Ballymac hard to beat

Ante-post favourite Ballymac Vic will be the last of the big names to launch their Ladbrokes Derby challenge when he lines out in tonight’s final heat of the opening round at Shelbourne Park.

Liam Dowling’s charge will be a red-hot favourite to make a winning start and the Champion Stakes runner-up should have matters in hand by the opening turn. Forest Simon can chase him home.

Reigning champion Razldazl George lines out in Heat 19 where Captain Scolari, Tyrur Domingo and Ballybough Hawke could put up serious opposition. If George can recapture his best 2011 form, he will be hard to beat.

Another former Derby winner, Tyrur McGuigan, lines out in Heat 21 and following the victory of litter brother Tyrur Big Mike on Thursday, few will be ignoring the claims of the 2010 champion.

One of the great clashes comes in Heat 15 where Sparta Maestro, Kingo and Skywalker Puma lock horns, but the superior early dash of Maestro could be decisive.

Owen McKenna, already victorious in the heats with Camas and Confident Rankin, can add to his tally with Tibetan Skies. He has an ideal draw in Heat 18 and should prove too strong.

Millstreet handler Brendan O’Shea’s Crossfield Star can put his recent bad luck behind him in Heat 17. Following the withdrawal of Flandys Ryan, he should start favourite and can justify such a position.

The final of the Thurles Fresh Milk Tipperary Cup takes place tomorrow night and track bookmaker Ted Browne’s outsider, Shaneboy Spencer, can land the spoils. He should have the legs of his rivals early and that could prove decisive.

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