Classy Witches Belle casts her spell in thrilling Oaks final success
The favourites were turned over in the final of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks at Shelbourne Park on Saturday with the Cork bitch Witches Belle crowned Queen of the Track after a hugely impressive performance.
Witches Belle had been regarded as a major player right through the bitch classic, but Edel Twomey's classy female was a drifter in the market on the night and was freely quoted at 6-1 as they were loaded. The mantle of favouritism lay firmly with Sidarian Pearl which was supported to the exclusion of all and closed a 1-2 market leader with Holycross Leah moving out to 4-1.
The race, though, worked out very differently and it was the Owen McKenna owned and trained Leamaneigh Mags which hit the ground running and led up from Witches Belle on the outside and an improving Sidarian Pearl.
Leamaneigh was three lengths to the good entering the back straight but the threat was obvious as Witches Belle was now a clear second ahead of Sidarian Pearl.
Witches closed with each stride and was upsides the leader as they negotiated the bottom bends. Turning for the judge, Witches Belle hit the front and raced to classic glory up the straight. By the line she had established a two and a half length lead in 28.44 with Leamaneigh Mags a similar distance in front of the third placed Sidarian Pearl.
Witches Belle is a daughter of Droopys Scolari and Lemon Belle and the Twomeys, who reside in Midleton, must now decide whether to challenge for the Irish Independent Irish Laurels which closes today, or to wait for some other event and take a chance on her not coming in season.
It was quite a weekend for the Twomeys as they were changing house yesterday, the day after their lives changed with a classic victory.
There were a few other top class performances on Saturday night at Shelbourne with the Pat Buckley trained Brinkleys Katie winning the Consolation Oaks in impressive fashion. Brinkleys went up fast to head Highview Jayne into the bend and then raced clear to win by four lengths from Skywalker Rossa in 28.40.
Laughil Duke further emphasised his Boylesports Irish Derby prospects with a powerful performance in the final of the Microdog ID 550. He pushed Milldean Puma out of the way on the bend and had a big lead into the back, going on to win by ten lengths from Farloe Rumble in 29.61. It was the first leg of a double for trainer Michael O'Donovan as he won an Open 525 with Skywalker Leaf in 28.66.