After a brilliant effort in the semi-finals, Ballyhooly Henry was lumbered with odds-on favouritism for Saturday night’s final of the Gain Dog Foods Open 600 at Shelbourne Park, and Tom O’Neill’s powerful tracker did not disappoint.
Sent off the 4-7 favourite from a favourable-looking draw in trap two, he broke best but had to settle for second place behind Hovex Blaze as they approached the turn.
However, the Ashville Syndicate’s dog railed smoothly, took over between the bends, and his stamina began to kick in as he galloped past halfway.
Racing relentlessly on the front-end, he hit the line four and a half lengths clear of his early rival, in 32.24. In victory, the prolific Ballyhooly Henry picked up €15,000, bringing his career earnings to more than €31,000.
Trainer Graham Holland held a very strong hand in the Healthcare & Transport Services Puppy Oaks final, and it was the apparent second-string, Sidarian Pearl, who stole the show with a runaway success.
The 5-2 chance was clear into the opening turn, left her rivals toiling down the back, and stayed on strongly to beat Holycross Leah by six lengths, in 28.21, with the favourite and one of the winner’s kennelmates, Ballinakil Clare, a further length and a half behind in third place.
Outside of the finals, there was a record-breaking performance from Holland’s Milldean Puma in the open 575.
The Cesarewitch semi-finals, who recently joined his current kennel, quickened to lead along the inside at the first turn, with Boylesports Duke in chase.
However, it was clear a big run was in progress as he pulled away from that rival down the back.
He strode out impressively to cross the line with five lengths to spare, in 30.65. The time took 20 spots off Greenwell Hulk’s old mark.
June pup Tyrur Siucra posting 29.79 for 550 yards on just his second career-start also deserved recognition.
In Limerick, Holland’s Riverside Kennels were also on the mark, winning the quickpark.ie Limerick Oaks final and again it was not with their market leader, but 5-2 chance Rural Maui.
Owned by Helen and Michael O’Dwyer, she was drawn widest of all, but absolutely flew from the tins, and led into the turn.
She extended that advantage all the way to pick up the €4,000 winner’s prize with five lengths to spare over Elusive Maiden, with kennel companion Sidarian Nell in third.
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