It’s The Final Countdown
BoyleSports Coursing Derby
The time has come. The greatest sporting event on earth is only around the corner.
Everything is in place, the draw is made, slippers and judges have been voted in, trainers are nervously making last minute preparations to their charges and the crowds are set to descend on Powerstown Park next Friday 29th of January. Last Friday saw the draw being made in the Horse and Jockey Hotel where it threw up a few tasty clashes.
Speaking to a few members of ‘Team Powerstown’ at the draw, they were absolutely delighted with all this year’s stock and trials could not have gone any better. I was trialling a few dogs myself on Thursday. The first thing I noticed when I got to the top of the field was the changes to the escape and surrounding areas. They seem to have risen the escape a small bit and replaced the white cladding at the sides with black. This can only help matters and you have to give credit where credit is due to the ICC for making these changes and trying to improve things all the time. These seemed to work well for both days of the trials so fingers crossed everything goes to plan this weekend.
Looking ahead to the BoyleSports Derby we are going 8/1 the field.
Blueview Rio has spearheaded the market since his win in Trim and more than likely will go to slips as the favourite on Friday afternoon.
The three short priced runners in this quarter are Newinn Whisper, Coolavanny Bingo and Octane Wonder. Newinn Whisper meets Kilara Cuban in his opening buckle and this will be the second time these two will have crossed paths (previously met in the quarter final in Urlingford where Newinn just came out on top in a tight course). You would have to fancy Newinn to prevail again in this longer field.
The big clash in this quarter will be between Howdododo and Coolavanny Bingo. Both of these runners have been well supported in the ante-post market thus far and neither connection would have wanted a draw like this in the first round. I like the form of Howdododo from Carlow. He also came out and ran impressively in the first round of the All Age in Templetuohy. I’m going to go with Howdododo to cause an upset.
I’m From Rio was a bit of a talking dog before he ran but all the talk has seemed to have died down about Cathal McGee’s runner and he can’t be over looked too easily. Octane Wonder won one of the strongest trial stakes this season in Abbeyfeale. He had a huge reputation to live up to after he changed hands for decent money after a run in a duffer stake in Castleisland. He looks well positioned at the bottom of the quarter. Overall, this quarter looks between the two Newinn Wonder runners, Whisper and Octane. Whisper gets the nod based on the fact he should love the longer stretch.
Kingsmill Jasper, Somelittlestar and True North are the big three here. Kingsmill Jasper had a few outings before he collected in Kilcreevin-Ballymote, but he did really impress there. He meets Get Stuck In in his first buckle where he should have no problems. Somelittlestar will have a fair test in his opening buckle against Skellig Shane. This could be one of the buckles of the round. Star can just maybe shade it. One thing that struck me at the draw on Friday night was the guarding of both True North and Portane Ash. Is this telling us something?
True North looks to be well up in the pecking order of Michael O’Donovan’s runners in the Derby. We have only seen this lad in action once this season. He has to be respected and if he is to come out of this part of the draw, he is going to have to be foot perfect.
Crafty Toro is an interesting runner in this quarter, he ran out an impressive winner of his one and only outing in Freshford and hasn’t been seen since. He could be a dark horse. Elsewhere Mr Orange and Parlour Game look to have the upper hand in their respective courses. After having a good look through this quarter, True North looks to be the one who can come out on top. We know his breed can go up the hill and conditions won’t be a problem.
For me this quarter is all about one dog, Black Barracuda.
I am a fan of his since his first outing in Castleisland even though he didn’t win there. He has everything from pace to breeding, he ticks all the right boxes for me. The course between Crafty Tonino and Bower Wonder has all the signs of a thriller. Shrewd judges really liked Crafty in Rathkeale, he could just come out on top.
Donovanneighbour looks one you could back in the short odds in his course. He will be the outsider of the two and can see off Chapel Lane. Seemorelights can go a few rounds for trainer Declan Byrne and he looks to be the one at the bottom of this quarter which looks weak enough. As I said before, Black Barracuda ticks all the right boxes for me and can get through this tricky quarter.
The draw worked out extremely well from a bookmaking point of view. Three dogs that are running against us get drawn out in the same quarter! Portane Ash, Blueview Rio and I’m Wide Awake are three thorns in our side for the ante post book. Blueview Rio’s new connections would have wanted an easier draw in the first round.
Tellmemorelies is far from a pushover and will push Rio to the pin of his collar. If he should get over this course, we are in for a mouth-watering battle on Saturday morning! Blueview verses Portane Ash would be worth the entry fee alone and going on the market, Portane looks to be O’Donovans leading hope. We were knocked over at 16’s about Portane the day after he won in North Kilkenny. I’m Wide Awake comes from the same kennel as Portane, so has to be respected. He will cost us a nice few quid should he win.
Others who shouldn’t be ignored here are Alcar, Jet Stream and Crafty Gonzalo. I’m going to go for Blueview to come out of this quarter.
I’m going to go with Black Barracuda for the overall win. He is available at 10/1 at the moment, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he was to go off a bit shorter. He looks to be in the softer of the quarters (if there is such a thing!).
If there was ever a trainer deserves to win a Derby its Michael O’Donovan.
At the moment he is a winner for us so we will be shouting him on up the hill!
Horse and Jockey Oaks
Sullane Erin set a few tongues wagging on her first appearance of the season in Glin before being withdrawn and made no mistake on her reappearance in Ballyduff. She is nicely placed at the top of the draw and can put in a few rounds. Newinn Rose can be her big danger early here. These could meet in the third round.
Oakview Banba versus Tory Ellie looks a good course on paper, these two have been well supported since their wins and Tory Ellie should just shade it if she is 100%. Tilly The Tank, Kilcastle Five and Isnt She Lovely are the other big names here. Kilcastle Five stands out to me, she performed well in Castleisland before winning in Lixnaw. She has a big say in this part of the draw. It’s between herself and Sullane. I’m going with Sullane Eirn for quarter glory.
This looks to be the hottest quarter on paper. Skellig Jewel, Manly Girl and Graceandglamour are fancied by many for outright honours. Manly Girl was the first major talking bitch in the country, but has not appeared out since. She meets Skellig Jewel in the first round, it could be a cracker. I’m going to stick with Manly to come out on top.
Graceandglamour was subject to a bit of a gamble last week and as we go to print she is on her own at 8/1 for the Oaks. She has two outings and two wins under her belt and connections know what it takes to win an Oaks. If it all goes to plan she should meet Corn Na Feile runner up Melting Pot in round 2. It will be between the big two I reckon on Saturday afternoon Manly Girl and Graceandglamour. It will be close but I’ll go with Glamour to come out on top
Laurdella Dani changed hands early in the season after winning in New Ross. She is now under the care of Gerry Holian and reports suggest they are happy with their purchase! Holian also has another new intake in this quarter, Moat Matilda. This lady looked the one in Knockgraffon but was beaten there and made no mistake in North Kilkenny where she was quickly snapped up. Delightful Babe is another with a big reputation here, she will love the field and conditions in Powerstown and her trainer is looking to win the Oaks for the second year running!
Smokey Zara is an outsider who I give a right chance to, she was withdrawn in the puppy stake in Mooncoin when last seen. Heart Strings won a top class All Age Bitch Stake in Castletowngeoghan (beat Ougham Ellen in final) so has to be respected. She was laid at 40/1 and 33/1 and is now best priced 20/1. This is a tough quarter to call but from what I have seen I’m going to go with Laurdella Dani.
Banba Be Lucky has a nice draw here, she looked to be above average on her running in Abbeyfeale, and this does not look the strongest part of the draw. Vim And Vigour has to be respected on her Corn Na Feile running. She flew in the early rounds and went overnight favourite but was turned over by Melting Pot. Killacolla Kiwi won in Urlingford not long after switching Kennels, if she improves any bit at all it would put her in the mix. Fingal Sansa should overcome her first round opponent and meet Killacolla in Round 2. Banba Be Lucky can come out of this quarter unharmed.
This looks to be one of the most open Oaks in recent years.
Every time you look at the draw you could pick a different winner. I’m going to go for a Holian winner with Laurdella Dani. She looked special in New Ross, she is a bullet from slips and would stay going all day. If she has luck on her side she could go all the way!
All About Timber
The dog on everybody’s lips since last season’s National Meeting was Timber House. He blew everybody away with his performances in the early rounds of the Derby but things just didn’t work out his way in the end. He is 6/4 to go on and claim victory in this season’s Champion Stakes. Now, after his style of victory in Ballyduff, 6/4 looked value but after Abbeyfeale it didn’t look so tempting.
I am his biggest fan and I’m going to stay loyal to him. If he turns up to Clonmel fit and well I don’t think there is a dog in the line up to go near him. The top half of the draw revolves around him and his biggest danger will be the winner of the buckle between At All Times and Serene Angel.
At All Times could surprise a few. He tends to gallop over to the right hand side so will be pushing over from the word go. He could upset a few dogs by doing this; he has pace to burn and is as fast as anything when things go his way.
The bottom half looks all about Kyle Bruce. Bruce was early season favourite for the Derby last year and got a bit of work in round one of the Derby which cost him dearly. This year he appeared twice, won in Castleisland and ran up to At All Times in Kilflynn. He can be Timber House’s biggest stumbling block should they meet. Last year’s champion Blueview Charlie won’t be giving up the title too easy. He should beat Blackpool Kyle with ease and will have the measure of either Mulboy King or Duarigle Darwin.
Bruce should beat Crafty Resino and I’m going for Arcade Maximus to upset Geordie Casanova.
The top two in the market both have lovely draws and can make for the perfect final. Timber gets the confident vote.
Ougham All The Way
Ougham Ellen started off this season as a bit of an unknown quantity. She collected two cups in a short space of time in both Loughrea and Cavan so she quickly became a household name! If you look back at her performance in last year’s Oaks she didn’t run too bad, she was beat by the winner in round three (she did lead her for a while). She looks exceptional value at 6/1 in my view. Tobar Na Molt heads the market at 2/1 and this lady has had three outings this year with three wins! My slight worry over her is if she has had too much running. She did have five tough runs in Tralee.
She takes on Bexhill Mandy in the first round (will be the second time these two have clashed this year, Tobar got the better of Mandy in the semi-final in Tralee). The winner of this course should go on and reach the final. Ballyverry Baby will have plenty of supporters at 3/1; she has been a revelation this year. She has everything and should lead Windfarm Ivy. Baby will want to be a few in front on the hill though as Windfarm will be flying towards the business end of the field.
I’m going to go for Ougham Ellen, an outsider, to pull off a shock!
Don’t forget to look up our specials revolving around both the Derby and Oaks, winning sires and winning trainers are available. Keep up to date with any market movers throughout the week on www.boylesports.com. Markets will be updated each day after coursing, as well as both the Kitty Butler and T.A Morris Stakes.
All we have to say now is the very best of luck to all the competitors and officials for the weekend. We hope everything runs off smoothly and Mother Nature doesn’t try and upset things! #BetOnBoyle
*Prices correct at time of publication.