Ballydoyle all set to defend her Oaks crown
The draw for the Sporting Press Irish Oaks will be made at Shelbourne today and latest word from Declan Carey is that he has 60 names in the book, pending possible additions and withdrawals.
The most exciting news, though, is that Bitch of the Year Ballydoyle Honey will be defending her title.
Her participation in the classic had been shrouded in doubt as she was in season but Holland reports that "her preparations have gone well.
"We are hoping that she can qualify in the first couple of rounds and run herself into top form," added Holland who has 11 bitches entered for the classic. They incoude such star trackers as Ballinakill Clare, Slippery Louise, Rural Hawaii and Sidarian Nell.
It promises to be a magnificent competition and it has been enhanced by the hugely impressive returns to action of Owen McKenna's Leamaneigh Mags, Tyrur Caroline and Jaytee Scout last weekend.
While on the subject of Holland, his Claires Rocket is as short as 5/4 with the firms to land the BIF National Produce Stakes at Clonmel as we approach the semi-finals next Sunday.
He was again spectacularly impressive when a six-length winner of his quarter-final from Anopheles in 27.97.
Rocket's reward is a trap five draw in the first of the semi-finals when he will meet two kennel companions, Jo Jo Fantasy and Tynwald Dinney.
The latter won the first heat on Sunday in 28.78 from Mountaylor Queen while the other heats were won by the impressive Pat Buckley runner Droopys Nine in 28.33 and Owen McKenna's Escapism in 28.65.
The second semi will also be a cracking contest with Droopys Nine and A Day Late likely to have a real early-paced war with Escapism, Anopheles, Mountaylor Queen and Razldazl Tierna also playing very prominent roles.
Meanwhile, some 14 Irish-trained dogs - and the reigning Irish Derby champion Ballymac Matt - went into the draw for the William Hill English Derby second round and some of our fancied runners have been quite fortunate with the draw.
On Thursday night, Droopys Roddick will be first into action in Heat 2 and he appears to have a handy task but the Irish dog with the toughest draw has to be Robert Gleeson's Droopys Latina which has Roxholme Barkley and Ballymac Matt on his inner in Saturday's Heat 13.