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British dreams shattered in Irish Derby final

British Puppy Derby winner Magical Bale chases home eventual winner Ballyane Sim in the final of the Irish Derby 


BALLYANNE SIM added his name to one of the most famous rolls of honour when winning the BoyleSports Irish Derby Final at Shelbourne Park, Dublin, on Saturday.

Trained by James Robinson and owned by Eamon Cleary, the outsider of the sextet lining for the €140,000-to-the-winner decider made all the running over the Classic’s 550 yards trip to provide connections with the greatest night of their lives.

Celebrations carried on long into the night at the sport’s Irish HQ, but not until a huge crowd had welcomed the winner on to a packed presentation podium where families and friends from Co. Kildare and Co. Wexford took turns to lift the famous trophy.

For the UK travelling contingent, it was another enjoyable experience at one of the busiest and best nights the sport has to offer - and for leading trainer Kevin Hutton, part of the Westwell Racing Club which owns Magical Bale, there was almost a famous double 

Magical Bale, whom Hutton trained to win the Puppy Derby at Towcester last year, finished second to Ballyanne Sim and, while Hutton said it was a fair result, he was nevertheless proud of what the son of Zero Ten and Sizzling Sarah (Jan 16) had achieved.

Hutton famously trained this year’s Derby champion Dorotas Wildcat and therefore was close to being involved in another Derby champion as part of the owning syndicate, the dog having switched to his breeder Patrick Guilfoyle for the Irish Derby.

“Patrick and his team did another great job,” he said. “They won it last year with Good News last year, and now ran second. Its a great achievement, and we’re all absolutely thrilled with Magical Bale. No hard luck stories - the best dog on the night won.”

Hutton said plans for the two-year-old were fluid, with a crack at the Night of Stars at Shelbourne Park in November a possibility. “If that’s the case he’ll of course stay with Patrick, and then return to us afterwards,” added Hutton.

Fellow Englishman John Turner was also eyeing a famous double with his young star Jaytee Taylor, having combined with the dog’s trainer Paul Hennessy to win the last English Derby with Jaytee Jet at Wimbledon in 2016.

“Look, it wasn't to be for us, but he ran a great Derby,” said Turner. “They were going well off the front on the night, and we couldn't get there, but he's a very young dog and Paul and Susan (Hennessy) and all the team love him.

“Paul says he’ll probably now take the ‘Jaytee Jet’ route - which will be resting until the Easter Cup next spring and then the English Derby - wherever that might be - then back to Shelbourne for another crack at the Irish Derby.”

Turner recently announced he is to become the new sponsor of the Oaks, which will take place at Swindon later this year. A first prize of £20,000 for the winner of the bitches’ Classic has also been confirmed.

“I’ve always be keen on supporting the Oaks ever since I had a finalist at Wimbledon in 2006 in the shape of Africa,” said Turner. “It’s probably my favourite event, and is important in terms of breeding - hence why I’ve tried to make it a decent prize 

“This has nothing to do with my business,” he added. “This is about my love of the sport of greyhound racing. It will be known as The English Oaks and I’m looking forward to working with the management at Swindon to make the competition a huge success.”