Black Jack favourite but Mr Blonde the dog to beat?

The Connacht Cup is the main draw at Masonbrook Meadow at the weekend and it promises to be a very open affair with a number of dogs holding strong claims. Foremost among them is Mr Blonde with local dog Crafty Yahoo, Hi Black Jack and Echo Johnny also in the running.

Connacht Cup– Draw and Betting

Glenrock Rebel- 10/1
Fee Fontaine- 6/1

Wicklow Hills- 10/1
HI Black Jack- 2/1

Toms Wizard- 8/1
Mr Blonde- 3/1

Crafty Yahoo- 4/1
Munie Gang- 6/1
Eanna- 10/1
Larchill Logo- 10/1

Echo Johnny- 4/1
Barkatthemooon- 6/1

Highland Heather- 6/1
Wheres Cranny- 6/1

Cloonturk Bex- 8/1
Windfarm Ben- 8/1


Front Runners

Mr Blonde to my mind is the front runner here and is a fair enough price at 3-1. He could well be in the stronger half of the draw though which might make his passage through the stake far from straight forward. After some fine performances last season Mr Blonde made his seasonal bow in Glin losing out in the semi-final to winner Lochbo Charlie. He could well strip fitter for that experience here and shouldn’t be too far away if at his best.

In his quarter Crafty Yahoo performed very well for a July pup last season running up the TS in Loughrea before eventually winning his TS in Borrisoleigh. You’d imagine there’ll have been some improvement in him over the summer so he could well be very competitive here. He has a tough opening round draw against Munie Gang who has shown ability in the past but Yahoo would, on known form, be favoured.

In the top quarter, the favourite Hi Black Jack is set to take his chance a week after running into Skellig Sunlight in the first round in Cashel. He wasn’t beaten far in that course and you’d think that a repeat performance in his opening couple of courses should see him into the semi-final.

The opening buckle of the round could well be between Highland Heather and Wheres Cranny in the bottom quarter. Heather dodged his opening round engagement in Kilflynn but should be competitive here. He showed on his three appearances last season a lot of ability, including beating Light Duty at Limerick, and might well be the dog to beat in the bottom half. Wheres Cranny has won on this field last season and could well be a very interesting competitor making his first appearance from winning the Galway and Oranmore Trial Stake here.

In the third quarter Echo Johnny and Barkatthemoon should be a fascinating contest with both having shown some form as pups. Echo Johnny won the Trial Stake in Millstreet at the end of last season having had some decent performances up until that point. He was a June pup and might have some room for improvement in the All Age ranks. Barkatthemoon reached three semi-finals last season, including at this field and has shown ability. Whether he performed to his limit as a pup remains to be seen.


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