After winning a tri-distance event at Harold’s Cross at the back end of 2011, Milldean Tally was purchased by Clive Francis and Tony O’Connell with a view to challenging in the top staying events.
That remained the plan until a decision was made to skip the Barry’s Tea 750. Instead she was aimed at the Oaks and history will prove that it was an inspiring decision.
Cabra Millie was the 6-4 favourite and the race decided in the early exchanges.
The big two in the market, Milldean Tally and Cabra Millie were first to hit the ground, just ahead of Rockburst Delta and Millbank Lolo with Tantallons Kay and Solo Star slightly behind the quartet.
There was four in a line as they approached the turn, although Cabra Millie got her nose in front on the turn. More importantly, Milldean Tally had the inside pitch and this proved decisive.
As she held her ground on the rail, Cabra Millie was knocked sideways before being hampered once again by Rockburst Delta. In the matter of strides Milldean Tally had effectively ensured victory.
Behind the leader, Millbank Lola was sent to the ground. Milldean Tally was now two lengths clear of Cabra Millie entering the back straight with Tantallons Kay another two lengths back in third.
Down the far side Cabra Millie displayed all her pace to close on the leader to the third turn. Now only a length separated the pair, but Milldean Tally is very strong and she was always going to stride on up the home straight.
Milldean Tally duly kicked off the final turn before motoring up the home straight and had two and a half lengths to spare over Cabra Millie in 28.75 (rated.15 slow).
Her young handler John O’Flynn can now start dreaming of an Oaks/ Derby double as he has the brilliant Milldean Panther waiting on the sideline.
There was a hugely exciting finish to the Consolation Oaks with the Mossie O’Connor trained College Maybe coming through to score after producing a tremendous finish to collar Ilikeyou in the final strides.
Frank Culloty’s College Maybe was crowded early and was at least six lengths back in third as Ilikeyou led Glenwood Pixie at halfway.
But College Maybe steadily improved before unleashing a potent finishing kick to get up late for a half length success in 28.96 (rated .15 slow).
The semi finals of the ECC Timber 550 provided two massive shocks, as not only did Droopys Cain and Sparta Maestro fail to justify favouritism, but both actually failed to qualify.
The fastest semi final winner was Confident Rankin, who made all in the opening heat after a fast start to clock 29.90. In contrast Droopys Cain was slowly into stride and failed to sit up with the pace.
Camas, a kennel companion to Confident Rankin, gave chase throughout, but he could never get closer than the three parts of a length that separated the Owen McKenna trained pair on the line.
Danmar Benny took third spot a further four and a half lengths adrift, while Droopys Cain, after finding traffic problems at the third turn could only finish fifth.
Sparta Maestro was an even hotter favourite in the second heat, but a stumble at traps allied with crowding at the third turn proved his undoing as he also came home in fifth spot.
Instead Razldazl Will did what was necessary.
The Dolores Ruth trained star was always to the fore and he dug deep to contain the persistent Jimmy Boy by a half lengths in 30.22 (rated.20 slow). Stay Thirsty was just a short head back in third.
One of the richest prizes of the year went to the Gerry Holian trained Captain Scolari when he came home clear in the stg£25,000 Bettor.com Northern Irish Derby at Drumbo Park on Saturday night.
Only five runners went to traps following the withdrawal of Royal Patrol with Lolos Joe starting the warm favourite.
Ruthless Man made a fast start before moving to the front in the early yards from Captain Scolari. The strong running Ruthless Man was in pole position at the turn, but he seemed to edge off the second turn and missed a stride.
Captain Scolari didn’t need a second invitation. Cutting to the rail he shot through on the inside to lead early in the back straight. Ruthless Man gave chase for the remainder, but Captain Scolari wasn’t going to be denied and he stayed on well to record the biggest victory of his career by two lengths in 29.67. Star Head took third spot, three lengths further back.
Captain Scolari is a November ’09 son of Droopys Scolari and Bandicoot Spice and is owned by the Rocks and Docs Syndictate.