Wednesday 29 March 2017

Ballydoyle Honey turns on the turbo to claim last-gasp Oaks glory

At the presentation after Ballydoyle Honey's victory in the Irish Oak's final were, from left, Irish Coursing Club CEO DJ Histon, Peter McMunn, Alison Coxon, Minister of State Tom Hayes, Nicky Holland (handler) and ICC president Brian Divilly
At the presentation after Ballydoyle Honey's victory in the Irish Oak's final were, from left, Irish Coursing Club CEO DJ Histon, Peter McMunn, Alison Coxon, Minister of State Tom Hayes, Nicky Holland (handler) and ICC president Brian Divilly
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

It was a great weekend for Irish greyhounds, with Ballydoyle Honey continuing on her swashbuckling ways with a late, late victory in the Irish Oaks final at Shelbourne Park, while over at Wimbledon the Owen McKenna-trained Farloe Blitz and Peter Cronin's Tynwald Bish qualified for next Saturday's William Hill English Derby final.

Ballydoyle Honey again wowed her growing band of supporters with another major victory, but this time she kept them on tenterhooks for a long, long time before making sure of victory.

The 1/5 favourite wasn't well away and was about six lengths back in third behind her litter sister and kennel companion Hovex Princess and Awaywitdepixies entering the back straight.

There was no real sign of her noted pace down the back until just entering the third bend when the complexion of the race changed dramatically.

She moved second past the wide-running Awaywitdepixies on the final corner but was still a few lengths down on Hovex Princess.

Suddenly the turbo was switched on and Ballydoyle Honey flew past her litter sister in the final strides to win by three parts of a length in 28.47. Ravenswood Emily stayed on well to be a two and a half length third.

Holland, who also won the Consolation Oaks with Rising Twirl in 28.52, was hugely delighted by the victories, allied to Friday's success in the BoyleSports Race of Champions by Rural Hawaii.

"It certainly helped to make up for our defeat in the Produce Stakes. We will give the bitch a few weeks off now as she looked tired tonight. I will talk to Alison Coxon and the syndicate members to debate whether we will go for the Derby."

Also at Shelbourne the semi-finals of the Gain Dog Foods 600 were won by Liam Dowling's Ballymac Matt in 32.33 and Pat Gordon's Skywalker Farloe in 32.36.

Meanwhile, the final of the ECC Timber 525 was won by the Owen McKenna-trained Offshore Bound, which gave a powerful performance when leading all the way to win by four and a half lengths in 28.34.

Meanwhile, the Owen McKenna-trained Farloe Blitz is an 11/10 favourite to win the £250,000 English Derby final at Wimbledon next Saturday following a terrific victory in the first semi-final.

The Paul Ellis-owned dog flew from traps and was never in the slightest danger as he won by a length and a half and a neck from Rio Quattro and Eden The Kid in 28.24.

Peter Cronin's Tynwald Bish was beaten just over three lengths and a short head by Making Paper and Millwards Davy in the other semi in 28.33 and he too has made the final.

The Pat Buckley duo of Paradise Maverik and Lenson Sanchez were both unlucky to just miss out.

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