It’s another hugely busy weekend ahead for the kennels as we head to Shelbourne with 11 runners in the first round of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks, Limerick with 6 runners before finishing with Clonmel on Sunday and 3 runners in the B.I.F National Produce Stakes semi finals.

We’re looking to defend the Sporting Press Irish Oaks title which was won by Ballydoyle Honey last year. Sidarian Nell and Rural Maui both line up in the second heat. Nell missed her break in the Limerick Oaks Final but is back in trap one tomorrow. Rural Maui won the Limerick race after taking a flyer, and won on merit, she really can ping the lids. Both are well and should qualify.

In the following heat we have another double up where Clares Queen and Sidarian Riva are in together. Queen had tonsillitis recently and might be a bit rusty. She also really wants 575 but she is expected to qualify. Riva is absolutely flying at home and we expect a very good run out of her.

Slippery Louise goes in heat four. She also reached the Puppy Oaks Final but doesn’t have the early of some of the others but is decent bitch who will be giving her all. Sidarian Pearl, who won the Puppy Oaks, is in great form and is very well in herself. She will take all the beating on recent form.

Reigning champion, Ballydoyle Honey begins the defence of her title in heat 6. She has been in season and still has some milk. This is her first 525 since coming back and whatever she does, she should come on for the run.

Ballinakil Clare was unlucky in the Puppy Oaks Final, after being so impressive throughout the competition and she hasn’t fared too well in the draw. She needs the rails but you can guarantee she’ll be battling and we would expect her to come through the heat without too many difficulties. Slippery Thelma, who is a sister to Louise, has more early but doesn’t stay so well, that said we would still expect her to qualify from heat eight.

Mullaca Psycho, who went well in a competition at Clonmel earlier in the year is in a similar position to Honey in that she is coming back after season. She goes in heat 10 and we are hoping she can get through because she should come on for the race. Finally, Ardrahan Zindi runs in the same heat. She has been off with injury and will be another who improves for the run.

We also have four runners in the Open 550 stake at Limerick. Hovex Blaze, who is in good form at the moment, having reached the final of the Gain Dog Foods Open 600 joins Coran Sky, Notorious Ben and Milldean Cougar who all head over.

Moving onto Clonmel on Sunday we have three in the same semi final of the B.I.F National Produce Stakes. There is no hiding the fact that Clares Rocket is the dog they have to beat. He was very tired the day after he broke the track record and we were very concerned. It took him several days to recover but he was better after the next run.

Clares Rocket – Clonmel Track Record

In the last few days he has really pleased us and we am hoping for a big run from him on Sunday. Rocket is as good a dog as we have ever handled; we just hope he is a lucky dog.

We also have Jo Jo Fantasy in trap one. He is inclined to jump up and down in the boxes and it cost him his break in his last race. He was last dog at the second bend and was unlucky not to win. He really wants the middle but we am very hopeful of him qualifying. Tynwald Dinney is our third finalist, and I was rather hoping that he would be in the other semi; not that there aren’t good dogs in there. Dinney is owned by Terry Corden who is a great man to train for. He is only a young dog and he can only improve with experience. Fingers crossed he gets through on Sunday.

We were delighted with the recent return of the young dog Sidarian Eska following an extended layoff. He clocked 28.13 at Tralee during the GMHD Juvenile Stake but has had a couple of setbacks with a dew claw and metacarpal which meant we couldn’t put him in the Produce Stakes. He trialled back at Shelbourne on Thursday night and he clocked 18.50 for the sprint which is nine spots outside the track record. Fingers crossed we have turned the corner with him.

Looking even further ahead, we are due to have three runners in the Champion Stakes at Tralee: Skywalker Rory, Milldean Puma and Rural Hawaii.