Awesome Honey breaks 28-second barrier
On what was a mixed weekend for the Irish greyhounds at Wimbledon in the William Hill English Derby, the big story concerned Graham Holland's Ballydoyle Honey's sensational 27.95 run in the quarter-finals of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks at Shelbourne Park on Saturday.
The daughter of Brett Lee and Kildallon Maid broke smartly in the last of the heats and she left her rivals standing as she came home nine lengths clear of Slippery Hanna. She thus became the first bitch ever to dip under 28 seconds for the 525-yard trip at Shelbourne.
A few remarkable features about Saturday's racing are that three members of the Brett Lee/Kildallon Maid litter have qualified for the semis while the three Graham Holland-trained survivors have all been drawn together in the second semi-final.
Kildallon Maid's litter sister Urban Gossip, owned by Reggie Roberts, gained a dramatic last-gasp victory over another litter sister Hovex Princess in 28.58. The other Holland-trained Oaks heat winner was Rising Twirl which just held the flying Tyrur Mairead by a short head in 28.39. But PJ Fahy, owner of Tyrur Mairead, made no mistake in the other heat when she led from the opening bend for a two-length margin over Jumeirah Dancer in 28.50.
Elsewhere on Saturday, the semi-finals of the Barry's Tea 750 were run at Curraheen Park and there was a record-breaking run from the Brendan Maunsell-trained Fire Height Amy as she led home long-odds favourite Droopys Oddysey by eight-and-a-half lengths in 41.14, an improvement of four spots on Wee Katie's year-old mark.
The other heat was won by Con Foley's Crompaun Jamesy which came from the rear of the field to beat Karlow Master and Kilcrea Hawk in a driving finish in 41.95.
Trainer Holland had a very mixed night because at Wimbledon his main English Derby hope Sidarian Blaze smashed a hock when checking wide on the first bend of his heat. Early indications are that he is unlikely to race again. The heat was won in all-the-way fashion by Ian Reilly's Quietly which flew to the bend before winning by a length-and-a-half from Pat Buckley's Go Ahead in 28.42.
Big run on the night was the 28.03 from Pat Rosney's Newinn Yolo as he led all the way for a near four-length victory over Holland's Quietly.
Buckley had a winner when Coolavanny Jap beat Peter Cronin's Tynwald Bish by four lengths in 28.32. All in all, 12 Irish have qualified for the next round and the new Derby favourite is Owen McKenna's Farloe Blitz which sparkled with a 27.99 run on Friday. His reward is a red-hot third round heat in which he will meet Newinn Yolo and new record holder Eden The Kid in Heat 5 on Saturday.