Honey sizzles as injury ends Maureen career
The first round of the William Hill English Derby concluded with 12 Irish-trained winners and with former Irish-based star Droopys Nidge remaining at the head of the market following a runaway victory in a late Saturday evening heat in a sizzling 28.18.
Meanwhile, Ballydoyle Honey remained at the top of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks tree at Shelbourne where her chief rival, UK runner Cashen Maureen, pulled up with a broken hock exiting the second bend in the final heat.
It was another encouraging weekend for Graham Holland, whose leading Wimbledon hope Sidarian Blaze stormed to a most impressive heat victory on Friday and he is now the strong second favourite.
And his flying bitch Ballydoyle Honey remains an odds-on favourite for the Oaks following another powerful effort.
Ballydoyle Honey was only third around the opening bend in Heat 2 as kennel companion Rising Twirl set the pace but she then stormed to the front at the third bend and won by four lengths from the eye-catching Tyrur Dicky in a fastest-of-the-session 28.31.
Next best time came in the opening heat where Fechin Mullen's Lislevane Swift showed the superior early pace and raced home a length in front of the staying Springwell Watsy in 28.41.
The winner was a 5/1 chance and was one of four outsiders to triumph in the heats.
The low point of the round was the career-ending injury to the brilliant June McCombe-trained Cashen Maureen as she led into the back straight of the final heat only to check up badly injured. Tauriel took it up but Ruairi Dwan's Borna Helena then hit the front before the third bend and the 6/1 chance won by a length and a half from Tauriel in 28.74.
Biggest upset of the night was the 12/1 victory of Tony and Brian Walsh's Skymas in Heat 5 where she led all the way and held the persistent challenge of Ravenswood Emily by a head in 28.76.
Reggie Roberts' Urban Gossip, a litter sister to Ballydoyle Honey, finished strongly when beating Camacca in 28.54, while Aidan Roche's Kingsmill Bound just held Piercestown Lucy in 28.56.
We have become accustomed to the opening heat on each night of the Wimbledon Derby being won in flying time but we were hardly prepared for the flying track record time of 27.95 from Liz McNair's Eden The Kid.
It was one of four winners for the KSS Syndicate, three supplied by McNair, the other being Ian Reilly's Quietly, which was impressive as he led all the way to win Heat 45 in 28.54.
The other Irish-trained winner on Saturday was Fraser Black's Save The Don as he romped home by almost six lengths from Roxholme Kid in 28.32.