Ian Fortune

Seamus Reilly had reason to celebrate at Mullingar on Saturday evening as his Vinegar Joe completed his foot-perfect path through the Kilbride Kennels Midland’s Derby with a typically professional display of front running to land the €3,200 prize.

Hugely consistent in recent weeks, the son of Droopys Sydney and Kilgowan Pippa again broke fast before showing fine early speed. Clocking 4.76 and 4.78 to the opening split in the last two weeks, he went even faster on this occasion, posting 4.74.

It was enough to see him lead Hellofaracket by a length into the turn before increasing his advantage to over two lengths by the time he hit the second bend.

Beepers Grace, who was the 2-1 joint favourite alongside Vinegar Joe, was a little outpaced into the turn before finding herself short of room. Instead, Shady Bueno ran a fine bend to join Hellofaracket in second but they were effectively chasing shadows as Vinegar Joe had flown.

Hitting halfway with four lengths to spare, Vinegar Joe was well on his way to victory. Hellofaracket stayed on well to grab second but there was no stopping the long-time leader. Vinegar Joe crossed the line three and a half lengths clear in 30.77 (.60 slow). The winner is certainly riding the crest of a wave at present and is now on a run of six straight wins. No matter where he turns up next, he is certainly worthy of respect.