'Rocket' repeats his Clonmel demolition job
Clares Rocket's romp through the BIF Produce Stakes continued at Clonmel on Sunday when he won his semi-final by eight lengths and in the process broke the 28-second barrier for the third successive week. As a result, he will be a very short-priced favourite for next Sunday's €30,000 final.
The Graham Holland-trained Clares Rocket has won all four of his Clonmel outings in a canter and his aggregate winning margin over the four races is a staggering 34.5 lengths. A missed start and first-bend baulking were the reasons for his defeat in the final of the Kirby Memorial at Limerick but a similar happening looks very unlikely this time. Clares Rocket has been drawn in six with five inside seeds in opposition and that should almost guarantee a clear run.
Holland reports that the dog came out of his latest outing in tip-top form and is hoping for the best from him and his second finalist Jo Jo Fantasy. For the record, Clares Rocket won by eight lengths from Crohane Ronnie in 27.96 with Jo Jo Fantasy half a length third.
The other semi was won by Frances O'Donnell's Mountaylor Queen as she led all the way for a one-length margin over Anopheles with Escapism two-and-a-half lengths third. The winning time was 28.69. The draw for the final is: 1 Mountaylor Queen, 2 Jo Jo Fantasy, 3 Anopheles, 4 Escapism, 5 Crohane Ronnie, 6 Clares Rocket (m).
There will be at least one absentee from the second round of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks. Sadly, Tyrur Caroline broke a toe in her impressive first-round success on Saturday and that means there will be just five runners in Heat 5 on Saturday with trap three vacant.
Meanwhile, entries close at Tralee this morning for the BoyleSports Race of Champions and the draw will be made at 2pm. The event is for 12 dogs and the two semi-finals will be run on Friday with the final a week later.
There were some very interesting trials over the weekend with the Brendan Matthews-owned Scottish Derby finalist Leave At Dawn going one spot faster than the 550 yards track record when clocking 29.42 on Saturday evening. At the same session Dolores Ruth's BoyleSports Duke clocked 29.76, while the previous evening Tom O'Neill's Ballyhenry Henry went around in 29.64.
Graham Holland has entered Milldean Puma, Skywalker Rory and reigning champion Rural Hawaii, while Owen McKenna has Farloe Joey and Gerry Holian Ivy Hill Bart.