Monday 19 February 2018

Melodys Diamond outshines Gem

Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

While Borna Gem deservedly remains favourite to win the Irish Oaks, she was somewhat eclipsed by Melodys Diamond in the quarter-finals at Shelbourne Park.

Melodys Diamond, trained by Declan Byrne, took a flying start from the five box and was always clear.

She eventually won by six and a half lengths from Airforce Diva in a blistering 28.15, with Royal Diva in third.

In the following heat, Ruairi Dwan's Borna Gem retained her unbeaten record with another stunning performance as she led from traprise to win by five and a half lengths from Locnamon Bridie in 28.22, with Tantallons Kay three parts of a length third.

Tom O'Connor's Dooey Cranky led from the first bend in the second heat and won by six and a half lengths from Highview Beauty in 28.46, while Donal Murphy's Badminton Girl was an all-the-way winner of the opening heat as she beat Droopys Adelaide by less than a length in 28.47.

Irish trainers had five winners in the second-round heats of the English Derby at Wimbledon.

Droopys Jet, Ballymac Vic and Tyrur Sugar Ray were most impressive on Friday, while in Saturday's session the gods were smiling on Paul Hennessy as he had an amazing heat double.

First up was Money Talks as he availed of first-bend trouble in Heat 13 to enjoy a clear lead out of the second bend and he won by all of 13 lengths from Graham Holland's Knockglass Billy in 28.92.

Holland's Holborn Junior took a heavy fall after leading up to the corner.

In the very next heat Hennessy's Priceless Pilot was last entering the home straight but flew through the field to grab an amazing short-head victory over Benkaat Blue in 28.88.

In all, 10 Irish dogs qualified for the third round, but again the draw did them few favours.

There are three highly fancied Irish dogs in the first heat and another three in Heat 2, with a couple more in Heat 6. So, eight of the 10 Irish will contest just three of the eight races.

The dog which fared worst of all was probably the most impressive of all the winners, Droopys Jet, as he has landed a trap six draw in the first heat which includes Tyrur Sugar Ray and Kereight King.

Soks romps home

Already the winner of two major six-bend competitions, Declan Byrne's White Soks Roks bounced back to top form when winning the Barry's Tea 750 at Curraheen Park.

Volcano was a red-hot favourite but was in lots of trouble through the race and got up for second close home, but White Soks Roks was in command from the first bend and ran home a five-length winner from the favourite in 42.01.

Irish Independent

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