There’s a cracking cup to end the season in Sevenhouses this Saturday as a number of dogs attempt to make one final push for a place in Powerstown Park for the National Meeting. It’s a pup however who leads the betting.
Seamus Hughes Memorial Cup– Draw and Betting
Sir Harvey- 5/1
Marshals Duke- 14/1
Mission Approved- 10/1
Ballinabola Road- 6/1
Moat Henry- 8/1
Dynamic Billy- 5/2
Cracking Jet- 8/1
Phoenix Frankel- 3/1
Game Miller- 6/1
Loose Chippings- 14/1
Intacta Banba- 4/1
Joans Boss- 14/1
Needham Coin- 6/1
Catunda Magic- 10/1
Smokey Millie- 6/1
It’s strange when you have an Irish Cup finalist and 9 All Age Cup winners in a field that a pup who has yet to win a Trial Stake is the 5-2 outright favourite. That’s the case this weekend however in Sevenhouses as Pa Fitzgerald’s Dynamic Billy gets ready to meet his elders in All Age competition.
Billy had 6 runs less than a fortnight ago in Abbeyfeale as he ran up the Derby Trial Stake there and makes his return this weekend. The son of Kingsmill Dynamo and Polar Lights has raised 12 flags this season and was 1-2 favourite heading into the semi-finals of the Trial Stake in Abbeyfeale. He’ll have his work cut out for him in Sevenhouses though against some quality and experienced dogs.
He meets the reliable Moat Henry in the opening round of the meeting and he’s a dog who has shown he can mix it in top company so far this season. A beaten finalist in Carlow earlier in the season, he reached the semi-final in Mooncoin on his last outing. Joining them in this quarter are two dogs who have shown a real return to form in Phoenix Frankel and Cracking Jet.
Frankel returned to action in Rathdowney, reaching a final only to be beaten by Central Curator. He’d shown real class last year in winning the Corn Cuchullain in Dundalk after winning his Trial Stake. He’ll like the longer field here and is certainly one to consider.
He meets Cracking Jet, a dog who showed a real return to form on his last outing in Borrisoleigh where he claimed the Hitchens Post Cup. He’d struggled after a good start to the season but with the wind back in his sails he could be dangerous. With 6 points in the Champion Stakes bank already he’s not without a chance of getting into the National Meeting.
The top quarter also contains 4 dogs who have won Cups over the last couple of years, however Marshals Duke has struggled to maintain that level of form. His first round opponent is one that really interests me however in the form of Sir Harvey. The well bred South Clare Cup winner missed his puppy season but impressed in a duffer in Lifford sharing the stake. His second appearance saw him triumph and he comes here as an unlikely challenger for a Champion Stakes place but a challenger nonetheless.
Mission Approved, a 32 dog Cup winner this season, is a massive 10-1. Considering that he’s only been beaten by Intacta Banba and Skellig Way this season that seems like a big price. A litter brother of Thomas The Tank, he mightn’t have the same class but he’s not without a chance here. He meets Ballinabola Road, a dog who has struggled to reclaim his form from New Ross earlier in the season.
Provided he can remain sound Intacta Banba looks the pick of the bottom half of the draw. He was withdrawn from the second round of his last outing in North Kilkenny but has shown enough pace and class over the last 14 months to really be in the reckoning here. If he’s not at his best then Game Miller looks like the dog to pick up the pieces.
Both bitches at the bottom of the draw, Smokey Millie and Dependable will have Champion Bitch Stake aspirations and currently sit on 6 points each. The former has performed well in her last couple of appearances winning most recently in Mooncoin. She got the better of Dependable in the final there and connections will be hoping for a repeat performance.