There may have been no open competition at Shelbourne on Saturday but there were some terrific performances from trackers that are going to be major players this season, probably on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Star performer of the night was undoubtedly the Owen McKenna-trained Bearatipp which was having just the second race of his career but won in the style of an accomplished champion. Have no doubt this March '13 puppy is going to play a significant role in the distribution of the top prize money through the season.
The Larry O'Rourke-owned son of Droopys Scolari and Mohane Patient had won his only previous race two months ago, also at Shelbourne, when he displayed brilliant early pace en route to an easy victory in 28.96. But this was a far more mature performance as Bearatipp exploded from trap five and posted a flying 1.96 split on his way to an eight-and-a-half-length victory over Nushkas Cailin in 28.32.
As one would suspect with the dog being owned by English-based Corkman Larry O'Rourke, the English Derby is very much on the agenda for this dog.
Said McKenna yesterday: "We bought him off the schooling track from Paudie Davern and he is certainly going the right way.
"He needs a few races so he now goes for the Joe Dunne which starts at Shelbourne on Saturday next and there is obviously a chance he would run in the Kirby Memorial at Limerick.
"But we don't want to over-race him and he would look an ideal type of dog for the English Derby".
That was the big run of the night but it was also a meeting to remember for Paul Hennessy as he recorded a terrific four-timer which was headlined by a brilliant performance from the previously quite frustrating Budgie Bypass in the A2/3 second contest.
Budgie Bypass is known for his strong finishing but this time he swept to the front before the first bend and scorched to a six-and-a-half-length margin over Lisdhu Blue in 28.43.
Hennessy then followed up with Painstown Chief which won an A1 550 in 29.97 and collected the last two AAO contests with the Bryan and Kathleen Murphy-owned Barefoot Apollo in 28.68 and Barefoot Agent in 29.95 for the 550 yards.
On a card which produced much more than it had promised, we were also served up impressive runs by Eugene Dempsey's Skyview Blue in 28.62, John Hand's Likeable Bob in 28.68 and Tom O'Donovan's Drive On Vick in 28.74.
The only meeting in the country this evening is scheduled for Youghal at 7.50pm. This is the meeting which was postponed from last Monday.