I Want To Take You To The Island
With the BoyleSports Coursing Derby and the Oaks in Clonmel only a few days away, here’s the last word on the action ahead!
BoyleSports Coursing Derby
The first quarter is all about one dog in my book, Reikers Island. This lad should be Derby favourite in my opinion. The way he improved from Westmeath to Abbeyfeale was very impressive. I can’t see any of the top eight in the draw troubling him. His biggest bogey could be in the first round against Askcharlesoliver.
Ballymac Vale looks the one in the next eight runners. He has only one outing this season in Castleisland but the form from here is rock solid. If he has improved any way at all from Castleisland he could be a leading player. Lodge Hill has come in for support since the draw but I can’t see him progressing too far however. Not Caught Paul and Oldfriendsarebest could be two for the short odds players.
Selection: Reikers Island
Wi Can Riki is the shortest priced runner in this quarter. We have only seen him run once this season. He gave a flawless display when winning in Nenagh. Will easily put away his opponent in the opening round so we will get a good look at him.
He could come along and meet the well fancied James Treasure in the second round. Ballygerald Buzz is another fancied runner in this quarter, he did everything to perfection in his trial stake in Knockgraffon. He is only a June whelp so you would think that he can only mature since his win.
Then at the bottom half here you have the well fancied pair of Ashmore Rocket and Wheres Mr Wilks. Ashmore Rocket is now owned by the Derby sponsor John Boyle and trained by Dan Brassil.
Word has it that this fellow has settled in perfectly in his new surroundings and is ready for action. Wheres Mr Wilks won the Puppy Stake in Mooncoin impressively and looked to be running on strong. If he happens to meet Ashmore in round two we could have a right buckle on our hands.
Selection: Ballygerald Buzz
The most open of the four quarters. Go Usain Go has a lovely turn of early pace and is cracked in slips. He could give you a great run for your money at a price here. Wiseguy Mark was one of the talking dogs earlier in the year following his win in Abbeydorney. He showed enough in the first round in of the cup in Lixnaw to tell us he will enjoy the longer field.
He should meet Kilacolla Jet in round two. This course could decide the winner of the quarter. Kilacolla is bred to love the field. He ran well in his two rounds of the Glin Derby before getting withdrawn. Then he switched kennels and won the Trial Stake with ease in Lixnaw. He is my idea of the winner of this section. Stonepark Mick is a runner who could be capable of causing a few upsets along the way.
Selection: Killacolla Jet
From the first time his name appeared in the draw in Loughrea, Blades Of Fire has been the dog on everybody’s lips this season. Away Razor has to be the most unlucky dog in the Derby getting drawn out with Blades. If all goes to plan I can’t see any dog get within five lengths of Blades for the first few rounds.
I think this could be a repeat of last year’s Irish Cup; remember Blades Of Hope was flying until the semi-final before getting hurt. He went very short in running, the same is going to apply here. The question is can he keep up the tempo? Floating Victor should meet him in round two. This lad loves it long but doesn’t have the best early. Wings Of Desire is the only runner here I can see putting it up to him and he would be meeting him at the right time. But it has to be Blades for me here!
Selection: Blades Of Fire
After going through the four quarters, Reikers is my choice for outright honours. I’m just mad about him.
Everything about him stands out to me. He’s got the pedigree, the looks and the gears to match.
I would have him over his litter brother all day every day. Yes Blades is probably faster than him but Reikers seems to have the X-Factor!
Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks
Jamaica Judy is the stand out lady in the first quarter in my opinion. On her running so far this year she is bang in the mix. She put in two nice runs in Abbeyfeale before being withdrawn and she should be over any little setback she picked up.
Pumpkin Abbie was installed as the early season Oaks favourite after her win in Glin. She hasn’t appeared out since. The Thompson family know the time of day so this lady will be well prepared. There has been plenty of support for Handsoffshesmine since the draw and there was a lot of talk about this one after her win in South Clare.
Her owner went very close to winning the Derby last year! Try Colour is a loser in our ante-post book so is one we will be keeping a close eye on.
Selection: Jamaica Judy
Trillainminella has caused me some sleepless nights over the past four weeks! But this is the stuff dreams are made of. The draw has been a disaster for her as she meets a very fast lady in the shape of Offshore View. This has the makings of the course of the round.
The winner of this course could go all the way in the quarter. Mother Of Pearl and Iberostar are two sticky ladies that won’t be beaten too easy. Iberostar in particular has a nice profile; has the breeding to go up in Clonmel and is in very good hands. Gadget Queen has the draw to make it to the quarter final.
Looks to be the weakest of the four quarters. Nickies Betty could be the one here. She is drawn to win a few courses at least. If luck goes her way she could easily find herself in the quarter final.
Wilderness Queen is an interesting runner in this part of the draw. She hasn’t been seen in public since Thurles so it’s hard to know what way she has been since. Our Miztique looked to have improved after her trial stake win. She should win her first course while Amys Angel can also put in a bold show at the bottom of the quarter.
Selection: Nickies Betty
This quarter is all about Dicks Bimbo and Bexhill Anna. Bimbo has been one of the talking bitches of the year so far. She showed serious gears first time out in Listowel and looked to gain a lot of experience along the way.
Bexhill Anna and herself should cross paths in the third round. The connections of Bexhill are very bullish of her chances. Like Bimbo she only had the one outing but couldn’t do any more than she did. Has to be respected! Of the others in the quarter, Tree Top Kerry looks the one at the top. She can brush away her rivals in the first two rounds before the serious stuff starts!
Selection: Dicks Bimbo
Overall we are going to side with Dicks Bimbo for the win. I would be biased about the selection, I know, but I think she is the fastest lady in it. If the same Trillainminella turns up in Clonmel that ran in Johnstown she could go a fair way as she will thrive on the hill. Jamaica Judy will be her biggest danger!
Shane Can Be Champion
I’m going to keep it short and sweet in the Champion Stakes. Skellig Shane is the dog to beat, the draw has worked out in his favour. I think he will lead Howdododo out of slips in his first course and if this is to happen then I don’t think he will be pegged back.
Tractorman will be waiting on him in the semi-final. The bottom half of the draw is between Baleen Voyager and Half The Odds. Baleen will love the surroundings in Powerstown Park and Half The Odds is the freshest dog in the competition. Half The Odds can make the final but could come off second best to Shane.
Newinn The Nap Of The Meeting
The Nap of the 2017 National Meeting is Newinn Rose. I just can’t see her being beaten, she is meeting the favourite in the first course but I have no doubt she will handle her. Skellig Jewel is at her best in the first course but I’m not sure will that be good enough on this occasion.
This course is basically the final for me. Astana Rubie is an interesting runner in the bottom half. I really took to her in Knockgraffon this year after her performance in the semi-final. The longer the better for her. She has form in Clonmel and this can take her to the final. Rose still gets the confident selection!
All that is left to say is the very best of luck to everyone connected to a runner in Clonmel, to the officials at the meeting and the people who run the show. It’s the best weekend of the year and let’s hope we get the weather we are hoping for and may the best dogs and bitches win! We have a number of specials available on both the Derby and Oaks including winning sire and trainer.
The antepost book is really starting to take shape. Jamaica Judy is currently a big bogey in the Oaks market while Reikers Island and Ballygerald Buzz are both big losers for us in the Derby. Again, best of luck to all.