Alcar One To Beat In Ulster Cup
The result of the Ulster Cup could have a huge bearing on the last eight in this year’s Champion Stakes.
Ivy Hill Time at the moment lies on eleven points and in eighth position so is just hanging in there by the skin of his teeth (€3850 prize money puts him ahead of others on the same number of points).
Jet Stream is also on eleven points but has €3500 prize money which puts him in joint ninth place, getting to the final should be enough for these pair.
Mustdoitagain currently lies on six points, a win here just carries him inside the top eight pending on results over the weekend.
Looking at the draw you would have to give Alcar a serious chance after getting pulled out at number one. He started to show us glimpses of his form from last year as the year has moved on. He should win his first course handy and meet Ivy Hill Time in the second round.
This could be a real buckle. Alcar can just do enough to lead him.
Needham Frankel can be his main danger at the top of the card.
Jet Stream looks to be in the easier half of the draw. This son of Thomas The Tank should have no bother making his way to the semi-final. Wallace Banner looks to be his main stumbling block. Banner showed up well in his first course in Tralee but disappointed somewhat in Abbeyfeale.
If he returns to his best form he has to be a leading hope, we will give him the nod over Jet Stream in the semi-final. Alcar is the selection however to go all the way The order of running will definitely suit this speedster that’s why he gets the narrow vote to collect.
All-Age Bitch Stake
Laurdella Dani and Newinn Rose are the two stand out runners in the All Age Bitch Stake here in Ballymena. Dani has eight points in the bag after her win in Newcastlewest and a semi-final place in the Kingdom Cup in Tralee.
A win here will guarantee her place in the Champion Bitch Stake at the National Meeting. I can’t see too many of the opposition at the top of the draw troubling her. Newinn Rose is making a quick reappearance after winning over Christmas in Mooncoin. Rose has form over course and distance after winning her Oaks Trial Stake here last season. The way she won in Mooncoin suggests that she is back to top form and if the quick runs don’t affect her then she can rattle this.
Again bar an accident she can make her way to the final and meet Laurdella Dani. This would be a dream final, which ever one comes out on top and makes it to Clonmel will be at the top of the ante-post market.
I’m going to give a biased vote to Newinn Rose! Rose’s connections will be keeping a close eye on results elsewhere if she happens to win, eleven points and decent prizemoney should be enough to see her qualify! Nothing is certain however.
There are no less than six trial stakes up for grabs at this meeting over the weekend, the Derby Trial Stake in Kilcreevin/Ballymote will take some winning. It looks to be the hottest stake on the entire card!
Last season’s Irish Cup champion Foot Solution makes a last seasonal debut in Templetuohy this weekend. He will be without doubt the main attraction in the first round. This looks to be one of the most open cups of the season, every time you look over the draw you can see a different result. With the prize money €4000 and points on offer it will be a real battle.
There are eight dogs that have a chance of qualifying for the Champion Stakes, a semi-final place should do Kingcormac Fairy and Tractoman while Champion Times, Hilark James, Cooga Hero, Mr Orange, Amazing King and Cuine Yet all need to win.
Kingcormac Fairy seems to be like a fine wine, he is getting better the older he gets! Fairy has been a revelation in his third season, he can get over his first round but will have a buckle in round two against Champion Times.
The next quarter looks the toughest on paper. Hillark James should make it to the second morning but will have a job on his hands first thing Sunday morning. Mr Orange really appreciated the long field here last season on his way to collecting his Derby ticket. His worst course is always his first so if he can get over Cooga Hero first pop he can have a major say.
Tractorman will be waiting in the second round. This should be some buckle with Mr Orange getting the nod. Foot Solution looks the one in the third quarter. If he is match fit (which he should be) he can run riot here.
Carlingford is a big name from last season but has failed to deliver this year, he can meet Solution in the second round. Amazing King should make it through to Sunday morning fairly easily. The last quarter is full of bitches. Banba Be Lucky is without doubt the fastest of the eight ladies in the draw but seems to be an enigma! Killucan Winnie gets the nod to come out of the bottom eight.
Overall I am going to give a very hesitant vote to Mr Orange.
His form over C+D from last year stands out to me, he can be just too strong for Foot Solution. This is an extremely tough field and is survival of the fittest.
There are two bitches in he All-Age Bitch Stake chasing points, a win for either Chubbys Ruby and Droopys Swallow would put them in a position to qualify for Clonmel. Chubbys is going to have to be on her toes in the first round against the early paced Minella Babe, if she gets over this course she gets the vote to go all the way.
Droopys Swallow has done nothing wrong so far this season and carries a 100% strike rate, it will be a buckle between herself and Chubbys but the latter gets the nod.
With only two weekends of coursing before the National Meeting this will be the last throw of the dice for most of these runners. I would not like to be the secretary in either Sevenhouses or Macroom!
There is going to be some scrap for the final places in trial stakes and all ages. We currently have two short priced favourites in both the Derby and Oaks in the shape of Blades Of Fire and Trillainminella.
Last week’s Corn Na Feile winner Reikers Island has shortened in the betting, he is now a 10/1 shot for the BoyleSports Derby while Jamaica Judy has been nipped to 14/1 for the Oaks following her impressive runs in Abbeyfeale before being withdrawn.
*Prices correct at time of publication