BY Lone Seal out of Raging Tornado and whelped in September 1946, Ballymac Ball was one of Lone Seal’s last sons, for his sire was ten when he was born. He was endowed with the same amazing speed as his half brother Ballyhennessy Seal, who won the Derby in 1945, and his wonderful track sense was inherited from his great grand sire Glorious Event, sire of Mick the Miller and Macoma.
After Mutton Cutlet, Macoma was the outstanding sire of the early years of the sport. His son Silver Seal was to sire the 1934 Derby winner Fine Jubilee, while Silver Seal’s son Lone Seal was the first to sire two English Derby winners, Ballyhennessy Seal who won in 1945, and Ballymac Ball who won in 1950.
Ballymac Ball was trained throughout his career by Stan Martin at Wimbledon and his first race in England was at Stamford Bridge on 14 May 1949, when he was beaten one and a half lengths by Local lnterprize.
However, in the June Stakes there, he won his heat and the final by half a length from Behattan Marquis in 27.90sec which gave some idea of his potential.
In his heat for the 1949 Derby, however, when quoted 1-2, he finished fifth and took no further part in the event yet, by August, was back to something like his best form. He won his heat of the Laurels, beating Eastern Madness by three lengths and setting a new fast time for the event which was also a track record at Wimbledon of 28.03sec.
This he bettered in his semi-final with a time of 27.99sec, beating Trev’s Jubilee by an amazing twelve lengths, with Local lnterprize a further length behind. He was the first to break 28sec at Wimbledon for 500yds.
Starting at 5-4 on, he left no doubt as to his ability when winning the Laurels final by two lengths from Magna Hasty. He next contested the Thames Silver Salver at Southend, winning his heat and semi-final but, in the final, was beaten three lengths by Red Wind in 27.78sec, a new track record.
Red Wind went on to win the Grand Prix a few weeks later and showed the same devastating speed. Ballymac Ball was then given a long rest and came back refreshed. On 10 December at White City he set a new record for 550yds with a time of 30.30sec when beating Good Worker and Narrogar Ann. On Boxing Day he bettered that run with a time of 30.27sec, beating Red Wind, Eastern Madness and Narrogar Ann again. With Narrogar Ann, the Derby winner of that year, he was the outstanding greyhound of 1949.
The year 1950 saw him in even better form, winning his heats and the Derby final by three and a quarter lengths from Quare Customer in 28.72sec, a Derby record, with those outstanding greyhounds Drumgoon Boy, Magna Hasty and Ballyeurreen Garrett all well behind.
Then, for the second successive year, he beat all-comers in the Laurels, thus crediting his owner, Mr T.F. Nicholls, with three Classics. Few other greyhounds ever accomplished this feat. The dog was four years old when he won the Derby and his second Laurels, one of the oldest ever to win these two events.
Over middle distances he was supreme, one of the greatest in the history of the sport. He was retired to stud after his Laurels win in 1950. One of his best sons was Mr Noel Purvis’s Barrowside, winner of the Grand National (his hurdling ability came from Macoma) and who also reached the final of the 1955 Derby. Another was the dam Dearnside, mother of the marathon star Poor Mick, the best of all long-distance dogs of the early 1960s. Yet another son was Champion Tipp, sire of Movealong Santa, who in turn was the sire of many famous greyhounds. Ballymac Ball was also sire of the bitch Cuckoo Lane, dam of Ivy Hall Rose, who in turn was dam of Ivy Hall Flash, winner of the 1971 Irish Laurels at Cork, so that at stud Ballymac Ball had a big influence on the future of track racing.