Ballydoyle now favourite to do the double
Only two greyhounds have managed to win the Sporting Press Irish Oaks on more than one occasion but Ballydoyle Honey is shaping as though she can join that illustrious list with just two rounds of the bitch classic remaining this year.
The first bitch to achieve it was the Tom Lynch-trained Peaceful Lady back in 1952 and '53. She remained the sole achiever for almost 50 years until the late Seamus Graham achieved the feat with the bitch he bred himself, Marinas Tina, in 2001 and 2002.
Last year Ballydoyle Honey emerged as a very special performer when winning the Oaks in sensational style and immediately afterwards connections stated that they would love to do the double this year. Well, true to their word, Ballydoyle Honey was virtually rushed back from season to defend her title.
Following defeats in the first two rounds many began to doubt the possibility of the double being achieved but the Honey came out last Saturday and produced a stunning 27.98 run in beating her kennel companion Sidarian Pearl in the quarter-final.
Now we find Ballydoyle Honey at the top of the Oaks market again and being best-priced 15/8 before the semi-finals. Sidarian Pearl is next at 7/2, while Leezie Lindsay at 7/1 and Witches Belle at 8/1 are the only others quoted in single figures.
With the Irish Independent Irish Laurels just around the corner, the contenders are beginning to appear in trials. First to be seen in action was the Graham Holland-trained Amazing Dude which clocked 17.46 in a 330-yard trial last weekend. He hasn't raced since last December but this run indicated that the smashing early pacer could be a real force in the 525 yards classic.
By the way, there will be special Laurels Trial Sessions at Curraheen next week. These sessions will be on Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11 between 5.0 and 6.0pm. The first round of the Laurels will then be staged on Saturday, June 18 with entries closing on Monday week.
Top race at Shelbourne tonight will be the final of the Sporting Press A2/3 Dual Distance over the 575 trip and I am siding with the Damien Cunningham and Liam Kirley-owned Glenquain Ivy (9.43) to turn over semi-final form over this longer distance.
She was second to Tyrur Bubba last time while the other semi was won in quicker time by Ann Moran's Benro Charlie. However, Glenquain ran on very well after being in trouble on the opening bends and she might represent a bit of value in this 575 test.
John Byrne's Shoemakers Tom (9.58) is a very interesting runner in the A4 ninth race. The September puppy made a very promising debut at Thurles a few weeks back when he finished strongly to win by a wide margin in 29.52. Another to note in this contest is the well-bred Silverhill Tim.
Aidan Denton is due a winning turn and his Kereight Niamh (9.28) will take some beating in the A4 seventh. .