Feast of coursing at Castleisland

Sunday and Monday will see the best Cup of the year so far down for decision at Castleisland where three of last season’s top pups are due to make appearances. It promises to be two fantastic days of coursing

Island Cup– Draw and Betting

Why Tanyard Cha- 14/1
Portane All In- 2/1

Madrasa- 12/1
Floating Patriot- 10/1

Kyle Bruce-4/1
All The Music- 6/1

Times James- 8/1
Cash Call- 8/1
—————————
Needham Simple- 4/1
Sturdyandstaunch-10/1

Bedford Banker- 6/1
Smart Kid- 12/1

Blades Of Hope- 2/1
Go On Dessie- 10/1

Whatdoyoudfancy- 10/1
Master Of Dreams- 5/1

Front Runners

It’s probably wise not to complicate this too much. Portane All In, withdrawn in the final of the Derby, should reach the semi-final in the top quarter. At his best he has far too much class for what he’s likely to meet. In fact it’s probably easy to forget that he beat both Blades of Hope and Kyle Bruce in Powerstown last season. His trainer Michael O’Donovan has his dogs in fine form as last weekend’s meeting in Castleisland showed. There’s no reason to oppose him this side of the semi-final. Floating Patriot should be his biggest danger but he’ll need to recapture the form that saw him with Cups in Kilflynn and in Killimer-Kilrush last season.

In the second quarter Kyle Bruce is on paper a raging hot favourite to reach the semi-final. Derby quarter-finalist, Irish Cup semi-finalist and a finalist in Kilflynn already this season. The fly in the ointment for Bruce is that his first round opponent might just be one of the most unexposed dogs in the field. All The Music, a beautifully bred so of Musical Time and Leigh Smokey, clocked well in Abbeyfeale last year and won a three course duffer in Kilflynn that has already thrown a cup winner in Blackpool Kyle and a runner-up in Cloudy Dawn. Both Time James and Cash Call won Trial Stakes last season, James running well in Glin before losing to winner Mulboy King in the third round.

Third season dogs Needham Simple and Sturdyandstaunch have seen plenty of coursing. Sturdyandstaunch is making his fourth outing of the year already, but Needham Simple should the dog to beat here having won his Trial Stake on this field. His form was up and down last season before ending with a bang winning the Irish Plate. On that form he’ll take beating. Bedford Banker has the unfortunate distinction of losing to stake winning dogs five times so far in 8 outings, while of the others saw Blades of Hope run up the Irish Cup having just beaten him in the first round in Limerick. He’ll need to reverse form with a few here including Blades and Kyle Bruce. He’s a decent dog who will win a Cup, it just mightn’t be on Monday.

It’s difficult to look beyond Blades of Hope in the bottom quarter. Gerry Holian successfully re-introduced Woodpark Alonso last weekend and you just get the feeling he’s winding up for a big year with his All Age charges. Blades, an Irish Cup finalist and Derby semi-finalist, should get over his first course while Whatdoyoufancy could be handful in the second round should the two get that far.

If I had to select one, it would probably be Blades of Hope, but to be honest I think I’d just be happier watching and enjoying what looks like super coursing.

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