Can Tipperary Cup Stay South?
There is action taking place in four counties this weekend with no shortage of class at each venue, although I’m placing the spotlight on my local meeting in Clonmel and Kilsheelen.
I have first-hand knowledge of how much effort goes into running these meetings.
Kilsheelen, like every other club, do their best to run meetings of the highest quality and you must applaud their tireless efforts. Remember all the work is done voluntarily and without their efforts we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the sport that we love.
The work that goes into these meetings throughout the year is immense from catching hares and looking after them, to the setting up of the field, while extra preparation went into many fields this year given the ground conditions. Much of this work goes unnoticed.
The Tipperary Cup is, as always, the highlight in Kilsheelen and a look through the roll of honour is evidence of the calibre of greyhound that stake attracts each year.
The 2014 renewal sees the return of current title holder, Wilton Magic (2/1) who clearly has a liking for this stretch in Ballyglasheen.
He has won in the same surroundings for the last two seasons and is bidding to create history by becoming the first dog to win at this meeting for three years running. Droopys Saunders went very close to pulling off the same feat after winning the cup in both 2004 and 2005, but defeat to Ceannas Major in the 2006 decider ended his hopes.
Wilton has already kick-started his season with an impressive win in Mallow, which displays his well-being. He is drawn in the top half of the cup, which on paper looks the more competitive half. He faces the likes of Wyken Power, who disappointed many in Freshford with a below par performance.
That said if returning to the form he displayed in Croahane he would make Wilton run for his money. The surprise package from Waterford, Whiskey Galore (3/1) could also upset a few if he can repeat his earlier running. Could we be looking at another Central City?
Maughere King ran well at this meeting twelve months ago and will surly give his very popular handler Christy Browne a run for his money. The bottom half of the draw is all about one dog, Needham Simple (4/1).
The Matthews trained runner has yet to turn on the style this season, but one wonders is the kennel beginning to turn a corner this season after their big win last weekend in Listowel with Needham Danger? If this is the case it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Matthews family take the trophy back up north for the third time, following the successes of Portway Press and Wallace Chief.
It could be between the three aforementioned dogs with the verdict going to Needham Simple on the draw and the caveat being he must recapture last season’s form. One thing is for certain, nothing will come too easily.
The all-age bitch stake also sees the return of last year’s victor Camarillo Blonde (3/1). She hasn’t been seen in public since her most impressive triumph in last year’s competition. Joining her is also last year’s runner-up Eggemalong (4/1), who earlier in the season captured the bitch stake in Crohane.
Can history repeat itself? Will we see these two ladies clash in the final again? It would be far from a surprise if it were to happen. Those standing in their way include Ballinakill Mary (4/1), Needham Marie (4/1), Atlantic Diva and Hiphip (6/1). On the strength of last year’s performance I’m going to side with Camarillo Blonde.
The main attraction in Ballyduff is, as always, the Kit Browne North Kerry Cup. There are a few big names in this cup including Needham Work (5/1) after his eye catching run in Cashel earlier this season. He was making his debut on a coursing field that day and disposed of Yippee Kiyay in the style of a proper dog, before being withdrawn in the second round. Another to catch the eye is Tynwald Ash(4/1), who represents Michael J O Donovan/ Terry Cordan partnership. He was last seen when running up a puppy stake at the Irish Cup meeting last season.
Then we have the John Flynn trained duo of Somelittlelord (5/1) and Sturdyandstaunch (4/1) in the bottom half of the draw. Somelittlelord is making his reappearance after collecting his ticket for the National Meeting in Glin at the start of the season. All eyes will be on this fellow in the opening round, while the busy Sturdyandstaunch has already run well in Castleisland and Listowel. In both competitions he was beaten by the eventual winner. Tynwald Ash just gets the nod to continue ‘curley’ Donovan’s recent good run.
Somelittlething (Evens) makes her second appearance of the season in the bitch stake and she has already proven herself a force to be reckoned with after a spectacular win in arguably the best bitch stake in recent years at Castleisland.
It’s not often we see Oaks winners returning for a second season but what’s seldom is wonderful. She looks the stand out lady, while Kilty Millie (5/1) and City Beauty (6/1) can battle it out in the top half of the draw.
We saw some very popular winners last weekend, although none more than Needham Danger in the John Prendiville Cup at Listowel where the derby trial stake winner here Serene Angel came in for a lot of support last week when this trial stake was priced up he duly obliged for his connections and was put in at 20/1 for derby glory. Crushers Oak also gained a lot of fans with his win in the Derby trial stake in Nenagh and as a result he has been introduced into the Derby market at 16/1. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for the runner-up Blades Of Hope, as he should be picking up his ticket for Powerstown in his next outing.