Honey Is The Christmas Cracker
I don’t think there are many more words in the English dictionary that we can use to describe Ballydoyle Honey.
Every time she hits the track she makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck! Honey has over forty nine thousand euro gathered up for her connections so far in 2015 so a win in the Christmas Oaks will put that well over the fifty thousand mark.
Her run in the semi-final last week was nothing short of amazing, as we said here last week Honey is after somewhat losing a small bit of her early dash but is coming home stronger. In the opening semi-final the Brendan Matthews owned Follys View set a scorching gallop for most of the journey, now you have to remember this lady has a 28.20 on her card here recently.
As Follys reached the penultimate corner she still had over three lengths to spare over Honey who now was switching into over drive. Her turn of foot between the last two bends was unbelievable. She ran the last corner as hard as she runs the straights. To pass out Follys View the way she did was nothing short of amazing, going on to stop the clock in a lightening time of 28.02. She had two and a half lengths to spare over Follys View in second and her litter sister, Urban Gossip, was another three lengths back in third.
The second semi-final turned out to be an exciting race. Yahoo Perlena used Trap One to her full advantage (posting a 1.91 sectional), but did move slightly right on the run to the corner. Even after her fast start she was joined by Hovex Princess on the run to the bend. Yahoo held her position though and raced in front down the back about two lengths in front of Princess and Droopys Aurora, who were neck and neck battling it out for second position.
The race then began to unfold between the last two bends, as Yahoo had a two length lead turning for home, Hovex Princess was winding up for her big challenge. Once she straightened up she had her sights on the leader and did a serious amount of running to try get to the front. She joined Yahoo right on the line and after a good look at the photograph, the judge couldn’t separate them and called a dead heat.
It’s not very often we see a dead heat in an open race in Shelbourne on a Saturday night especially in a time of 28.25. These are two really game bitches and neither deserved to lose the race. Droopys Aurora ran the race of her life in third position recording her best time to date.
Looking at the draw for the final, Ballydoyle is guaranteed to go off a red hot favourite. My one concern is her litter sister drawn in six outside her. Urban moved left out of the boxes last week, if she does the same this week there could be a bit of bumping. To me Urban Gossip is a bit of an enigma, this lady on her day is capable of a 28.10 run, you just never know! I think the saver bet in the race is Hovex Princess, another sister of the jolly.
Hovex led Ballydoyle for 523 yards of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks final back in June and she could lead here again. Now it won’t be easy to stop the Honey, but if she is to be defeated, I’d be having my each way money on Hovex Princess!
Comerford Cakes 525
Only one hundredth of a second separated the two semi-finals of the Comerford Cakes open 525. Farloe Joey came out triumphant in the opening semi-final. He didn’t get one of his faster starts but it worked in his favour as he was able to get a nice pitch on the fence.
Creamery Bale was the one who set the pace here, but the writing was on the wall once Joey turned second. Just like in the second round, Joey arrived on the scene at the third bend and quickly took control of the race. He galloped on very strong to the line stopping the in-field clock at 28.11. Creamery crossed the line three and a half lengths behind the winner with Anopheles a similar distance back in third.
The second semi-final was all over once the lids opened and Proud Graham was the first to break the sectional line and he turned this race into a procession! He railed like a cat around the first two corners he turned down the back straight with a definite two length advantage. He pulled further and further clear with every stride he was taking. Keeping this strong gallop up the whole way to the line he stopped the clock in 28.10, coming home four and a half lengths clear of Toolmakers Scott and the sponsors own dog Black Alder.
The draw for the final has opened things up a bit. Proud Graham has drawn trap five which is a bit of an unknown with this dog. The furthest out we have seen him drawn is three so it will be interesting to see how he handles this draw, if he was drawn closer to the fence he would be a lot shorter in the betting.
My pick in the final is Trap Two; Anopheles’ owner trainer combination are dominating the sport at the moment.
They can do no wrong and we hope their luck continues into Saturday night.
All Work And No Play
Needham Work returns into action this weekend in North Kilkenny, fresh from his easy victory in Johnstown. Work can gain four Champion Stakes points here and enhance his chances of qualifying for the National Meeting. There are some very big names in this Cup which could make for fantastic viewing.
If things go to plan there could be some exciting semi-finals with the likes of Defacto, Game Mikey, Timmie Trickibow and Rory For Glory all battling it out. The top half looks exceptionally hot so Work will have to put his best foot forward early.
The bottom half looks easier to call. 2015 Champions Stakes winner Blueview Charlie looks the one. Charlie is an iron dog and never knows when he’s beat, with wins already in Trim and Enniscorty he will be Needham Works biggest danger. What a final this would be, Needham Work and Blueview Charlie. Irish Cup winner verses Champion Stakes winner, two legends of the game, Maxi Collins and Brendan Matthews taking each other on!
We will side with the dog from Newry as the field and conditions should really suit him. There is also a cracking line up in the All Age Bitch Stake here, three of the first four bitches out of the hat have won already this season. The opening course will be a tight one between Brookview Glory and Windfarm Ivy, conditions will suit Windfarm so she gets the narrow vote. If she does get over this course I feel she can go all the way. Turning Pace will be her biggest stumbling block at the top half.
The bottom half looks very competitive also, Mantan Maple, Fire And Silver, Glenlough Dixie and Skellig Tulip will make for exciting action. All eyes will be on the buckle between Glenlough and Skellig. Glenlough is a trial stake winner from Listowel and Skellig is a cup winner in Rathcormac so it will be a test for the youngster. I’m sticking with Windfarm however, as we have said the field and conditions will suit!