Ian Fortune

Ballyhimikin Rex may have been a big price with the layers all week for Shelbourne Champion 550 glory but he produced a brilliant display of front running to belie his odds and hand Billy and John Dunne a wonderful big race success.

To be honest, odds of 16-1 were an insult to Ballyhimkin Rex as he had shown huge pace in recent defeats and it was no surprise to see him landing the €7,500 winner’s purse. While this contest went right to the very end, it was effectively decided in the early yards.

Storys Law broke smartly from trap four and attempted to get across to the rail but Ballyhimikin Rex was in his way and he rode a bump before showing fine acceleration into the bend. It was enough to carry him into a length lead over Sober Glory and Storys Law.

On the bend, Storys Law lost his chance with Sober Glory and Bens Teddy slipping around behind the leader but it was clear Ballyhimkin Rex was going to take some stopping. The powerful son of Ballyhimkin Jet and Slaneyside Poppy had three lengths in hand passing halfway and remained clear of Sober Glory into the third turn.

The order remained unchanged into the final turn but Bens Teddy was now closing fast and he headed Sober Glory early in the straight. Now it was a straight shootout to the line. Ballyhimikin Rex was still running with real purpose but Bens Teddy was now in full stride and closing.

Ballyhimikin Rex was never gong to be denied, however. Still full of running as he crossed the line, he had a half length in hand on the gallant Bens Teddy in 29.61. There was another length and a half gap to Sober Glory in third.

This was undoubtedly a career best effort from Ballyhimikin Rex but there is no reason he won’t be able to repeat it. While he has plenty of experience and a little age behind him, he has been progressive in recent weeks.

For owners Billy and John Dunne, the victory would have been extra sweet as they also own the sire to Ballyhimikin Rex, the promising young stud dog, Ballyhimikin Jet. No doubt a crack at the Derby is now on the agenda for Ballyhimikin Rex.