Holland's Stars illustrate kennel strength at Shelbourne
It was a case of the lull before the storm at Shelbourne on Saturday night with some of the leading contenders for next weekend's Dandelion Bar & Nightclub Easter Cup either warming up in the pre-racing trials or in one of races on the card.
What shone through like a beacon was the strength of the Graham Holland squad as they prepare for what could be a huge year for the Golden kennel. Holland was responsible for two of the more impressive winners on the night but he emphasised the talent at his disposal when he was also responsible for the two fastest trials.
His Sidarian Blaze scorched the track as he posted a 28.36 time for the 525 yards but it came as a bolt out of the blue when his young bitch Ballydoyle Honey, winner of the Red Mills Unraced at Clonmel recently, flew around in 28.31sec a few trials later.
In the racing itself Holland unveiled a real gem as Dolores O'Connell's Gaytime Hawk flew out of the traps and raced to a six-length victory in 28.29. On this running he'll be a force to be reckoned with in the Easter Cup.
Then in the concluding 550 Coran Sky was in a class apart as he beat Highview Apollo by two-and-a-half in 29.82.
Back to the trials, though, and we had the pleasure of seeing Droopys Nidge in action. Robert Gleeson's dog did things very nicely as he covered the 525 yards in 28.37. Another to impress in the trials was Anna Gleeson's Cox Cup winner Redwood Mick as he clocked 28.46.
One other winner at Shelbourne's Saturday meeting well worth mentioning is the Pat Guilfoyle-trained Laughil Duke, a younger half-brother to Derby winner Laughil Blake. He had created a huge impression in his two outings last November when he was slowly away on each occasion before finishing very fast. It was clear he would benefit from a move up to 550 and so it proved as he totally dominated an A1 550 and won by four lengths from Country Legend in an excellent 29.71. This is a very exciting prospect and could well emulate his half-brother before the year's end.
The star of the night at Curraheen, where the first round of the Greyhound & Pet World/ Odds On Supersprint was run, was Aidan McVeigh's Crown Champ which was very professional as he won by four lengths from Madra Deas in 17.47.
Sheila Spillane & JJ Fennelly's Burgess Four won nicely in 17.54 while Owen McKenna's Farloe Blitz made an impressive sprinting debut when taking it up on the second bend in Heat 6 and winning in 17.62.
Other heat winners were both Boozed Tony and Lemon Miley in 17.66 and Burnt Le Bec in 17.71.