A strong field has been assembled in Mooncoin for the annual two day Christmas meeting with Mr Blonde, Hopes and Dreams, Moat Henry and Newinn Wonder amongst others all looking like creditable challengers for the silverware.
All Age Cup
Hopes And Dreams
Cul Na Gour
Two Hot Brandys
This is probably the strongest cup over the Christmas period on paper at least (although there are one or two that haven’t been drawn yet) and it features a number of dogs who will have real hopes of winning either the Champion Stakes or the Irish Cup this February.
It’s far from the simplest of stakes to price up but one would imagine that Mr Blonde could well start favourite here given his fine form this season. It was known last season that he was well regaurded by connections however he never quite found the consistency required to challenge for a stake. This season however he proved just what he was capable of early on reaching the final of the Desmond Cup, one of the season’s most competitive, losing out to Latest Trick. On his next appearance he went one better winning the Cup in Carlow and setting himself up for a tilt at the Champion Stakes.
Also in the bottom half of the draw is Moat Henry, the Trial Stake winner here 12 months ago and finalist on his last outing. Henry missed the Derby through injury last year but reached the last 8 of the Desmond Cup on his return. He’s only had two outings since, the most notable of which was running up the Cup in Carlow to his potential 2nd round opponent Henry. Is there any reason to believe that he might reverse the form?
Offshore Eoin is another with some potential in the bottom half having recaptured some form in Balbriggan in his last outing reaching the final (albeit after two bye courses). If he can recapture his form of 12 months ago he can be a real threat. Having had a slow start to the season running into winners in Westmeath, Crohane and Cavan, Eoin’s most recent effort makes him worth noting. Marshals Duke is his first round opponent however he’s struggled over the course of the past year having won this Cup 12 months ago.
In the top half Newinn Wonder is sure to be near the head of the betting. Making his return in Newcastlewest he’d been fancied but ran unsighted crashing out in the opening round. He’s not the most consistent of dogs, or at least he hasn’t yet shown the kind of consistency I’d be hoping for, but there’s no doubting he’s got serious gears when he gets it right. I’d be hopeful of a big run from him here.
Hopes and Dreams has had an up and down kind of year but after a break of over a month he may be suitably refreshed for the challenge here. A winner in Castleisland earlier in the season he could certainly be doing with the points here if he is to retain his Champion Stakes crown.
Of the others, I was a big fan of Dustys Blueboy last year but it’d be hard to support him given that he’s been out for over a year. If he’s at his best he could well cause surprises. Southwell Novak meanwhile recently won a stake in Rathkeale and could well have come on for the experience.