Grim Intent On Making Winning Return

The main attraction this weekend on the coursing front will be in Newcastle West where we see the return of last season’s derby winner…

…With Grim Intent (2/1) who has form over course and distance after picking up his derby ticket here last season.

He has a real strong liking for this stretch and will again prove hard to beat here. His trainer Gerry Holian will have this star spot on for his eagerly awaited return to action.

He meets the Pa Fitz trained Journey Of Life (6/1) in his opening buckle who only had one outing this season where he was beat in the second round in Listowel, if he was to recapture last seasons form which saw him get to the Irish Cup quarter final he would put it up to Intent.

Also in the top half of the Munster Cup is the Dan O Conner trained In The Center (5/1) who won the cup in Nenagh this season and the Brendan Matthews trained Needham Work (2/1) who is the surprise package of the season after not making his debut until he was a second season dog. He appeared in the draw in Cashel where he came up against the very fast Yippee kiyay in the opening course and put him away with ease before being withdrawn, his next appearance was in Ballyduff and he went on to record an impressive victory.

In the bottom half of the draw the dog which catches my eye is Newinn Glory (3/1). He was an ultra impressive winner of his derby trial stake in Ardpatrick but he sustained a nasty toe injury when winning and connections had a race against time to get him right for Clonmel. He is off since last February and speaking to his owner during the summer he was confident of the dog making a 100% recovery. There is no doubt that Curley Donovan will have this dog spot on for this weekends action. It’s a very hard one to call here but I’m going to give a narrow vote to With Grim Intent as he has form over course and distance but he wont have things all his own way if he meets Needham Work in the semi final.

The all aged bitch stake here looks a very tricky affair. The winner here will come from the top half of the draw in my opinion. Brickfield Sky (4/1) is already a winner in Charleville but disappointed last time out in Ardpatrick where she was beat in the first round. Maggie Dan (5/2) was a winner in Ballyheigue and ran with a lot of credit in Lixnaw last weekend, if that that run didn’t take too much out of her she will be there with a chance. Ballymac Town (3/1) ran up to Maggie Dan that day in Ballyheigue and Liam Dowling has a good record in this venue and she should give a good acccount of herself here.

I’m going to stick my neck out and put Ballymac Town as my selection. She is yet to taste victory in her career but i think she will have the upper hand on this occasion. I’m looking forward to seeing both trial stakes down here this weekend. In the oaks trial stake all eyes will be on Two Steps Closer (4/1) who ran extremely well in Castleisland where she was beat in the third round by kennel companion Boshski who last weekend ran out an impressive winner in Doon. She hails from the all conquering kennel of Micheal J O Donovan.

Candy Twist (4/1) ran up in Freshford, she was running well but hunted her game into the ground in the quarter and semi final she is plenty good enough to pick up a ticket for Clonmel. And there is a bitch down at the bottom of the draw that might be worth looking at called So Long Honey (3/1).

In the derby trial stake, I liked Portane Allin (3/1) in his two rounds in Castleisland, he showed real pace and i think he could collect here. Funny Alonso (4/1) and Master Of Dreams (4/1) could be his main rivals.

There is also action taking place in Gorey this weekend. In the all aged event here, I really like Rocks Of Bawn (5/2). He makes his delayed reappearance here and word has it that this dog is in fine order. He faces a tricky opening round encounter with Crafty Who (3/1), I think Rocks should get through this course on his way to victory at this Wexford venue.

Droopys Newman (3/1) is another dog making his seasonal debut here and is well capable of rattling a cup of this high standard, he can be the main danger to the Declan Byrne trained Rocks Of Bawn. Decky can do the double in Gorey with his bitch Windgap Breeze(6/4) the selection to take the all aged bitch stake here, she showed up well in both her outings so far this season and can go one step further here. The danger will come from Primeley Sceptre (4/1) who looks to have improved this season after her win for Des ‘skippy’ Gilbert in Balbriggan.

The Gilbert kennels in Skerries in Dublin have been in great form both on track and field recently. In the derby trial stake here the ones who have shown promise already this season are Stephens Owen, Our Alfie and City Jet. City Jet could give the Matthews kennel their first trial stake of the season here.

We witnessed some speedy ladies in action this weekend in both Lixnaw and Doon. Boshski (20/1) already raised a few eyebrows in Castleisland where she reached the final. She is a very pacey daughter of Kyle James and Blades Of Glory and is part of the in form kennel of Michael O’Donovan who can do no wrong this season; she ran out a very impressive winner of the oaks trial stake in Doon.

It’s no surprise to see her near the head of the betting for this year’s bitches classic. And by the way this is Curley Donovan’s second trial winner in the space of four days; he was successful in Bandon last week with Manntan Maple who was put into our ante post market at 16/1.

For Jonathan Best, this could be a year to remember. He bought a ticket for the development of Listowel coursing field, won the prize which was a bitch pup by Mafi Magic out of Newinn Allin and he called her Tobar Na Molt. This bitch had her first outing in Lixnaw last weekend and not only did she win the trial stake but she ran away with it. Jonathan has a serious oaks contender on his hands and what a fairy tale it could be if she was to go on to classic glory. By all accounts she is bred for Clonmel and hearing reports from the field she will thrive when she meets the raising ground on the famous Powerstown hill. She is priced up at 12/1 which makes her our new Oaks favorite.

I myself was in Woodsgift in Urlingford where we were treated to some great coursing and some great entertainment in the Valley Inn afterwards! The bitch trial stake winner here Jeffys Twinkle looks above average and will appreciate the longer field in Clonmel; she loved the raising ground and got stronger with every run. She’s priced up at 33/1. Last year’s derby semi finalist Fingal Master recaptured last seasons form and took away the Paddy Doyle Cup back up the road to Slane for owner Pat Savage.

Best bet: Rocks Of Bawn 5/2
Value bet: Two Steps Closer 4/1