Saturday 24 March 2018

Ballydoyle Honey after magical '28' barrier

Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

These certainly are exciting times on the tracks with most of our leading middle-distance male trackers chasing the massive pot on offer for the William Hill English Derby at Wimbledon while the top bitches are involved in the red-hot action of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks at Shelbourne.

The evidence of the first round of the Oaks confirmed earlier impressions that the quality of this year's bitch classic is every bit as good as ever. The result will be some absorbing action at the Ringsend venue this evening with the main focus of attention being the new female superstar Ballydoyle Honey (8.57).

Graham Holland's flying machine became the fastest bitch ever at headquarters when winning in 28.09 last week and some night she looks destined to dip under the magical 28 barrier. It could even be this evening when she has the ideal inside draw but the quality of the opposition, which includes such as Jumeirah Dancer and Garryglass Lulu, makes it imperative that she gets away smartly.

Not all that far behind her last week on the clock was June McCombe's English tracker Cashen Maureen (9.57) which, in her puppy days, ran up the Comerford Cakes here. She is running out of her skin at the moment and will be a hot order to land the concluding Heat 6 where Invinciblejackie can again chase her home.

The Oaks is simply full of stars and others that can race to heat victory are Denis Hannon's Springwell Watsy (8.42), Reggie Roberts' Urban Gossip (9.12), Robert Gleeson's Slippery Hanna (9.27) and Pat Guilfoyle's flying starter Skywalker Pearl (9.42).

Nidge's turn

Racegoers countrywide, including at all the tracks, should be able to follow the action in the English Derby with the last of the four first-round decisions being enacted at Wimbledon.

Despite the fact he is temporarily being handled in England by Matt Dartnall, Droopys Nidge (10.18) will be regarded by most as one of ours! He goes in the penultimate race of the round, Heat 47.

I have reservations about the dog over both the circuit and distance but he could simply carry this opposition and beat them. Stand by for a big first-round performance.

Unfortunately, Owen McKenna has had to withdraw Fiery Splendour from Heat 48 due to lameness and so our last runner in the first round will be Fraser Black's sole challenger Save The Don (10.35).

If he can get one of his better starts then he should have too much class for Roxholme Kid.

Ian Reilly's Puppy Derby hero Quietly (9.48) looks to be a good bet in Heat 45. Others worth noting are Tynwald Bish (7.54), Vulturi (8.26) and Bruno Ya Know (9.32).

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