'Ella' leads way for younger brigade
Four of the six Irish Oaks second-round heat winners were 2016 puppies and the fastest was the April puppy Coolavanny Ella which is owned and trained in Castleisland by Noel Browne.
Ella railed tightly when winning Heat 4 by a length from the big-finishing youngster Aayamza Express in 28.33.
The other members of the young set to win their heats were Hows My Luck in 29.10, Droopys Floral in 28.53 and Nice Mystery in 28.47.
Defending Oaks champion Forest Natalee overcame a moderate start when finishing second behind Eight Carat in 28.62, while last year's runner-up Tibet gave a smashing performance when beating Jumeirah Charm by three lengths in 28.47.
Down at Cork, there were upsets in both semi-finals of the Riverside Oscar Open 525, with the Liam Hayes-trained Always In Court winning from Holycross Lad in 28.38, while John Linehan's Drive On Razer flew clear for a five-length lead over Fantasy Joey in 28.22.
While the elimination of Droopys Davy and Tyrur Shay were major disappointments, the first round of the English Derby went very well for the Irish team and a total of 14 went into the draw for next weekend's second round.
In Saturday's final session, Peter Cronin gained a fourth-heat victory when Da Head Hunter won in 29.40, while Graham Holland's Drive On Tipp also won when clocking 29.49.
Droopys Biker had a close shave, making a great recovery to grab fourth behind Da Head Hunter in the opening heat.
Magical Bale was fastest of the round when winning his heat in 29.07 from Brendan Matthews' Innocent Times.
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