Review of Week 7 by Paddy McGhee
Eastern Shore became the first dog to land two cups this season and to reach eight points on the Champion Stakes table but was joined this week by two older counterparts. Tom and Marshals Mercury both earned four points for their weekend performances, Tom a runner-up at while Marshals Mercury was landing his second Cup of the season when landing the Corn at Carlow. Both have now joined Eastern Shore on that mark while Needham Danger, who collected six points with a win in the John Cup at is chasing their tails. Others who added to previous points this week include Charlie, who moved to six points after running up to Marshals Mercury, and bitches Baby and Careful Betty who have both won and ran up an All-Age Bitch stake so far this year and sit atop the Champion Bitch Stake .
Needham Danger (Bexhill Eoin/ Rain) picked up the fourth stake of his career when landing the John Cup at . A high quality contest was highlighted when the last two Corn Na Puppy winners went to slips for the final and outright honours. It was the Brendan Matthews trained winner who came out on top on this occasion, picking up from where he left off last year. Tom doubled his points tally for the season and is now on eight points for the season as he bids to get back to .
Mary (Musical Time/ Lexie) was landing the third stake of her career in the All-Age Bitch stake but this was the biggest achievement to date for the third season runner. Baby was the more fancied runner having already won the Bitch Stake at but she had to settle for two points as Mary ran out winner adding to her Maurice Cahill Memorial success on the field from last year.
Roquefort Barney ( Gang/ Rio) won Galway and All-Age Cup for trainer Pat Curtin. Purchased last season after victory at , Roquefort Barney somewhat disappointed in . Back to his best now, Barney landed this event from last season’s South Clare winner Sir Harvey.
Galway and meeting was of course run at in tough conditions but Careful Betty (Bexhill Eoin/Inspiring) was returning to the field following a runner-up performance at the meeting in early October. She again proved her liking for the field beating Spice in the final and boosting her chances of getting back to where she reached the Oaks third round as a puppy.
The Corn at Co. Carlow went to the tough Marshals Mercury (Musical Time/Marshals Pearl). Winning his second cup of the season having retained the Cup at , Marshals landed a high quality contest here. Charlie was his opponent in the final but was unable to add to his win. looked to be moving extremely well in a first round bye course but was withdrawn afterwards. If he could only stay sound he would surely provide the performances we all know he’s capable of.
Noirs Caviar (Derby Pines/Needham Time) ran out the winner of the All-Age bitch stake at Carlow and in the process beat both of last season’s bitch stake winners along the way. Roadside Lady was defending her crown here and reached the semi-final while last year’s bitch trial stake winner ran-up to Noirs Caviar in the final. Impeccably bred, Noirs put last year’s form aside to take victory here.
In The Centre ( Dynamo/Dedicated), twice a trial stake finalist last year, including on this field, set the record straight in the Six To Five All-Age at . A half-brother to the mighty March Is On, In The Centre was landing back to back Six To Five Cups for the O’Connor’s after Offshore Town’s success there last year. Sunlight was hot-favourite to add to his Cashel success but was upset by the winner in the semi-final. Stormont reached the final here beating a few good sorts and could be a nice sort for the remainder of the season.
Pat Savage enjoyed a fantastic week on the field with his pair Billy (Kyle Ranger/ Swagger) and Yank (Kyle James/ Floss) both landing sixty-four runner Derby trial stakes at Galway and and Carlow respectively. Both dogs are by Pat’s own bitches, Floss and Swagger who both had great seasons as dams last year. Master a derby semi-finalist last season is by Swagger, connections will be hoping for one of these lads to go two steps further in February.
Crushers Oak (Adios Alonso/ Wave) may be the talking dog of the week having landed a great final at . Crushers Oak and Blades of Hope always looked the top dogs in this stake and it played out that way with both reaching the final. Crushers Oak booked his ticket however it would be no surprise to see Blades of Hope’s name in the same line-up come February.
Serene Angel (Adios Alonso/Uptown Angel) won the sixty-four Derby trial stake at for Michael O’Donovan. This May puppy was having his first run of the season and may well be a smart performer landing a good quality trial stake here.
Linden Village (Kyle James/ Ellen) became the third member of her litter to win trial stakes and the first Oaks qualifier for the litter. This smart lady was also having her first runs and beat Uptown Rosie in the final, a runner who had two outings already this season. Crafty Martino was noted previously and reached her second semi-final of the season.
Ash (Kyle James/ Banker) won the Oaks trial stake at . Consistent on the clocks in the early rounds Ash improved throughout the competition providing another trial stake winner for Kyle James.
Kyle James’ week as a sire was not finished yet though as Cree (Kyle James/ ) landed the Oaks trial stake at . As the name suggests Cree comes from a line which is no stranger to success on the big occasions and Cree could be a contender come February.
Irish Cup hero Lad sired his first trial stake winner this weekend as Oak won the Reserve Oaks Trial stake at Carlow. With only one litter on the ground for this season, he will now have his first runner in .