Ian Fortune

Shelbourne Park again delivered the most memorable night of action on Saturday night as the Sporting Press Online Edition Irish Oaks saw the field reduced from thirty six to twenty four of the best bitches in training.

Raha Mofo was fastest of the heat winners but there were so many impressive displays including a couple on the undercard.


2021 Juvenile Derby champion Droopys Gloss remains on the classic trail after a superb display in the opening heat of the Oaks when collaring long-time leader Ballymac Snazzy inside the final twenty five yards.

Ballymac Snazzy led before the turn from the fast starting Droopys Dot but her fate was sealed when Droopys Gloss recovered from a moderate start to move past Droopys Dot and into second at the bend.

Ballymac Snazzy continued to set a strong gallop but you always suspected that John Coleman’s Droopys Gloss was going to unleash a big finish. Her task was made somewhat easier when Ballymac Snazzy swung wide off the final turn but there was still work to do. The Murt Leahy trained Droopy Gloss flew up the straight to lead late3 for a half length verdict in a rapid 28.28. Florentis ran on well to take third, a further length adrift.


Sean Dunphy’s Droopys Request (Droopys Sydney/ Droopys Dance) seems to be getting better with each outing and she saw off a talented field in the second heat when showing superior early speed to her rivals.

Taking charge before the corner, she quickly put daylight between herself and her pursuers.

Droopys Nextone looked a likely threat at the second turn but it never materialised. Instead, Ballymac Art flew down the back straight to go second. The Robert Gleeson trained Droopys Request was never going to surrender her lead, however, and she stayed on to emerge a comfortable two length winner over the rallying Droopys Nextone in a rapid 28.23. Ballymac Art was just a head behind in third.


Proven performer Kilbannon Psycho looked the most likely scorer in Heat 3 when setting the pace into the back straight after a fast start but Ballinabola Ruby had other ideas.

While her litter brother Ballinabola Ed is lighting up Towcester at present, the daughter of Confident Rankin and Dolls Lady proved that there is more than one star in the litter.

Challenging all the way down the back straight, Ballinabola Ruby finally got the better of Kilbannon Psycho at the third turn to move into a narrow lead. The latter attempted to rally on the run in but Brendan Murphy’s Ballinabola Ruby dug deep to hold on for a length verdict in 28.42. Highview Moment ran on strongly for third, a further three lengths adrift.  


Steve Noble’s Scooby Duchess continued her comeback from seasonal rest with a superb display of front running in Heat 4 as she contained the late charge of Ballymac Miranda.

Maries Wedding was a warm favourite after a stunning opening round effort but missed the kick and found traffic on the bend.

As this was happening, Scooby Duchess (Droopys Sydney/ Whitings Gift) had shot from the inside box to set a blistering gallop from Ballymac Miranda. The order never changed between the front two thereafter, although Ballymac Miranda did close to make things very interesting in the final yards.

The Jennifer O’Donnell trained Scooby Duchess will be getting stronger with each run, however, and she dug in to repel her rival by a head in 28.28. Maries Wedding finally over came traffic to grab third some seven lengths back in third.     


The closest finish of the night came in Heat 5 where the judge couldn’t separate Ballymac Whispa and Clogheen Lass.

The latter made a fast start to lead the field around the corner, chased by Kilara Odessa but it was obvious that Ballymac Whispa was going to emerge as a serious threat when turning third.

It set up a thrilling finish. Ballymac Wispa soon set her sights on the leader. The Graham Holland trained Clogheen Lass continued to dictate the pace around the last two bends but Liam Dowling’s Ballymac Whispa was now closing fast.

The latter ran off the final turn, as she had done in the opening round, bumping Clogheen Lass but the pair maintained their momentum. In a driving finish the pair crossed the line locked in battle. A dead-heat was declared by the judge in 28.18. Dark Ava ran on strongly for third, a further two lengths adrift.  


After an incredible run in defeat seven days earlier, Raha Mofo emerged a brilliant winner of the final heat, storming home to win by a wide margin.

Trained by Murt Leahy for Marissa Molloy, the daughter of Droopys Sydney and Clares Queen disputed the running into the turn alongside Fahy Devine.

The pair continued to race prominently into the third turn before Raha Mofo really started to turn the screw. Pulling further and further clear, she eventually emerged a facile seven lengths scorer in a fastest of the round 28.15. Reckless Nanny ran on fast to grab third, a further two lengths back.  



There was an incredible performance from Droopys Optimum in the penultimate race on the card as he posted one of the, if not the, fastest third bend sectional since it was introduced.

In a contest packed with real quality, nothing could land a glove on Droopys Optimum.

The Robert Gleeson trained son of Dorotas Wildcat and Droopys Zero flew to the turn to go clear and he was left further clear as his rivals clashed on the bend. Displaying massive pace to the third turn, he posted a an incredible 15.68 to perhaps create a little history.

From there he did tire a little but still emerged a very easy twelve and a half length scorer in a sizzling fastest of the night 28.04. Twoinarow recovered after traffic to take second.


Martin Lanney clearly has his team fully tuned at present as he recorded a wonderful double, highlighted by the display of Roxholme Duke in the ninth race.

Owned by Hayley and the Glory Boys Syndicate, the son of Pat C Sabbath and Allowdale Nokia flew from the outside box to dominate.

Allovertheworld gave chase throughout but was never going to get to the leader. Roxholme Duke maintained a powerful gallop throughout to eventually come home three and a half lengths clear in a rapid 28.24.


Crafty Bonanza had earlier initiated the Martin Lanney double when producing a razor-sharp display in the second race over 550yds.

A brother to Roxholme Duke, the son of Pat C Sabbath and Allowdale Nokia rocketed from trap six to make every inch for the David, Gerry, Danny Syndicate.

Tip Top Taylor gave chase throughout but could never bridge the gap and Crafty Bonanza went on to cross the line with two lengths to spare in 29.51.


A flying start was the decisive factor in the victory of Urban Fire in the opener.

Reggie Roberts’ son of Laughil Blake and Idle Gossip flew to the turn and repelled the challenge of Cappuccino into the third turn before going on to beat Clampett Danny by two lengths in 28.67.