Rockburst the pearl for Holland
THE Graham Holland show continues to roll on and on as he was very much the man in the news at Shelbourne Park on Saturday.
He won both semi-finals of the Gain Christmas Oaks and got three bitches through to next Saturday's final of the €7,000-to-the-winner competition.
The brilliant tracker Rockburst Pearl is as low as 4/5 with the layers to win the final after another barnstorming performance when winning the second semi-final in 28.47. She flew from traps and looked in supreme form as she coasted to a runaway seven-and-a-half length victory over Jacks Top Gal, with Brenval Star some three-and-a-half lengths third.
Victory in the opening semi also came to a Holland runner, but it was the perceived 'second string' which came out on top. Favourite Rockburst Beryl was only moderately away and was then the victim of crowding on the bend, but she ran a listless race.
Meanwhile, her kennel companion Sidarian Lisa nipped into second behind fast-starting Gurrane Princess entering the back straight.
Gurrane had a clear lead down the back and looked the likely winner, but Sidarian Lisa ground her down and nosed ahead and prevailed by a neck from Gurrane Princess in 28.84, with Lolos Ferrari also qualifying another head back in third.
A surprise visitor to Shelbourne on Saturday night was Paradise Madison, which was given a trial by his owner Dave Buckley.
The brilliant 525-yard record holder moved very sweetly in his solo spin and stopped the clock in 18.77 for the 350 yards. No plans have been confirmed until the owner sees how the dog is following the trial.
In another trial, the Irish Derby runner-up Cabra Buck covered the sprint distance in 18.88.
As anticipated, Cloughleigh Jose won the €9,000 Ted Hegarty Bookmaker Marathon final at Harold's Cross on Friday, but she gave her numerous followers many anxious moments before crossing the line in front.
She was only fourth down the far side, but found a nice opening off the final bend and shot through to take the prize by a length and a half from Barley Bussell in 58.47 for owners Vincent McKenna and Paul White.
On the same card, the final of the Fast Trap Greyhound Collar was won by the rank outsider Starshineexpress, which snatched a short head verdict from Fifo in 30.35.
Starshineexpress went past Mays King and Mickey Cee Mayo on the run-in and then just held Fifo by a short head. The winner is owned by the Templeogue-based Starshine Syndicate, which is run by Alan Nulty.