Ballydoyle Honey has already received plenty of mention in this column over the past few months but on Wednesday night she claimed a very special place in Irish greyhound racing when becoming the first bitch to break the 28-second barrier for the 525 yards at Shelbourne.
She was contesting a second round heat of the Healthcare & Transport Services Puppy Oaks and blitzed out of the traps to be a few lengths clear to the bend. From there she was quite awesome as she raced clear to win by six-and-a-half lengths from Urban Gossip. There was a gasp from the crowd when the infield clock displayed the time 27.86. Even allowing for the .20 fast rating given by the Stewards, her time was still faster than the previous best time of 28.08 recorded by Borna Gem.
The 27.86 clock is actually the third fastest ever recorded by dog or bitch at the track and marks the daughter of Brett Lee and Kildallon Maid down as a likely favourite for the Sporting Press Irish Oaks which comes up immediately after this Puppy Oaks.
By the way, an amazing statistic from Wednesday's race was that the first three in Ballydoyle Honey's race were litter sisters from the Brett Lee/Kildallon Maid litter.
The semi-finals of the Puppy Oaks will be run tomorrow night and the clash between Ballydoyle Honey, Droopys Streak, Jumeirah Dancer and Badminton Maid in the opening heat will be a real crowd-puller.
Top fare continues
The big racing tonight is at Tralee and Kilkenny with the heats of the Lee Strand 550 and the Red Mills Champion Unraced respectively topping the bill.
The first semi-final of the Lee Strand has pitched Dromscarra Ruby (9.13) and Droopys Hip Hop in opposition for the second week running and the former had the better of things last week when winning in 30.27. Droopys Hip Hop was finishing much the faster but John O'Sullivan's Dromscarra may get first run again.
Larry Enright's Musical Dawn (9.28) was my early fancy to win this stake and, after a disappointing second-round effort, she came flying back to form last week when clocking 30.23. She can go in again tonight but Knockbrogan King is likely to set his flying early gallop but he tends to fade late.
Following his big first round run and subsequent huge offers, Tarsna Rory (9.12) will be a strong fancy in the third heat of the Red Mills Unraced. However, he will need a smart start to head Flawless Spirit, General Sherman and Cu Eile to the bend.
I was very impressed with John Martin's Shutthebackdoor (9.00) last week and expect another big run tonight, while Skilful Legend (8.48) and Ballybough Lee (9.24) are others with prospects.