Having had a couple of days to reflect on the National Meeting I thought I’d come up with a list of people who enjoyed good weeks and bad weeks at the National Meeting aside from the obvious Derby/ Oaks/ Champion Stakes winners.
Strictly speaking a winner, but one who’s been a little overlooked. This lady came from a litter (March Is On ex Big Maggie) that really caught my eye in Ballyheigue earlier in the season. On that occasion Turning Pace and two litter sisters reached the Oaks Trial Stake semi-final in a stake won by Bower Lucy. She reached two finals before winning in Abbeyfeale and winning the Kitty Butler here was a tremendous achievement. Turning Pace proved herself to be an Iron Lady this season winning 21 of 25 courses, including five runs up Powerstown Park. Quite the feat.
Freshford Coursing Club
Most clubs are honoured to have one Derby winner in a generation (there are 70+ clubs after all). But Freshford have had two Derby Trial Stake winners claim the Classic in consecutive years is something that’s almost unprecedented in recent years.
East Donegal Coursing Club
The Lifford club have the distinction of being the only club to stage, not one, but two meetings each season. The record of these meetings producing top quality dogs over recent years has also been excellent, most notably Derby winners Go Home Hare and Central City won at the field before their classic success (in Central’s case it was an All Age Cup he won). It can be no fluke then that the meeting produced not one but two of the semi-finalists in the Derby in Light Duty and Fingal Master.
Of all the feats over the course of the week, that one bitch has thrown two Oaks winners and a Champion Bitch Stake winner in two season’s is remarkable. The Fieldings in Mooncoin never managed to win any silverware on the field with her but she’s proving to be the top brood in the country over the past couple of years.
Not such a great week
I’m not writing this to crib about any one slip or incident. The slippers had a difficult job over the three days, particularly on the Saturday with the hares being taken offline in the wind and driving rain. However the lack of consistency in the length of slips was a real talking point at Powerstown particularly on the Sunday and Monday. There were straight ups and there were slips so short the ray timer wasn’t broken. Hopefully better weather can see things improve next year.
There will be one or two exceptions here but by and large the bookmakers got the best of the exchanges. Not only were the ante-post favourites in both Derby and Oaks gone by the final morning (the second morning in the case of the Derby) but the Oaks winner could have been backed at 8-1 before coursing on Monday morning and the Champion Stakes was unheralded throughout.