispute the lead into the bend.
With Pape Di Oro edging across to the fence from a wide draw, the pair clashed once, twice and a third time. Both were badly affected but Pape Di Oro somehow managed to lead into the back straight. As Scaglietti was sent backwards, he held up those that might have otherwise capitalised.
It meant that Pape Di Oro led by almost four lengths at halfway with Blastoff Salah and Scaglietti disputing second.
Blastoff Salah moved second into the third turn and stayed on strongly to close on Pape Di Oro on the run in but there was no catching the long-time pace-setter. Trained by Pat Buckley for Javier Jarne, the son of Droopys Sydney and Trusted Exile held on to win by two lengths in 30.27. Glengar Ace was another five lengths away in third.
BOBBY BOUNCES OUT
Good Maestro was a very short priced favourite to win the final of the Retired Greyhound Trust A1 525 but a missed start ended his hopes.
Instead, Blackstone Bobby displayed a fine turn of early dash to build a clear advantage top halfway.
Trained by Michael O’Donovan for Pat Sinnott, the well bred son of Droopys Sydney and Calzaghe Jan may have tired a little on the run in but he remained in control to cross the line with a length and a half to spare over the fast finishing Kane Tashadelek in 28.57.
MORE HONOURS FOR SPRINTER OF THE YEAR CASH
After being named 2022 Sprinter of the Year just twenty-four hours earlier, the Keeley McGee trained Gizmo Cash displayed his well-being with a foot-perfect display over two bends to see off his great rival Flashing Willow in the ninth race.
While only a length separated the pair at the line, this was over after a stride with Gizmo Cash coming away racing rom trap four. Once getting across to the fence in front, he was never going to be headed.
Jamie McGee’s brilliant son of Droopys Jet and Down The Green had to be at his best to contain Flashing Willow but he did so by a length in 18.54.
SLICK SYDNEY DOMINATES
Mary Buggy’s Kilgraney Sydney was a warm favourite to land the third race and it was soon evident to his backers that he was going to take some stopping.
The Thomas Buggy trained son of Droopys Sydney and Bull Run Bistro flashed from trap three and was always in the driving seat.
Faithful Paddy displayed fine pace to challenge on the third turn but Kilgraney Sydney closed the door before powering clear for a most impressive six length victory over the fast finishing Road Exile in a brilliant 28.18.
COCO GETTING STRONGER
Boylesports Coco is slowly but surely turning into a potential Oaks challenger.
She has always had superb early speed but she also displayed more strength to win the second race on the card at the expense of the persistent Lilywhite Queen.
The latter actually broke fastest but the Dolores Ruth trained Boylesports Coco flew up the fence to take over on the corner. There was never much between the pair with Lilywhite Queen looking the more likely winner off the final turn only for Boylesports Coco to dig deep. John Boyle’s talented daughter of Droopys Sydney and Barn Swallow held off her rival for a deserving half length victory in 28.52.
UNMATCHED AN OAKS CONTENDER
Boylesports Coco wasn’t the only bitch to spell out her Oaks chances.
Unmatched was also hugely impressive in the fifth race as she saw off some talented rivals with a brilliant trap to line display. Posting an incredibly quick 1.97 to the winning line first time up, the Johnny Linehan trained daughter of Droopy Sydney and Droopys Alice was never going to be headed to the bend. In contrast, the hot favourite Trinity Junior completely fluffed the start. Maintaining a strong gallop throughout, the Swipe Right Syndicate owned Unmatched ran out a superb three length winner over Trinity Junior in 28.31.
CALLAWAY MASTERS RIVALS
There was a fine finish to proceedings with Denis Murphy’s Callaway Masters justifying favouritism in an Open 575.
From an ideal draw on the fence he was always prominent, taking up the running of the second bend from Kilgraney Mac.
The latter did all he could to get back on terms but Callaway Masters is very strong and he was relentless from halfway to eventually see of his rival by two and a half lengths in a fast 31.07. In victory, he handed Owen McKenna a superb double on the night following the victory of Run Faster earlier in the evening.
STAR TAKES OPENER
William White’s improving Gracebridge Star (Ballymac Best/ Boyneside Peggy) made the most of an ideal rails draw to win the opener.
Only third into the turn, she slipped into the lead at the second bend before going on to see off Rathmoyle Gerry by a length in 28.88.