Pixie weaves oaks magic
The battle for Irish Oaks honours is really warming up following another sparkling session in Saturday's second round at Shelbourne Park.
While the brilliant performance from the Francie Murray-trained Smoke Pixie was the highlight, the major shock was the elimination of Airforce Diva as she was badly crowded in the early stages of Heat 3, which was won by Mossie O'Connor's College Maybe in 28.53.
Smoke Pixie, already winner of the McCarthy Insurance Cork Oaks this season, wasted no time in traps in Heat 4 and was clear to the bend from Ballyverry Girl. She raced on to win by eight lengths from the staying Drumurrer Vixen in 28.31.
Borna Gem appears to be getting stronger with each outing and she was in a class of her own in Heat 8, where she led from Solo Star in 28.90.
The other heat winners were Droopys Ida in 28.89, Shes A Tornado in 28.60, Tantallons Kay in 28.69, Milldean Tally in 28.77 and Highview Idol in 29.17.
Matt O'Donnell's Mountaylor Ace was best in the semi-finals of the Barry's Tea Open 750 at Curraheen Park, where he took it up from Skywalker Cindy to win by two and a half lengths in 41.99. The other heat saw Pat Coffey's Shine And Hope hold off the strong-finishing Dogwithacollar by a head in 42.45.
The Bettor.com Northern Irish Derby got under way at Drumbo Park on Saturday with a fair supply of shocks. Biggest of them was the elimination of fancied duo Cuil Cougar and Swift Marathon from Heat 4, which was won by Sharon Hurley's Burst Of Magic in 30.14. Fastest heat winner was Anthony McCloskey's Devilacare which won his heat in 29.87.