Kilflynn: Stephen Fuller Memorial Cup preview

The standout stake of the opening weekend of the season is the 32 dog Stephen Fuller Memorial Cup in Kilflynn. With some of last season’s top prospects in the field and a couple of non-Trial Stake winners who looked better than average last season it looks sure to be an intriguing stake.

The ante-post favourite for the stake is Irish Cup semi-finalist Fleetwood Nova and he’s joined in the field by Trial Stake winners Hi Black Jack, Call Him Bale, Killeagh Jingles, Wiseguy Paddy, City Leader, Tellmenolies, Must Name Him, Gurteen Vince, Cuban Ando and Maker of Rules. The draw and the betting can be seen below:

Stephen Fuller Memorial Cup

Downton Shadow- 6/1
Speckled Star- 12/1

Cill Ide Riocht- 5/1
Wiseguy Paddy- 6/1

Winter Of Fun- 12/1
Duarigle Mystic- 6/1

Glenduff Alesso- 14/1
Fleetwood Nova- 3/1
———————-

Skellig Sunlight- 4/1
Inslips Dynamo- 12/1

Coyote- 8/1
Getinaboot- 8/1

Highland Heather- 8/1
Must Name Him- 7/1

Maker Of Rules- 6/1
Tellmenolies- 10/1
———————————

Hi Black Jack- 5/1
Kilbreedy Rock- 10/1

Bricklane Bobby- 12/1
Gurteen Vince- 8/1

Dynamic Atom- 5/1
Cloughtany Time- 12/1

Floating Patriot- 12/1
City Leader- 6/1
——————————-

Call Him Bale- 5/1
Ballybeg Dynamo- 12/1

Frenchfort Tom- 14/1
Killeagh Jingles- 8/1

Sombrero Jack- 14/1
Lisahane Adios- 14/1

Cuban Ando- 6/1
Rocking Master- 10/1

Front Runners

It really is difficult to knock the form of Fleetwood Nova, a dog who I have a lot of respect for. The Trial Stake winner in New Ross early last season he has shown then that he has no problem finding form early in the year. Having reached the 3rd round of the Derby looking very good in the process and showed that his showing in Clonmel had been no fluke as he reached the semi-final of the Irish Cup in Limerick. He’d be well fancied to get over his first round but could meet a difficult challenge in the relatively lightly coursed Duarigle Mystic who showed good form in his first outing last season.

Also in the top quarter the beautifully bred Downton Shadow, a son of Bexhill Eoin and Qualityandgold, has shown some very good form last season reaching the finals of Trial Stakes in Sevenhouses and Bandon. He could well meet Wiseguy Paddy in the second round, Paddy won the Trial Stake in Tralee at Christmas but was unable to take his place in the National Meeting. It’ll be interesting to see if he can maintain that form.

The second quarter has three Trial Stake winners at the bottom of it but the favourite is Skellig Sunlight, a son of Adios Alonso and Oaks winner Skellig Babe. Sunlight only appeared twice last season but looked the part without ever claiming silverware. Given that Skellig Way, Skellig Sunrise and Skellig Eoin all won Cups without winning Trial Stake’s last season it’s certainly not something I’d hold against him. Coyote and Getinaboot, his potential second round opponents have proven to be difficult to beat at their best but if Sunlight has aspirations to bigger thing’s he’d need to be making the last 8.

Despite being in the bottom of this quarter with three Trial Stake winners I wouldn’t write off the chances of Highland Heather. He’d shown plenty of ability last season reaching the semi-final in Abbeydorney on his first appearance, beaten by Eshwary Leader before reaching the final of the Cavan Trial Stake. He must have picked up an injury after this reappearing once again in the Puppy Stake in Limerick. Having knocked out Derby semi-finalist Light Duty he certainly wasn’t disgraced against impressive winner Crafty Who. He could well be the surprise packet of this whole field.

In saying that Must Name Him can’t be written off. A Trial Stake winner in Fermoy he finished his season well losing out in the Champion Puppy final at the Co. Tipperary meeting. Both Maker Of Rules and Tellmenolies will be hoping to mame up for disappointing ends to last season. They have shown more than enough ability to make an impact on this cup if they can repeat their Trial Stake winning form.

Hi Black Jack is certainly the standout name in the third quarter but the Tradaree Trial Stake winner last season certainly won’t get things all his own way in a quarter that includes City Leader, Floating Patriot and Dynamic Atom. The latter pair showed good form last season, while City Leader won himself a Trial Stake at the Ballymena meeting.

Call Him Bale, Killeagh Jingle and Cuban Ando should all contest the third quarter, with TA Morris runner up Call Him Bale a real fancy. A return to the field where he won his reserve Trial Stake could really trigger some very good form to Killeagh Jingles who looks a tasty price at 8-1 to regain some good form.

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