Pearl leads Holland assault on Christmas
It has been a tremendous year for Shelbourne Park, and it will go out on a major high this evening, with a bumper crowd expected for the Gain Gala Meeting.
Declan Carey has put together a bumper 12-race card with a minimum winner's prize of €1,000, and the headline act is the €7,000 Gain Christmas Oaks final. This competition has been totally dominated by Graham Holland's runners -- he has half of today's finalists.
They include the short odds-on favourite Rockburst Pearl (10.0) and, while she won't make you a fortune in winnings, she does look the very likely winner.
I would suggest the forecast with Pearl to lead home well-drawn, big-finishing Sidarian Lisa to complete a Holland 1-2 in the final.
We should not underrate the prospects of the third Holland runner Brenval Star, nor the likes of Gurrane Princess, Lolos Ferrari and Jacks Top Gal, but they all have a bit to find on Rockburst when she makes one of those electrifying starts.
Due to unfortunate circumstances, Paradise Madison won't be a runner in the concluding 575, and here Airlie Dazzler (10.30) may make up for last week's disappointment, with Ringtown Snowy the obvious danger.
We just can't get away from that man Holland and he has the likely winner of the AAO 550 in the shape of Hawaii Kinsale (10.15). An inside draw will be just ideal for this fella and he can be too strong for Tyrur Adrian and Sidaz Eagle.
For a dog with a one from 10 strike-rate, Pa Fitzgerald's Oneco Impact (9.0) is nominated as a likely winner of the AO 575.
This dog has enjoyed little luck in his career but he packs a mighty punch from halfway and he may have found his ideal distance here.
There will be end-of-season party nights at a few venues this evening. The Curraheen card is an all sponsored affair, with Hursul Donie nominated to win the Droopys Stud 330 final.
There will also be a host of finals at Galway, while at Dundalk the final of the Barber Kennels 620 can go to Robert Gleeson's Stateside Troika (9.35) which, through a grading anomaly, qualifies for this A1 contest, even though he set a new 575-yard record at the track two runs back.
There is a nice prize on offer for the final of the McLean Bookmakers Ulster Trophy at Lifford, and in an open looking contest the vote goes to the Patsy Whyte-owned Colarhouse Lady (9.52) to see off Thrill Me and Hather Two Bake.
Oneco Impact 9.0 Shelbourne
Rockburst Pearl 10.0 Shelbourne
Hawaii Kinsale 10.15 Shelbourne
Airlie Dazzler 10.30 Shelbourne