If there’s been a better quality Cup this season in terms of quality of dogs and concentration of quality then I’ve yet to see it. The presence of cup winners Tilford Tom, Coyote, Wilton Magic, Amys Lotto and Screwdriver certainly adds to the quality of the event that’s even before you take into account dogs of the quality of Kyle Leigh, Newinn Wonder, Ashwood James and Last Emperor. It should certainly be an event to savour.
Munster Cup– Draw (Betting to follow)
Cill Ide Abu- 6/1
Lislaughtin Mick- 12/1
Tilford Tom- 2/1
Cherrygrove Bolt- 10/1
All The Sand- 10/1
Ashwood James- 5/1
Kyle Leigh- 2/1
Wilton Magic- 5/1
High Rise- 12/1
Last Emperor- 6/1
Amys Lotto- 6/1
Newinn Wonder- 3/1
With no betting available yet it’s difficult to even know where to begin when previewing this. So starting with the top quarter you’d certainly have to think that Tilford Tom is the standout dog. A Trial Stake winner on the opening weekend of last season, Tom marked out his quality in Abbeyfeale where he clinched the Corn na Feile. After appearances in the Derby and Irish Cup he returned this season in Listowel were he ran out winner of a competitive Cup beating dogs of the quality of Bridewell Kieran and Longmeadow Raz. I certainly fancy him to get out of the quarter then anything could happen.
The second quarter throws up some interesting runners most notably Screwdriver, winner of the White Sands Hotel Cup in Ballyheigue. Screwdriver, a Trial Stake winner in Galbally at the turn of the year, has shown real quality and points and if he’s on form he’ll be hard to turn over. Among the potential opponents him are Ashwood James who began to realise his true potential on his last outing in Ballyduff. Ashwood had always shown fantastic foot for a round or two but seemed to find it impossible to string two or three together in a row. Last time out he managed it beating King Rooney and Kyle Dixie enroute to the final.
All The Sand is certainly an interesting opponent for Ashwood. He’s only had the one outing this season, reaching the third round in Glin before being withdrawn. He was a semi-finalist in both Glin and Borris-in-Ossory Trial Stakes last season and could well be a lively outsider in this quarter.
The third quarter is perhaps the strongest of the whole competition with all four dogs currently sitting on 4 Champion Stake points. The meeting of Kyle Leigh and Wilton Magic jumps of the screen as the meeting of the weekend and in the circumstances perhaps the season. Kyle Leigh is returning from an injury sustained in running up the Stephen Fuller Cup in Kilflynn. He was the hard luck dog of last season losing out in the semi-final of the Derby having run unsighted. If at his very best then he could well be the one to beat, but what effect will the injury have had?
Wilton Magic claimed his first All Age Cup of the season at his second attempt having previously reached the semi-final of the Irish Cup last February. Wilton is certainly a dog with the sort of pace needed to compete with Kyle Leigh. This clash promises to be a thriller. Coyote and Dangerousredhead both have chances but it’s difficult to see them competing for major honours.
The return of Newinn Wonder is certainly noteworthy, the litter brother of Thomas The Tank was the fastest dog in Clonmel last year in the opening round but disappointed both there and in Limerick. If he’s matured then he could be a live contender to win the Munster Cup. He won’t get anything easy here especially in the opening round with Amy Lotto a Cup winner last time out his opponent. Last Emperor too, a likely second round opponent will be hoping to make up for running up the Cup in Galway and Oranmore on his last appearance.