Wyken To Power Away In Freshford
We turn our attention this week to the Handsome Billa and Purdon Cup which takes place in the little town of Freshford in north Kilkenny. Freshford has produced plenty of champions over the years, the biggest and best known of all is Thomas The Tank who went on to win the derby in 2013.
The cup itself never fails to throw up a good entry and this year is no different. I know I have tipped him up already this year but I give a confident vote to Wyken Power(2/1) in this event. This fellow ran with alot of credit in Crohane earlier in the year. He was short priced favourite at the semi-final stage before losing out to eventual winner Marshals Mercury. Power showed us in his debut this year in Crohane that he is the force of last season and his run through the Irish cup was no flash in the pan. If he can have a bit of luck on his side I can see him kick four Champion Stakes points over the bar and his owners take the Cup back to their home county of Wexford.
Opening Round Buckles
In his opening buckle he takes on Marshals Volcano who went to the semi final of the trial stake here last season befour losing out to Kyle Calvin. I dont see him being too big a stumbling block for the selection. Elsewhere in the draw you have Eastern Shore(4/1) who is already a winner of the All Aged event in Fermoy this season for the one and only Micheal ‘Gilly’ Ryan from Cashel, he takes on Figaro(4/1) in the first round who is making his first appearance this season after being an impressive winner of the trial stake in Dundalk last season and after that he got to the third round of the derby. I can see this being the tightest buckle of the opening round.
I can see Figaro being a good value alternative for this competition. Other dogs to look out for are Cracking Lord (6/1) who qualified for the Champion Stakes last season after wins in Millstreet and Macroom and Star Proof( who herself won the Reserve Oaks Trial Stake in Borris-in-Ossary. In the Oaks Trial Stake keep and eye out for Skellig Tulip(4/1) who went into a few peoples note books after her performance in Cashel and Droopys Marina(3/1) for the in-form Dunphy brothers in Portlaw who are looking for their second trial stake in less then a week.
The Treaty Cup also takes place this weekend in Limerick City coursing club. This Cup has attracted a fine entry with some exciting buckles in the opening round. Kingdom Call(3/1) for the legend that is Pa Fitz takes on Call Him Bolt(8/1) in the second course of the round and down at the bottom half of the draw we see Black And White(3/1) taking on Cooga Darlan(4/1). Black And White looked a winner of the Derby trial stake in Borris In Ossary last season only to be withdrawn injured he is a very intersting runner here.
Cooga Darlan impressed me in Cashel where he beat a very speedy sort in Ashwood James who subsequently ran very well in Waterford last week only to be withdrawn in the final. The very consistent Intacta Bamba(4/1) is returning to the field where he won his trial stake in 2012.
My vote here goes to Cooga Darlan as he has an outing behind him and he wont need to improve much from his running in Cashel to lift the Treaty Cup for the in form kennels of the McLoughlin family in Doon in County Limerick.
In the bitch stake here i can see Kilkeale Queen(2/1) giving her supporters a good run for their money. She showed impressive gears in the opening round of the oaks last season and I can see her taking the four Champion stakes points on offer here
Spectators were treated to some fantastic coursing in Castleisland last weekend. Tilford Tom rolled back the years when landing the Island Cup and the star of the show was without doubt Somelittlething returning to action laying her reputation on the line in the bitch stake of all bitch stakes. One would think if she was lucky enough to qualify for the Champion Bitch stake this season it would be an easier task! And i wonder could we have seen a rising star in Kyle Bruce? Have no doubt that plenty of trial stake winners will come out of both puppy events in Castleisland. Watch this space….
BEST BET: Wyken Power (2/1)
VALUE BET: Cooga Darlan(4/1)