Hope For Blades in Greenmount
The Irish Cup is the swansong as always for the coursing season. It’s hard to gauge what the conditions are going to be like after all the adverse weather over the past couple of weeks.
The cancellation of the recent horse racing meeting at the venue would make you think it’s going to be on the slow side of good.
While away on a few days’ holidays last November in Galway I got in contact with Gerry Holian who invited me out to see his kennels. I was like a child at Christmas driving up to his yard! The place was immaculate, but the thing that struck me the most was this black dog in the kennel right inside the door. He was as striking a dog as I have ever seen!
No doubt tipping the scales at 100lbs plus, he was built like the canine version of Usain Bolt.
When I asked Gerry who it was he just replied “that’s the Blades dog from last season, he’s out in Rathkeale this weekend. He should win!” and that he did. I didn’t get the chance to see him run this season but from what I’ve heard he has improved since last year.
He flew in Rathkeale and then put in an unreal display in Abbeyfeale in the opening round of the Cup but suffered a badly cut pad/web so had to be withdrawn unfortunately. If he returns to that form this weekend he should have the Cup at his mercy.
Last season’s winner Needham Work was the first big name out of the hat. He returned to form in Urlingford this season but looked to run well below par in North Kilkenny. Form over course and distance has to give him a major say in this quarter. He could very well meet his kennel mate and Champion Stakes runner up Wizard Matthew in the second round.
The most interesting clash in this part of the draw is Portane Ash and Mulboy Brennan. Ash was beat in round one of the Derby, which was a shock at the time. But as it turns out he was beat by gallant Derby runner up Furey Mills! Was it a shrewd move from connections not to run in the T.A Morris stakes and keep him for here? Mulboy wasn’t beat far by Wizard Matthew in the opening round of the Champion Stakes. Others to take note of are At All Times, Power Game and Blueview Charlie.
This quarter looks between the pup Craft Toro, Kyle Bruce and Champion Stakes winner Mulboy King. Toro got a few unwanted turns in the Derby, if he is fresh since he could have a major say in the overall Cup. Connections wouldn’t be running him if they didn’t think he was up for it. Kyle ran very well here last season so we know he loves the course.
He ran well below his best last time out in the Champions Stakes, so we will have to forgive him for that run. He has beaten his litter brother Blades of Hope already this season in Castleisland in a very tight buckle. Mulboy King started off the season as a bit of an unknown quantity but has since become a household name. He was a terrific winner of the Champion Stakes so has to be respected here.
On paper this looks the weakest quarter. There are a number of dogs that could come out of it. Needham Simple won the Irish Plate here last year after being beaten by his litter brother Work in round two of the Cup itself. We know he loves the place so he could take a bit of stopping.
The clash between Somelittlestar and Serene Angel looks the clash of the quarter. Star was well gambled on in the Derby but lost out in a very close buckle with Skellig Shane in the opening round. Serene reached the semi-final here last year but in my opinion he hasn’t returned to that form since, even though he won two cups this year.
Geordie Casanova got to the semi-final of the Champion Stakes on his last appearance (beat by the winner) so he has to be respected. Chapel Lane is a pup who ran well in Clonmel (beat in 3rd round by Black Baracuda) if he takes to the place he could run well.
All about the Blades. He has it every way, he ran up here as a pup last year. He should arrive fresh and well. He takes on Tellmemorelies in his first course, this lad beat the Derby favourite in the first round in Clonmel, can he upset the jolly here?
It looks the most competitive of the four quarters.
Last year’s Derby winner Feel My Pulse takes on this year’s Derby favourite Blueview Rio in the first round, Feel My Pulse should have the upper hand. The pup Crafty Gonzalo has to be respected on his Derby running. Carrokeale Gavin won twice this year but failed to make it into the Champion Stakes, he won’t be put away too easy and could put it up to Blades. Stephens Owen hasn’t done much wrong all season; I think he could be the dark horse in this pack.
Over all my last four would be Portane Ash, Kyle Bruce, Geordie Cassanova and Blades Of Hope. Blades is without doubt the fastest in the stake but as always in Limerick you need a lot of luck on your side. If he turns up in form and has any luck at all I think he will be extremely hard to beat.
I know 5/1 looks very skinny but if he wins two rounds I reckon it will look terrific value! The last three winners of the Irish Cup had the same sort of CVs, they all had very little running done before they got to Limerick and it stood to each of them. Blades fits into the category perfect! We want to keep him well on side
GMHD Juvenile Classic
Lenson Rocky (formally known as Keen Move) again set the standard for the second week in a row in the GMHD Juvenile Classic in Tralee. The change of kennels didn’t seem to have any effect on this son of Droopys Scolari and Momentinnewyork who is now under the care of Pat Buckley.
He showed terrific early pace last week to clear the field from six and had a nice advantage down the far side. Galloping out strongly up front he ran out a three and a half-length winner over Tommys Lord in 28.26. To be honest I thought he would be suited by the trap six draw but he seemed to be moving in the whole way to the corner, trap one draw next week looks more up his street.
Tammen Twister won the next heat in 28.57. He raced from trap five but was helped by the fact that trap four Mobile Tracker dived straight left out of the boxes. Master has showed nice early pace in his two runs to date which makes him a major player for outright honours. Twister is drawn in six in the red hot second semi-final.
Double Oh Seven came into the competition with a big reputation and has lived up to it in both his starts. In the first round he showed huge gears behind Sidarian Eska to be only beat half a length in 28.13. In last week’s 2nd round he missed the kick slightly in a four runner race and got into a nice bit of bother around bends one and two. When he did manage to shake off Tynwald Baz off the second bend he had his sights set on the leader Silverhill Pat who was all of six or seven lengths in front.
Double Oh had a lot of running to do from here, he absolutely roared into the third bend and was inching closer with every stride. As they turned for home Double Oh took the shortest route home and that proved the winning of the race, getting up the inside of Silverhill and running on to win by a length in 28.35. These two will again be locking horns in the semi-final Silverhill in one and Double Oh in five.
Both look badly drawn! Graham Holland did manage to get a winner on the night in the last heat with the Anne O’Connor owned Nice Manner who made it two from two. Escapism was the jolly in the heat but again he missed the kick which put him in huge trouble, he performed a minor miracle to qualify. Nice Manner was foot perfect in his success, after a level start he went through the gears very quick to make the bend in front and never looked in any danger. He looks to be drawn perfect in next week’s semi-final in four although he has the ante-post favourite Lenson Rocky to worry about in trap 1.
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