Holian set for a classic double at Powerstown
Another very large crowd attended Powerstown Park yesterday and they witnessed another super show from the Gerry Holian-trained kennel stars.
The Athenry handler goes into the final day of the national meeting with a great opportunity of landing the Derby and Oaks double.
With three rounds remaining to be run in the classics, the mantle of favouritism in the Boylesports Derby rests with the Holian-trained Return Ticket following two more impressive runs.
He is now as low as evens to land the top prize for owners Noreen McManus and Martin McDaid.
John Boyle, who sponsors the event, also has a strong hand with the Liam Dowling-trained Boylesportsmagic and he is the 2/1 second choice in the market.
The clash of the third day could be the opening brace in the Derby where Boylesportsmagic and Huntingtown, owned by Brendan Matthews and Dermot O'Rourke, will repeat their epic Abbeyfeale clash.
The favourite for the Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks is Cha Cha Matilda, a litter sister of Return Ticket which is owned by the McManus/McDaid/Foley Syndicate.
Cha Cha Matilda qualified at Castleisland and appeared to be getting stronger with each run up the Powerstown hill yesterday.
Her opponent in the quarter-final will be the Maurice McCarthy-trained Westlimerickrose.
A year ago the Kevin Barry-trained Watchman lost his chance in the Derby first round as he went unsighted but he showed his true worth when an impressive winner of the Irish Cup at Patrickswell.
He is a strong favourite to win the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes today, while Holian's Blades Of Honour is the fancy to win the Bruton Champion Bitch Stake.