Almost every season there are a handful of third season dogs who upset their younger colleagues and claim cups and fantasy points. You only need to look at Skellig Way, Bridewell Kieran and Latest Trick in the season just gone as an example. This season who should we be on the look out for?
(Murtys Blaze x Chubbys Excel)
Declared Champion Stakes winner and Irish Cup semi-finalist, Mr Blonde had the sort of year last year that few would have expected. Highly touted as a pup he never really got things together but with a bit more maturity he made an almost instant impact reaching the final of the Desmond Cup in Glin where he was beaten in the final by Mr Blonde.
Having shown he could mix it with the best dogs in the country he won next time out taking the Corn Ceatharlach at the Co. Carlow meeting. His next appearance saw him attempt to win the Corn na Feile but a heavy hunt earlier in the competition meant that he was no match for Skellig Way in the final. He would meet Skellig Way again in the semi-final of the Champion Stakes in Clonmel and having trailed for a large part of the course just drove in on his quarry at the right time to shade the verdict. He would later be declared winner following Corriga Rebel’s final disqualification.
As if to show that his Champion Stakes exploits were no fluke he made a long run to the semi-final of the Irish Cup before eventually losing out to Eshwary Leader. There’s every chance he could pick up a cup or two this season.
(Kyle James x Shades of Oak)
Another of the surprise packages of 2013-2014, Amys Lotto was extremely reliable last season despite coming into the season with no outstanding form as a pup. A semi-finalist in his first outing at Castleisland, he lost out to Hopes and Dreams. Next time out at Ballyduff, the son of Kyle James and Shades of Oaks sprang yet more surprises beating Kingdom Call, Latest Trick and Ashwood James to claim the Kit Browne North Kerry Cup.
He got the better of Newinn Wonder and Last Emperor in the Munster Cup at Newcastlewest before losing out to Kyle Leigh in the semi-final and again reached the semi-final of the 32 dog cup in Templetuohy before losing to Loyal Lyric to qualify for the Champion Stakes. He beat Offshore Town and Bridewell Kieran to reach the semi-final before losing narrowly to the later disqualified Corriga Rebel. He would later lose in Limerick to top pups Fleetwood Nova and Needham Danger.
Man Of War
(Adios Alonso x Moonlit Harbour)
Having impressed as a pup winning the TA Morris Derby Purse at Clonmel, Man Of War was one of my leading dogs to follow last season. He didn’t disappoint in what we saw of him, winning the 32 dog Horgan Cup in Abbeydorney on his first appearance. Having impressed here he got the better of Skellig Sunrise and Broadwell James in Lifford before suffering a season hampering hoch injury in the final.
While he competed in the opening round of the Champion Stakes, the injury saw his withdrawn after the first round. He would go onto Limerick and run into Eshwary Leader in the opening round of the Irish Cup before not taking his place in the consolation events. If he is over his injury from last season and with the summer to rest it there’s every reason to believe he is then he could well take plenty of beating this year.
(Kyle James x Leigh Smokey)
Having been extremely unlucky in the semi-final of the 2013 Derby, Kyle Leigh’s luck didn’t get a great deal better last season. He’s still only made four appearances in his career, winning the Trial Stake in Regional on debut before running brilliantly to reach the semi-final of the 2013 Derby.
On his first appearance last season he reached the final in the Stephen Fuller Memorial Cup in Kilflynn, just finding Skellig Way, who was probably at the peak of his powers, too good in the final. After sustaining an injury he had a couple of months of but emerged refreshed in Newcastlewest proving an excellent winner of the Munster Cup.
That was the last we seen of him last season but he could well re-appear early this season and he’d certainly be one to keep on the right side of. Still fairly fresh he could make a real run at end of season silverware.
(Kyle James x Ashwood Dee)
One appearance last season. One Cup. Pocketrocketben was one of the most unfortunate dogs of the 2013-2014 season losing the year to injury. Only just beaten by Thomas The Tank in the second round of the 2013 Derby, he showed class and exceptional early pace reaching the semi-final of the Irish Cup. Only the one outing last term, winning the Cup in Killimer- Kilrush beating Skellig Sunrise in the final.
If back to his best he’d certainly be fancied to add to his haul of silverware!