Honey maintains her sweet run of success
The remarkable Ballydoyle Honey gave another terrific exhibition of her full repertoire of talents as she raced to victory in the Gain Christmas Oaks final at Shelbourne Park on Saturday.
This queen of the track has used up the full quota of superlatives in a phenomenal 2015 season and she launched the New Year in similar fashion. Who's to say that she won't dominate 2016 just as she has ruled over the past 12 months?
The race followed pretty predictable lines with Yahoo Perlena and Hovex Princess leading from traps but the renowned early speedster Yahoo Perlena had opened up a lead of a few lengths as she entered the back straight from Hovex Princess but Ballydoyle was too close for comfort as she was in third place and poised to challenge.
Ballydoyle closed gradually down the back but then shot past Yahoo Perlena turning for home and ran out a length-and-a-half winner from a gallant Yahoo Perlena with Urban Gossip some four-and-a-half lengths third. The winning time was a terrific 27.94 seconds which means that the daughter of Brett Lee and Kildallon Maid has now produced the four fastest times ever recorded by a bitch at Shelbourne.
Trainer Graham Holland is away on holidays but it is believed that she will now have a well-earned break and will be back for her mid-season targets, the Gain 600 and the Sporting Press Irish Oaks.
Meanwhile, Ballydoyle Honey's syndicate owners have bought their way into another potential superstar. They revealed on Saturday that they have purchased a half share in the precocious Proud Graham which was trained by Holland to reach the final of the Comerford Cakes 525 just before Christmas and, barring accidents, looks to be on his way to the very top.
It was a heartening start to the year at Shelbourne and Holland was clearly the star as he completed a treble thanks to Cabra Ash in 31.01 (575) and Diegos Ruby 29.67 (550).
But there were other big runs, such as the 28.51 from Eddie Rushe's Lazy Daddy and a thrilling four-runner 750 which saw Brendan Maunsell's Fire Height Amy snatch a short head verdict over Priceless Lassie in 41.61.