Ballymac Bigmike delivered on all he promised he would, turning in another outstanding display of short distance running in Sunday's €20,000 Bar One Racing Irish Sprint Cup final at Dundalk Stadium.
If there was something that wasn't easily explained it was the champion's starting price. Quoted at odds-on in the week prior to the decider, the Co Meath-owned dog drifted alarmingly in the betting, going off at a scarcely believable 7/4.
This, no doubt, was as a result of rumours that circulated on the night of everything not being okay with the brother of last year's Irish Derby winner, Ballymac Matt. While he recovered from a sluggish quarter final performance to score in the penultimate round, Bigmike was said to have been a constant visitor to the treatment room subsequently.
Whether or not that was the case, the now winner of 23 of his 27 races won in a fashion that left no doubt as to his wellbeing. Running from six for the first time in the five-round competition, he was first to show when the traps went up and showing his customary dash to the bend, turned just over a length clear of Laughil Ace.
That was the issue more or less settled. While the others were left to sort out the minor placings, Bigmike was making the best of his way home. He made it to the line just over two lengths of his kennelmate, Toolmaker Scot, who, as expected did his best work in the second half of the race, but never threatened the one in front.
The wonner's time, 21.01, was only one spot outside his best-ever for the distance and less than a length away from the track record.
Not only does Bigmike rate as the best Irish Sprint Cup winners, but quite possibly is without equal as the country's greatest sprinter. His strikerate is more than impressive, while his times, not only at Dundalk, are a match for the best.
Laugfhil Ace looked good for the second spot going to the bend, and while he cornered well the Derry runner could hold the home straight run of Toolmaker Spot, and was also passed going to the line by the Newry-based Maytown Flavour, who was three-and-a-quarter lengths off the winner.
Alfies Diamond, attempting to give Tipperary trainer, Pat Buckley, a second big prize at Dundalk in a matter of weeks, couldn't overcome the inconvenience of a trap one draw, while Nothing To Hide was always out the back, finishing last.
Ballymac Bigmike runs in the name of Athboy's Denise Mahon and her late husband, Christy, who died just a matter of weeks after tidily-built son of Tyrur Big Mike and Ballymac Scarlet won the Kelly Memorial Sprint at Harold's Cross.
For trainer, Robert Gleeson, this is a second Irish Classic, the Kildare native having turned out Silppery Robert to win the Derby for Jenkinstown owner, Larry Dunne three years ago.
The Consolation final threw up another terrific performance. Having run with credit in the main competition, making it to the semi-finals, Rosmon Josh got a 4/1 quote, but made a mockery of those odds by leading throughout to win handsomely from Laughil Mike in 21.02, which was just one spot away from Ballymac Bigmike's.
A son of Shaneboy Lee and And We Will, the latter owned in her racing days by Kieran Lonergan, Rosmon Josh is owned and trained by Castleblayney-based, Clonmel-born Catherine Kerr. He's lightly raced, but back in June showed himself to be a greyhound of huge potential when he won in 21.27 at Dowdallshill. His future will be watched with interest.
Several stake finals featured on Sunday's card, and in one of them, the AV Direct 525, Monleek Express ran a blinder to win for John and Rita Downey.
The Tullyallen runner was bidding to keep her unbeaten record intact having won her two preliminaries, and she put herself in a favourable position, going off fast from the inside. She stretched clear of the rest to win by seven-and-a-half lengths in 28.75.