Massive weekend ahead as the season takes shape

A sure sign that the coursing season is starting to hot up is the first fantasy coursing leaderboard appears in the Sporting Press. And if anyone needed anymore convincing then this weekend’s coursing should set them straight.

Six meetings, including a stunning Island Cup at Castleisland, will mean there’s plenty of coursing to go around for everyone. I’ll preview that Island Cup tomorrow night here, but for now I’m going to take a brief look at the remaining cards, Miltown-Malbay and Waterford aside, as there’s a preview of the latter already online and I plan on doing a Waterford preview.

In Charleville the Cup looks like a wider open affair. I’d have to side with Drumcrow Rab on first sight of the stake. He was unlucky in Galway and Oranmore last season. Speakeasy Foley will probably be the main competition in the top half of the draw, with Rathfort James his likely semi-final opponent.. In the bottom half Breezing Johnny has the best form on offer and if Why Tanyard Bebo has improved for the run last week he may be in the shake-up. In the All Age Bitch Stake Bristol Lady looks the best value of those on offer, 6-1 a fair price but it wouldn’t be a stake I’d be too keen to get involved in.

In Thurles I fancy the winner of the Ballymac Abraham and Crafty Tornado buckle to go close and I’d expect one or the other to make the final here. Both kennels are in decent form at the minute without winning on the field so it should be a tight affair. Hotspot won two Cups last season and reached the semi-final of the Champion Stakes. The bottom buckle will have plenty of interest with current favourite, Sky Star set to meet the 2015 Premier Cup winner Inch Hothead. The bitch stake has some useful ladies with Two Steps Closer, Kingtone Jessie and Coffee In Spirit all in attendance, the meeting of the latter two in the opening round a real highlight on Saturday.

In Ballinagar there’s another open looking Cup that’s probably a little short on quality. Ballyvaughan at the prices is probably the value bet at 5-1 having reached the final of two Trial Stakes last season. Soldier Paddy ran well here last season but he meets favourite Galtee Boy in the opening round. Kyle Prince is an eye catching entry for Marie Field, while last year’s beaten finalist might be an interesting contender Rosskeen Chief might be of interest given his form on the field if he gets a run from second reserve. The All Age Bitch Stake could well be decided in the opening round with Skellig Starwars and Crafty Merlano set to meet. Crafty won her Trial Stake here while the Skellig dogs have an excellent record in the field usually in the care of Charlie Faul. Magical Saorla and Linden Village would be expected to meet in the top semi-final.

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