Skywalker Pearl looks Shelbourne gem
The Ray Patterson-owned Skywalker Pearl took off where she had left off last year by producing the star performance at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night and is now set to take on the top males in the forthcoming Best Car Parks Gold Cup.
Pearl returned from a late-year seasonal break and signed off 2015 by winning the Consolation Christmas Oaks. Her first outing since was in a very strong open 525 on Saturday and she proceeded to do a demolition job on her rivals.
The Graham Holland-trained Skywalker Pearl is a noted fast starter and she didn't disappoint as she raced in front to the bend and then stormed clear down the far side from Mucho Macho Man. She eventually came home a seven-and-a-half-length winner from True Wisdom in 28.37 with Mucho Macho Man just a neck back in third on his promising return from a serious injury.
Trainer Holland later reported that Skywalker Pearl is likely to take on the star male trackers in the Gold Cup which commences on Saturday week. "There is nothing else for her and we are planning on keeping her on the go as she has only recently returned from season," he said.
A few other winners also caught the eye on Saturday's card. The Rachel Wheeler-trained bitch High St Jesse was in superb form as she won an Open 550 in a fast 29.79. She powered clear in the first half of the race and still had two-and-a-half lengths in hand of Highview Premier at the line.
Earlier on the night there was a best ever run from the Robert Gleeson-trained Droopys Tee in an A1 contest. This daughter of Loughteen Blanco only hit the front on the final bend but opened up a three-and-a-half-length margin over Kilara Lizzie by the line in a nifty 28.52.
Later we saw the Paul Hennessy-trained Paulstown Chief produce a very big run from the third bend to snatch a late head verdict over Faypoint Shane in 28.66.
Then the concluding 575 featured a real eye-catching effort from the Ken Busteed-trained Vivaro Swift as he won in 31.19. He had raced mainly on the southern circuit and he looked to have place prospects only when well back in third place out of the second bend. Knight Invader looked home and hosed at that stage but then Vivaro Swift produced a terrific finishing burst to get up late for a neck victory. He certainly looks a name for the future over distances of 550 yards and greater.
Fastest of the pre-racing trials was the 28.68 from Holland's Proud Gambler and he stumbled badly leaving traps. He goes for the Gold Cup.
Entries for the Joe Dunne Memorial 525 are due to close tomorrow with the draw to be made on Wednesday.