Can Bruno deliver the knockout punch?

There’s plenty at stake in Dundalk over Christmas as the Dundalk and Dowdallshill Club host their annual meeting with the Corn Cuchullain as ever the main draw. With so few 32 All Age Cups held outside of the southwest of the country this stake offers dogs in the midlands and north a fantastic opportunity to make massive gains in the Champion Stakes standings.

Corn Cuchullain– Draw and Betting

Bakers Miler- 16/1
Condo- 10/1

Havana Harry- 14/1
Glenvale Mattie- 14/1

Dale Pinocchio- 3/1
Grayacre Star- 3/1

Central Phoenix- 5/1
Lotus Paddy- 16/1
Great Ocean- 16/1
Loyal Liam- 4/1

Barrack West- 16/1
Colossal Force- 16/1

Mendocino Talk- 10/1
Diesel Henry- 7/1

Fingal Raptor- 6/1
Wallace Club- 8/1
Ougham Star- 14/1
Phoenix Bruno- 5/2

Broadwell James- 10/1
Cobbs Clock- 12/1

Bullring Blonde- 16/1
Derryveen Darlin- 16/1

Mulboy Girl- 12/1
Rocky Hill- 8/1
Fingal Developer- 8/1
Paramaddan Buzz- 6/1

Speed Dial- 12/1
Shaunanne Racer- 14/1

Rossmore- 12/1
Eltham Daisy- 14/1

Hollyhill Marlyn- 12/1
Garrys Secret- 6/1

Front Runners

At the outset it’s probably best to list the dogs that need to win to make the Champion Stakes or at least give themselves a shot at Powerstown. Interestingly the favourite for the Cup here Derby quarter finalist and Derby Trial Stake winner here last year Phoenix Bruno hasn’t any Champion Stakes points to his name as of yet this season.

Condo– 2 points, €660
Dale Pinocchio– 4 points, €1,500
Grayacre Star– 8 points, €3,000
Central Phoenix– 4 points, €1,500
Loyal Liam– 4 points, €1,200
Cobbs Clock– 2 points, €450
Bullring Blonde– 2 points, €400
Mulboy Girl– 2 points, €500
Rocky Hill– 2 points, €450
Hollyhill Marlyn– 4 points, €1,500
Garrys Secret– 4 points, €1,200

There’s clearly plenty of depth in the stake but a closer analysis of the draw would certainly lead me to identify a couple of dogs who could make a big impact.

Phoenix Bruno‘s the obvious choice. He’s clearly a fan of the field having won last year and was progressing well on his only outing of the season back over 2 months ago in Edenderry before being withdrawn at the semi-final stage. You would have to fancy him to get out of his quarter of the draw if he can repeat his form from Clonmel earlier this year.

In the second quarter Loyal Liam looks well capable of progressing through here. He’s nothing if not reliable and got a well deserved success in Balbriggan on his last outing. He ran well at this venue 12 months ago losing out narrowly to Phoenix Bruno in the semi-final and giving the eventual winner his closest buckle of the two days. Both Diesel Henry (formerly known as Ballyhill Seles) and Fingal Raptor a semi-finalist in this Cup last season could cause upsets but I’d expect Liam to reach the semi final.

The bottom quarter contains the ladies and you could make an argument for three or four here. Garrys Secret‘s recent win in East Donegal puts her near the head of the list and she meets the Oaks finalist from here last season, Hollyhill Marlyn. The Oaks Trial Stake winner 12 months ago returns to try and win the stake here with Fingal Developer. She meets puppy Paramaddan Buzz in the first go, Buzz having won her Trial Stake in Balbriggan. If Garrys Secret is at her best then she will take plenty of beating.

The top quarter has been left to last and looks like a cracking opening to the stake. The meeting of Grayacre Star and Dale Pinocchio is sure to set pulses racing. Grayacre was a finalist here last year and has collected two cups to date this season. Dale finally got his season on track on his last appearance winning in Old Kilcullen and he could kick on here. I’d be of the opinion that Pinocchio’s ceiling may be higher than Grayacre’s, however the latter has shown a great deal more consistency.

Central Phoenix hasn’t appeared from winning the Cup in Liscannor on the opening weekend of the season when ground conditions were fairly firm. It’ll be interesting to see what he can produce here. He remains something of an unknown quantity.


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