Go Conquer Can Keep It Local For Cooney

It’s difficult to believe the 2014/15 season is already a third of the way through. But as they say time flies when you’re having fun.

Last weekend’s action served up some top class fare with the standard as good as any we’ve seen in recent years. Twitter has proven to be a very useful tool for the coursing enthusiast also with results and pictures keeping us up to date at most meetings. My message to those doing all the work is, keep it up. You know who you are!

Knockgraffon coursing club hold their annual meeting this weekend in New Inn, outside Cashel. This meeting has never failed to attract top class greyhounds through the years.

It’s a tough field and the recent weather should leave the underfoot conditions in perfect order. The Knockgraffon Cup is the main attraction and, on paper, looks hugely competitive. Glenlea Sonny (5/1) returns to defend his title for brothers, Darren and Tony Smith. He was an impressive winner last season but all evidence suggests it won’t be as easy this time around.

He faces Cracking Jet (6/1) in the opening course. Jet has already been in action three times this season with his best result coming at Crohane where he reached the semis.

Another intriguing course in the top half of the draw features Isle Of Dreams (6/1) and Father Flash (5/1). Isle Of Dreams had a big reputation last season and he finally had his day in the sun at Galbally at the Tipperary meeting towards the end of the season. He looks likely to appreciate the galloping nature of the field.

His opponent Father Flash won the first cup of the season in Liscannor and has since reached the semi final of the O’Meara cup in Thurles. Kilbreedy Rock will also be bidding for a semi final spot for Frank Hickey in the top half, but I feel the eventual winner may emerge from the bottom half of the draw.

Eastern Shore (3/1) is your likely favourite here. He has already kicked eight points over the bar for the Champions Stakes which puts him at the top of the list for owner trainer Michael ‘Gilly’ Ryan. He has been a revelation this year and should he win or reach the final, he will guarantee his place in Clonmel.

He meets City Leader in his first buckle for the in-form Townview Kennels of Newry.

Go Conquer (4/1) returns to the field where he claimed his Derby ticket last season.

He is owned by the Coalition syndicate which includes club stalwart John Cooney and Minister Tom Hayes and trained a few miles from the field by Owen Mckenna.

He was withdrawn from the cup at Waterford prior to the opening round with a small niggle, but reports suggest the dog has made a full recovery and is now ready for action. The prospect of a mouth-watering second round clash between Eastern Shore and Go Conquer is enough to bring extra numbers to the meeting.

We tipped up Tynwald Ash (4/1) last week, but he carried no luck. It’s safe to say he is better than his latest performance suggests and he too could be a major player in this cup. It’s a tough task attempting to pick a winner, but I’ll allow my bias to take over and I’ll side with Go Conquer to provide a local success.

City Beauty (2/1) has had two outings this season so far and was unfortunate enough to meet the eventual winner on both occasions. She looks the one in the bitch stake. Everything seems to be in her favour including the draw and the field, while she hails from a kennel in superb form at present.

At Enniscorthy the main attraction is the Slaney Cup. Sunfire Nova (4/1) clearly has a liking for the south eastern venue having collected his Derby ticket at this field last year. He has already won the Corn Ros Mhic Treoin in New Ross earlier in the season and is bidding for a Wexford double.

Hi Black Jack (4/1) was one of the talking pups of last season but has yet to hit the right note this season. If he can put his best foot forward this weekend he will play a big part in this cup.

Droopys Bestie (3/1), the very last dog out of the hat in the draw, was one of last year’s big improvers picking up three all-aged events, one of which was this cup. He had to be taken out of the Champion Stakes after picking up a serious injury in the weeks prior to the National meeting. It’s great to see him back in action. He’s making his seasonal reappearance and will be on many peoples list for outright honours. I’ll side with Hi Black Jack to kick start his 2014 campaign.

The ultra-consistent Garys Secret (2/1) can pick up her second cup of the season in the all aged bitch stake where Late Drama (2/1) is her main threat. She is also looking for her second win this year. It could be worth keeping an eye on Droopys Marina (3/1) in the Oaks trial stake. She really caught my eye in her first round course at Freshford earlier this season. She seemed well in control in the second round, but took her finger off the trigger before suffering defeat to the eventual winner.

Action also takes place in the west of the country in Killimer Kilrush. The cup is a very good event where three dogs are chasing their second win of the season. Floating Patriot (3/1), Vale View Flyer (6/4) and Coshair Slane (3/1) will all be hungry for Champion Stakes points and I can see the John Browne trained Vale View Flyer coming out on top after his impressive win in Abbeydorney. He was unfortunately withdrawn from the Derby at the quarter final stages last year. Understandably his connections (without doubt the loudest at Clonmel last season) were devastated, but a win here could prove some consolation, while it would also put the dog on the right track for a second bite of the cherry for classic glory at the National meeting.

Last weekend we witnessed yet another impressive trial stake winner from the Michael O Donovan kennels in the shape of Timber House. He never put a foot wrong throughout the stake and looks a live Derby contender. He was put into the market at 12/1. His breeding suggests that the stretch in Powerstown Park was made for him being a son of 2013 Derby winner, and sire of the moment, Thomas The Tank, while his mother is a full sister to Derby winner Adios Alonso. There was some strong support for the Derby trial stake winner from the Galway and Oranmore meeting last week, Fingal Billy. He was originally put into the market at 20/1 but has now been cut into 16’s.

We also have a new bitch at the top of our Oaks market. Dale Ashgard picked up her Oaks entry at Dungannon. This well bred lady is by a Derby winner out of an Oaks winner and was put in at 18-1 immediately after her win. That was taken straight away, however and she is now a 16/1 clear favourite for classic glory. Whiskey Galore picked up his second cup of the season in Kilsheelan. This son of Tubbertelly Dubh is still unbeaten up a coursing field and is giving his young owners /trainers Timmy Holland and Adam Dunford a great run so early in the season.