The wait is over…

It’s finally here….!

The 2016 National Coursing Meeting gets underway in Powerstown Park, Clonmel this morning. It promises to be a fantastic weekend with the Friday, Saturday and Sunday dates promising to bring in bumper crowds over the weekend.

Best wishes to everyone with a runner, owners, trainers, breeders and family members, may all the dogs come off the field safe and sound and may the best dog and bitch win.

Here’s to a fantastic weekend.

Long live coursing!


2016 Horse and Jockey Hotel Oaks Preview

The Horse and Jockey Hotel Oaks promises to be as hotly contested as ever. With Sullane Erin and Crafty Luciano set to get proceedings underway on Friday morning this years competition promises to be intriguing from opening round to final round.

First Quarter

The first quarter looks fairly open with the shortest priced lady 14-1 with the top and bottom bitches Sullane Erin and Isnt She Lovely sharing the favourite tag here. Sullane Erin has done absolutely nothing wrong in two appearances. On her first show in Glin she was withdrawn when favourite in the third round before proving an impressive winner of the Ballyduff Trial Stake a month later. She’ll have a tricky opener with Crafty Luciano while Amelies Milly in particular could have a case made for her. The Clonmel Trial Stake winner showed up well in Fermoy on debut. She offers a litter value at 33-1.

Mad Moment‘s form was franked by Skellig Sky in Tubbercurry and she’ll be fancied in her opening round while Newinn Rose and Pumpkin Kia won Trial Stakes late in the season and come here in form. The worry about the pair of them is that the work put in on heavy fields late in the season could count against them.

Oakview Banba was well fancied after her win in Loughrea but disappointed in Roscommon at Christmas. She’ll need an improved showing against Newcastlewest winner Tory Ellie. Isnt She Lovely has seen some support in recent days, the Millltown Malbay Trial Stake winners form ties in well with Skellig Jewel. Kilcastle Five is certainly one to consider impressing on her two showings. She has to contend with litter sister Chevalto in the opening round.

Second Quarter

The second quarter is certainly a red hot one with three off the market principals all found in the bottom of it. The first round meeting of Skellig Jewel and Manley Girl, probably my two main fancies before the draw is probably the most eagerly awaited buckle of the first day of the meeting. Not to be overlooked in any form or fashion is the current ante-post jolly, the John Flynn trained Graceandglamour.

Manley Girl has been near the head of the Oaks market from the second weekend of the season having blown apart the field at the Ennis-Clarecastle meeting. Skellig on the otherhand took two meetings to book her ticket running up the Trial Stake in Milltown Malbay before clocking consistently ahead of anything in the field in Ardpatrick. She’s seen support in recent days suggesting confidence is high amongst connections.

Graceandglamour, from the excellent Razor Ashmore and Quality and Dash litter, continued the excellent record of the Flynn family in Glin, as she claimed her Oaks ticket. She further underlined her credentials in Rathkeale winning the All Age Bitch Stake in good style. Should she get over her opening course she’ll meet Melting Pot, who was impressive in Abbeyfeale or Killucan Rose. Melting Pot caused a good impression in Abbeydorney and reached the final of the Corn na Feile where she was drawn after a hard semi-final. Killucan Rose can’t be written off however, having beaten Trial Stake winners Dale Sansa and Coshair Orla enroute to Trial Stake success and her only defeat came to Derby favourite Blueview Rio in the Troy Electrical Puppy final.

In the top half of the draw, there are a number of interesting runners, with Hey Ma, Coshair Orla and Corbraighe Holly among those who could run well. I’ll give a special mention to Madonna, a bitch who is bred for Powerstown Park and who should on breeding at least relish the heavy conditions. From a repeat mating of Kyle James and Eastwell Blonde, a pairing that produced Miss Fury and Broadwell Blonde both of whom who impressed at Powerstown a couple of years ago. She’s one to keep an eye on at 25-1.

Third Quarter

The third quarter looks almost as competitive with a number of well matched buckles spead through the quarter. Laurdella Dani has been near the top of the mark since winning her Trial Stake in New Ross. She’s bred for the hill, out of Jamaica Jane, a sister of Central City and she’s in good hands with Gerry Holian. She has a banana skin first round against Skellig Doll, a bitch who comes here fresh from her victory in Clonakilty. She’s pulled out some excellent clocks especially early in Trial Stakes and if she produces one here she might cause a shock. Kilty Sadie is a potential second round opponent and she’s not without some decent form this season winning 11 of her 13 courses.

Heart Strings caused a bit of a stir in Castletowngeoghegan when she won the All Age Bitch Stake. The heavier the ground the better for this lady and she looks like she’s going to get her ground. There’s little to pick between Smokey Zara and Skellig Sky on paper, but it does throw up a nice storyline, their mothers having met here in the 2014 Champion Bitch Stake. Smokey can recover some family pride as she comes in here the fresher.

In the top half there are a few interesting ones, not least the white collar in the top buckle, Moat Matilda purchased by Noreen McManus and friends after her Trial Stake win and sent to the Holian kennels. She’ll be fancied against Northland Jenny. Dale Sansa, looked a decent lady on her three outings this season, running well in Castletowngeoghegan in the All Age Bitch Stake before being withdrawn. Delightful Babe however might be the most interesting of the bunch. Both parents have won in Powerstown Park, and she got the better of Moat Matilda on the way to winning her Trial Stake. She might be the one to reach the last 8 from the top half of the quarter.

Fourth Quarter

Banba Be Lucky is the standout bitch in the bottom quarter after her outstanding performance in the Abbeyfeale Oaks Trial Stake. She was kept busy with four outings this year although first round slip ups in North Kilkenny and Limerick City might point to a little vulnerability. She’ll be well fancied against outsider Choctaw Squaw, although the northern runner will love the longer stretch if her performances so far this season are anything to go by. Donegal Tina is a potential second round opponent and she impressed in Dungarvan before winning her Trial Stake. It could well be a fantastic second round clash.

The one that really interests me and who has slipped under the radar is Old Kilcullen winner Fingal¬†Sansa. Her mother took to Powerstown Park reaching a semi-final and she looks an interesting bet at 20-1. She’ll have to beat probably Vim and Vigour or Accessibility if she wants to progress to the third round, two bitches who are certainly in with live chances. ¬†Others to keep an eye on in this quarter include Glenlough Dixie who reached the All Age final in North Kilkenny and Carozza who only ran once this season and might be open to improvement.

Final Four

This comes with the usual health warnings. There were a few very tight buckles that might be too close to call.

Sullane Erin
Skellig Jewel
Moat Matilda
Fingal Sansa

2016 Boylesport Derby preview

We’re nearly there! It’s now just a matter of hours until the 2016 Boylesports Coursing Derby winner for 2016 is crowned.

Off course before Sunday’s final there’s the small matter of five rounds, and 62 courses to see who will be contesting the final.

Friday night’s draw has thrown up some fascinating buckles and the potential for some mouth-watering action into Saturday and Sunday.

Before I start the preview it is important to note, that my record of predicting how things will unfold at Powerstown Park particularly among the dogs wouldn’t set the world on fire!

First Quarter

There are a couple of standout names in the top quarter with Octane Wonder, Coolavanny Bingo and Newinn Whisper all among the leading contenders with the bookmakers. There are a couple of others however who may be worthy of respect.

Taking the favourites from the top, Newinn Whisper did little wrong this season reaching a semi-final in Listowel before claiming his Derby berth with a win in Johnstown and Urlingford. He was fairly impressive there, beating his first round opponent here, Kilara Cuban in the third round. While I respect Newinn there could be a could of others in this half of the quarter who could give him a run for a last eight place, Wallace Banner and Drive On Smokey both having chances.

The bottom half look a fairly tough spot to escape from with a number of fancied runners. The meeting of Howdododo and Coolavanny Bingo should be a great buckle. The Carlow winner Howdododo won an excellent Trial Stake with 5 stake winners coming from the last 8. He ran well in the Premier Cup before being withdrawn and might represent a bit of value at 20s and possibly in the short odds. Coolavanny is bred for this stretch and this competition but I’m not entirely sure he’s priced up on his Trial Stake form. He is a late June whelp so improvement can be expected from him.

Octane Wonder at the bottom of the quarter was an impressive winner in Abbeyfeale putting up some fancy clocks along the way. He had previously fallen in the semi-final in Rathkeale. He’ll take plenty of beating here on his Abbeyfeale form. The only question is whether that has left a mark on him.

Of the others in the quarter there are a couple of very interesting contenders who haven’t had much hype or talk. Im From Rio, was an impressive winner of the East Donegal Trial Stake in November and hasn’t been seen in public since. He loved the longer stretch in Lifford and given the record of the East Donegal meeting of producing Derby contenders over recent years he could represent value at 25-1. Central City, Go Home Hare, Man of War, Light Duty and Fingal Master have all excelled there in recent years and taken well to the unique challenge of Powerstown Park. Im From Rio could do the same. Likewise Cuine Yet, is another who could spring a shock. Out of Oaks winner Dale Roisin, he ran well on two appearances this season and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Second Quarter

The second quarter of the draw one of the tougher quarters on paper anyway, with quality spread right through it. Corn na Feile winner Parlour Game, props up the quarter but it’s True North who leads the betting.

The Listowel Trial Stake winner, True North is a deserved 12-1 shot on the basis of that win alone, accounting for Somelittlestar, Newinn Whisper and Crafty Boogaloo along the way. His breeding (Adios Alonso x Jamaica Jane- a sister of Central City) suggests he’ll have no problems coping with the Powerstown Hill and he’s in good hands with Michael O’Donovan. Loyal Lar a potential second round opponent is an interesting outsider having won on his only appearance early in the season at Westmeath. He’s something of an unknown quantity and couldn’t be written off.

At the top of the quarter I’d give chances to 3 of the top 4 of making the last 4, with Kingsmill Jasper very impressive in Tubbercurry, while Somelittlestar and Skellig Shane have both shown they’re top class hounds. I’d struggle to pick between the three of them to make the last 16.

In the bottom half of the quarter the one that really interests me is Crafty Toro, who might just be the pick of the Divily’s three Derby runners. An impressive winner on his only outing in Freshford the June whelp will have been expected to have improved and strengthened in the interim. I can see him reaching the quarter-finals.

Parlour Game and Isnt He Class both will have something to say about that though, the former claiming the Corn na Feile over Christmas. Isnt He Class hasn’t been sighted in public since winning the Trial Stake in Glin in early October. Glin regularly throws top quality Powerstown runners and this fella might be no different. He’ll be one to keep an eye on. Mr Orange is another that was fancied for a Trial Stake before he ever ran in public and he’s in experienced hands with Brendan Matthews.

Third Quarter

The third quarter, especially the bottom half might well be the weakest part of the draw on paper at least. Black Barracuda is certainly the hot favourite to emerge from this quarter, he was cut by both main layers following Friday nights draw.

The son of Kingsmill Dynamo and Blades of Glory was fancied even before he took to a field, and he won his Trial Stake at the second time of asking in Mitchelstown. Handled by Michael O’Donovan he’d be expected to get over his opening course. Killucan Ralph and Needham Ridge should be a decent buckle with Killucan perhaps a little overpriced having done little wrong in Old Kilcullen or in Dundalk.

Perhaps the main opposition to Barracuda will be Crafty Tonino or Bower Wonder. The June whelp Crafty will appreciate the long expanse in Clonmel and having already beaten Octane Wonder in Rathkeale he’s shown top form. He meets Bower Wonder who was an impressive winner in Ardpatrick. It looks set to be a great opening round buckle.
The winner could meet Chapel Lane in the second round, the son of Adios Alonso and Jamaica Jane looks a big price at 33-1.

General Marshal looks the most attractive of the runners in the bottom half, although he might be vulnerable on the hill having been run out of the course by Im From Rio in Lifford having led early. See More Lights showed a bit of class on his two appearances and should also be kept onside.

Fourth Quarter

The bottom quarter of the Derby really will be worth waiting for with leading fancies for outright honours scattered throughout it. Blueview Rio is a current 8-1 chance with the sponsors and the Ian Reilly trained dog will have his work cut out for him to escape the quarter unscathed. He has a potential banana skin in the opening round with Tellmemorelies doing nothing wrong on his two outings before winning the Ballyduff Trial Stake. Rio, the Trim Trial Stake winner and Troy Electrical Puppy Cup winner at Old Kilcullen, has been at the head of the market for months now and he is the one to beat.

Should he win his opening round then he could meet Portane Ash, who has his own potential banana skin awaiting him in the opener. Portane, a 10-1 shot, is owned and trained by the same connections as last year’s runner up Portane All In. He impressed in North Kilkenny beating Mr Orange in the second round but overall it’s not a Trial Stake I’d be overly keen on. He is however open to serious improvement as a late June whelp and like litter brother Coolavanny Bingo, we might not have even got close to floor of his talent yet. His first round opponent Fuery Mills ran well in Loughrea putting in some fancy clocks along the way. You couldn’t completely rule out an upset.

Another to keep an eye on in that half of the bottom quarter is Jet Stream, who won a good Trial Stake in New Ross beating Kingsmill Jasper in the final. Again he hasn’t appeared since his win but he could surprise a few.

At the bottom of the quarter Crafty Gonzalo could well be the pick of the dogs here, the Clonmel and Kilsheelan winner was impressive in Thurles before winning his Trial Satke. Creamery Wonder and Alcar both hold some appeal in opposition to Crafty. I’d still fancy the western dog to make the last 8 however.

Last Four

Given my record in recent years this might well be the kiss of death however my last 4 are:

Octane Wonder
True North
Crafty Tonino
Blueview Rio

2016 Derby Draw

Wallace Banner v Coolpeach Miller
Drive On Smokey v Nemos Balto
Stonepark Rebel v Seriously Brave
Newinn Whisper v Kilara Cuban

Howdododo v Coolavanny Bingo
Im From Rio v Coshair Oggie
Tree Top Nidge v Cuine Yet
Octane Wonder v Cooga Harry

Kingsmill Jasper v Get Stuck In
Somelittlestar v Skellig Shane
Ride Your Bike v Loyal Lar
True North v Ardfert Andrew

Ballinabola Mill v Cranorchard
Ashwood Casanova v Crafty Toro
Mr Orange v Hilark James
Parlour Game v Isnt He Class


Killucan Ralph v Needham Ridge
Cloncarlos v Black Barracuda
Crafty Tonino v Bower Wonder
Chapel Lane v Donovanneighbour

Cuine Dale v See More Light
Tory Hill Denzel v Colossal Ranger
General Marshall v Glenbowen Junior
Shining Geemac v Fuerty Express

Nemos Django v Scattery Alonso
Redzer Green v Jet Stream
Tellmemorelies v Blueview Rio
Portane Ash v Furey Mills

Creamery Wonder v Alcar
Pumpkin Return v Im Wide Awake
Rhythm and Rhyme v Amazing King
Missouri Rock v Crafty Gonzalo