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MTS Cleansing Services Grand National - Central Park 480M - £8,000

THINK Hamilton and Rosberg. Think Nadal and Djokovic. Think Real Madrid and Barcelona. All great sporting rivalries. And greyhound racing has its very own in Ballymac Manix and Razldazl Raidio.

The struggle between the sport’s two hurdling superstars took another turn on Tuesday when Ballymac Manix inflicted a second big race defeat on Ricky Holloway’s brilliant black in the final of the MTS Cleansing Services Grand National (480m) at Central Park.

Razldazl Raidio had been making all the headlines during the build-up to the final. At the semi-final stage he had regained his track record over track and trip from Ballymac Manix and when he was allocated trap six for the £8,000 decider the bookies made him long odds-on favourite to give trainer Ricky Holloway his second successive Grand National.

But once those traps open everything that has gone before become irrelevant and when Ballymac Manix (trap two) and Razldazl Raidio went into a joint lead after the first flight it was game on.

Ballymac Manix, by virtue of being closest to the rails, went ahead off the second turn. He quickly increased his advantage to two, possibly three lengths approaching halfway as Razldazl Raidio seemed to hit something of a flat spot. Coolavanny Bono (trap one) and Fridays Sean (trap four) were also running blinders, in close proximity.

By the time they approached the third bend Ballymac Manix had maintained a healthy advantage but Razldazl Raidio appeared resurgent. He began closing on the leader and for a split second his supporters may have felt he was going to do it.

But it wasn’t to be. Dogs of the class of Ballymac Manix don’t surrender that easily and it wasn’t going to be Razldazl Raidio’s night as the Seamus Cahill-trained Ballymac Manix crossed the line a length clear in 29.32sec (normal).

It meant a third win in the race for Cahill whose previous victories were provided by the brilliantly fast Hotdog Jack in 2009 and Mash Mad Snowy in 2013, whilst Ballymac Manix emulated Cornamaddy Jumbo, the last to win the Springbok and Grand National in the same year.

Immediately, even before digesting the outcome, thoughts turned to Wimbledon in March when again Razldazl Raidio had been all the rage leading up to the William Hill Springbok final only to fail in a race won in good style by Ballymac Manix.

The pair are so closely matched and will no doubt clash many more times before they are consigned to retirement but for now it is Ballymac Manix who has the upper hand.

What Connections Had To say   

Seamus Cahill (trainer Ballymac Manix): “We needed to get up to the bend with him. Once our fella was in front I knew there wasn’t much of a chance anything would catch him. I though Razldazl Raidio ran a thoroughly good race but there can be only one winner. It’s brilliant to win the National again and this race in particular. I said that beforehand. I would think he has a good chance of landing the Hurdler of the Year title.”

David Lawrence (part owner of Ballymac Manix): “I’ve had one finalist (Grand National) before and a number of semi-finalists, so to win it is fantastic. I think Seamus and Teresa has done a marvellous job with him, as did Barry O’Sullivan who schooled him over the hurdles. He has been so consistent and deserved this tonight. I said to everyone that if he got inside Ricky’s dog (Razldazl Raidio) at the first bend he would win, and he did.”