Thursday 22 March 2018

Holland enjoys Blaze of glory

Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

GRAHAM HOLLAND will remember this year with great affection and his campaign is finishing on a real high.

On Saturday at Shelbourne he enjoyed yet another great session, with Sidarian Blaze winning the €15,000 National Puppy Stake, while he also turned out two heat winners in the first round of the Gain Christmas Oaks.

Sidarian Blaze had been favourite for the Puppy Stake right from the opening round and he completed the job with a polished performance.

Going off the 5/4 favourite, Sidarian Blaze got away smartly from the inside box and led by a couple of lengths into the back straight.

Boylesports Hero then made his move and joined the leader into the third bend. But he then drifted wide off the final bend and Sidarian Blaze went on to win by two lengths in 28.49.

Cashen Maureen ran on very fast to take second place a half length in front of Boylesports Hero.

Holland was delighted with the performance of the winner and said a rest was now the priority, while mentioning the Joe Dunne Memorial at Shelbourne as his first target next year.

Wherever he goes, he will be a major fancy.

In the Gain Christmas Oaks, the star was again Rockburst Pearl, as she came out fresh and well from her terrific Night of Stars victory to win here in 28.48.

She flew from the boxes and was always in control as she won by three lengths from Maddies Dream.

Rockburst was the second heat winner for Holland as earlier Sidarian Lisa had come from behind to win Heat 3 by four lengths from Courtlough Megan in 28.57.

The other heat winners were Tyrur Rosaleen in 28.81, Flaming Honey 28.65, Lolos Ferrari 28.81 and Razldazl Amy 28.81.

Cloughleigh Jose emerged as a major fancy for the Ted Hegarty Marathon at Harold's Cross after a brilliant first-round performance. The Tipperary bitch took it up about the three-quarter mark in the 1,010 yards tester and pulled right away to win by a dozen lengths from Lingstown Rocket in 58.17.

Nearest on the clock was Michael English's Handonthefan which took it up around the same stage and then won by four and a half lengths from Nans Pet in 58.30.

The English raiders were a little disappointing, though they may improve as the event progresses. Aayamzabella did manage to win in 59.22, but struggled home by a short head from Portsoy Legend, while Barley Bussell was nearest at the finish seven lengths runner-up behind Miss Understated in 58.61.

The other heat winner was Plutos Rena in 59.24.

Irish Independent

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