Holland Bandwagon Keeps On Rolling

Graham Holland is having a year to remember so far in 2015 and we are not even half way through it yet!

He is sending out winner after winner every week from his base in Golden in Co Tipperary. Last Saturday night in Shelbourne Park, Holland provided no less than seven of the twelve winners on the card. This is unbelievable on Saturday night in the premier track in the country; his dogs are dominating every competition they are entered in. One of his winners which stood out to me was Ballydoyle Honey; this lady was having her first race around the Ringsend circuit and really impressed, she will be a big player in the upcoming Puppy Oaks.

We are down to the final six of the Con & Annie Kirby memorial puppy stake in Limerick, we have been treated to some thrills and spills so far in this great competition. Droopys Braedon (9/4) was handed trap three in the final, this Robert Gleeson trained youngster got his first taste of defeat in last week’s semi-final at the hands of Rural Hawaii (5/4).

Braedon to be fair ran extremely well in defeat, he didn’t take one of his usual flyers from the boxes and had to battle his way to the front on the run to the corner, he got a rough passage around the opening two bends as Hawaii on the outside drove a lovely second bend and took up the running. There was always going to be only one winner from here as Hawaii changed gear down the back and opened up a big advantage around the bottom two turns, Braedon had to hold his rail pitch between the last two turns as BoyleSports Jet arrived on the scene and went for the gap up the inside but Braedon closed the door on him which caused him to check back.

Rural Hawaii stopped the clock in the fastest of the competition 28.22 and had five lengths to spare over Braedon in second and Ivy Hill Bart (12/1) back in third. Ivy Hill Barts owner Noel Hehir deserves a lot of credit, he does extremely well with his small number of runners each year. Best of luck in the final Noel!

There was a big surprise winner of the opening semi-final when Country Legend (5/1) took an absolute flyer from trap 1 and led around the opening turns. Beaming Boost (6/1) turned in second down the back but never got near the pace setter, Boost held his position well and held off the fast finishing Cable Bay (10/1) for second place. Country Legend is back in the red box in the final and with a similar start he could be hard to hold.

I think the draw has worked out well for each finalist, Rural Hawaii is unbeaten in this competition thus far and I reckon if he can repeat his semi-final run he can go all the way on Saturday night,

…he is showing the perfect mix of both early pace and stamina and is the one they all have to beat. Droopys Braedon will have to be on his toes if he is to try and clear the two early pace runners on his inside, Cable Bay will be ready to pounce if there is any trouble from the front runners he looks a real 550/575 runner. Best of luck to all the finalists and may the best dog win!

The Irish Cesarewitch kicked off last weekend in Mullingar; this is the highlight of the year in the Westmeath venue and like every other year it is going to be very hard to win. A lot of these runners were having their first look at the track and as we all know Mullingar is a tricky track to get around first time so expect massive improvement from some of the leading contenders. Paradise Maverik (5/2) was put in as ante post favourite before the event kicked off and he got his campaign off to a winning start in 33.56, this Pat Buckley trained runner has some serious times on his card and was the only runner to head Laughil Blake in last year’s Derby.

Most recently Maverik won a top class open 575 in Shelbourne in a slick 31.11, this son of Royal Impact has pace to burn and if he takes to the track he will take a lot of beating. Droopys Bomber (4/1) set the standard in the first round with a fastest of the night 33.45, this Frazer Black trained runner ran up the National Puppy stake at the back end of last year and you always knew he was crying out for a distance. Frazer has been very patient with this son of Droopys Vieri and Oaks winner Droopys Twirl and he comes into this event a very fresh dog.

Other dogs to run well In the opening round were Highview Craft (8/1), Blenhiem Cracker (10/1) and Crompaun Jamesy (10/1). Blenhiem Cracker is a dog who will keep running on and he represents great value in the ante post market, this dog has ran against some of the best dogs in training at the moment and gave them a good run for their money!

At Curraheen Park in Cork we know five of the six finalists in the Cork Oaks .Drive on Royal and Sunrise Ice will battle it out for the final position before racing on Tuesday after a dead-heat for third place in their semi-final. John A Linehan took the first semi-final with Tyrur Susan (28.78) after she showed great determination to run down the long-time leader Invincible Jackie on the run for home. Moorstown Diva grabbed the third qualifying spot here.

Rafas Wee Star (28.76) booked her place in the final with an impressive victory in the second semi, she led to the corner only to be passed down the far side, but this John McGee Junior trained lady didn’t throw in the towel, she kicked on into the third corner and grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck and had a length and a half to spare over Rastafari Chic when they reached the line and as we said before the judge couldn’t separate the bitches for third. As soon as we know all six finalists we will have betting up online.

We also have betting up on for a number of competitions in the UK at the moment including the Golden Crest in Poole and the 3 Steps To Victory stake in Sheffield. There has been a couple of market moves already for both the English and Irish Derbys. The most significant being Sidarian Blaze for the English version, he has come in for a fair bit of support over the past seven days.