Monday 22 January 2018

Hot Ballydoyle looks an Oaks final banker

Irish-trained Farloe Blitz is 2/1 favourite going into this evening's semis at the William Hill English Derby (Stock image)
Irish-trained Farloe Blitz is 2/1 favourite going into this evening's semis at the William Hill English Derby (Stock image)
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

History can be made at Shelbourne Park tonight when Ballydoyle Honey bids to become the shortest-priced favourite ever to win an Irish classic final. Latest prices offered yesterday by the firms varied between 1/7 and 1/10 which virtually makes her unbackable to become the latest winner of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks.

Already there has been speculation that she could be the best bitch ever in the history of the sport. She has already won the Red Mills Unraced at Clonmel and the Healthcare & Transport Services Puppy Oaks at this track and is bidding for a sixth victory on the trot in this €25,000-to-the-winner final.

The Graham Holland-trained Ballydoyle Honey has won from five different traps but is a trap one specialist with a seven from seven record when wearing red. Barring accidents, she should score another emphatic victory.

Her litter sister and kennel companion Hovex Princess is one of her main rivals but another convincing victory is anticipated for Ballydoyle Honey (9.57) with Jimmy Buckley's Jumeirah Dancer and Hovex to follow her home. Strong-finishing duo Piercestown Lucy and Ravenswood Emily along with Awaywitdepixies face tough tests.

The card also includes the semi-finals of the Gain 600 in which Greenwell Hulk (10.12) and Final Hawk (10.27) are the potential winners. There is also the final of the ECC Timber 525 and here Owen McKenna's Offshore Bound (8.57) may make the most of his inside draw.

English Derby hopes

Next Saturday the final of the William Hill English Derby will be run and there are very strong hopes of an Irish success in the richest race ever run in this part of the world.

Going into this evening's semis, Irish trainers are responsible for the 2/1 favourite Farloe Blitz as well as two of the next three in the betting, Paradise Maverik at 5/1 and Lenson Sanchez at 13/2. Our fourth survivor, Tynwald Bish, is a seventh choice in the betting at 20-1.

It will be no surprise if we end up with four of the six finalists but a minimum of three looks likely.

Owen McKenna's Farloe Blitz (8.33) has taken to the kinky Wimbledon track like the proverbial duck to water and, while he in is a very hot opening heat, I expect him to outpace his rivals to the bend and to lead all the way. The obvious dangers are Rio Quattro and Eden The Kid

We have three runners in the second semi and it will be disappointing if Pat Buckley's duo of Paradise Maverik and Lenson Sanchez don't qualify with Lenson Sanchez (8.51) the likely winner.

If Tynwald Bish can get one of his fast starts he can lead for much of the way and then hold on for a final place. The semi-final action can be viewed on Sky Sports.

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