It was another great card at Shelbourne on Saturday evening where the opening heats of the Sporting Press Irish Oaks featured throughout the card.
Warrior Gwen overcame a tricky Trap 6 draw as she powered home in Heat 2. A safe passage round the opening turn soon saw her stalking the early leader down the far side. Round the bottom turns she was moving well, despite running wide off the final turn she finished strongly to score in 28.64 by a length.
Heat 3 saw last week’s Puppy Oaks Runner Up, Skywalker Pearl, go to traps a very warm favorite. Missing the break slightly she made good ground into the opening turn where she forced her way up the inside. Out the 2nd bend she went through the gears and she was soon in full control of the race. Never looking in danger, she crossed the line some eight lengths to the good in a great 28.37.
Rockburst Mills lined up in Heat 4, in a far from ideal trap draw. Edging in from trap rise and heading straight for the rails she was on the back foot from the start. Crowding at the opening turn didn’t help her cause either, going down the far side she started to find a bit of racing room and was moving up through the field. However, hitting the third bend she tried to find a way through on the rails where a tangle of legs saw her bought down and out the race.
Heat 5 and Newinn Expert took to the track next. Breaking with the pack she was in the middle of the bumping round the opening two turns. Down the far side in a handy enough position she got caught up in further trouble at the third turn which led to her exit from the competition in 5th place.
Tolpuddle Mist and Rising Pearl lined up alongside each other in Heat 6 where the latter prevailed. Following the early leader round the opening turns Twirl took up the running out the second bend. Challenged into the third she was made to work hard for the victory. Tolpuddle Mist suffered the crowding in the race at the first turn. Battling away at the back of the field she looked like she may run on to qualify but the line came too soon for her.
Heat 8 saw another dual between kennel mates, and litter sisters, as the Irish Puppy Oaks Champion Ballydoyle Honey lined up alongside Hovex Princess. It was Honey who was quickly into stride and in full control of the race from trap rise. Cruising round on the bunny she stopped the clock in a brilliant 28.09. Hovex Princess battled hard for second place to keep her fine run of form going.
Rockbust Vienna went in Heat 10. Still coming back to full race sharpness following time away from the track, she trapped with the field and moved up in to 3rd spot along the far side. Turning for home she couldn’t get to third spot on the evening but still progresses.