Power The Pick For Slievenamon

This week I have put the spotlight on the Slievenamon Cup, which will be run up the famous stretch at Crohane and Killenaule in Co. Tipperary.

With the prevailing dry weather, the entry for the All-Ages may not be of the usual high standard at this venue. Nethertheless, both events will take some winning. Crohane has long been one of the best guides for those hoping to reach Clonmel later in the season as there are no hiding places here and many a lofty reputation has been lowered by the hill in Crohane.

In the Slievenamon Cup, my vote is going to the third season runner, Wyken Power (4/1). This Wexford owned greyhound won the Keen Laddie stakes at the National Meeting 2013 and the all aged event in Gorey last season.

However, the stand out form is his run through the JP McManus Irish Cup eight months ago. There he showed great speed and beat some talented opponents along the way before losing out to eventual winner and coursing dog of the year, Newinn Wonder. If Power can repeat that level of form in the Slievenamon Cup he will go very close indeed.

His biggest danger comes in the form of Call Him Bal (5/2), who he meets in the opening round. Bale has already made his seasonal debut in Kilflynn where he bowed out at the semi final stage, losing out to eventual winner Floating Patriot. Those efforts should see him spot on now for this outing.

Last year’s winner Marshals Mercury (4/1) will have plenty of support in Killenaule and is sure to give another great account of himself this year. This has been a lucky field for the Roche family over the years. The winner is likely to emerge from what looks a stronger bottom half and I nominate either Cracking Jet(5/1) or last year’s runner up, Jesslikethat(5/1), to reach the decider from the other end of the draw.

The All Aged Bitch Stake looks a very competitive affair but the one that catches my eye is Call Her Dresden (2/1). This lady won the Oaks Trial stake at Kilflynn last season before running up the Corn Na Faile Puppy Stake to Needham Danger. In her first all-age outing she was a semi-finalist in the bitch stake at Kilflynn and this should have blown away any cobwebs. If so she will be ready to go all the way here and claim the four champion stakes points on offer. She won’t have everything her own way however, as the likes of Diligent (4/1), Bermuda Magic (4/1) and Eggemalong (4/1) are very worthy opponents.

Bermuda Magic ran up this All Age last season and my Doon based spies suggest it would be no surprise if the Ned Morrissey trained bitch goes one better than last year!

After a quick look through the draw for the famous Connacht Cup in Loughrea, Hi Black Jack (2/1) gets the nod to land the spoils after a great effort in the opening round of the Cup at Cashel last weekend against the impressive winner Skellig Sunlight. He ran Sunlight closest over the two days. Mr Blonde (3/1) may provide the biggest danger in the stake after running well in the Desmond Cup at Glin a fortnight ago. It is 12 years ago since Brian Divilly won this prestigious event with Crafty Pedro and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Crafty Yahoo (4/1) bridge the gap. The All-Age bitch stake in Loughrea looks a wide open event but Flow On Jess (2/1) is the stand out runner for me.

We were treated to some fantastic coursing last weekend in Cashel where the aforementioned Skellig Sunlight ran out an excellent winner of the Morrissey Cup. Of course we tipped up Skellig Sunlight last week and we hope you were on. Ballyverry River showed great all-round pace to win the Oaks Trial stake and both her racing style and breeding suggest she will be well suited by Clonmel.

Loyal Lyric proved that age is only a number when winning the All-Age Bitch Stake in her third season. By far the most popular winner at the meeting was Christy Ryan’s Kingcormac Fairy. No doubt Christy and breeder Pat ‘Fairy’ Cormack were nursing sores heads on Monday morning!