National Meeting- Day One Thoughts

It was a very good day for the Michael O’Donovan kennel as all his major challengers for major honours worked their way into the second round. Chief among them was Boshski who was extremely impressive when seeing off Skellig Starwars in the fastest time of the opening round. With Curley trained bitches Two Steps Closer and Mantann Maple set to meet in the morning he’s sure to have at least one bitch less in the last 16. Timber House was very impressive, flying to opening course victory in the Derby in a time of 12.24 second, just behind Tullamoy Master who showed his class with a scintillating performance in the fastest time of the day.

There were two major surprises on the day notably the defeats for Crushers Oak and Tobhar Na Molt in the Derby and Oaks respectively. Crushers defeat was flagged by the market in advance as he was absolutely friendless drifting from as short as 6-1 earlier in the week to 10-1 (if not bigger). Rumours that he was under the weather had surfaced earlier in the week and might well give some indication of why the books were happy to take him on. Tobhar Na Molt also produced an under power performance as she went down around half a length to Windfarm Ivy. It was the Blades of Glory pair, Breska Lantern and Boshski, however that stole the show.

Looking ahead to tomorrow and Somelittlelady will be fancied to make it to the last 8 from the top quarter. She could well meet the winner of Churchill Queen and Breska Lantern, the Pat Curtain trained Lantern with a length in hand on the clock. The absence of Laytown Girl before coursing put paid to my main ante-post interest and in her absence Magical Saorla looks the favourite to reach the quarter-final from this side of the draw. At the bottom of the opening half things look fairly open with Sequin leading on the clock by around a length from Dale Asgard and Annual Edition.

Litter sisters Jogon Jeanie and Jeffys Twinkle meet in the morning and could well decide who reaches the quarter-final in that part of the draw although, Tobhar Na Molt’s conquerer, Windfarm Ivy, will have something to say about that. Vienna Calling has a length and a half in hand on the clock on Coffee In Spirit and will be fancied to reach the quarter final. Boshski will be fancied to advance in the bottom quarter along with Inslips All In although Mantann Maple and Two Steps Closer might have other ideas.

In the Derby, Blades of Hope will be expected to advance to the last 8 with Crafty Tornado expected to get a bye after Arcade Maximus was on the end of a particularly independent minded hare! Tullamoy Master looks nailed on for the final 8 with three lengths in hand on most of his rivals. Portane All In and Living Next Door could fight out the third round tomorrow morning with next to nothing to separate them on the clock. Kyle Bruce and Call Up Pal were locked together on 12.35 seconds and with Timmie Trickibow on 12.40 seconds there’s little to choose in the bottom of the top half.

Feel My Pulse will take all the beating in the top of the bottom half, Chubbys Charmer probably the biggest challenger. Fingal Billy looks the likeliest quarter-final opponent with What A Legacy getting plenty of work when winning his buckle today. Timber House looked a class above anything he might meet tomorrow, but we’ve all seen enough coursing to know anything could happen in the morning! Defacto was the surprise package in the bottom half, clocking a very fast 12.32 seconds, and his meeting with Somelittlelord could decide the quarter-finalist from here.

Enjoy your Saturday night folks! I’m away to enjoy mine


Greyhound and Petworld Oaks Preview 2015

I’m just going to get straight into the Oaks Preview. Best of luck to everyone with runners.

First Quarter

There’s a fairly decent spread of bitches throughout the Oaks but the top quarter must ranks as one of the most difficult to call in the entire meeting. There are quite a few bitches in this stake that I’d have a decent regard for here, some well fancied and others flying under the radar. The betting would suggest that Tradaree Trial Stake winner Breska Lantern, trained by Pat Curtin, should be a comfortable semi-final qualifier. Things however are rarely that simple. Breska was undoubtedly impressive when winning her Trial Stake but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some concerns. Indeed her first round opponent Barrow Cockle is one that I’d have hoped to avoid if I’d owned a bitch in the Oaks. She showed serious pace in all her outings especially early and there might be a few happy to take Breska on in the short odds.

Outside of the favourite there are plenty of others here to keep on the right side of not least the two in the buckle preceding Breska’s appearance. Bated Breath has received fairly constant support and is currently 16-1 but she’s another I’d consider taking on with Churchill Queen the Trial Stake winner at a decent stake in Castleisland. She represents decent value at 25-1 considering how well the form worked out. Elsewhere in the quarter I’d give Leigh Snowie a chance on the basis of her North Kilkenny efforts although an injury setback there might have hindered her chances. Linden Village is another who was well thought of after her Trial Stake win and she’s in new training) hands for Clonmel. Another to consider is Somelittlelady the winner of the Puppy Stake in Mooncoin beating dogs in the process. She shouldn’t be completely written out of the quarter consideration.

Second Quarter

There’s been decent money for Laytown Girl over the last few days and she’s got a positive mention from a few seasoned observers. I have to admit that some of that money might well be mine. She blew the field away in Balbriggan after a decent gamble on course and then performed well among some very useful All Age Bitches in Borrisoleigh. She’s bred for Clonmel, by Razor Ashmore out of Call Biddy (mother of Call Her Now), and the draw hasn’t been unkind. I was also a fan of Crafty Merlano who had beaten her opponent here, Magical Saorla in Ballinagar, but that form took a dent in the Corn na Feile when Crafty made a first round exit..

In the bottom half of the quarter all the reports regarding Dale Asgard have been exceptionally positive. Bred from a Derby winner out of an Oaks winner, she should relish the Powerstown Park hill and has been near the head of the betting all year. She won her Trial Stake in a field that’s produced some useful ladies in the last few years, Central Heroine, Fingal Floss, Cearc Ghoir, Miss Fury and Rossmore to name five. The other one to interest me here is Cryptic Kerry, the Trial Stake winner in Abbeyfeale. She could well get over a round or two and maybe even more if she can bring her best form.

Third Quarter

This quarter revolves around the prospects of Tobar Na Molt now the joint favourite for the stake. Won in a draw run by Listowel Coursing Club, this lady is a beautifully bred half sister of Thomas The Tank and Newinn Wonder, and she’s been all the rage in the betting in the last couple of weeks. Her Trial Stake form from Lixnaw is certainly stacking up with Cryptic Kerry and Somelittlelady both ladies to be taken seriously. Her first round meeting with Windfarm Ivy, the East Donegal Trial Stake winner, pits the same connections (also owners of Barrow Cockle) against trainer Pat Curtin for the second time in the stake. It’s hard to know what to expect from Windfarm if truth be told.

Of the others in this quarter, there are a couple of relatively unknown quantities to keep an eye on. Matts Country won well in Cavan and held her clock fairly solidly throughout the stake. It was her first outing and any improvement on that wouldn’t give her too much to find with Dale Asgard. She meets Coffee In Spirit who was fairly impressive when claiming her Trial Stake ticket in Templetuohy. This buckle could well produce the last eight qualifier although Sunfire City, only a July pup when winning her Trial Stake might have something to say about that.

Fourth Quarter

The top half of the bottom quarter is another intriguing line-up. Boshski will be hoping to extend her lead on Skellig Starwars from Doon, when she hadn’t much to spare in their second round match up. Starwars went on to win her Trial Stake in fine style in North Kilkenny. The winner of this buckle could go a long way in this stake not just this quarter. Perhaps my pick for the quarter though is Manntan Maple. She was possibly the most impressive bitch I saw in action this season however there may be a small concern that she couldn’t win out in Edenderry. A Michael O’Donovan trained lady, she’s a daughter of Class Attraction and will enjoy the long Powerstown stretch. Two Steps Closer another of Curley’s ladies is in this quarter (he also has Boshksi) and she gained rave reviews for her efforts in Borrisoleigh, beating a couple of very good bitches along the way. Isabelles Charm, twice a runner-up before claiming the Trial Stake in Roscommon is also there to make this almost impossible to call!

The bottom half is headlined by Ballymac Adelpha a bitch that ran well in the Corn na Feile and may well improve as a June pup. She might be worth keeping on side.Tuscan Flavour‘s form in Tubbercurry is also fairly strong although she may not have had adequate time to recover from her exertions to go the whole way. Droopys Sugar got positive reviews in Waterford but the form from the stake isn’t strong while Coolree Nadene‘s looks fairly strong following her Castletowngeoghegan win.

Final Four Selections

Breska Lantern
Laytown Girl
Tobar Na Molt
Mantann Maple

Boylesports Derby Preview 2015

Apologies for the delay in getting the Derby preview together. An untimely virus on my computer has rendered it useless for the next 48 hours so I’m having to work off another computer.

As we seen 12 months ago, there is little predictable when it comes to the National Meeting. Last year’s Derby was a case in point. Between the weather, the slipping, the judging and most importantly the hares there are plenty of variables which could influence the outcome. All be can hope is that the best dogs and bitches win their respective stakes.

Anyhow, here are my opinions at the time of writing. They could well change by tonight!

First Quarter

In the first quarter things revolve around the ability of the Gerry Holian trained Blades of Hope. He showed real ability on debut in Nenagh running up to favourite Crushers Oaks before claiming his ticket in Castletowngeoghegan. Connections will certainly be happy with the draw and he’ll be fancied to get over the first couple of rounds. Leg It Fast or Brownes Kitchen are capable of springing a surprise in the second round if Blades is in any below power but if I’m honest I expect him to make the quarter final.

The bottom of the quarter should revolve around the mouth-watering buckle between Tullamoy Master and Stephens Owen. I held both dogs in high regard before the draw and I’m struggling to separate them. Tullamoy was the subject of plenty of rumours that he’d changed hands but as of yet nothing has changed (officially at least!) Stephens Owen won his Trial Stake in Gorey and did so in convincing fashion. I’m struggling to pick between them but Master might just get the nomination. Either way I expect the runner-up to give the TA Morris a decent rattle.

Of the others Game Mikey and Farnes Magic both won their Trial Stakes on long fields, Edenderry and East Donegal respectively, and they shouldn’t be written off. Farnes Magic’s half sister Garrys Secret reached the Oaks quarter final despite entering as relatively unfancied in the build up so he shouldn’t be overlooked.

Second Quarter

Portane All In comes here a real fancy following his impressive Trial Stake victory in Newcastlewest. He had caught the eye in Castleisland on debut before his withdrawal and was well fancied heading to the Limerick venue. Bred for Clonmel, the son of Mafi Magic and Newinn All In will be another reasonably happy with the draw. I would certainly expect him to get over the first couple of rounds before getting a stiffer test on the Sunday afternoon. The bottom section of this eighth could throw up a decent dog. Living Next Door is 20-1 though it’s difficult to make too strong of a case based on the form. His first round opponent Not Caught Yet did little wrong in Balbriggan and beat a couple of useful dogs along the way. He might surprise a few. The one that could spring a surprise or two is McBrides King who ran up to Needham Crystal in Tubbercurry. In a Trial Stake that was full of decent dogs King showed plenty of foot throughout the stake. He’s only a June pup and could surprise a few.

In the bottom half of the quarter Kyle Bruce is of real interest. His profile looks a lot like that of Kyle Leigh and Kyle Calvin, one outing, one win. His Trial Stake form stands up well and his handlers certainly know how to get a dog to Powerstown Park in peak form. His biggest danger in the quarter might be Cal Up Pal who has a little to find with the top dogs in this stake based on his Corn na Feile form but he did win the Troy Electrical Puppy Cup in Old Kilcullen that has worked out well in recent years. Timmie Trickibow‘s Trial Stake form from Milltown Malbay stands up to scrutiny and he has been maybe unfairly overlooked. Regardless though I expect Kyle Bruce to meet Portane All In in the quarter final.

Third Quarter

Crushers Oak is the stand out dog in the third quarter but it is a quarter that’s certainly not without banana skins. He meets Feel My Pulse in the opening round of the Derby, a repeat of their Nenagh clash and there are a few who feel Feel My Pulse might be able to reverse the form. I do feel however that Crushers Oak will take well to the field in Powerstown. He’s in the right hands with Gerry Holian and his pedigree would suggest he’ll stay the six rounds. Of the others in this half of the quarter Chubbys Charmer and Kyle Fionn might well offer a real threat in the second and third round. Kyle Fionn won what looks a decent Trial Stake in Thurles and given that his mother reached the Oaks semi-final there shouldn’t be too many concerns on that front. Chubbys Charmer, handled by Graham Holland, won impressively in Mooncoin and hasn’t too much to find with the All Age dogs who ran their to put himself in contention here.

In the bottom half of the quarter there are a couple worthy of mention, Fingal Billy in particular, has come in for some support. He won the Galway and Oranmore Trial Stake in Glin and is very well regarded by connections. Half brother Fingal Master has proven himself to be a classy type of dog this season and he took well to Powerstown Park. He has a tricky opener with Ardmore Rusty, the reserve Trial Stake winner in Cavan and Westport Trial Stake winner. He’s done precious little wrong and should he get over the first round , he could surprise a few. The other dog I’d hope to keep on side in this quarter is What A Legacy. He ran up to Corn na Feile winner Serene Angel on debut and then took the Trial Stake in Mitchelstown.

Fourth Quarter

The top half of this quarter is probably the strongest eighth of any in the draw. All the talk in recent days has been about Timber House trained by Michael O’Donavan. To be honest I’m not entirely blown away by his chances on paper at least but the money coming for him suggests he’s well regarded at home. I expect him to get over his opening course but think he’ll get a real buckle against Skellig Harbour, should he emerge from his first round. His trial in Sevenhouses impressed a number of seasoned observers and he’s seen some support this week. The other dog to keep onside is Corn na Feile winner Serene Angel, a dog who did precious little wrong in Abbeyfeale. He clocked well and could well meet kennel mate Timber House in the third round.

The bottom half of the quarter doesn’t look as strong. The meeting of Somelittlelord and District Twelve will be expected to provide the dog for the last 8 but there are a couple of others who might spring a surprise. Mallow winner Galbally Echo has only made one appearance this season and could well come in under the radar.

Last Four Prediction

It should be noted that while my predictions in the Oaks can hit from time to time, my predictions with the dogs are usually best ignored. There were a couple of difficult choices here. I’ve left out Blades Of Hope and included Tullamoy Master when I’m not even sure he’ll get beyond the opening round. Skellig Harbour gets a narrow vote over Timber House and Serene Angel. I’m not completely sold on Crushers Oak, especially at the current prices but he gets a narrow selection over Fingal Billy.

Tullamoy Master
Kyle Bruce
Crushers Oak
Skellig Harbour

As a bonus I thought I’d give the sponsors preview a bit of a plug!

Derby update- 27th January

I should have the Derby Preview online at 9am tomorrow morning.

With a couple of days to digest the draw at this stage things have gotten no clearer. However some off the prices offered post draw have drifted. In the interests of fairness I thought I’d include updated betting. Any shift in price has been highlighted in bold.

Meeting Qualifier Jan 27th Post Draw
Nenagh Crushers Oak 7 6
Ballyduff Timber House 8 10
Newcastlewest Portane All In 10 10
Castleisland Kyle Bruce 12 12
Castletowngeoghegan Blades Of Hope 12 12
Galway and Oranmore Fingal Billy 14 14
Listowel Serene Angel 14 14
Dungannon Tullamoy Master 16 16
Gorey Stephens Owen 16 16
Mooncoin Chubbys Charmer 16 16
Abbeydorney Skellig Harbour 20 20
Rathcormac Living Next Door 20 20
Rathkeale Leg It Fast 20 20
Ballyheigue Brownes Kitchen 25 20
Freshford Thats The Man 25 20
Glin Somelittlelord 25 25
Edenderry Game Mikey 25 25
Mallow Galbally Echo 25 25
Thurles Kyle Fionn 25 25
Miltown Malbay Timmie Trickibow 25 25
Borris-in-Ossory Red Mania 25 25
Co. Kerry Ramona Misty 25 25
Knockgraffon Feel My Pulse 28 25
Balbriggan Not Caught Yet 28 25
Roscommon Funny Alonso 28 25
Cashel Kingcormac Fairy 33 25
Wexford & Dist Ashmore Phantom 33 25
Abbeyfeale Cash Call 33 25
Kilcreevin & Ballymote Call Here Alonso 33 25
Fermoy and Grange Macroney Rebel 33 33
Trim District Twelve 33 33
Enniscorthy Ashwood Alonso 33 33
Mitchelstown What A Legacy 33 33
Dungarvan Sharp Edge 33 33
Templetuohy Micks Victory 33 33
Ballymena Annual Assembley 33 33
Tubbercurry McBrides King 33 33
Loughrea Call Up Pal 40 33
East Donegal Farnes Magic 40 33
East Donegal Rory For Glory 40 33
North Kilkenny Defacto 40 33
Galbally Beef Budget 40 33
Millstreet Crafty Tornado 40 33
Westport Ardmore Rusty 40 40
Dundalk & D’Hill Gortmelia Gift 40 40
Westmeath United Judiligence 50 33
Lixnaw Tromora Master 50 33
Old Kilcullen Mulboy Branan 50 40
Tradaree Derrylough Henry 50 40
Cork Bower King 50 40
Crohane and Killenaule Attention Matey 50 50
Charleville Tilted Moon 50 50
Limerick City Quasimodo Raz 50 50
Ardpatrick & Kil Galtee Boy 50 50
Bandon and Careys X Carrowkeal Gavin 50 50
Clonakilty Crafty Resino 50 50
South Clare Woodpark Alonso 50 50
Co. Carlow Fingal Yank 66 50
Clonmel & Kilsheelan Arcade Maximus 66 50
Glanworth Game Eanna 66 50
Rathdowney Doomore Dave 66 50
Regional Rathfort James 100 50
Borrisoleigh Fergal 100 66
Liscannor Shyan Jonboy 100 100

Kevin Smith Champion Stakes Preview

Well it was certainly a draw worth waiting for on Sunday night when the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes draw was revealed. All eyes were on the favourite Needham Danger to see who he would draw and in the end he drew just about the one dog he’d have hoped to avoid!

Kevin Smith Champion Stakes– Draw and Betting
(Best available price with Boyles and Brownes)

Avenue Ranger- 10/1
Bango Malone- 20/1

Blueview Charlie- 10/1
Tynwald Ash- 13/2

Marshals Mercury- 20/1
Hotspot- 20/1

Needham Work- 3/1
Roquefort Barney- 13/2
Tilford Tom- 8/1
Kyle Roger- 6/1

Vale View Flyer- 5/1
Eastern Shore- 20/1

Needham Danger- 9/4
Fingal Master- 5/1

Floating Patriot- 9/1
Skellig Sunlight- 14/1

Front Runners

Needham Danger has certainly been the form dog this season winning the 32 dog John Prendiville Memorial Cup in Listowel and the Corn na Feile All Age in Abbeyfeale on his only two outings. He is however returning to the scene of what was probably his greatest disappointment, losing out here in the opening round of the Derby 12 months ago. That’s the doubt that hangs in the back of my mind about what is quite clearly one of the top pups of his generation. He’s already beaten Kyle Roger and Tilford Tom this season and on the back of his success in Abbeyfeale is the 9/4 favourite.

In Fingal Master however, Danger probably couldn’t have chosen a more difficult or tricky opponent. A semi-finalist on this field last season he’s always struck me as a dog that appreciates the longer stretch and his form this season, a blow out in Enniscorthy aside, has been rock solid. Indeed his victory in Johnstown was particularly impressive account in fine style for Skellig Sunlight and Corriga Rebel amongst others. If he’d been drawn in the top half he’d certainly have been shorter in the betting but the fear for Fingal might be he’s meeting Danger in the wrong round. That said I still think he’ll give Needham a real run for his money.

The quarter is filled out by Floating Patriot and Skellig Sunlight two dogs who might well have hoped for more straight forward draws. A winner in Kilflynn on the opening weekend of the season and then in Killimer- Kilrush he’s beaten some of the more fancied runners in this stake including Kyle Roger and Vale View Flyer and with a lay-off from mid-November he’ll certainly be primed for a run. Skellig Sunlight in comparison has been kept busy right to the end of the season to secure his qualification. Sunlight would be a nightmare draw from my perspective because, on his day, he can really turn it on. He has been prone however to a below par run and that would leave him hard to fancy to win this outright.

In the third quarter I really can’t separate a number of the dogs. Kyle Roger always possessed ability and of late he seems to have been able to string a series of runs together. His Kingdom Cup victory puts him right in the frame here. His form has improved as the year has gone on, however he might well have hoped for an easier opener. Tilford Tom all but secured his place in Clonmel relatively early in the season and will have been targeted here from a long way out. He’s been a remarkable servant for connections over the last three seasons and it’d be great to see this year’s Island Cup winner claim silverware at the biggest meeting of them all. Whether he has the pace to overcome Kyle Roger in the opening round is open to debate.

Also in this quarter Vale View Flyer is fancied to overcome Eastern Shore and pick up where he left off last season before he was withdrawn. Vale View has plenty of gears and has been very consistent this season. His form on the field also makes him one to watch come the weekend. He meets Eastern Shore, a dog who did most of his winning early in the season however he did claim much needed points in Clonakilty. It’ll be interesting to see how he does when pitted in against the top dogs.

The clash of Needham Work and Roquefort Barney promises to be a buckle of real interest to many. Needham Work has hardly put a foot wrong this season winning Cups in Ballyduff and Newcastlewest in fine style. There might well be a view that he still has plenty to prove, but to date the son of Bexhill Eoin and Gadget Girl is unbeaten. Roquefort Barney has won twice in three outings this season, his only defeat coming at Christmas at the hands of Skellig Sunlight. I’m still not entirely convinced by him however and would have to plump with Needham Work.

Marshals Mercury makes his debut in Powerstown Park at the weekend and connections might well fancy their chances against the track-bred Hotspot but the Seamus Hughes Cup winner in Sevenhouses comes to Clonmel in good form. Mercury in comparison claimed his victories early in the season, the second coming in early November. While it’s hard to get a real grasp on where both dogs stand, it’s hard to see the winner accounting for Needham Work or Roquefort Barney on Monday.

In the top quarter Bango Malone has been a dog I’ve been sweet on all season and I’m not about to abandon him now. He’s got plenty of gears and running fresh he’ll give Avenue Ranger plenty to consider in the opening round. Ranger, like Bango has been a revelation this season, claiming two Cups and reaching the final of a third. The Dan Brassil trained hound saw of Kyle Roger in Rathkeale and a fancied Black And White in Dungarvan. He could well shock one or two if he can see off Bango.

Blueview Charlie‘s participation has been in doubt since he pulled up in Dundalk on St Stephen’s Day. At the minute he’s an intended runner and I hope he gets to take his place. A winner in Edenderry and Old Kilcullen he’s won at fields of contrasting length, and ordinarily I’d have been positive about his claims in Powerstown Park. However concerns about just how much work he’ll have received colour this slightly. Tynwald Ash has been the form dog of the last month and having claimed the Ulster Cup with just three runs he’ll be fairly fresh coming to Powerstown. Could this be his quarter to claim?

How the draw affected Boylesports Oaks betting

Qualifier Post Draw Pre-Draw
Breska Lantern 8 8
Tobar Na Molt 8 10
Boshski 12 12
Dale Asgard 12 16
Manntan Maple 14 12
Bated Breath 14 14
Two Steps Closer 16 16
Linden Village 16 20
Somelittlelady 16 20
Isabelles Charm 16 20
Ballymac Adelpha 20 20
Churchill Queen 20 20
Laytown Girl 20 20
Ougham Ellen 20 20
Skellig Starwars 20 20
Ballykildea Ash 20 20
Windfarm Ivy 20 25
Gripwell Candy 20 25
Cree Gaisce 20 25
Ballyverry Baby 25 20
Daythemusicdied 25 20
Leigh Snowie 25 25
Droopys Sugar 25 25
Magical Saorla 25 25
Kingtone Jessie 25 25
Cryptic Kerry 25 25
Hi Five Yankee 25 25
Miss Buttons 25 25
Jogon Jeanie 25 33
Coffee In Spirit 25 33
Coolree Nadene 25 40
Sunfire City 28 25
Sequin 28 25
Barrow Cockle 28 25
Inslips All In 28 25
Clontuohy 28 28
Blue Abella 28 33
Crafty Merlano 28 33
Moonveen Magda 28 33
Crossbound 28 33
Avas Sweetheart 33 33
Carrowclough 33 33
Jeffys Twinkle 33 33
Delonso 33 33
Alva Lil 33 33
Kilfergus Belle 33 33
Belated Bracelet 33 33
Tuscan Flavour 33 33
Cracking Doll 33 33
Vienna Calling 33 40
Bakers Cailin 40 33
Ballyverry River 40 33
Matts Country 40 33
Areyoureadynow 40 33
Knockelly Ann 40 40
Aveia 40 40
La Bamba 40 40
Annual Edition 40 40
Advocate 40 40
Battstreet Judy 40 40
Tanyard Clare 40 40
Arcade Amy 40 40
Dream About You 40 40
Rideout Belle 66 66