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