There’s been something of a lull in proceedings over the last couple of weeks but things are about to hot up all over again as the Christmas programme gets into gear. We’re really entering the business end of the season now where the final make-up of the stakes in Clonmel will be decided and where the Oaks and Derby contenders begin to move to the fore.
Things get underway on Saturday with the North Kilkenny meeting with the Walsh Cup. Intacta Banba, Irish Cup finalist last year makes only his second appearance of the year having reached the semi final in Glin. King Rooney’s in the field to try and win a Cup on the same field where he won his Trial Stake 12 months ago while Bridies Dashing and Master Jackpot will be hoping to make breakthroughs having come close on a couple of occasions this year. The All Age Bitch Stake sees Minorcas Flyer, Crafty Diviso, Minorcas Flyer and Skellig Lola all try and advance Champion Bitch Stake aspirations.
There’s a fantastic looking field assembled in Mooncoin in for the Cup there with Newinn Wonder, Hopes and Dreams, Mr Blonde, Moat Henry and Offshore Eoin all pencilled in to take their chance. If the Cups half as good as it looks on paper then it’ll certainly be worth the entry fee. The bitch stake looks as good if not better with Phoenix Tango, Dependable, Ardnalee Eva, Gillogue Magic, Quarrymount Gaga, Moat Missy and Catunda Magic amongst others aiming to points.
In Wexford, Carricktobin Lad returns once more along with Wyken Power, Belfast Boy and Ballinabola Road amongst others as they try to claim silverware and much needed Champion Stake points. The Bitch Stake sees Oaks favourite Turbo Julie make a re-appearance while Roadside Lady, Ravel Glory, Box On Katie and Ballinveala Wren who makes her first appearance in two months could all go close.
The Kingdom Cup, at the Co Kerry meeting in Tralee is most notable for the inclusion of Pocketrocketben, who is by some distance the standout name. Victory here could well see him into the Champion Stakes although with 5 courses to overcome first these things are rarely that straight forward. In the Bitch Stake Bucks Honey and Chow Chow will be hoping to secure Champion Bitch Stake places with strong performances.
Fuller previews will appear over the coming days.