Holland's Open hopefuls can go the distance
The new year will get off to a high-profile start at Shelbourne Park with the commencement of the Open 575 on Saturday night.
The entries were coming in yesterday and already some very useful trackers figure among the early entrants ahead of tomorrow's closing date.
Graham Holland, who failed to win the Gain Christmas Oaks at the weekend, has entered his classy duo of Hawaii Kinsale and Sidarian Lisa and both will be ideally suited by the distance.
Among the other early entries are Ballyana Foxtrot, Starshineeclipse, Fifo, Netherville Hawk, Stateside Troika, Vimmerby, Flaming Honey, Airlie Dazzler, Dundrum Lemon and Gymstarjumbo.
One that is likely to miss the event is Abbeyville Tipp, which won the last race of 2013 at headquarters on Saturday. It was the veteran tracker's 26th victory from 65 races and connections intimated afterwards that he would be retired to stud.
The son of Westmead Hawk and Patterdale Luna was a wonderful servant for owner Tom Egan and trainer Peter Tiernan and among his victories were the 2012 Coillte Night of Stars 575 and the 2013 Townviewfoods.com Champion Plate.
The Red Mills Open Unraced at Clonmel has become established as a nursery event for future champions in recent years and this renewal will kick off with the first four heats on Thursday, while the remaining six will be run on Sunday.
As all the runners are unraced there is no definitive form to use as a guide, but a few do stand out on breeding and qualifying trials.
Surely the most talked about runner will be Fraser Black's Droopys Oddysey, which will make his debut in Heat 7 on Sunday.
This May 2012 puppy has stopped the clock in 28.70 and 28.63 in spins around Shelbourne and he will be at short odds to win his heat where Owen McKenna's Airforce Rebel is the likely danger.
Others worth noting in this competition are Sean Meade's Paradise Abbey, Denis O'Malley's Airfield Paulie, McKenna's Its Showtime, Paddy Twohig's Sir Paddy, Pat Guilfoyle's Laughil Bolt and Michael O'Donovan's Laughil Blake.
The first major event of the year at Limerick will be the Vetsearch Feramo D Open 525 and the €4,000 to the winner competition will close on Tuesday, January 14 with the heats on the following Saturday.