Ballymac Vic exits Derby as Sugar Ray arrives on the scene

Not only did the clear favourite, Ballymac Vic, make his exit but Tyrur Sugar Ray went from being a dog of big potential to the one to beat following a breath-taking victory in a scarcely believable 29.29 in the Ladbrokes Irish Derby quarter-finals at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night.

It was a display of pure pace and power that has scarcely been matched at the Ringsend venue. Not only did he post the fastest time of this year’s Derby, but it was also the third fastest time ever recorded at the track.

Only College Causeway with his remarkable track record 29.21 during the 2009 Derby and Tyrur Big Mike with a 29.28 run have gone faster for the 550yd trip. It’s no surprise that Tyrur Sugar Ray has now been promoted to clear favouritism.

Sponsors Ladbrokes had originally put Tyrur Sugar Ray in at 7-1 for the last of the four quarter finals, but that quickly disappeared, as did the 5-1 and 4-1. In fact such was the weight of support behind Tyrur Sugar Ray that he went to traps the 9-4 favourite.

It was clearly inspired support, as Tyrur Sugar Ray was in charge from the first stride after coming away at speed from the inside trap. His two ring rivals — Camas and Skywalker Puma, were soon in chase, but such is the pace of Tyrur Sugar Ray that he was never going to be threatened once hitting the front.

Camas was his nearest pursuer to the third turn, but Skywalker Puma took over in second spot at this point. Tyrur Sugar Ray was in a league of his own however and he powered up the home straight to see off Skywalker Puma by four and a half lengths in 29.29.

Droopys Jet may have been leapfrogged by Tyrur Sugar Ray in the outright betting, but he remains the clear second favourite for outright honours after he got back to winning ways in determined fashion in the opening heat.

Fraser Black’s Champion Stakes winner had suffered defeat in his two previous outings, but came right back to form to repel the flying late charge of the defending Derby champion Razldazl George.

Droopys Jet was a warm favourite, but didn’t exactly flash from traps and was immediately crowded, but he displayed real determination to force his way to the front on the turn.

Newlawn Tock and Razldazl George also suffered in the early traffic problems, but they made it to the corner in second and third. Droopys Jet continued to hold a clear advantage over Newlawn Tock entering the back straight, while Razldazl George stayed close to the fence.

That was to prove costly as Newlawn Tock edged inwards all the way to the third turn to hold up Razldazl George. The latter finally got past Newlawn turning for home and flew up the straight, but Droopys Jet held on to win by a rapidly diminishing head in 29.77.

Only four went to traps in Heat 2 with both Broadstrand Lad and Sawpit Sensation absent, although the extra space made little difference as the three inside runners found traffic problems soon after trap rise.

The problems were caused by Coolykereen Imp’s tendency to run wide. After trapping on terms, Coolykereen Imp immediately edged right. He may have got across Razldazl Bugatti, but he ploughed into the favourite Confident Rankin.

As all this went on, Pat Guilfoyle trained Laughil Billy made no mistakes. After producing his best start of the competition, he flew up the outside to dictate from the early yards.

Laughill Billy comfortably cleared the turn and thereafter he was always holding Razldazl Bugatti, who turned second. At the line Laughill Billy had two and a half lengths to spare over Razldazl Bugatti in 29.61.

The bigt shock of the night came as Ballmac Vic, who had been so impressive in the previous three rounds, made his exit in Heat 3 behind a determined winner in the shape of Killbarry Rover.

Ballymac Vic simply mistimed his start and Liam Dowling’s charge was always in a perilous position thereafter. Instead it was Cuil Cougar that got away best and he led up narrowly from Dusseldorf and Killbarry Rover.

Into the back Cuil Cougar continued to dictate from Dusseldorf, although Killbarry Rover and now Ballymac Vic were now trying to get back on terms. By the third bend things had tightened with Cuil Cougar three quarters of a length in front of Killbarry Rover with Ballymac Vic now on the inside of Dusseldorf.

Airforce Diva had also tightened up in behind but then the race changed dramatically as Killbarry failed to get through on the inside and attempted to check outside Cuil Cougar but, instead, clipped the heels of the leader.

Suddenly, there was a scrimmage with every runner suffering, but the Graham Holland trained Killbarry Rover recovered best to lead before the final turn and once doing so was never going to relinquish his lead and he went on to beat Cuil Cougar by a length in 29.97.

In behind it was hectic as Airforce Diva came flying up the straight to grab third, just a half length behind Cuil Cougar, in turn denying Ballymac Vic a semi final spot by a neck.

Draw for Saturday’s semi finals:

Heat 1: 1 Razldazl Bugatti; 2 Coolykereen Imp; 3 Skywalker Puma; 4 Airforce Diva (m); 5 Laughil Billy (m); 6 Camas (w).

Heat 2: 1 Tyrur Sugar Ray; 2 Cuil Cougar; 3 Droopys Jet; 4 Razldazl George; 5 Killbarry Rover; 6 Newlawn Tock.

Draw for the Derby Plate semi-finals:

Heat 1: 1 Ruthless Man; 2 Hot Pursuit; 3 Airforce Frankie; 4 Allen Master; 5 Beany Tunes (w); 6 North Bound (w).

Heat 2: 1 Swift Marathon; 2 Drumurrer Vixen; 3 Fairway Fusion; 4 Puddens Lad; 5 Power Of God; 6 Katies Quadrigo (w).

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