Honey heads Shelbourne's night of track stars
Twelve high-class open contests comprise tonight's Shelbourne Park programme, with the entire card made up of the heats of the valuable Comerford Cakes Open 525 and the Gain Dog Foods Christmas Oaks.
Stars abound in both competitions but no star currently shines brighter than Ballydoyle Honey (8.27) which was a late entry for the Oaks and will be strongly fancied to add this €7,000 prize to her already impressive earnings.
She has been the star female tracker of the year but there must be a fear that she could be feeling the effects of a long season that commenced way back on January 8. If she in her top form she will win but Yahoo Perlena is a very formidable rival.
A young bitch which has really caught the eye is Harry Sharpe's Greenhill Pearl (7.42) and this June puppy will be a hot order for the opening heat where Droopys Aurora and Kilara Lizzie could be the closest pursuers.
Pat Buckley's Jumeirah Dancer (8.57) has the inside draw in Heat 6 and she will take some beating from this berth.
We have already had a look at the Comerford Cakes Open contenders with Roy Ruddy's Drumcrow Kaiser marginally fastest in the first round with a blistering 28.33 run. But it was only marginally good enough as he won by a short head and a neck from Creamery Bale and Jaytee Dutch.
Kaiser contests the second heat where second fastest heat winner Jo Jo Fantasy and the impressive youngster Toolmaker Scot are among the formidable opposition. Drumcrow will find it difficult to get across cleanly from trap five and preference here is for the Graham Holland-trained Jo Jo Fantasy (9.27) in the blue jacket.
For the bet of the night, though, I look towards my long-odds fancy Jaytee Dutch (9.57) to make quite a statement in Heat 4. It is going to be most interesting to see how he fares in the red jacket but the previous indications are that he will appreciate an inside berth. This Paul Hennessy-trained tracker packs a powerful finish and he is nominated to dominate this contest.